On Monday night, The Bachelor gave us a Parks and Rec reunion—kinda—and I think it might’ve been better than The Bachelor.
Last week, I wrote about how, judging from its premiere, this season of The Bachelor might be unbearable thanks to constant, heavy-handed discussion of Colton’s virginity. After one week, I can no longer bear it. In the second episode, conversation turned toward serious takes of how brave Colton is for being public and open about his virginhood.
The first group date of the season was at a Los Angeles theater, where Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally instructed eight women and Colton on how to tell funny stories about their first [x]. The joke, of course, was that when people talk about “their first,” they’re often talking about their first time having sex, which Colton has not had. I hoped Nick and Megan—who are arguably too good at talking about sex publicly—would have coached Colton to say something funny. Instead, he bypassed Ron and Tammy’s advice and launched into a completely serious revelation about the first time he told somebody in a football locker room that he was a virgin.
There are legitimate conversations to be had about destigmatizing virginity, particularly for men. Too often young people believe their worth is connected to how many times they’ve had sex and with whom, which can lead to bad decisions, unsafe situations, and really dumb worldviews. But come on. I cannot take another soliloquy about how Colton deserves a Nobel prize for being a virgin. So far, everybody who has discussed Colton’s virginity on the show has made it sound like he’s either survived or cured some horrible disease.
On the second group date, Colton took a bunch of women to a “summer camp,” and his “counselor” was Billy Eichner. (No, Eichner never actually interacted with Nick and Megan during his scenes on the show, but I’m still counting it as a reunion.) Unlike everybody else, Billy actually made funny jokes about the fact that Colton has never had sex. This is allowed, and better than granting him sainthood for not having sex. (Although, to be fair, I think a lot of saints have also done this.)
Thus, I propose Billy Eichner replace Chris Harrison as host of The Bachelor, effective immediately. (I also propose that you watch any and all clips of Billy on the Street as soon as you can, but that’s beside the point.) I have no qualms with Chris, but if we’re going to get through the Virgin Season, we need to mix in some jokes with the hagiography. Because you know what might actually destigmatize the way we talk about virginity? If it were treated as just another aspect of Colton’s life, ripe for occasional lighthearted jokes and occasional legitimate discussion. Instead, for Colton (and other Bachelor virgins in past), it’s treated as the only thing he should ever be allowed to think or talk about, which doesn’t seem particularly healthy.
We need Billy to hang around—although he did mention that he was on the show only because he failed to land a guest spot on The Goldbergs, so maybe he’s not interested.
Most Annoying Beef: The Noise Fight
My dog believes that noise is power. If another human enters my apartment, she will bark in a 100-decibel howl, because even though she is weaker and significantly smaller than any human, she believes her noise can defeat them. However, if she hears a clap of thunder, the burst of a firework, or a garbage truck unloading a dumpster, she will scurry to the bathroom and shiver in fear. She has never been harmed by any of these things, but in her mind, the loudest things are the strongest things, and thunder and fireworks are booms that can’t be beat.
Which brings us to the fight between Onyeka and Sydney. On the premiere, Onyeka interrupted a conversation Colton was having by approaching him in a snorkel, blowing a loud whistle, and telling him that he was “drowning in a sea of bitches.” I think the gag was that she was a lifeguard “saving” Colton? It was a truly odd choice by Onyeka: Why did she think it was a good idea to imply her 29 co-contestants were bitches? Why did she think Colton would want to be accosted by loud noises? Does she think that most lifeguards wear snorkels? Does she think lifeguarding mainly consists of observing underwater creatures?
On the second episode, Onyeka upped the ante: She snuck up on a conversation between Colton and Sydney with an airhorn, blew the dang thing right in their ears, and told Colton that she was feeling “horny.” Sydney, however, did not give up without a fight. She went inside the Bachelor mansion and returned with a variety of pots and pans, insisting on banging them in Onyeka’s ear as revenge. It’s unclear how this feud will resolve, but if these women have any integrity, Onyeka will accost Colton with a megaphone and Sydney will show up with a heavy metal concert wall of amps. Colton will have permanent hearing loss by the fifth episode.
Ultimately though, I suspect this will end poorly for all parties involved. Onyeka was probably doomed from the moment of her first noise-making, name-calling endeavor, and while Sydney’s one-upmanship was funny, it wasn’t exactly endearing. Neither will end up with Colton, but they have earned the permanent respect of one frightened beagle cowering in my bathroom.
Funniest Beef: The Rose Battle
There’s a tradition in hockey that if you win the conference finals, you’re not supposed to touch the trophies they give you. According to hockey logic, players should want to hoist only the Stanley Cup—therefore, touching lesser trophies is a bad omen, a sign that the players are willing to settle for less. According to Tracy, these same rules may apply to Bachelor roses.
On the first group date, budding villain Demi twice proclaimed that she would win the date’s rose. The first time was on the stage at the “first time” event, when she kissed Colton, retook the microphone, and proudly screamed “and that’s the story of how I got the first-date rose!” (The obvious ending she should’ve gone with was “and that’s the story of my first kiss with Colton.” What a missed opportunity.) But later, at the afterparty, she picked up the rose sitting on the table and taunted the other contestants with it.
Demi’s decision to touch the rose apparently broke Bachelor protocol. She hadn’t earned the rose or anything it represents, Tracy doth protested to the camera before confronting Demi. But here’s the thing, Tracy: It’s a flower that signifies that you get to stay on a TV show for a few days, not the damn Shroud of Turin. You can’t even hold on to those roses as keepsakes. They die because somebody cut them out of the ground. If somebody wants to play around with it and look stupid, let them!
Instead, Tracy descended into stupidity with Demi, turning the flower incident into a reflection on how at 31, she is a mature adult, and how at 23, Demi is a petulant child who can never be with Colton.
Worst Apparel Decision: The Yellow Team
The purpose of Billy’s stint as camp counselor was to oversee a competition between two teams of women for the right to sleep over at “summer camp” with Colton. To be honest, this didn’t seem like much of a prize to me—they didn’t actually get to sleep in a tent or bunk with Colton, and all the other girls got to go home to a literal mansion.
Regardless, competition was fierce between the Yellow Team and the Red Team. The Red Team wore red shirts and red shorts, and the Yellow Team wore yellow shirts and … yellow frilly skirts?
I cannot help but believe that the reason the Yellow Team lost was because they were forced to compete in tutus. Although then again, maybe they just lost because they realized that staying in a mansion is nicer?
Most Worrisome: Hannah B.
If someone had asked me which Bachelor contestant was least likely to completely forget how to speak English under the pressure of talking to a handsome man on television, I would’ve said, “First of all, what an outrageously specific question. Second of all, the answer is either Caelynn or Hannah B.” These are our two Miss USA contestants, who have spent their lives being professionally pretty and poised. They have trained for years to smile and give optimistic-sounding noncommittal answers to random prompts while standing on a stage. Being on The Bachelor should be easy work.
Then again … sometimes pageant contestants struggle with sentences. Colton chose Hannah to go on his first one-on-one date, and on the date, Colton gave her a prompt simpler than any she would’ve heard at any pageant: “Make a toast.” She proceeded to implode. “Let’s make a toast to—first it’s my birthday, so to this … amazing day,” she said, after telling herself to say “real words.” “And, um … yeah. Roll tide.” Colton, it may shock you to learn, was less than impressed by this.
I don’t know whether to laugh at Hannah or be genuinely concerned. Was this just a brain fart, or somebody experiencing some sort of legitimate anxiety attack? It can’t possibly be that a beauty pageant winner was so nervous around Colton that she couldn’t speak, right?
Hannah eventually saved the situation by explaining that she just wasn’t ready to open up at the time, and she finished the date with conversations that didn’t resemble Boom Goes The Dynamite. But still, I’m concerned for Hannah. It’s been a disastrous seven days for Alabama.