The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises rise and fall based on the characteristics of the lead. This seems so obvious, and yet we still have seen entire seasons derail due to the wobbliness of the main contestant, be it Hannah Brown or Peter Weber. Sure, sometimes even with a steadfast center, true love continues to elude said Bachelorette (like Becca Kufrin, who apparently has rebounded from her broken Bachelorette engagement with Katie Thurston reject Thomas Jacobs?). But this show is sure a lot easier to watch with a charismatic, decisive lead looking for love.
By those standards, this should be a great season of The Bachelorette. Michelle Young is the total package: stunning, smart, sincere. She greeted her thirty suitors tonight with a commanding poise far beyond her 28 years, and immediately stood her ground by tossing calculating Ryan almost immediately. Even better, she barely broke her stride after doing so, saying that she was disappointed, but she owed it to the rest of the guys to continue with the cocktail party. She offers a breath of fresh air that even Katie failed to accomplish, as many less sturdy contestants before her would have just called it a night after that. You also have to appreciate how Michelle demanded to see for herself what Ryan’s folder playbook contained, and refused to let him wriggle his way into a second chance.
Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe continue to be stellar Bachelorette hosts, and the show took advantage of their dynamic by sending them on a scouting mission for Michelle. Not only was this segment cute, with the pair being their typical charming selves, it was also informative, as it led to the discovery of Ryan’s red playbook folder. The way Michelle handled Ryan after that was also just masterful (undoubtedly aided by her years of corralling grade-schoolers): Can women everywhere absorb the line “You need to respect that I choose not to ignore red flags” and make it absolute canon?
Honestly, the only real downside to this season appeared to be the guys themselves; they just didn’t seem to be that memorable. Maybe because there were so many great guys on Katie’s season, who also transferred over to Bachelor In Paradise, but not too many made a great first impression here, outside of cute, tall Nayte. Rick the dinner plate guy just seemed creepy, as did Clayton and his yardstick. Obviously Michelle needed to keep Joe to stoke those controversial fires, but I don’t care if he’s now in therapy, having someone around who once ghosted you seems really unwise. Maybe because I can’t fathom anyone doing that to Michelle, but after tonight I can’t believe that Matt James picked Rachael over her either. Let’s just say that Michelle and her exquisite gown definitely made an impression.
But hey: The guys have several weeks to come into their own and hopefully show us their more entertaining sides. (At least they seemed pretty friendly with each other at the cocktail party, always a good sign.) The most important thing here, as noted above, is that we have a Bachelorette this season who is more than worthy of the title, who showed us on her very first night that instead of wallowing around for a few episodes, she is not going to put up with any bullshit. This kind of decisive action definitely bodes well for the rest of the season, that—maybe! possibly!—instead of getting bogged down in needless drama, we actually focus on seeing a couple fall in love on this show. Which is ostensibly the whole purpose, anyway.
- I don’t know, you guys. I really like Michelle, but I feel like this season of Bachelor In Paradise might have ruined me for watching The Bachelor and Bachelorette proper. It was just so nice not to focus on just one giant crowd of people all clamoring for the same person, and seeing a bunch of different dates and relationships develop (while also getting drunk on the beach). It could also be the fact that we’ve had very little break between Katie’s season, then BIP, and now Michelle’s. Bachelor Nation burnout!
- Michelle’s students were adorable and I hope we see a lot of them this season.
- Love the contestant who was so bowled over by Michelle he didn’t know what to do with his hands.
- Kaitlyn’s fiancé Jason Tartick was pretty funny on Twitter, reacting to Ryan listing him first under “who to emulate”: “‘Not your typical bachelor?’ ‘Wasn’t a standout’… Ryan should I be offended or flattered?”
- Apparently LT is Clint Eastwood’s grandson?
- Welcome to The Bachelorette’s 18th season, y’all! Like I said, looks like a good one. I will not be covering this one week to week, but will likely check in if anything truly impactful happens, and will probably return for the finale. Good luck, Michelle—if any Bachelorette is bound to find true love on this show, it definitely deserves to be you.