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‘The Bachelorette’ Premiere Recap: Damn, Daniel

The-Bachelorette-jojo-unicorn
Rick Rowell, ABC

Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher came to be our latest Bachelorette by way of the previous season of The Bachelor, where she wore a “wacky” unicorn head meeting Ben Higgins and made it all the way to the final two. Started from the bottom (prop comedy is the lowest art form) and now she’s here! In the intro, we watch JoJo walk the majestic Bachelorette estate and then on a beach alone in a bikini for some reason, while she says in a V.O. that she felt “blindsided” by Ben’s rejection, but learned a lot along the way.

“I cannot wait to find the person I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with, and be done, and be happy,” she tells the camera. Your buoyant optimism about the forever-ease of matrimony is contagious, JoJo.

Before the parade of men commences, JoJo must receive past bachelorettes Desiree Hartsock, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Ali Fedotowsky at the Bachelor/Bachelorette Villa of Romance for an “advice” session.

Don’t do it,” Ali hisses into JoJo’s ear, gripping her arm too tightly. Just kidding! They all look well.

The-bachelorettes-reunion
Rick Rowell, ABC

The women assure JoJo that it’s normal to feel nervous before the big Limo Parade, and assure her that yes, props/stunts are an effective way to stay memorable (is she still seeking validation for the unicorn thing?). They tell her to keep it honest above all, whether that leads to first-night makeouts or having to let someone down gently. The biggest takeaway here is that Kaitlyn was the most fun Bachelorette ever, but I knew that already.

Now pop open the champagne magnums and flip the “on” switch in Chris Harrison’s circuit board-back, because it is MEN O’CLOCK! In a video introduction of some front-runners, we meet:

  • Grant the hot fireman
  • Jordan the ex pro-football player who just happens to be Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ brother, not that it matters, but he DEFINITELY mentioned it right away
  • Alex the ex-Marine
  • James S. the obsessed Bachelor fan and obvious aspiring comic
  • Evan, who wasn’t kidding about being an “erectile dysfunction expert.” He has clinics and everything! “It’s a hard business,” he says, which hopefully isn’t a pun
  • Ali, the piano-playing Iranian-American with a cute dog and my immediate favorite, get away from him JoJo, he’s mine
  • Christian, who’s like a father to his two younger brothers, aww!
  • Luke, cowboy and ex-military man

Have you settled on a favorite yet? If not, let him be among the bevy of bros who’ve pulled up to the Villa of Romance in a shared limo. We hear their approving remarks upon spying JoJo, which include “whoo!” and “yo, that dress is fire.”

Sweet Grant promises JoJo that he’s “not gonna fall in love with two girls” like Ben did to her last season. One should hope so, since she’s literally the only non-production-staff woman in the house?

We also meet, for the very first time:

  • Robbie, who brings wine and insists they drink it straight from the bottle right there like her mom did on The Bachelor once (it’s less creepy than it sounds)
  • Will, who dropped his speech cards (?) upon leaving the limo in a bit of failed comedy
  • Chad, who seems too intense but apparently “smells great”
  • Daniel, a Canadian with wild eyes
  • James Taylor, the token “contestant that insists on playing guitar songs at the Bachelorette”
  • Jon, aka Kilt Guy, who says he’s half-Scottish half-Chinese, “but luckily only Scottish from the waist down.” JoJo either doesn’t get it, or is nice enough to pretend she doesn’t.

Jon’s kilt makes everyone so mad, evoking jeers, group laughter and jealousy. But the group’s collective disgust shifts to Nick B., who makes his entry as an unfortunately-in-character Santa Claus. We also get a fake mustache guy, one who gives her “permission to squeeze my [stress] balls,” and a dude who rides in on a fake unicorn. One even brings a mid-90s R&B group for a serenade (I won’t spoil which one, a must-watch if you haven’t)!

Around entrance #17, this becomes an exhausting loop of well-groomed men. “There’s a lotta hair gel, lotta cologne goin’ on. It kinda smells like that very first aisle of Macy’s,” says contestant Chase. He may be a 27-year-old medical sales rep, but Chase has got a poet’s knack for detail.

jojo-fletcher-santa
ABC

Meanwhile, JoJo complains that she can’t read her own attraction levels because everyone seems so nervous and fawning. Or, awkward: Daniel tries to explain the “Damn, Daniel!” meme, and JoJo sadly shakes her head, saying she doesn’t keep up with the internet. She does connect with a few men, though, including certified creep Chad.

And that’s when it happens: Machiavellian manipulator Chris Harrison places the early-decision First Impression Rose on the table, and suddenly these people become desperate as some wannabe Kardashians at a crowded Balmain sample sale. The Romance Villa becomes a rich human stew of nerves, ego, competition and a genuine need to be loved.

Like many a Bachelor/Bachelorette premiere, we’ve come to the point where everyone becomes inebriated from guzzling liquid courage during those endless limo arrivals. If you hadn’t already identified the person who freaks out and sheds their clothes, you haven’t been paying attention (those wild eyes!). Incredibly, she keeps Daniel in the rose ceremony, and Santa, and Chad.

Jordan “First Impression Rose” Rodgers seems like the clear frontrunner. Also, I still have so many questions about Evan’s boner clinic. What are his credentials, exactly? And why is he so protective of his belly button? Stay tuned.

The Bachelor‘s Bachelors: Then + Now

Next: 'The Bachelorette' 2016 Bios Have Trolled Me Into Watching Again

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