In four weeks, the best of the best will go head to head for a shot at ultimate glory on ABC. No, I’m not talking about the College Football Playoff—I’m talking about the return of The Bachelor, the most important romantic competition on the planet.
It has been some time since Chris Harrison’s curiously spiky hair and dulcetly creepy speaking voice have been on our televisions. The intervening months between the end of Bachelor in Paradise and now were much needed. The show’s botched handling of Corinne Olympios’s alleged sexual assault—presented with zero answers, plenty of excuses, and far too many promos eventizing the situation—was a somber reminder that The Bachelor has never been equipped to handle actual reality. It’s a fantasy, at its best when it can pretend that 29 women dating one man is a healthy, totally normal way to start a lasting relationship, or that people actually use the word “foreverlove.”
And now, after a necessary break, that fantasy returns. Because on Monday, the biographies for the cast of Season 22 of The Bachelor arrived. Bio Day—that’s what I’m calling it now; you can either be on the right side of history or the wrong side—is a beautiful tradition for Bachelor Nation, a time of supreme hope and utter anticipation. The possibilities are endless—there’s no telling if the woman who owns 50 Halloween costumes will go home on the first night or last until the season finale. (My only desire is that she wears a different costume each episode.) Heading into last season of The Bachelorette, Bryan was just another doofus wearing a red V-neck, and now he’s engaged to Rachel Lindsay!
But most of all, The Bachelor bios are a resource rich in bizarre, random, useless information. Beyond providing the contestants’ ages, occupations, and hometowns, ABC also asks them about their favorite movies, playing sports in high school, who they most want to eat lunch with, and if they’d kill baby Hitler. (Only one of those things is made up.) It’s a great way to get to know someone, and by that I mean it’s a great way to learn unnecessary things and make extremely rash judgments based on them. After combing through the bios of the 29 women competing for the adoration of Arie Luyendyk Jr., here are the most compelling, eye-roll-worthy, and/or terrifying things to note.
Most Popular Name
That’s right—four Laurens. Somehow, this is not a first for The Bachelor: Ben Higgins’s season had four Laurens too (and a Laura!), though Lauren Barr went by “LB.” I’m excited to see how Arie navigates this minefield. He’s gonna need Michael Scott levels of mnemonic devices to tell these four apart.
Most Compelling Fantasy Lunch
Many of the ladies were asked who they would most want to have lunch with, dead or alive. First of all, I’m curious why producers chose to ask about lunch rather than dinner. Is this supposed to be a less formal hypothetical situation? Are they actually wondering which dead celebrities these women would have friend-zoned?
Anyway, there were some pretty good answers to this question. Brittane said she’d want to have lunch with Whitney Houston, Bernie Sanders, and Beyoncé, which sounds like a hilarious position to put Bernie Sanders in; Jacqueline pretty much pushed up her invisible nerd glasses while saying that she would want to lunch with “David Foster Wallace, Julius Caesar (with translator), and Thomas Jefferson.” (Side note to Jacqueline: This is a fantasy situation. If you’re imagining dining with Julius Caesar, just go the extra mile and assume you’d both be speaking the same language.)
But the best lunch fantasy came from Amber, who said, “Kim Kardashian, Steve Jobs, and my grandpa.” I just really love thinking about this grandpa, possibly fresh from resurrection, sitting next to a woman who won’t stop taking selfies and a guy rambling on and on about iPods.
Most Aware of the Importance of Specificity
Meet Bibiana, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader who I am confident has seen Free Willy more than once.
If you could be any animal, which one and why? A free orca.
Good use of adjectives, Bibiana! Next time I tell people I’d love to be a sloth I gotta remember to add “free” in there, lest they think I’m some sucker who’s dreaming of spending an entire life in the San Diego Zoo.
Most Popular Mode of Transportation
Considering these women are willfully applying to be on The Bachelor, a show astonishingly dedicated to in-air dates—remember when Vanessa threw up on a zero gravity plane and then Nick kissed her last season?—it shouldn’t be too surprising that there are multiple mentions of hot air balloons in these questionnaires. However, I think it’s extremely fair to suspect that Becca K. and Bri have signed up for this show solely so they can ride in a hot air balloon and cross something off of their bucket lists. How awesome will it be if Arie takes only one of them on a hot air balloon ride? Now that I’ve thought of this scenario IT MUST HAPPEN.
Most Adept Manipulation of the Questions
Caroline is the person in an interview who says, “My biggest weakness is that I work too hard.” Seriously, she’s out here gaming the shit out of these questions, twisting each of her answers until they make her seem awesome. When ABC asks her about something embarrassing, she does this:
What's the most embarrassing thing you listen to? I do BLAST Celine Dion in the car and put on a good concert by myself.
When they ask if she has pets, she more or less says, “I’m waiting for my foreverlove to get a pet!”
Do you have any pets? No dogs yet. I’m waiting for someone to co-parent a dog with! I do have a plant, his name is Phil.
And then there’s her answer to the question, “Describe a time when you stopped competing in something?” This is a question meant to reveal vulnerability and weakness, to expose a time when Caroline came up short and was humbled. So obviously this is how she answered the question:
I won Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 2008. So, I quit cheerleading because I didn't have enough time for everything.
OHHHH MY GOD. “I had to quit one thing because I was the most beautiful person in an entire state.” That is elite. You can’t even be mad at it.
The “Hang on, We Need to Talk About This in More Detail” Award
So, ABC asked Kendall, “What is the most outrageous thing you have ever done?” and here is what she said:
I once drove a car off of a ramp and through the caboose of a moving train. No lie.
Hang on, what?! You can’t just say something like this and move on. I have questions: Why? Who put a ramp next to the train tracks? Was this like an Evel Knievel situation? Shouldn’t you be on Fear Factor instead of The Bachelor? How are you alive? Are you Vin Diesel?
The “Hang on, We Need To Talk About This in More Detail” Runner-Up
If you remember, the questionnaires for last season of The Bachelorette were unbelievably sexual and graphic. Multiple bachelors openly discussed their fear of getting erections in the workplace; one guy talked about having a threesome; another guy confessed to accepting payment to cuckold another man.
The women of this season of The Bachelor kept things pretty tame. Except for maybe Tia:
What is the best trip you have ever been on and why? Cancun to a random swingers resort. HA! It was actually fun.
Again, I have questions: A “random swingers resort???” I’m sorry but for hygiene reasons the words “random” and “swingers” should never be next to each other. Also, did Tia mean to go to the resort, or was it like the plot of a kooky, “funny” Amy Schumer movie? And is this Tia confirming that she is a swinger? Hopefully this comes up on night one.
From Valerie (the one who has all the Halloween costumes):
If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? Dog. I want to be spoiled and loved unconditionally.
Someone give Valerie a hug! Now! And then give me a hug because this is so sad!
The “Who’s Gonna Tell Her?” Award
This award goes to Nysha, for this exchange:
What is your favorite TV show and why? Scandal—the most powerful person in this country is a woman on that show. Need I say more?
Who’s gonna tell Nysha that Olivia Pope is a fictional character, or for that matter, what happened when Hillary Clinton ran for president? I call not it.
You remember Bibiana—she’s the one who smartly differentiates between free and caged animals. Here she is again, giving the best answer in all of the bios:
Would you consider yourself a lover of art? Yes. Wish I could be art.
Wish I could be art. Ugh, SAME, Bibiana.