‘The Bachelorette’: Muddying the Waters

The Bachelorette
June 14, 2021

You know how this goes: the first week of dates will be two group dates, one one-on-one date, zero memory of anyone’s names because MY GOD THERE ARE 23 MEN HERE. The first group date card is delivered: “Bahstan; Ginger; Ball Pit; Q; The New Virgin; James-in-a-Box; First Kiss; Someone Named Thomas; Cat Man; and Swizz: I’m looking for a great love. Love, Katie.” And one of the men, God only knows which one, jokingly curses them with a “terrible time,” but who is he kidding — he at least still has a chance at the one-on-one date, unlike these suckers.

After the obligatory EVERYONE RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TOWARDS THE BACHELORETTE race, the men are brought to a theater where they are greeted by a bed, a bunch of sex toys, and one Heather McDonald I had never heard of before last week when she appeared on both this episode of The Bachelorette AND the Hulu doc about Erika and Tom Giradi and you know what? You should really send your agent some flowers, Heather McDonald.

Heather explains to the men that Katie’s whole brand is “Sex Positivity” and that they knew that coming in. So today, they are going to seek out “The Greatest Lover of All Time.”

The New Virgin:

First, the men will undergo a trivia challenge with questions like, “What’s a woman’s largest sex organ?” and “How many erogenous zones does the body have?” and “What article of clothing increases a woman’s chance of having an orgasm?” (The answer is “socks,” y’all, and First Kiss is the only one to get it right. Victoria’s Secret is currently in the middle of rebranding itself, and they should TOTALLY LOOK INTO A MARKETING CAMPAIGN TO MAKE LADY SOCKS SEXY. It would be a win-win for everyone.)

The men are then asked their “go-to sex position” and when the last time they had sex was, and The New Virgin, bless him, answers both with a “?” because what else can he do, other than write in capital letters “I AM A 31-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO HAS NEVER HAD SEX.”

The next part of the challenge is performative, in that the men, in front of an audience (the men who are not on the date) must demonstrate how they are the greatest lover of all time. In an interview, The New Virgin gets choked up over how he’s terrified to tell Katie that he’s a virgin, and this certainly isn’t how he imagined it would happen, but that he doesn’t take this lightly and won’t compromise his values. Which begs the question as to what he’s doing on The Bachelorette, but OK.

Cat Man is the first presenter, and he performs an original song that includes lines like, “the length of my affection is less important than the girth” and “the greatest lover here, let’s not let the question linger, remember I play piano, I’m amazing with my fingers,” which looks stupid written out, but plays well enough that he earns a standing ovation.

Bahstan demonstrates how he’s The Greatest Lover of All Time by telling Katie that he took out the trash and cleaned the litter box before ripping off his tear-away pants. “HIGHLY EFFECTIVE,” says the woman who has been married for 22 years.

Ball Pit puts on a very adult puppet show; Ginger plays with the blindfold and handcuffs; Q makes innuendo about a carrot; James-in-a-Box makes a dick-in-a-box joke because obviously. He’s not just going to leave that there, come on.

Swizz then comes to the stage and gives a tedious and never-ending “sex education lecture” which is exactly as sexy and entertaining as the one you received in middle school.

The New Virgin finally takes the stage where he reads a letter to “His Future Wife,” explaining that he’s saving himself for her as a way to honor her and their future children (though, I promise the kids don’t care one way or another, and if anything, would really rather not hear anything about it, thanks) and that he’d wait another 31 years to make her feel loved and secure, which is why he would be the greatest lover for her.

Katie finds his letter sincere and moving and appreciates that still he came to the show even knowing who she was. And to that end, he is declared (of these 10 men) “The Greatest Lover of All Time.”

At the cocktail party that night, Katie spends some time making out with Cat Man, this time sans whiskers and furry costume.

She also chats with The New Virgin about the “energy” he has stored up (gross); and with Ball Pit about his puppet show, which she calls “hilarious.”

Next, she chats with Swizz who tries to be all smooth with her. He asks her about her last relationship, but when she reciprocates and asks him about his last relationship, he deflects, saying that he “can’t get into all that.”

Someone Named Thomas interrupts while wearing THE SALMON JACKET?? Who gave him that?

He gives her some bullshit lines about how the way she carries herself, and how the person she is is exactly what he’s looking for in a partner. He goes on to say that you just know when you feel something, that it’s magic, and she falls for it, hook, line and sinker, and is soon making out with Return of the Salmon Jacket, exposing her Spanx in the process.

With that, Katie rejoins the men and thanks Cat Man, and The New Virgin in particular, but ultimately offers the rose to Return of the Salmon Jacket, which clearly pisses Swizz off. He literally says, “I AM PISSED.” So, there you go.

Back at the hotel, the next date card arrives: “Cousin Greg, Let’s let our love run wild.” Cousin Greg — who received the first impression rose — is shocked to receive the first one-on-one date, but is pleased that this seems to validate how he’s feeling about Katie. The other men glower.

The next day, Katie arrives in full Bella from Twilight cosplay to pick Cousin Greg up for their date …

And don’t ask me how I know this because I HAVE NO IDEA, but this is clearly a nod to her teenage crush on Robert Pattinson. My brain has turned into sludge. This pandemic has turned my brain into complete sludge.

Katie drives Cousin Greg to a river where they are going to enjoy nature by setting up a tent they’re not actually going to use, unsuccessfully do some fishing, and pretend to use a bucket as a toilet. Katie eventually explains that this is a “special” date as it reminds her of her late father because he used to take her camping and do outdoorsy things with her. Katie becomes choked up and tells Cousin Greg that it’s difficult to talk about her father who died eight years earlier, but Cousin Greg assures her that it’s fine to open up to him, he wants to learn about her, he wants her to feel like she can trust him. It’s all very nice and it is also very boring. So boring. So very boring.

That night at dinner, Katie reiterates that she struggles opening up about her father, and she tries to hide her sadness, but that it was also really nice to relive some good childhood memories with him.

Cousin Greg again tells Katie that he wants her to feel like it’s OK to be vulnerable with him, that he wants to be a rock for her, and then he reveals that he, too, lost his father two years ago to cancer. As he talks about his father’s illness and death and how disappointing it is that his father won’t meet the woman he falls in love with, Cousin Greg begins to cry, before catching himself and adding that he wants her to know that he’s there for her.

With that, they return to the Twilight truck, where Katie offers him the date rose, he asks if he can kiss her, and they enjoy some Obligatory Date Fireworks.

At the hotel, the final date card arrives: “Round SpongeBob; Accent Guy; Captain Underpants; The Math Major; Aggro; Oh Canada; Cold Fish; and Lars and the Real Girl: Let’s get down and dirty.” This means that Dad Joke is one of a couple of guys who doesn’t get a date this week and he has a big ol’ sad about it.

The next morning, Tayshia and Kaitlyn arrive in the men’s wing of the hotel dressed … well, dressed like this:

And Tayshia is fine, Katie, she looks fine, but KAITLYN. WHAT IN THE NAME OF LEDUC CANADA IS THIS OUTFIT, KAITLYN? Where do I EVEN BEGIN? The big dumb not-a-cowboy-hat? The COW PRINT cowboy boots? Or the insanely unflattering stonewashed denim onesie with the ruched waist and crotch zipper? 


Anyway. It’s early in the morning and Tayshia and Kaitlyn storm into the men’s wing where they begin banging on pots and pans to drive them out of their beds and out into the cold desert dressed in what they slept in.

There, the women tell the men that they will be competing in the “Big Buckle Brawl,” a mud wrestling competition where the prize is a belt buckle. The men are then given cowboy costumes to put on, and, at least based on these behind-the-scenes photos, taught how to hug dance wrestle.

Leaving all the homoeroticism aside for two seconds, WHY DO ALL THESE DUMMIES TUCK THEIR JEANS INTO THEIR BOOTS? Aggro appears to be the only one of these guys who wears his boots correctly, and he’s from California.

As for you, Cold Fish, Lyle is disappointed in you. You of all people should know better.

Right, so the men pair off in the mud ring: first is Cold Fish, and Oh Canada, who wins. Next is Accent Guy and Captain Underpants, and Accent Guy, the professional football player, he manages to pull off the win. The Math Major and Round SpongeBob go next, and manage to end in a draw, despite Round SpongeBob being genuinely concerned he was going to be murdered.

And all of this is a long way to go to say that the producers designed it this way so that Aggro and Lars and the Real Girl — who you might remember had a weird moment on the first night when Aggro informed Lars that he didn’t like him — are forced to wrestle one another. After a very aggressive match that everyone immediately recognizes as being “personal” and that there is “something going on between them,” Aggro is declared the winner.

Gayest show on television, folks:

Aggro eventually wins the big belt buckle which is good, because based on the way these men wear their cowboy boots, he’s the only one who will have any idea how to put it on.

Aggro also wins a little pre-cocktail party private time with Katie, where he explains that he and Lars and the Real Girl know each other from San Diego, but that they are most definitely not friends. Lars’ social media presence irritates Aggro, and he’s pretty sure he’s just on the show to become famous.

In other words:

Katie is displeased.

That night at the cocktail party, Katie greets the men saying that she enjoyed getting to know each of them, but that some things were revealed to her, too, and with that, she asks to speak to Lars and the Real Girl.

Alone with our sex doll aficionado, Katie explains that Aggro told her they knew each other from San Deigo and that he had some troubling things to say about him, namely that he called Lars “malicious” and “unkind.”


Lars feigns ignorance but also doesn’t have a defense, and Katie is like, “WELP, ONE OF YOU ASSHOLES IS LYING TO ME AND SINCE YOU SEEM TO HAVE YOUR THUMB STUCK UP YOUR ASS, I’LL GIVE YOU EXACTLY ONE GUESS AS TO WHO I THINK IT IS,” before leaving the room to think about things.

Lars and the Real Girl confronts Aggro, but considering Aggro kicked his ass in a pile of mud just hours earlier, Lars wisely doesn’t escalate things. Soon, Katie is back and asking, again, to speak to Lars.

There, she tells him that she doesn’t trust him and it’s WAY TOO EARLY to feel that way, so would he please get the fuck out. Now.

After sending Lars and his Real Girl off in the Get the Fuck Out Now van, Katie returns to the other men, explains what she did, and then excuses herself for a little Clear My Fucking Head time.

However, she’s not alone for five minutes before Accent Guy seeks her out to “check on her.” There, he remarks on how strong she is, before going into a soliloquy about being raised by a single mother himself, and how she never allowed him to see how much they were actually struggling. They were poor, but his mother never showed it. Katie, who also grew up with less, identifies with this, telling a story about how her father made a fake fireplace out of construction paper so they wouldn’t worry about Santa skipping them on Christmas, and soon they are kissing, and ultimately she gives him the date rose.

Does she talk to some of the other guys? Yes. Does it matter? Absolutely not.

Finally, it’s Rose Ceremony Cocktail Party time, and when Katie marches into the party, she explains to the men that she had to send Lars and his disingenuous ass home because he wasn’t really there for her — AND SHE WILL ABSOLUTELY DO IT AGAIN IF SHE HAS TO. She urges the men to be honest with her and to tell her if there are other things she needs to know because this is her life they are dealing with and she deserves the truth.

With that, she asks to speak to Dad Joke first, where she assures him that the reason he didn’t receive a date this week is that she was confident in their connection. She apologizes for not giving him that validation, but he’s just relieved that she seems to like him.

Meanwhile, the other men are discussing the Lars elimination, and you can literally see a dim light bulb turn on over Swizz’s head. “What if Lars isn’t the only man who was not here for the right reasons?” he asks hypothetically. “What if there are three more, or five more?”

Katie also visits with Someone Named Thomas Return of the Salmon Jacket who she seems a bit giddy over, telling him that the moment they met, she knew there was something special about him and saying in an interview that she “can’t speak” when she talks about Return of the Salmon Jacket. Katie adds that she’s “happy and floating” because she has such a great group of guys to choose from.

Swizz is the next man Katie chats with, and, enacting his grand scheme to try to get other men sent home early, he warns her to focus on the men who are really there for her. He adds ominously that he doesn’t know if all the men are being 100% transparent.

Katie wants details, she wants NAMES, but Swizz Shit-Stirrer is like, “Well, I don’t have those, I just think there are men who aren’t here for the right reasons.” And then he urges her to “stay vigilant.”

Katie, flustered, doesn’t know WHO to believe now, especially since Shit-Stirrer over here isn’t really giving her anything but vague suggestions that some people might not be on the up-and-up. She returns to the men, and angrily tells all of them that a bomb was just dropped on her that there are MULTIPLE people here for the wrong reasons. She doesn’t know HOW CLEAR SHE HAS TO BE that she is NOT HERE TO WASTE HER TIME. If they don’t want an engagement, THEY CAN GET RIGHT THE FUCK OUT.

She then asks to speak to Aggro who looks shell-shocked and not a little worried that she might be talking about him and he’s about to share a flight back to San Diego with his old buddy Lars. Instead, it seems, Katie trusts Aggro, and she just wants to know if there’s anything more she should know about what is going on in the “house” with the other men. But Aggro is like, “Honestly, I don’t know anything, and I worry you’re being manipulated.”

Inside, the other men are shellshocked and wondering where this is all coming from, and Shit-Stirrer is like, “LOL, it was me. I told her that some of y’all aren’t here for the right reasons. But it’s not my place to says who that is; that person should come forward on his own.” The other men are like, “EXCEPT WE DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.”

Aggro returns and explains that Katie has been told that multiple men among them are not here for the right reasons and OH MY GOD IF I HAVE TO TYPE “RIGHT REASONS” ONE MORE TIME … and Shit-Stirrer admits that it was him, he was the one who told Katie that, adding that he didn’t want to give her names because he doesn’t know specifics.

Aggro is IRRITATED at this, and is like, “Well, that’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard — she’s out there crying. You can’t speculate if it’s going to cause damage!”

The men are VERY VERY UNHAPPY with Shit-Stirrer; Ball Pit arguing that Shit-Stirrer fucked it up for all of them and her because he’s a “weak, spineless man.”


The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Katie:

The Men Who Are Going to Soon Be Dumped by Katie:

The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Mondays at 7/8 p.m.

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