Welcome to Mouthful of teeth’s weekly Bachelorette recap where I’ll break down all the heartbreak, bad feminism, and television gimmicks on Katie Thurston’s search for love.
This is week 1 and the season premiere of Katie’s “journey” and one thing was abundantly clear: we’re going to talk about sex this year.
We met Katie last season of the Bachelor where she joined the ranks of the women who were way too good for Matt James. Now that it’s her turn in the driver’s seat, we find her in her Seattle apartment looking at photos and doing a voice over like all leads do.
Her narration (as well as the rest of the episode) lets us know that she’s very sex positive, but is looking for more than that in her man. The term “sex positive” will appear four more times this episode alone and is clearly something the show is very pleased with. It appears showing up 15 years late to the feminism conversation has its perks.
Katie also talks about how she’s a child of divorce like 40(ish)% of children in the United States, but she claims that, due to that upbringing, she’s “never seen a healthy marriage” before. I don’t believe her, but I understand the Bachelor franchise is propped up on a shaky stage of trauma-porn so I get why she had to offer something up.
After Katie finishes her monologue wearing an $1,100 Canada Goose jacket, it’s time to meet the men. There’s simply too much to cover in week one, so let me break down the basics.
The venue for this season is the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. Why they’re filming in the middle of New Mexico when it’s hotter than hell outside? Your guess is as good as mine. The amenities and rooms look pretty nice so far, but the building is very clearly a prison compound.
It will be from this prison of love that each inmate will attempt to escape with their new fiancé in tow.
Early in the episode, we get to see the show’s solution to the Chris Harrison problem. ABC passed hosting duties to a woman: good. But they ensured she had a buddy to make sure she was up to the job I guess: bad. Our co-hosts this season are previous Bachelorettes Tayshia and Kaitlyn.
The show calls them “mentors” rather than hosts, which only adds to my lack of confidence with the feminism of this show. Tayshia and Kaitlyn pulled Katie aside early in the program to call themselves the “girl gang” (major #girlboss energy) and let us all know Kaitlyn got some work done way too close to filming.
Katie explains that she’s looking for more than just sex for the umpteenth time of the young episode and then they’re out of things to say. So, after 19 minutes, Katie finally gets to meet her guys.
As with every season, our first introduction to several of the conestants comes in the form of a montage. This time we meet:
Connor B., who will spend the rest of the episode in a cat costume, but in this clip, he’s playing the ukulele in the bathtub. Connor’s a math teacher (hot), spin instructor (exhausting), and a musician (bad) so he’s a little much for me, but our bachelorette will have other feelings.
Brendan, who does look like a Republican until he opens his mouth and you realize he’s Canadian. His father pushed him towards college hockey (eh), but Brendan pulled a Disney Channel original movie move and told his dad he was going to follow his own dream. That dream, as it turns out, was to become a firefighter and therefore, super hot.
Mike, our resident Christian™ of the season. He’s your run of the mill overly-religious white dude who played baseball and now thinks he’s a fitness guru. He even had the classic “pretending to read the bible without shrieking in horror at what’s in there” shot. He doesn’t have much to say this episode, but he’s a virgin and will have a lot to say about THAT later on.
The last man of note in the montage is Greg the softboi. Greg is a 20-something white boy with floppy hair and an inferiority complex. He’s very concerned with the number of children his siblings have and would very much like to catch up as fast as possible. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I just don’t trust people who say that stuff the first time you meet them.
After we’re paroled from the montage, the first man out of the limo is Thomas, your prototypical Bachelorette contestant. He’s tall, he has curly hair, and he’s affirming of the lead without saying anything meaningful. There’s not much too Thomas, but at least he went through the effort of wearing a nice tux.
This is our first glance at Katie’s dress, and it could not look more like a Swedish Fish candy if it was branded. It’s a lovely choral color, but with a texture that looks like fish scales. The slight tail is the final nail in the coffin and the transformation to fish is complete. It’s a reverse-Little Mermaid.
David is a New Yorker who explains that love can happen in “a New York minute” and it’s already been 60 seconds. Not an offensive line, just unoriginal. What was offensive, however, was the length of his pants and the lack of socks underneath them. This is a scourge on male fashion of the last several years and it needs to stop.
Yes, your pants are supposed to be shorter than before, but not so short that you look like you’re wearing capris. Also, I understand that loafers do not necessarily require socks, but these men need to learn that the boat shoe/capri look makes them look more like an affluent lesbian than the potential man of Katie’s dreams.
Sorry David, he seems perfectly nice and very cute, but he was the first to make this mistake.
Gabriel, an entrepreneur, wanted to broadcast that he’s edgy and bucks social norms by not wearing a tie and already 2 buttons down. Once he grows chest hair in a few years, that’s going to be quite the look. I’m a fan of going 2 buttons down at the start of the night and unbuttoning more as the drinks are flowing, but not here.
You’re meeting someone you think might be your wife and you’re on tv. Put on a fucking tie.
Mike, the Christian man from before shows up in the ugliest striped socks I’ve seen on television.
Marcus incorrectly thought he was cool enough to wear black on black underneath a burgundy suit.
Cody, a zipper salesman, wore a perfectly normal suit, but also just looks like an adult baby.
Karl, a motivational speaker, put on his Dad’s suit for the occasion. At least, that’s what I imagine because it’s a double-breasted suit with the largest lapels seen on Earth since the 1970’s.
(I’ll be nicer to the men going forward I promise)
Katie makes it very clear in this episode that she is down for the foolery. She laughs at every terrible sex pun and dumb schtick these men throw at her and they eat it up. Some of it might come from her job as nerve-calmer of the episode, but I think she might be actually into it.
Tre pulls up in a truck full of balls, much to Tayshia’s enjoyment (she loves a truck). He jumps out of the back and asserts himself as the “fun” boyfriend. I feel bad for the man because that role has a ceiling and it’s the top 4.
Andrew S., the Austrian football player, took a page out of former Bachelor, Colton’s, book by committing to an accent. He rolled up in 1920’s Cruella de Vil-ass car and spoke in a British accent. The accent wasn’t bad and he fessed up to it right away, but he also called it his “alter-ego” so hopefully it doesn’t become his defining trait.
Catman! Connor B., our math teaching ukulele player, proved he looked Katie up on social media by dressing in a cat suit. She’s apparently obsessed with cats and unfortunately even refers to her pet as her “fur baby.”
Connor B. will come out as one of our front-runners by the end of the show and even secured the second kiss, but he will only be remembered as Catman for the foreseeable future.
James the box-man. One contestant thought it would be a great idea to hide in a giant present-shaped wooden box for the first half of the evening. He doesn’t get out to meet Katie at the door, instead opting to wait until the party is winding down.
Once Katie finally lets him out of his wooden prison, we see that James is a well-dressed white man who looks so much like a villain. He has slicked-back hair, a properly accessorized outfit, and quickly establishes himself as Mr. Where My Hug At. For the record, James is polite and has real chemistry with Katie, he has just been clearly type-cast.
The final gimmick worth mentioning is the entire character of Jeff. Jeff is a 31-year-old surgical skin salesman who lives in a Breaking Bad style RV. No matter how you cut it “surgical skin salesman” is just a euphemism for murderer and the RV doesn’t help his case.
Katie even went into the MurderMobile against her better judgement and saw that Jeff was even worse than originally thought. He didn’t do the dishes or make the bed and his only refreshments where a vegetable tray I’d be embarrassed to bring to a party and some iced tea without any ice.
Katie remarked that it looked “lived in” and sent Jeff and his rolling surgical business packing.
The first impressions
We’re reintroduced to softboi Greg so he can assure us that he hasn’t grown a personality since filming his promo. He can’t come up with anything to say besides “I’m just so happy” which is frustrating because he had months to prepare. Say what you will about the ball pit, but at least Tre made an effort.
One man who did not get enough screen time, but deserved it is Marty. Marty separated himself from the pack by wearing not only a dangly earring, but a thumb ring to boot. If that ensemble wasn’t queer enough, the only time we see him speak to Katie this episode is when he’s walking her through the bag of crystals he brought.
Marty won’t be joining us next week (spoiler), but I really wish he would. I can’t think of a better time than watching our secular queen Katie tell him astrology isn’t real and witnessing the following fight.
The hockey guy played hockey! Not a particularly unexpected move if your Brendan, but what was surprising is that all the guys joined in after he had his time with Katie. It was a welcome change to the open hostility we’re so often treated to on night one.
The guys probably couldn’t help but notice he gave her his suit coat before they played, however. A very savvy move for the Canadian.
Did I say there wasn’t hostility? My bad. We got some prime drama from Aaron who picked a fight with big baby Cody for seemingly no reason. There wasn’t any build up to this fight, we were just thrown into the middle of a tense conversation where Aaron told Cody he “just didn’t like the look of him at all” and Cody’s (justified) confusion.
The only other drama came from Karl who folded up his giant lapels to OBSESS over who got the first impression rose. It’s certainly something to think about on night one, but he could not stop telling every man he saw that they didn’t deserve that rose.
It wasn’t ever going to you anyway Karl.
The man it did go to wasn’t even a man at all, but a boy. A softboi. That’s right, Greg our male manipulator in waiting secured the most important rose of the season (if you’re Karl). He was as shocked to get it as I was and still didn’t have anything of worth to say in thanks.
Katie told him she hopes this rose “will give him some validation,” which was nice and to his credit, at least he asked for consent before kissing her. The two other men who kissed her that evening weren’t as chivalrous.
Week one reaction:
I wasn’t very impressed by our slate of men, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ll give them another chance. Katie is an excellent choice of Bachelorette because she understands the job. She knows she’s going to have to reassure the men that they’re special for a few weeks, but has the power to cut them loose at any moment.
I’m not sure why they saddled Tayshia with a cohost because she can clearly do the job herself, but both of them are more charismatic than Chris Harrison. Overall, this was a very successful week one and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.
The Rundown – stats after week one:
- Softboi Greg
- Tre the balls man
- Michael A
- Connor B. (Catman)
- Andrew S.
- James the box man
- Justin (surprisingly good painter)
- Mr. Motivation, Karl
- Mike the Christian
- Andrew M.
- Conor C.
- Brenden the Hot Canadian
- Big Baby Cody
Who’s going home:
- Jeff the murderer
- Brandon the weeb
- Marty and all his magic crystals