Bachelor 21, Episode 1 You and I are a Disgusting Slut

The opening to Season 1 Billion of the Bachelor rerereintroduces us to our favorite silver medalist, Nick Viall. The essentials:

1. He started working with a trainer and can no longer be bothered with shirts.
2. Despite already having slept with three different women on these shows (four if you count Liz, who shows up this episode), ABC would like us to believe he may be Benlovable.
3. Half the viewers think he’s also Juantrustworthy.

Not me. I love Nick.

In a voiceover to a montage of him and his herd of new girlfriends, Nick tells us he is here to “prove to America that if you don’t give up on love, eventually you’ll find it” (emphasis mine. Also that one.).  Nick has worked his way up from the gutter and back to be here. He is living the goddamn American Dream.

We get some footage of Nick preparing for skeptics by repeating, “I’m the Bachelor” to himself,  then we see a gathering with his “friends,” former Bachelors Sean Oldguy, Chris Gigglesalot, and Benlovable himself. The producers missed an opportunity to make this vestigial pre-show advice session between Nick and his exes, just to see how it plays. Surprise! It’s Andi, Kaitlyn, and Jen with some pointers. Maybe they’re saving that for a group date.

Then we meet some of the new initiates. Bachelor shook things up this year, gambling on only one Lauren and an unwise number of brunettes for a show that purports to be about falling in love. We meet Rachel, a lawyer who dances while she vacuums; Danielle L., who owns three nail salons; trilingual special needs teacher, Vanessa; Josephine, a 13 year old who likes boys and being loud in malls with her friends; and Raven, the mudding/gun shooting/Bible reading boutique owner from Arkansas. Then 24-year-old Corinne drifts by on a floatie and says things like, “Corinne’s world is glamorous.” We’ve been waiting for you, Corinne. She is a 24 year old from Miami who runs her family’s multi-million dollar mystery business and keeps a nanny around to prepare cucumber salads. The way those cukes were served, though – inch thick slices with the skin still on – tells us everything we need to know about what Nanny thinks of Corinne. Next up we meet dolphin enthusiast Alexis; neonatal intensive care nurse Danielle M.; and Taylor, a professional mental health counselor and recreational rollerblader looking to belong. Then we meet Liz, the maid of honor at Jade and Tanner’s wedding who had a fling with Nick but refused him her number. She thinks coming on the show after rejecting him is a quirky meet cute, and is about to feel deeply betrayed by the romantic comedies that raised her.

At Bachelor Mansion, Chris Harrison reminds us that half the viewers don’t even like Nick, and then summons the first limousine of women that still might. Someone blows a pitch-pipe and the limo intones a high C that the women sustain for the rest of the show. Danielle L. is out first, excited and nervous in a cut-to-there gown. Nick likes the way this dress is going. Out comes Elizabeth with a Dallas twang, Rachel the lawyer, and “super weird” Christen who almost blows it when she leads with a fan dance and calls Nick a tall celebrity that she’s watched for three years. A goner for sure, she redeems herself by wishing Nick luck meeting his other girlfriends. Next is rollerblading Taylor, who looks anxious and sweet and tells Nick that all her friends think he’s “a complete piece of shit.” We get the requisite dental hygienist, then a model, followed by Lauren Hussey, who offers Mr. Viall an unbeatable celebrity name. Michelle offers to make lemonade out of his lemons, which sounds dirty but I think she just meant citrically. Dominique tries out “fourth time’s the charm,” which might finally sting less the fourth time someone says it. Olivia from Alaska offers an ethnically insensitive nose rub, which I hereby rename a proboskiss. Sarah mixes schtick with practicality and races to Nick in sneakers. She’s a runner-up, too, get it?! But just in terms of running, not being a three-time loser. Jasmine G. defines power move and shows up with Neil Lane and her ring of choice. Next is Hailey, a cryptologist who cracked the code embedded in every Cosmo magazine, and tells Nick she isn’t wearing underwear. Then Astrid repeats the code to Nick in German. This is significantly hotter than The Imitation Game.

Liz shows up, the woman who had sex with Nick after Jade and Tanner’s wedding. Nick doesn’t know if he’s supposed to recognize her, so never explicitly acknowledges that they’ve met. With their genitals. She thinks he doesn’t remember her, and I say a prayer to Saint Lawrence (who really knew how to stretch an execution) that they play this angle all season. Liz goes into the mansion for a follow-up interview and lies, not to us, but to the part of herself that doesn’t want to admit that Love, Actually is terrible, actually. “So that makes me feel like he doesn’t know who I am. And I kind of like that. I like a little mystery.” Liz, no.

Corinne gives him a hug token, later followed with a whole sack of tokens exchangeable for hugs, kisses, blowies, and cucumber salads. Are these tokens clues to what her family’s company does? Trilingual Vanessa phones it in with a “Bonjour.” Danielle M. offers him a lick of her dad’s maple syrup. Raven gets him to yell, “Pig Sooie!”, and chef Jaimi reveals a nasal ball piercing. Are those nose earrings on testicals, or balls up her nose? Maybe both! Women who will get cut listen to Nick’s heartbeat and rub his beard, while the 13-year-old who shares a raw hot dog with him and the nurse who bends him over will stay. Lacey shows up on a camel and makes her hump joke. Last to arrive is a dolphin lover in shark’s clothing who says “dolphinitely” and so deserves to win. Now the mansion is packed full of women worrying that they won’t stand out. According to their profiles on ABC (yes, those exist and I read them), half of them fantasize about being either dolphins or Olivia Pope (not both, too powerful), 29/30 have identical hair, and all of them are polygynous, but the real concern is how many wore red dresses. I’m pretty sure redress is the entire point of Nick’s season.

His first sit down is with Rachel the lawyer, who is awesome and pretends she loves her whole family equally. Nick flirts more or less successfully with all the rest of them, getting a first kiss from Corinne, who insists he doesn’t have to pay for it. Cetacean in a shark costume clicks and whistles, and Nick answers (in human talk) that she’s going home the minute she takes off her costume. Nick tells Liz that Katherine Heigl is selling her lies, and that when they slept together and she never wanted to hear from him again, that was a bad thing. Rachel gets the first impression rose.

At the Rose ceremony, we still don’t care about any of the contestants, so some of them went home, but not most. If you remember her name, she stayed!

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