With the passing out of the final rose comes the passing of the torch. Monday night, after Nick Viall proposed to Vanessa Grimaldi and a lackluster “After the Final Rose” ceremony, Rachel Lindsay took the reins of the franchise and officially began her time as the Bachelorette. Perhaps in order to quickly erase any memory of Nick and Vanessa’s awkward “love” affair, ABC broke protocol (the network is wildin’ out these days!) and started Rachel’s journey right away, recreating the Bachelor mansion driveway on a soundstage and introducing Rachel to four of her suitors. Chris Harrison’s repeated promise that this event would be “the most historic moment in Bachelor history” was somewhat overstated, but still, what a surprise! Nick “I subjected you to this four times” Viall who?
So Rachel, who was resplendent and charming and perfect, got to meet four suitors — two black men and two white men, because ABC understands equality. Are these men worthy? Are they handsome? Are they here for the right reasons? Normally, we’d wait till the season actually starts to rank the suitors, but if ABC is gonna trot ’em out early, we are going to judge the crap out of them. And so, here are rankings of the four men Rachel met last night:
Well, well, well, Dean. Dean didn’t wear a tuxedo; he wore some “fashion-y” black douche-suit with white buttons and a skinny tie that matched his belt. He looks like he uses a lot of hair products. Like, a lot. A worrying amount. Anyway, this white man came out of the gate and proclaimed, “I’m ready to go black and I’m never going to go back,” and everyone, including Rachel, felt it necessary to laugh because it was live TV and she couldn’t punch him in the dick like she ought to. Dean should watch Get Out and read some James Baldwin and do some soul-searching before he shows up at that mansion. (P.S. We’re going to have at least 10 more Deans, aren’t we?)
Blake went in for a hand kiss, but Rachel swerved on him like he was Drake at the VMAs. He told her she smelled good and stared at her with a frozen, unblinking smile for a beat too long. Rachel said, “I need you to make me more comfortable,” because he seems like a serial killer. Still better than Dean, though.
Eric! My man, Eric! He’s a Baltimore boy, so I gave him points for that. But then he spoke exclusively in incomplete platitudes and slogans: “We are here right now,” “the moment,” “I’m happy to be here,” “If it’s meant to be will be.” While he demonstrated a lack of verbal grace, he at least understands the importance of body language. Eric ended his string of half sentences with some decent dance moves, which will come in handy when ABC inevitably makes one of the group dates a “dance battle inspired by Magic Mike.”
Demario, please accept this rose. You are the only one of the bunch worth keeping. Demario wore a tux like a damn gentleman. He was so in awe of Rachel’s beauty he said “wow” about eight times in a row, so he already has a catchphrase (“Wooooow”). He came prepared with a bit: two fake (they were fake, right, Demario?) plane tickets to Las Vegas and a fake (tell me it was fake, Demario) engagement ring so they could elope. It was thirsty! It was risky! And it worked!
OK, overall, this was a rough start to The Bachelorette; these guys made a man whose idea of romance is a trip to Las Vegas come off like Idris Elba. But Rachel, you have 21 more suitors to go. Don’t lose hope yet.