Welcome 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 1 of Clayton’s “journey” and there was quite a bit we didn’t know going into this season. It’s the first Bachelor since Matt James and without the months-long press tour to get to know Clayton.
So, before the second episode tonight, here’s what you need to know…
ABC’s the Bachelor: Clayton
Clayton Echard was a semi-popular contestant on Michelle’s season of the Bachelorette, late in 2021. While it’s not surprising ABC picked a fairly boring white dude to lead the next season, it was strange that they announced it before Michelle’s season even started.
Was that decision meant to assure the ahem* “conservative” part of the audience that the franchise would never give the show Black leads in consecutive seasons? We’ll never know (but we can sure guess).
Clayton is just a small-town guy who never cared for the spotlight. He wants us to know that fact so much, it’s the first thing he can think of in his introduction package.
We even get to visit his small town, which I’m calling White Haven, but is actually Eureka, Missouri. As a native Kansan, seeing Midwesterners in all their un-airbrushed glory was a particular delight. In case you didn’t remember that he’s just a small-town man, he mentions it in his welcome toast and three other times throughout the show.
If there’s one thing the constants knew about Clayton, however, it’s that he’s TALL.
The ladies mentioned his height 7 times this episode. It was starting to rival Michelle’s occupation and Katie’s sex positivity as a discussion topic. One woman even wore moon shoes in order to get on his level.
Aside from his hometown and his height, Clayton truly is Just Some Guy™.
He seems earnest, he doesn’t know how to dress, and he believes this process works despite zero evidence to support that.
We have a new host
After Chris Harrison’s long overdue exit from the franchise, we finally have a permanent replacement in Jesse Palmer.
Jesse was a Bachelor himself 100 years ago in 2004 and states in his opening monologue that he’s now a happily married man thanks to it. He neglected to mention if he was happily married to the woman he met on the show.
I loved our “mentors” from the last two seasons, Tayshia and Kaitlyn, but they did lack the professional feeling that comes with an established television personality. Chris Harrison is a bigot, but he did know how to keep a live show moving along.
Thankfully, TV personalities are a dime a dozen and Jesse Palmer is one of those dimes who’s been hosting a college football talk show for years. He had a funny opening speech that lightly jabbed at Bachelor tropes and kept the show moving; just like host should.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty hot as well.
This cast is brought to you by the color blonde
Every Bachelor or Bachelorette tells the producers what “type” of person they’re into. It’s unclear how specific the leads usually get, but it probably stays pretty vague in order to keep a diverse set of contestants.
Clayton, on the other hand, probably slid the producers a notecard with a single word on it before leaving the meeting: blonde.
There were 14 blondes on last week’s episode, and they were mostly impossible to distinguish between. And to make matters worse, only 4 went home so blondes still make up almost half of the remaining cast.
Here were some of the standouts:
Elizabeth is a #GirlBoss from Denver who built a successful real estate advising business from the ground up. I couldn’t find an article where she talks about how she started her business (or what the fuck real estate “advising” even is), but I’ll bet any amount of money it starts with generational wealth.
She doesn’t just #GirlBoss all over Denver, she travels the world too. Which makes perfect sense considering she (allegedly) speaks 12 languages.
Rachel is a flight instructor who introduced herself to Clayton as a pilot, which is a delightful lie that I’m sure he’d never discover. She received a lot of screen time, so I assume she’ll be recurring character on the season, but seems pretty run of the mill as far as Bachelor constants go.
The funniest thing about Rachel isn’t the fact that she claims she can “live off flaming hot Cheetos,” though. It’s that she’s been a flight student for 6 years, when it only takes 2 months to get a pilot license.
Her name initially had a W., but the other Lindsay (who spelled her name correctly) didn’t survive the initial cut.
Honestly, we didn’t learn much about Ms. W. last episode. I only mention her because she looks absolutely identical to Elizabeth. This isn’t a unique problem either; most of these blonde women are so similar, if Clayton doesn’t mess up one of their names this season, he’s the Sherlock of the franchise.
There’s still some (hair) diversity
This season definitely brought back ABC’s habit of racist casting. As much as I’m sure Clayton listed “blonde” as his type of woman, I doubt he listed “white” right after it.
There were only 13(ish) people of color and only 7 Black women on the cast: a far cry from the record diversity we’ve seen from Michelle and Katie’s seasons. Clayton cut more blondes than people of color at the end of the episode, so at least he recognizes that the producers could’ve tried a little harder too.
But among the remaining people of non-blonde hair, here were the favorites:
Teddi received the first kiss of the season as well as the first impression rose, which makes her the frontrunner. She’s is our resident virgin of the cast, but gave up the idea of “saving it until marriage” because she’s grown up since making that promise to herself.
She’d still like to be in love before having sex and there’s nothing wrong with remaining a virgin as long as you like. But making the conscious choice that sex doesn’t have to be some sacred, secret thing to keep until marriage is the healthiest reasoning we’ve seen on the show.
Her first line was “tick tock, I’m ready to be a Mrs.,” however, so she still has some growing left to do.
Sierra didn’t get much time with Clayton from what we saw, but she was very active in the background. She already seems one of the leaders in the house and got a lot of recognition in the season-preview montage.
Her only drawback was when she slut-shamed another woman for wearing lingerie. Sierra also noted that the woman in question was “in medics,” so it’s not as if she can really look down on her intellectually.
Eliza also seems like one of Clayton’s early favorites. She’s a marketing manager in Berlin and introduced herself by Lady and the Tramping a sausage with Clayton and giving him some German flash cards later in the evening.
We didn’t get to hear too much from her yet, but from what little she did say, she seems intelligent and someone who caught our himbo’s eye.
There are signs of early collective bargaining in the mansion
In the last two seasons, the contestants have realized their power in the house as a unit. Katie’s men thought they knew what was best for her (to their detriment), while Michelle’s guys just liked hanging around each other too much.
I’m a huge fan of unions, but, after one night, the women have already rooted out someone who Clayton needs to expel from the house. To their credit, this woman was talking a mound of shit on our lead, so it was a good decision, but it worries me.
The woman in question on night one was Claire. Claire was another blonde who dragged Clayton to a tailgate, complete with cornhole and cold chicken wings. I’m aware that tailgating can be fun, but this is the first time you’re meeting the apparent love of your life and I can’t imagine a bigger turnoff than realizing a 28-year-old still cares about college football.
After another woman steals Clayton away from this riveting date, Claire mutters to herself “well, I won (cornhole)” and proceeds to talk shit on Clayton for being too nice. The rest of the women send Serene to snitch on her and Clayton expels her from the mansion.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with letting the lead know what’s going on in the house. But when a group realizes they can oust whomever they want simply by alleging that person isn’t “there for the right reasons,” the season can spiral quickly.
Who made it to tonight’s episode
We’re in for a standard Bachelor season and that means rose ceremonies in the late morning. You don’t know their names yet, and you’ll probably never know the differences between all of them, but here’s who survived:
(Blondes marked with a “b”)
- Susie (b)
- Rachel (b)
- Ency (b)
- Kate (b)
- Cassidy (b)
- Elizabeth (b)
- Shanae (b)
- Lyndsey W. (b)
- Hunter (b)
See you next week!