January 11, 2021
Welcome to the first week of dates. After some perfunctory shower exposition from Matt James, Chris Harrison informs the women that there will be three dates this week: two 1-on-1 dates, and one group date, and not everyone will be going as there are approximately 1,000 women on this show right now.
Chris Harrison delivers the first date card: “First One Out of the Limo: Love is an adventure. Matt James.” I guess the cryptic date card writer is in quarantine?
In any event, First One is obviously thrilled and laughs that she’s wearing her “worst outfit” and needs to change. GIRL, NO. KEEP YOUR WORST CLOTHES ON. TRUST ME.
Because when Matt James arrives, he does so on with ATVs for a day of off-roading. And as any Southern girl can tell you, off-roading = mud. Sure enough, they drive around the resort grounds, but mostly in strategically place mud pits. Eventually, Matt James encourages First One to ride with him on his ATV.
It does not end well.
And hahaha, they flipped the ATV, except as any Southern girl can also tell you, THAT SHIT IS DANGEROUS. THAT SHIT CAN KILL YOU. I flipped an ATV when I was in the fifth grade and had it not happened over a ditch that allowed me to fall safely away from the vehicle, I would have broken my neck. Shit ain’t funny.
But Matt James is all, “HAHA, I’M VERY SORRY MRS. FIRST ONE OUT OF THE LIMO, I PROMISE TO NOT TRY TO KILL YOUR DAUGHTER ANYMORE, HA!”
The pair then arrive at a rustic-looking hot tub, next to which an ax and single log have been left for Matt James to chop, shirtless, obviously. And soon they are in the hot tub, drinking champagne and laughing about their near-death experience. OK, but it’s not all that funny: some 300 to 400 Americans die in ATV accidents every year AND MAYBE I’M STILL TRAUMATIZED BY MY EMBARRASSING CRASH THIRTY (~cough~) YEARS AGO, BUT Y’ALL HAVE TO BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.
That night at dinner, First One shares her backstory with Matt James: her mother had her at 13 (GOOD LORD! Not judging but GOOD GOD!) and First One was her Mom’s whole world for most of her life. But now, her mother is engaged and pregnant and First One feels less like a part of her life these days.
Quick math: First One is 24, which means her mother is 37 — and that means, and I am not even joking — First One’s MOTHER was born the year I flipped the ATV.
Excuse me, I have to go die of old age now.
The couple bond over being raised by single mothers and wanting more of a relationship with their fathers, and how they were drawn to friends with big families. Matt James notes that he is not usually this vulnerable …
… but that he’s trying to do things differently. With that, he offers her the date rose, and then they make out while watching some fireworks … fireworks that can be seen and heard back at the hotel.
Also happening back at the hotel: Queen Asshole is going FULL ASSHOLE. She’s pissed off that she is not on the 1-on-1 date (and probably still pissed off she didn’t receive the First Impression Rose) AND SHE IS NOT GOING TO PRETEND TO BE HAPPY FOR FIRST ONE OR ANYONE ELSE SHE DEEMS UNDESERVING OF MATT JAMES’ ATTENTION. AND JUST FOR THE RECORD, SHE’S THE ONLY ONE DESERVING OF MATT JAMES’ ATTENTION. SHE’S JUST BEING REAL, AND APPARENTLY IS THE ONLY ONE ON THIS SHOW BEING REAL. THIS IS NOT RUPAUL’S BEST FRIENDS RACE.
The other women:
The group date card arrives and Queen Asshole is like, “MY GODDAMNED NAME BETTER NOT BE ON IT, GODDAMN IT.”
“The Model; Queen’s Gambit; First Impression Rose; Tracee Ellis Ross; Schweddy Balls; Groany’s Sister; Punster; Someone Named Jessenia; Sexy Fish; College Student; Naked Chick; Dildo Girl; Pizza Delivery; Pageant Reina; Mrs. James; Veronica from Riverdale; and, yes, obviously, Queen Asshole: I’m looking for the one.”
Queen Asshole takes the news that she will not be receiving the last 1-on-1 date about as well as you might expect. After snapping at the other women to not be “negative” on the date, when the fireworks go off, and the other women become wistful, sighing that they wish they were on First One’s date, Queen Asshole is all, “NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FELT WHEN YOU ALL WERE SO RUDE TO ME THIS MORNING.”
The other women:
One of the women, Mrs. James, tells Queen Asshole to stop being so negative, and she’s all, “YOU’RE THE ONE BEING NEGATIVE, YOU WERE JUST SAYING THE SAME THING AS MEEEEEE…” The Model chides Queen Asshole for speaking for everyone, and she’s like, “THANK YOU, THAT’S HOW I FEEL. LIKE, I’M THE ONLY AUTHENTIC AND REAL ONE HERE AND YOU ARE ALL INSULTING MY CHARACTER.”
Someone Named Marylynn is like, “Again, you can’t say that everyone is being rude to you …”
And Queen Asshole is like, “ALRIGHT, I’LL SINGLE YOU OUT THEN. LIKE, YOU SAID TO ME, ‘I WANT TO PICK YOUR BRAIN AND UNDERSTAND YOU AND FIGURE OUT WHY YOU ACT THE WAY YOU DO.'”
Which, you know, is fair.
Someone Named Marylynn protests that she just said she wanted to get to know Queen Asshole better and points out that they have to live and room together. So Queen Asshole, she gathers her things, drags them out to a lobby couch, and explains that she’ll sleep there until Someone Named Marylynn is eliminated because she is “LITERALLY A QUEEN.”
And this, my dear readers, is why the producers forced Matt James to keep Queen Asshole around.
The next day, Matt James meets the women for the group date in a tuxedo, and before we go any further, something that is driving me CRAZY: both Matt James and the women talk about how there are 18 women on this group date, but there aren’t! There are only 17! I went back and rewatched the date card being read and counted, and look! Here’s a picture of all the women in their (SPOILER FOR THE NEXT PARAGRAPH) wedding dresses:
There are only 17! See, I’ll count for you:
Where is the 18th woman? Are they counting Chris Harrison?
Right, so, the SEVENTEEN women show up for the biggest group date in Bachelor history, and they are met by Matt James and Franco, the photographer who took those fake wedding photos of Tayshia and One of the Zac’s and my absolute favorite character from this most recent season of The Bachelorette. Matt James explains that the women are going to put on wedding dresses and take fake wedding photos with him because after 25 seasons, the producers are out of ideas.
So the women run to the wedding dress tent and choose what they’re going to wear before returning to the little arbor they’ve set up for the fake wedding photographs. There Matt James calls the women up, one-by-one for their photoshoot, beginning with Someone Named Jessesina, then Queen’s Gambit, Pickup Truck, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Pageant Reina, when Queen Asshole decides to interrupt. Franco tries to call up Mrs. James, but Queen Asshole is like, “NO. ME. NOW.”
And Franco allows her to get away with it, taking pictures of Queen Asshole and Matt James, of Matt James removing her garter, and the gross makeout session she forces on him while the other women look on in horror.
This is when Chris Harrison arrives and announces that the photo shoot portion of the date is over, and the paintball, capture the
flag heart portion of the date is about to begin. The women are divided into teams, and unfortunately not given paintball guns, but told instead that there is paint in some bouquets? and cakes? and purses? And that the rules are there are no rules. Losing team goes home; winning team goes to the cocktail party.
And in the end, the “Red Team” which includes Queen Asshole, Queen’s Gambit, Someone Named Jessesnia, Mrs. James, Naked Chick, Pizza Delivery, Punster, and Pickup Truck win, but Pageant Reina is named MVP of the “Gold Team” and allowed to attend the cocktail party with them.
That night, the losing team returns to the hotel humiliated and filthy, while the rest are allowed to shower and go hang out with Matt James in clean cocktail dresses. There, Matt James chats with Punster, who talks about how she’s looking for a man of faith, and how her parents’ marriage is successful because they keep God first. They discuss how they are sometimes hesitant to identify themselves as Christians because of people’s preconceived notions.
And let me just pause here for a second and note that apparently, Matt James opening the season with a prayer created a small controversy, with some viewers being offended that he was pushing his religion on everyone? What? Look, I am a hardcore agnostic (and probably if I actually admitted it to myself really an atheist), but if I were a contestant on this show and the Bachelor opened with a prayer to “Our Heavenly Father” I would honestly be grateful because I would know what his priorities and expectations were from the start — and I would be able to make a clear-eyed decision about whether or not it would be a deal-breaker for me. This show does a terrible job of exploring people’s stances on real world issues, like religion and politics, and then everyone is SO SHOCKED when the couples break up after a few months of being together in the real world. If you want to make it in the real world, you have to talk about real world shit! Anyway. At the very least, no one can claim surprise at Matt James’ focus on his faith, and by opening with that prayer, he invited the women to open up to him about their own faith and I think that is inherently a good thing.
But also thanks to this conversation, I’m changing Punster’s name to reflect this aspect of her personality, as “Punster” doesn’t really have anything to do with her.
Matt James also has an enlightening conversation with Someone Named Jessesina about how she’s been cheated on a bunch of times. I’ll be changing her nickname, too.
The final conversation we are privy to is with Queen Asshole, who opens up about … not wanting to look fat?
Yep. On brand.
She also shoves her tongue down his throat and then talks about how “DEEP” she feels for him. Alright.
But the thing is, the date rose goes to
Punster God First, so.
At the hotel, the final date card arrives:
“Veronica Corningstone: The sky is the limit for us.”
Our San Diego correspondent is very excited … until she arrives at the date and realizes he intends to put her in an ancient bi-plane and try to kill them both. GIRL: DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE DID ON THE FIRST 1-ON-1 DATE?
After flying around the property for a while, Matt James brings her to a picnic in the woods next to a little campfire. There, Matt James, clearly prepped by the producers and clearly knowing at the very least that there’s something going on with her family and clearly tasked with pulling what that is out of her, asks her how it’s been not being in constant contact with parents, and Veronica Corningstone is like, “Ummm … it’s hard.”
He then takes a different tack, and talks about “emergency contacts” and who that person would be for her, but instead, she veers the conversation to how crazy 2020 has been. I KNOW, RIGHT?
So, Matt James tries one more time, noting that she mentioned her mother was supportive of her being on the show … what about her father? But Veronica Corningstone dodges yet again and burbles about how close she is to her dad, before sort of shutting down. And so, Matt James, defeated, walks her away from the picnic site, leaving that campfire still going.
And I’m about to defend Veronica Corningstone for a second before attacking her a minute longer so buckle up, because this is a rollercoaster.
Alright, and not to go on a whole rant about this, but The Bachelorette producers did the same thing to poor Sukhasana, forcing Tayshia to push him and push him and push him to “open up” until he had admitted to both an eating disorder and multiple suicide attempts and it still wasn’t enough for her, so maybe … stop it? Stop doing this? I hate it? Allow people to tell you what they want to tell you when they want to tell you it and maybe it’s not on camera? Maybe these people’s personal tragedies are not fodder for your “story?”
That night at dinner, Veronica Corningstone decides (clearly after a conversation with producers about being more “vulnerable”) …
… that it’s time to talk about her family. She explains to Matt James that she’s a very private person, which explains why she’s a broadcast journalist on a network reality game show contestant, and it’s hard to open up sometimes.
Veronica Corningstone then reveals that her father was diagnosed with ALS when she was in college and that there is no cure. She recently quit her job and moved back home to be one of his caretakers and do things like help him in and out of bed, feed him, brush his hair. And it’s hard! And it sucks! And it’s sad! But also, why is she here on a TV show during a ferociously deadly pandemic instead of at home with her vulnerable…
… parent? I don’t mean to judge, but I guess I am.
Matt James, pleased that she finally confessed the thing that he was ordered to drag of her, offers her the date rose and promises to pray for her dad.
And then they make out in a hot tub. Amen.
It’s finally Rose Ceremony Cocktail Party Time. First Impression Rose takes him aside for the first chat, explaining that she’s a little nervous since she didn’t go on a date that week. Once with him, First Impression Rose explains that being in a group setting can be difficult, so she wants to set up a signal so that he knows from across the room that she’s thinking about him, and they settle on an earlobe grab. She seems very sweet and has no business being on this Hell show.
Matt James also talks to a bunch of other women, who cares. He then takes Someone Named Marylynn aside, who confesses that she has been nervous and worried, since she, like First Impression Rose, was also stuck at the hotel all week. Matt James assures her that he thought they had a great conversation that first night and that he has been thinking about her. In fact, he brought her an orchid, the flower she mentioned was her favorite. It’s a very nice gesture, and Someone Named Marylynn is clearly surprised that he remembered her name, much less her favorite flower.
When she joins the rest of the women, they are all impressed and happy for her. All, except for Queen Asshole, who declares Someone Named Marylynn is “TOXIC,” and announces that she is “GOING TO TELL MATT JAMES ALL ABOUT HER TOXIC ENERGY. IT’S ABOUT ME BEING AN EMPATH AND IF I’M AROUND THAT ENERGY, IT CAN SOMETIMES TAKE OVER.”
And I need you to know that while this is happening, Queen Asshole is wearing … this:
Ok, you’re thinking, it’s not that bad. But what if I zoomed out for you so that you could clearly see the ruching and strings at the “hem’:
Fine, you say, it’s not in the best of taste. That’s not a crime and I’ve seen worse on this show, you tell me. OK, but what if I add that she wears it with a bra with black bra straps which she doesn’t bother trying to keep in place:
A bra that is not covered in the back by the dress AT ALL, LIKE ZERO COVERAGE:
WHAT SAY YOU NOW?
Girl. Someone needs to give you a royal lesson foundation garments.
Right, so, Queen Asshole takes Matt James aside and tells him that Toxic Orchid is actually really manipulative and uses tears as a weapon and she had to move out of their room and sleep on a lobby couch because she’s so mean to Queen Asshole.
Matt James is completely without guile and is like “Really? She’s a bully? Well, OK, woman who shoved her way ahead of other people on both the first night and on the group date, I can’t imagine that you are actually the selfish and manipulative one and that what you are telling me might actually not be true, I’ll go confront her!”
Matt James takes Toxic Orchid aside and tells her that Queen Asshole has alleged she was bullying her. Toxic Orchid is like, “Look, that’s crazy and it’s her word against mine, but all I can say is that I never bullied her. Queen Asshole is jeopardizing my time with you, what do you need me to say to make you believe me?” And Matt James is like, “So who’s telling the truth, the lunatic who doesn’t understand how bras work or the nice, soft-spoken woman who gets along with everyone? This is an impossible mystery that I’ll never be able to figure out!”
Meanwhile, Queen Asshole proudly tells the other women that she informed Matt James about “HOW AWFUL TOXIC ORCHID WAS TO ME, AND HOW STRESSFUL IT HAS BEEN IN THE HOUSE AND EVERYTHING THAT HAS GONE DOWN.”
Toxic Orchid emerges from her conversation with Matt James and asks to speak to Queen Asshole outside, but Queen Asshole is like, “NO. IT’S COLD.” So the other women scatter so they can talk alone. Toxic Orchid tries to sit next to Queen Asshole on the couch, but Queen Asshole gets up and moves to another seat because “I DON’T WANT TO SIT NEXT TO YOU.” Toxic Orchid gently tries to suggest that there is a miscommunication between them and that she’s sorry if she hurt Queen Asshole’s feelings. “I ACCEPT YOUR APOLOGY,” Queen Asshole snaps while Toxic Orchid tries to go on and explain that they are clearly living in two very different realities. “IF IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, WHY DID YOU APOLOGIZE?” Queen Asshole demands. Toxic Orchid sighs that she doesn’t want to fight, but she doesn’t appreciate Queen Asshole telling Matt James that she’s “toxic and manipulative,” to which Queen Asshole replies, “BUT YOU ARE THOSE THINGS.” And then she gets up and runs away because she “CAN’T TAKE THIS RIGHT NOW.”
Meanwhile, the other women are super pissed, yet again, that half of them didn’t get a chance to talk to Matt James because Queen Asshole created some stupid drama to get his attention. But too late! It’s line-up time, dum-dums!
(For those keeping track, the women who did not receive a date this week are: Lady and the Tramp; TEETH; Pickup Truck; Gorgeous; and Someone Named Marylynn.)
Rose #1: Mrs. James
Rose #2: College Student
Rose #3: Gorgeous
Rose #4: Veronica from Riverdale
Rose #5: First Impression Rose
Rose #6: The Model
Rose #7: Someone Named Jessenia
Rose #8: Dildo Girl
Rose #9: Sexy Fish
But before Matt James can hand out the tenth rose, Veronica Corningstone passes out, abruptly ending the episode.
GET HER A COVID TEST, STAT!
Here are the ladies who were eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:
Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Matt and whose nicknames could change as the show goes on, I dunno:
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m.