May 22, 2017
I know this is going to make me sound defensive — but let me just preface what I am about to say by noting that I truly think Rachel Lindsay is a wonderful choice to be the Bachelorette. She is more intelligent than most if not all of our former Bachelorettes, she’s beautiful and she clearly has a magnetic personality. I am not questioning her qualifications to be Bachelorette in the least — in fact, I can not think of a more perfect candidate to be the first black Bachelorette.
Which brings me to the conspiracy.
We begin with Nick Viall. Nick joined “Bachelor Nation,” such as it is, as a candidate on Andi Dorfman’s season, and soon became the brainy counterweight to Josh “Meathead” Murray. It was clear that Andi — who is no dummy herself — was drawn to Nick for his intelligence and snarky humor, but her physical attraction to Murray won out and Nick came in second place.
Now, I did not come to nickname Nick Viall “This Asshole” because he was sarcastic — I’m not that lacking in self-awareness or that hypocritical. No, I nicknamed him that because after losing to Josh “I’M A WINNER!” Murray, Viall went on the “After the Final Rose” special and tried to slut shame Andi for sleeping with him during the Fantasy Suites. That is what makes one an asshole.
But methinks where I saw a sexist asshole, the Producers saw reality gold. That, and I suspect, they genuinely liked This Asshole: Viall was clearly much smarter than the average dum-dum who is on these shows, he has a very wry sense of humor and I suspect they saw a little of themselves in the guy.
Which is why they allowed This Asshole to crash Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season halfway through. To the irritation of the contestants who had been there the whole time, Kaitlyn allowed Viall on the show, where he promptly bedded her and and smirked his way to the final two before, once again, being dumped in favor of the dumb pretty boy.
Now! While all of this is happening, ABC and The Bachelor were facing increasing pressure over the lack of diversity on this brand of shows. For some 21 seasons of The Bachelor, the closest the show has come to any kind of diversity in casting its lead was the disaster that was Juan “Es OK” Pablo. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have always made a token effort to have two or three contestants of color each season, one of whom generally lasts up to the fourth episode or so before being sent packing. And in fact, two years before Andi’s season, The Bachelor had been sued by a pair of black men who claimed the show had discriminated against them by not casting them. A judge dismissed the case, but the issue of the show’s lack of real diversity clung to the series and became an increasingly inescapable issue.
So back to Nick Viall. This Asshole, having been humiliated by the show twice, shows up AGAIN on Bachelor in Paradise last summer where there was something … different about him. No longer the cocky shitbird you just wanted to punch in the mouth for reasons you couldn’t quite explain, This Asshole came to Paradise somewhat humbled and constrained. In fact, compared to the other nitwits he was stuck with in Paradise, he proved to be the only adult in the room: reasonable, clear-eyed, sage even. What’s more, the show pitted him against his old nemesis Josh “HAW HAW” Murray, but this time, Murray is the one who received the Asshole Edit. And Nick Viall emerged from the season, cleansed of his unpleasant past, and ready to be anointed The Bachelor.
And here’s where I think the conspiracy (such as it is) happens: Up until Bachelor in Paradise, Luke, a nice cowboy/military vet from Texas, was all set to be the next Bachelor. He was telegenic; had a patriotic backstory; and lacked enough of a personality that the show could have projected whatever they wanted onto him. He was perfect, and in fact was on his way to California to be the Bachelor when plans abruptly changed. I suspect that two things happened close to simultaneously: while they were casting, they met the perfect candidate to be their first Bachelor/ette of color and they decided now was the time to finally tackle this pesky diversity issue. But they had an problem: Luke was not the ideal Bachelor to make that happen.
Here’s the thing: because of ugly racist stereotypes, the show was not ready to have a black Bachelor. If they were going to have a black lead, they needed to start with a Bachelorette; a woman is less threatening, and ABC seems to believe that the audience, which is primarily white women, just would not tune in for black male lead. So, if they were going to set up a black Bachelorette, it needed to be someone who was a cast member on The Bachelor first. The problem is, they cast the Bachelor and Bachelorette usually from the final three contestants from the previous show (Juan Pablo was the exception to the rule and why they will NEVER BREAK THAT RULE AGAIN). So to get a black Bachelorette, they needed a Bachelor who would bring a black contestant all the way to the final three. And I think our producers took one look at Luke and made the decision that he was not the cowboy for the job.
Out goes Luke, in comes Nick. Nick is smart, Nick is wily, Nick knows how the reality sausage gets made, and Nick is, after three seasons on this show, friends with these producers. The producers load up his cast with more women of color than has ever been on the show before, including one lovely, intelligent, God-fearing contestant named Rachel. She goes on to receive the First Impression Rose — the first African-American contestant to ever do so — and then makes it all the way to the final three. Am I saying that it wasn’t Nick’s decision to give her that rose? Am I saying that it wasn’t Nick’s decision to bring her to the final three? No, not entirely. But I do think there were some behind the scenes calculations to make sure that Rachel got to where she needed to be to ensure the producers had a candidate — the PERFECT candidate, in fact — to be their first black Bachelorette, and that Nick Viall was the only person the producers could truly count on to make that happen.
And that’s how we end up with Rachel Lindsay, Dallas attorney and way too good for this show, packing up her dog and heading to California to date a diverse collection of meatheads this season. Yay for us, the American dream lives.
MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Because I just literally spent 1,000 words rambling about a Bachelor conspiracy (either I need more box wine or it might be time for someone do a mental health hold on me), I’m going to skip over the part where Rachel plays basketball and drives around in a Tesla and talks to her former Bachelor contestants about being the Bachelorette (STOP CRYING, RAVEN, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU), and just skip to the part where we meet the men who warrant the “Hey, Pay Attention to These Guys Because They Are Either Going to Be in the Final Four or Eliminated Immediately After They Pull Some Crazy Shit Within Hours of Meeting Rachel” packages:
Kenny (35, Professional Wrestler, Las Vegas)
Kenny is almost as adorable as his 10-year-old daughter, who, I suspect, will be the defining thing about him this season. I am rooting for Kenny — I like Kenny — Kenny is not going to win this thing.
Jack Stone (32, Attorney, Dallas)
Jack Stone has a ridiculous soap opera face to go along with his ridiculous soap opera name. Is Stone his last name? His middle? His second first name? What is happening here?
Also, his mom died. And I am very sure that’s the last we’ll hear about that.
Alex (28, Information Systems Supervisor, Grosse Pointe, MI)
Alex describes himself as “meathead.” You said it dude, not me.
Mo (26, Project Manager, Pacifica, CA)
I don’t know, he likes Bollywood dancing? He’s doomed.
Lucas (30, “Whaboom,” Santa Monica, CA)
Here’s the thing about Whaboom. The thing about Whaboom is that he wants us to talk about Whaboom. That’s the whole point of Whaboom. And so I do not want to give Whaboom exactly what Whaboom wants, which is why I am not going to talk about Whaboom right now except to say that in my notes I wrote “a bad Jim Carrey character on meth.” Which about sums it up.
Blake E. (31, Aspiring Drummer, Marina del Rey, CA)
Now, I do not know why Blake, who describes himself as a personal trainer in this video package, put down “aspiring drummer” as his occupation on his bio for the site, as “aspiring drummer” is no more a career than “otter enthusiast” is. I do know that Blake spends much more time talking about the size of his penis and the power of his libido than someone who is comfortable with either of those things would ever do.
Diggy (31, Senior Inventory Analyst, Chicago)
I like Diggy. He has lots of shoes.
Josiah (28, Prosecutor, Ft. Lauderdale)
Josiah wins the prize if the prize is “tragic backstories.” When he was seven, Josiah’s older brother hung himself after being bullied for being overweight, and Josiah was the one to find his body. Later, Josiah began committing crimes, and was arrested for burglary at twelve. The judge recognized that Josiah was a smart kid headed down the wrong path and encouraged Josiah to pull it together, and Josiah did and now he’s working in that same State Attorney’s office as a prosecutor. That’s quite a story! It’s just one Coolio song short of being an inspirational motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer as the judge who takes an interest in Young Josiah.
All right, cue up the limos.
Peter (31, Business Owner, Madison, WI)
Peter here seems to think that it’s a good idea to remind Rachel that he is from the same place This Asshole is from. It is not. But he is wearing a sharp blue plaid jacket, so I give him a point for that. But only one.
Josiah (See Above)
Josiah thinks that “beyond a reasonable doubt” he’s the man for her, before saying, “see you later, litigator.” Yay. Law puns.
Bryan (37, Chiropractor, Miami)
Bryan gets out of the limo speaking Spanish and you can almost see the moment Rachel’s knees go weak. He asks if she’s ever dated a Colombian before, and when she admits she has not, he warns her that she’s en problemas.
Kenny (See Above)
Kenny invites Rachel to do the wave, she obliges, we all love Kenny.
Kenny is not going to win this thing.
Rob (30, Law Student, Houston)
I have already forgotten what Rob looks like.
Iggy (30, Consulting Firm CEO, Chicago)
Wait, WAIT. ARE YOU NOT WEARING SOCKS? WITH A SUIT?
Bryce (30, Firefighter, Orlando)
Dear All Men,
Please do not pick us up unless we just got married and you are carrying us over a threshold, you are rescuing us, or we have given you express permission.
Will (28, Sales Manager, Miami)
Will does this whole Steve Urkel thing when he gets out of the limo, making his nickname that much easier for me.
Diggy (See Above)
Diggy promises to teach her how to “diggy” and, you know what, sure, fine, OK. I don’t know what that means, but I like Diggy’s glasses so whatever, he gets a pass.
Kyle (26, Marketing Consultant, Los Angeles)
Kyle presents Rachel with a basket of his Jamaican cheese buns and that is all it would take for me, let’s get married, you feed me Jamaican cheese buns forever, please.
Blake K. (29, U.S. Marine Vet, San Francisco)
Blake introduces himself by noting that his grandparents only dated for a couple of months before getting married and they just celebrated their 65th anniversary, and Rachel manages to not respond by saying, “And?”
Brady (29, Male Model, Miami)
Captain Literal shows up with a block of ice and a sledgehammer which he uses to “break the ice.”
Dean (26, Start-up Recruiter, Venice, CA)
So, Dean is the idiot who met Rachel on the “After the Final Rose” special and opened with the “once I go black, I’ll never go back” line and then all of America hated him. He also looks exactly like a kewpie doll.
Eric (29, Personal Trainer, Los Angeles)
Eric also met Rachel early, and was the one who danced. He is very cute.
DeMario (30, Executive Recruiter, Century City, CA)
DeMario also met Rachel early, and is extremely confident about his chances. He also wants a lion that he would name “Denzel.”
Blake E. (See Above)
Blake, our “aspiring drummer,” arrives with a full marching band, makes a ton of bad drumming puns, manages to not mention the size of his penis once.
Inside the McMansion, the dummies are talking about how hot Rachel is, and Captain Literal notes that she is “smart, too,” which is a nice thing to say! before adding, “you don’t see that combo.”
Fred (27, Executive Assistant, Dallas)
Fred emerges from the limo armed with his third grade yearbook to show Rachel that she was a classmate, albeit five grades ahead of him. She knows. She remembers. She is not impressed.
Jonathan (31, Tickle Monster, New Smyrna Beach, Florida)
So this creep gets out of the limo, instructs Rachel to hold up her hands and close her eyes before grabbing her around the waist and tickling her.
Lee (30, Singer/Songwriter, Nashville)
Hey, guess what this guy does when he gets out of the limo.
Alex (See Above)
This meathead gets out of the limo with a vacuum cleaner, and his whole joke is that he’s “with the clean up crew.”
Milton (31, Hotel Recreation Supervisor, North Bay Village, FL)
Milton’s gimmick is that he takes a selfie with Rachel. That’s it. That’s all he’s got.
Adam (27, Real Estate Agent, Dallas)
Adam is a serial killer. Exhibit A-Z, “Adam Junior”:
Matt (32, Construction Sales Rep, Meriden, CT)
This guy shows up in a penguin suit, mostly to cover up the fact that he’s balding.
WE ALL KNOW WHAT IS UNDER THERE, MATT. YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE, MATT.
Grant (29, Emergency Medicine Physician, New York City)
Grant arrives in an ambulance to make sure everyone understands that he’s a doctor.
Anthony (26, Education Software Manager, Chicago)
Anthony takes a Very Serious approach, telling Rachel that he’s committed to understanding her.
Jamey (32, Sales Account Executive, Santa Monica, CA)
Jamey is not afforded much camera time, but all I need to know about this asshole is when asked on his bio to describe his best friend of the opposite sex, he wrote, “I do not have female friends.” OK, COOL, MIKE PENCE.
Jack Stone (See Above)
Seriously, “Jack Stone” sounds like an off-brand comic book character.
Mo (See Above)
Mo takes her hands and makes a joke about how this will be the last time he has the “upperhand” in their relationship. ARE WE DONE YET?
Jedidiah (35, ER Physician, Augusta, GA)
This weirdo makes some comment about how when “Jacob met Rachel, he wept,” and it’s like, OK, but you know your name is Jedidiah, so what exactly is your point? You’re not going to start crying now are you? PLEASE DON’T FUCKING CRY, YOU STRANGE LITTLE MAN.
Mike (26, Former Professional Basketball Player, Meriden, CT)
Mike comes bearing brownies, with some line about the blacker brownie, the sweeter the dude, and I just have to leave that one alone because I am pretty sure I am not allowed to comment.
Lucas (See Above)
Our final contestant points a megaphone out the limo and begins yelling about how he is Rachel’s future husband and how he has one testicle that is larger than the other. So, yay for that. He finally leaves the limo, revealing the fact that he is wearing a t-shirt with his own caricature, and as he approaches Rachel, he pretends he has no idea who she is. He then offers her a glimpse of his “whaboom.” NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOUR WHABOOM, DUDE. PUT YOUR WHABOOM AWAY.
Whaboom then goes inside and shows his whaboom to the other men. They are not impressed, but they are relieved that Whaboom has simplified the process of identifying the “crazy one.”
So, Rachel comes inside, blah blahs her way through her toast, and Josiah leaps on her for the first one-on-one time to the irritation of the other men. Alone, he tells her his whole “I was a teenage delinquent and now I’m a lawyer just like you” story, and she seems remarkably unmoved. “Cool,” she says, scanning the patio for that hot Colombian.
The Never Go Back Kewpie Doll wheels out a box of sand so as to make sand castles with her, while admitting he’s never made a sand castle before. So … why … what … what are we doing here, exactly?
Inside, the men are just as freaked out by Adam, Junior as I am, Kenny comparing it to Annabelle and threatening to set it on fire himself. DO IT, KENNY. DO IT. DO IT RIGHT NOW.
The Penguin asks Rachel whom she prefers, Michael Jackson or Prince, and she chooses Michael Jackson, so we’re done here forever, goodbye.
OH FINE. But I have to say I respect Rachel just a little bit less now.
When Rachel chats with her old classmate Fred, she tells him that she remembers him as a bad kid, and he, fruitlessly, tries to argue that he might have changed a little since he was eight.
Then the Colombian takes Rachel off to some doorway where he shoves his lengua down her garganta, and Rachel is all, “sí, por favor.”
Chris Harrison delivers the First Impression Rose and the men begin to either panic or loudly brag about how they are going to be the recipient. One guy — one of the white guys with dark hair and with some facial scruff, I can’t keep them all straight BECAUSE HOW COULD I?
Anyway, one of those dudes starts bitching that the guy in the penguin suit got to talk to Rachel, but he, the guy in the $2,000 suit hasn’t had a chance to talk to her yet, and I think we might just have a stealth Arrested Development fan on our hands. TOO BAD I HAVE NO IDEA WHICH ONE OF THESE BEARDED YAHOOS IT IS.
With time quickly running out, the men start circling her like idiot vultures; that poor Mo fellow gets too drunk to stand up properly; Vacuum Cleaner Dude continues to suck; Whaboom whabooms; everyone hates Whaboom.
Rachel also visits with Kenny, learning about his daughter, and his wrestling name: Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King. GOODNESS.
I love Kenny. Kenny is not going to win this thing.
Finally, Rachel retrieves the First Impression Rose, which she gives to El Lengua del Amor to everyone’s — but mostly Josiah’s — shock and surprise.
And with that, it’s time to line these clowns up and shed some dumb weight.
Rose #1: Blue Plaid Jacket
Rose #2: Steve Urkel
Rose #3: JACK STONE!
Rose #4: Mike Pence
Rose #5: No Socks
Rose #6: Eric the Good Dancer
Rose #7: DeMario
Rose #8: Tickle Monster
Rose #9: Fireman Brice
Rose #10: Vacuum Dude
Rose #11: Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King
Rose #12: Kewpie
Rose #13: The Penguin
Rose #14: Mr. Serious
Rose #15: Captain Literal
Rose #16: Josiah, Esq.
Rose #17: That Singing Guy
Rose #18: Diggy
Rose #19: Old Classmate
Rose #20: Doll Daddy/Serial Killer
Rose #21: Drummer Boy
Rose #22: Whaboom
Because of course she chooses Whaboom. Of course she does. Anyone who thought she wasn’t going to choose Whaboom is someone who has never seen this show before. The Producers made her choose Whaboom, Whaboom will whaboom for one, maybe two more whabooms and then she will eventually send Whaboom to whaboom where he can whaboom in obscurity forever.
Which means we must say goodbye to Blake K. who was very handsome and seemed very nice. And to Grant the Emergency Medicine Physician who can not believe he lost to a whaboom. And goodbye to Jedidiah and his weird ass eyebrows and Biblical references. And goodbye to Kyle with the Jamaican buns because Rachel is a damn fool. And goodbye to Michael with the brownies — OH, wait, maybe it was a food thing? Like, she’s eliminating the guys who bring her delicious treats because she doesn’t want to put on weight while she’s being filmed? Well, that’s just ridiculous, lady. YOU ALWAYS KEEP THE GUYS WHO GIVE YOU FOOD. Anyway, goodbye to Mo who needs to learn how to drink for 17 straight hours without falling down like the rest of the cast. And goodbye to Houston Law Student whose name I can’t be bothered to remember. And goodbye to Milton who is PRETTY SURE HE WAS THE BEST DRESSED HERE, and BOY IS HE ANGRY HE SPENT ALL THAT MONEY ON A TV WARDROBE just TO BE SENT HOME and DID SHE EVEN SEE HIS PINK TIE? COME ON.
Sorry, Milton, you and your pink tie disgust her.
SAY GOODBYE TO THESE:
Below are the men still in the running for Rachel’s affections.
The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Mondays at 7/8 p.m. and will SET THAT THING ON FIRE, I SWEAR TO GOD.