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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

New Bachelorette Katie may actually have the strength to keep all her suitors in line

Welcome back, gluttons for romantic punishment, to the new season of The Bachelorette!

Tre and Katie Thurston in The Bachelorette
Tre and Katie Thurston in The Bachelorette premiere
Photo: Craig Sjodin / ABC

Welcome back, gluttons for romantic punishment, to the new season of The Bachelorette! Personally, last season wrecked me so much that I’m actually peeved that Matt and Rachael are still dating. But, I did really like Katie, so here I sit ready to embark on all these new Chris Harrison-less episodes. Who’s with me?

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Granted, I think the producers did a great job picking Katie for The Bachelorette. She seems to knows what she’s doing, unlike my hated Hannah B., but she doesn’t seem as romantically flighty as Clare. She’s actually more in line with Becca, who did an amazing job (even though she wound up picking the wrong guy). It was nice to see Katie trying to calm the guys down tonight and help them with their nervousness, knowing (rightly) that she was running the show.

To that end, Tayshia and Kaitlyn were great adds. Would much rather see the three of them scrambling to open a bottle of champagne than to have Chris Harrison wander in with his classic, “Gentlemen, this is the final rose of the night” line. Am I actually hopeful for this season? This is how The Bachelorette always gets me!

So… let’s turn to the guys. Really glad that Katie had the intuition to kick out surgical skin salesman Jeff with the untidy RV. Do not understand her unloading dishy Gabriel, though, although maybe she thought his hug was kind of creepy? I wound up watching this with my 14-year-old twins tonight instead of my girlfriends, which led to some interesting opinions. Personally, I am against any guy who plays ukulele while unclothed in the bathroom, but my son insisted that “Any teacher has to be nice.” Then, when Connor B. showed up in the cat outfit, my kids were all for him, and actually a bit enraged that Greg got the first impression rose instead. Don’t worry, Connor B. is still in the game, kids! They were also glad that edgy hairstyle guy Brandon got kicked out (My son: “He looks like he has evil plans to dominate the world.” Not wrong.)

Lessee, who else: I thought Andrew S.’s fake English accent was kind of funny (and Katie’s was terrible). Probably just a Luke P. hangover from Hannah B.’s season, but I’m a little wary of Mike, the Christian baseball player virgin. Christian seemed more into Katie than I would have expected. As What’s On Tonight author Allison Shoemaker predicted, Katie’s intro with a vibrator into Matt’s season means that she’s now identified this season as “sex-positive” (who, besides Mike, is sex-negative?) leading to myriad double entendres and unfortunately, a blowup doll from the zipper sales manager Cody. Who immediately got into a fight with hot-headed Aaron: Did we miss a step somewhere? Why would Aaron immediately call the guy out out of nowhere? The Bachelorette is Lucy with the football and I am Charlie Brown: Every season I wish for less drama and every season it just seems like there is more of it. Some of it, to be honest, seems to be coming from Karl, who must be the worst motivational speaker in all of Miami.

Which is what makes these first episodes and those first-impression roses all the much harder to take, when viewed alongside the previews for the rest of the season. So. Much. Crying. Katie, at some point, is ready to book her flight out. And Blake is returning, which nobody asked for (I really hate the new Bachelor franchise twist of having contestants show up/return out of nowhere.)

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Is somewhere there for the wrong reasons? Will Katie actually be able to find true love on this show? After all, according to Page Six, Matt and Rachael are now planning to move in together. It’s that faint hint of hope offered by the 30 suitors of The Bachelor (and the standard set by Bachelorette No. 1, Trista Sutter), that keeps us coming back. But, with a few exceptions, this seems like a pretty solid group of guys and, as shown in her Bachelor season, Katie hopefully has the strength (and the stamina) to keep them all in line.

Stray observations

  • Lurved Katie fighting with her bike in the desert.
  • Look, if you’re going to do a gimmick to make yourself stand out (and with 30 guys on board, that seems like a wise idea), make sure it’s a good one. Connor totally nailed it with the cat costume, as did Greg with the pasta necklace. Tre and the truck made into a ball pit was cute, although Andrew’s Union Jack car seemed kind of bizarre once he said he was originally from Chicago. But the fake watch gift, the cluttered RV: No wonder Jeff got sent home.
  • Katie even asked great questions of the hosts, which made their presence even more valuable: What did they wish they had known on night one?
  • I love that Kaitlyn is now engaged to Jason Tartick, an excellent runner-up from Becca’s season.
  • Hey, according to the ABC website, Andrew S. is from Vienna.
  • Also, Connor B. “claims he can eat cereal faster than anyone” and Andrew S. “is very close with his 96-year-old grandmother,” who I believe we saw at the start of the show? Josh “starts celebrating Christmas in October” (can relate) and Gabriel “doesn’t understand the concept of ‘athleisure’ and believes that ‘people should respect elegant styles of the past,’” whatever that means. Katie was probably spot-on in in giving him the boot.
  • Not to side with Gabriel, but… David! No suit capris!
  • What was Michael wearing on his lapel?
  • Sorry, this is just hilarious:
Illustration for article titled New Bachelorette Katie may actually have the strength to keep all her suitors in line
Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC
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Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.