Welcome back to Mouthful of teeth’s weekly Bachelorette recap where I’ll break down Clayton Echard’s search for a fiancé and the television nonsense along the way.
This is week 3 of Clayton’s “journey” and it was as predictable as it was problematic. Between villainizing Cassidy and forcing the cast to divulge their trauma for a group date, this episode had the worst Bachelor tropes.
In a way, this was comforting. Watching ABC trot out the same, tired storylines makes my job easier. So, without further ado…
Remember all the way back to week 4 of Katie’s season when her men unfairly ousted their castmate (and former friend), Thomas. Since men are stupid, it makes sense that Clayton’s women arrived at this plot an entire week earlier.
The accusations are the same: the offender isn’t there for the Right Reasons™.
Thomas wanted to be the Bachelor (allegedly), while Cassidy simply had a friend with benefits waiting for her back home. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with either of these wishes, but they make you easy targets for your competitors.
Sierra is rapidly becoming one of my least favorite contestants due to her strange slut-shaming habit and she furthered that trend by blatantly lying about Cassidy. She made it sound like Cassidy came on the show because her fuckbuddy didn’t “want her.”
We saw the clip and all Cassidy said was she has a friend that wants to watch the show with her if she doesn’t win.
Clayton is easily duped, however, so this was more than enough to send Cassidy packing. It took up the entire first third of the episode and the only thing that came out of it was proof that the cast can get rid of anyone they want with a passable lie.
- Genevieve (so I have to learn to spell her name another week)
Who went home
Time for the most unethical date in show history (again)
As long as we’re copying the problematic aspects of Katie’s season, why not copy the absolute worst?
On week 3 of Katie’s search for love, she gathered all the men into a dark room for a “therapy date.” This meant that Nick Viall asked each member of the group date to dish their secrets for Katie’s benefit: unnecessary, without consent, and in front of everyone else.
The unluck women in question were:
- Susie (who looked around the room before realizing it was her)
After seeing how well that went, Clayton figured he could do the same. Enter our former host and shoulder-pad enthusiast, Kaitlyn Bristowe.
I’m not going to go into details about what everyone confessed, but there were several descriptions of body image issues, eating disorders, and discrimination. Forcing these women (and Clayton) to force this trauma into the open without warning was cruel and my least favorite thing the franchise does.
I will say that the prompt Kaitlyn posed to the group was vague enough to accept any amount of hardship from the women, and Marlena had a great answer. She looked Clayton dead in his face and said that she’s literally a Black woman and she’s always had to go above and beyond what’s required of her.
Watching Clayton’s big ass head try to form an acceptable response almost made the date worth it.
But it still didn’t.
The best night date of the season
After the group took a deep breath after therapy (literally that’s all they did to recover), they got dressed for the evening portion.
Well, most people got dressed. Clayton wore yet another hoodie. This hoodie was made of a better material and at least looked like it was meant for dinner, but I still think the women should spill wine on him.
Eliza (my favorite) wore her best outfit, in her own words, and put him to shame. Her two-piece, magenta romper with diamond chandelier earrings was the star of the party and I hope Clayton took note of how shabby he looked in comparison.
The reason I deemed this the best night date of the season wasn’t for what it had, but what it didn’t have.
There wasn’t in-house drama. No one made up a rumor about another contestant. There wasn’t even jealousy among the women when Eliza won the group-date rose.
Wow, what a wholesome 15 minutes before Bachelor gets back on their bullshit.
Forced partial nudity
Now, let’s get back to the bullshit with Sarah, the delightful 23-year-old Wall Street broker, and a one-on-one date.
Bachelor loves forcing unnecessary nudity. It’s right up there with trauma porn and roses as the most visible aspect of the franchise. Swimsuits are fine (as we’ll see on the coming beach date), but this date forced Clayton and Sarah to strip down to their underwear and run around LA.
Clayton literally just revealed that he doesn’t particularly like showing off his body and Sarah looked visibly uncomfortable when she learned the premise of the date. Not that the show cares, they set up a weird series of obstacles and by god, they’re going to do them.
The strange obstacles in question had the pair tell each other secrets, run into public places, and sing an improv duet. Hearing Clayton put on a terrible “country” accent would’ve been unbearable if Sarah didn’t save him with 2 bars of passable rap.
What if we kissed…at the Van Gogh Immersive Experience™?
Alert! Clayton wore an appropriate outfit for a date!
After yet another embarrassing outfit earlier in the episode, Clayton rushed to the nearest Kohl’s to pick up a sweater fit for an adult. I have zero confidence he’ll continue this trend, but I was pleasantly surprised to see him put in a modicum of effort.
Sarah cleanly outperformed him, however. She wore a cute, strapless white dress with a tasteful spattering of rhinestones. She looked like a beauty queen and considering she’s barely 23, she still might be.
There was some light trauma porn where Sarah explained the internal shame that comes with a person of color that’s adopted by a white family, but it was fairly light compared to the rest of the episode.
Then, the pair got a string orchestra to serenade them as they made out in the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. It was a much nicer date than either of them could appreciate and I was (and clearly still am) supremely jealous.
Last week, we saw the emergence of Shanae’s rude (and slightly racist) alter ego with a vendetta against #Girlboss Elizabeth.
The war kicked into a higher gear when Shanae stole 8 of the 15 shrimp Elizabeth made for the ladies. This was clearly a low-level offense, but if Shanae wasn’t the worst person in the house, it would’ve been written off as a goof.
Full disclosure: I’m from the Midwest, just like Shanae, and we eat shrimp a little differently there. In California, shrimp are big and juicy…and few. Between the coasts, however, shrimp are small and frozen, so you eat as many as possible.
Even if you grew up that way, however, context clues would tell any sane person that you need to leave some to share. Shanae isn’t that sane person.
Shanae thought Elizabeth made shrimp to curry favor in the house…against Shanae? She’s suffering from a rough case of main-character syndrome and it’s about to blow up in her face.
Shanae made her own batch of shrimp for spite and threw a fit that only a few people wanted them. It wasn’t zero, keep in mind. Several people took her up on the offer, but none of them were named Elizabeth.
Sure, hope that doesn’t come up later.
Baywatch: the topical and relevant show we all love
This beach date was contrived just to sell Hulu’s new Pamela Anderson movie about her sex tape, but without that context it’s just strange.
Here’s the cast:
A former Baywatch star (that only Gabby knew about) rolled up in a four-wheeler and kicked off the weird challenges that made up this date.
The first was just cover each other in cum—I mean sunscreen. This was the most egregious sin of the episode. It was only there to make the women rub sticky, white liquid on each other, but thankfully the producers quickly figured out they couldn’t show most of the scene on ABC. They censored anyone with a wedgie for god’s sake.
The funniest challenge was the CPR test.
None of these women were CPR certified or else they’d know you don’t even do rescue breathes anymore, but that’s not good television. The women took this challenge in stride and had a lot of fun with the dummy.
The date ended with Clayton yet again making out with someone right in front of his other girlfriends and Gabby leaving victorious. I love Gabby, she’s so bubbly and I think Clayton would be a great partner for her. She doesn’t have a shot in hell of winning, but it’s nice to dream.
Trouble on the horizon
Unfortunately, we don’t end the episode with a rose ceremony. Instead, Shanae lies about Elizabeth and we kick up the same drama as the last episode.
I truly don’t care about Shanae. I think she’s a boring villain and too ableist to even be funny. But it looks like this is the main source of conflict for at least one more week.
So, strap in.