‘The Bachelorette’: Technical Fouls

The Bachelorette
October 19, 2021



OK, sorry, just a little — A LOT — irritated that there has not been a break from Bachelor-related nonsense in my life since last December. I’m not mad at this Bachelorette, the lovely and intelligent Michelle from Matt James’ season, she’s great. Michelle is a teacher and a former Division I basketball player, and she’s smart and funny and generous and I wish her the very best on her “journey.” I just wish it were happening several months from now. THIS BETTER NOT BECOME THE NORM, ABC.

Michelle begins her season in her classroom, teaching a bunch of fifth-graders how to add mixed fractions before sitting down with them to chat about how she’s going to date 30 men on national television. You know: just a typical teacher/student conversation.

There’s also a lot of talk about how she played basketball, didn’t really date much in high school, and how her parents’ relationship serves as a model for what she’s looking for. It’s nice. Her parents, they’re nice.

Michelle then runs around a park like a lunatic to demonstrate HOW! EXCITED! SHE IS!

Michelle heads to Los Angeles where does the obligatory Bachelorette photo shoot. One of the set-ups has her in an evening gown shooting a basketball into a net made of crystals. Because she can’t just be an athlete, we also have to be reassured she’s a girly athlete.

Michelle then drives to the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California, where her season is set to be quarantined — for the most part. (Not to be too spoilery, but according to Reality Steve, there will be honest-to-goodness hometowns this season, a visit to Minnesota, where Michelle is from, and a trip to Mexico.)

Let’s meet the only men we really need to pay attention to:

Chris S. (28, Commodities Broker, West Hollywood, CA): Chris is originally from New Orleans, but has moved to Los Angeles where he gets his eyebrows threaded and swims in the ocean with floaties because he’s WACKY LIKE THAT! Also, he played basketball.

Joe (28, Real Estate Developer, Minneapolis, MN): Oh hey, Michelle’s from Minnesota, too! I wonder if they know each other! Things to know about Joe: he redevelops houses, he and Michelle graduated high school the same year, and he, like Michelle, is also biracial. Also, he plays basketball.

Clayton (28, Medical Sales Rep, Columbia, MO): Clayton is from Missouri. Clayton has brothers. Clayton’s mom is a teacher. Clayton is the next Bachelor so don’t get too excited for Clayton’s chances on this season.* Also, Clayton played … football.

*And before you get mad at me, it’s hardly a spoiler. Here is Clay-Doh (his “rap” name according to his bio) with the new host of The Bachelor, Jesse Palmer:

Brandon J. (26, Traveling Nurse Recruiter, Portland, OR): Brandon is a “fun guy” who “does it all” and who raised his brother for reasons that are not divulged in this video package. Also, he plays basketball.

Nayte (27, Sales Executive, Austin, TX): Nayte is originally from Canada, but now lives in Texas and has a very cute dog that he drives around with. (Is he … driving to California with the dog? DID HE BRING THE DOG? ohmygod I hope he brought the dog.) He does not mention playing basketball, but according to his bio, he’s 6’8″ so chances are excellent he has some basketball playing in his past.

Pretty much:

There’s a montage of men traveling to California, and then we meet a few more guys:

Chris G. (28, Motivational Speaker, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada): Chris took a lot of planes to get to California from Nova Scotia. There at the resort, he’s ironing his shirt for that night’s opening event, when he’s interrupted by hosts Kaitlyn and Tayshia doing a “surprise inspection” of his room. They declare it spotless.

The next man they surprise is Spencer (25, Financial Crimes Analyst, Cleveland, OH) whose coffee facial scrub the hosts approve of. He receives no hometown video package.

And finally, we have Ryan (30, Environmental Consultant, San Jose, CA) who most certainly does have a hometown video package. In it, he drives a tractor shirtless:

… You know, like you do.

And he then prunes trees while wearing a long-sleeved button-down shirt:

Tell me you’re not actually a farmer without telling me you’re not actually a farmer.

But that’s not the most hilarious thing about our friend Ryan, because when Kaitlyn and Tayshia kick him out of his room to do one of these “surprise inspections,” they find a whole file folder with tips on how to win The Bachelorette, with notes like “cast members to act like” and “how to get a good edit.”


Anyway, Kaitlyn and Tayshia, whose “surprise inspections” were obviously a producers’ ploy so they could show the women “finding” this material on-camera, they are disturbed by the dossier.

But that’s going to have to wait because the limos are arriving:

Nayte (see above) is the first out of the limos and introduces himself: Babatunde Olufemi Robert Nathaneil Olukoya. His friends call him Nayte. He is happy to be there and looks forward to finding out if they each have what the other is looking for. He then closes on a dumb pun: “Better Nayte than never.” I would have completely overlooked the dumb pun had he brought his dog with him. LOOK AT THIS DOG:

Romeo (32, Mathematician, New York City, NY) babbles at Michelle in French, which she does not speak.

Jack (30, Former Army Officer, Philadelphia, PA) shows up in a handsome white dinner jacket and informs Michelle that his full name is “Jack Russell,” like the dog. He then tells her like the dog, he’s “loyal and attentive and playful” but adds that he will “play tug-of-war with [her] heart.” Wait, what? That … that’s a threat, my man, not a reassuring promise.

Clayton (see above) explains that his mother is also a teacher before presenting Michelle with a yardstick, with which he demands that she paddle him. NATIONAL TELEVISION IS NOT THE PLACE WHERE YOU SHOULD BE WORKING OUT YOUR OEDIPAL ISSUES, FRIEND.

Jamie (32, Biotech CEO, San Diego, CA) compliments her dress, noting that it was “just fabric until [she] brought it to life” which is admittedly a good line. According to his bio, he’s never even seen a reality show, so this should be interesting. It’ll either be the death of him, or the very thing that keeps him around.

Chris G. (see above) reads a dumb poem about Michelle being a rose in a field of daisies and OH THAT’S RIGHT, he’s the one who loves spoken word poetry according to his bio. Saints preserve us.

Mollique (36, Academic Administrator, San Diego, CA) says something generic about hoping he’s “her person,” and coming right off of a full season of Bachelor in Paradise, I am thisclose to running for political office on the platform that I will criminalize using the phrase “my person” in any context.

Alec (29, Engineer, North Charleston, SC) calls Michelle “the total package” and is, as his biography suggests, the whitest man on this season.

Will (28, Academic Interventionist, Grand Rapids, MI) babbles at Michelle in Spanish. I do not know if she speaks Spanish or not.

Pardeep (30, Neuroscientist, Brooklyn, NY) tells Michelle that his “dopamine is on fire,” because he’s a neuroscientist. Brag. (That said, Michelle is one of the few Bachelorettes that I trust even knows what dopamine is, so.)

Olu (27, IT Analyst, Newark, NJ) notes that he feels like he’s in the NBA draft, and hopes that he will be her “number one pick.”

Chris S. (see above) arrives in a school bus, wearing shorts and carrying a backpack. He informs Michelle that she’ll have to take an exam of his, and she’ll either get an “A or a D … for diamond.”

Garrett (33, Tech CEO, Salt Lake City, UT) hobbles in with a cane, having broken his foot right before he arrived. Going for the pity rose, I see.

Casey (36, Advertising Creative Director, Miami Beach, FL) opens with playing the hand slap game? WHY? Hitting people is no way to introduce yourself.

Brandon K. (29, Brand Manager, Austin, TX) arrives with Mardi Gras beads, and tells her she is going to have to earn them by showing him … but before he can finish with “your heart,” she hands them back because, yeah, no, absolutely not. Also, dude? You’re from Austin. You don’t get to do Mardi Gras bits.

LT (38, Yoga Guru, Bellevue, WA) is pantless.

Rick (32, Medical Sales Rep, Los Angeles, CA) does that Halloween trick where his head is on a platter.

I am unsure why he is doing this, but he commits to the bit and is wheeled into the room. He remains inside the table for most of the night, God bless.

Ryan (see above) arrives in an ice cream truck, because he knows Michelle likes ice cream. She’s duly impressed.

Rodney (29, Sales Rep, Rancho Cucamonga, CA) shows up wearing a red apple costume. When Michelle asks him what kind of apple he is, he answers “Granny Smith.” Rodney has never seen an apple in his life.

Peter (26, Pizzapreneur, Port St. Joe, FL) comes out of the limo yelling something in Italian and with a fistful of raw pizza dough, which he just hurls into the air without making any effort to catch it, allowing it to fall on the driveway in a wet clump. “Was that supposed to be a pizza?” Michelle asks, confused.

Daniel (26, Firefighter, Austin, TX) emerges from the bushes wearing his firefighter uniform and riding a toy firetruck. He is immediately followed by …

PJ (30, Firefighter, Houston, TX) who comes in on an actual firetruck.


Brandon J. (see above) is pushed in on a bed, and invites Michelle to join him to “show [her] what it would be like to wake up next to him every morning.”

Spencer (see above) comes in dribbling two basketballs and honestly, I’m surprised that this is the first basketball we’ve seen on the Greetings Driveway.

Bryan (31, NFL Player, Chicago, IL) dances with her.

JoMarri (26, Personal Trainer, Fresno, CA) rips the sleeves off of his jacket. It is unclear why.

Edward (27, Wellness Coach, Los Angeles, CA) stole a singing bowl from the set of Nine Perfect Strangers and plays it for her.

Leroy (27, Biomedical Ph.D. Student, Dallas, TX) takes a selfie with Michelle.

Martin (29, Personal Trainer, Miami, FL) does a backflip.

Joe (see above) tells Michelle that he’s from Minnesota, and he can’t wait to go back home with her. Michelle immediately thinks he looks familiar and asks if they’ve met before or if she’s slid into his DMs. Is his last name “Coleman?” she asks as he is walking away. He confirms that it is, and heads inside to join the other men.

When Michelle is joined by Kaitlyn and Tayshia, they are like, “the fuck was that all about?” And Michelle explains that they had been messaging about basketball for a while, but that ultimately he ghosted her. She’s happy to see him, but it’s caught her off-guard.

GIRL. He ghosted you and then shows back up when you’re the Bachelorette?

Michelle goes inside, and as she makes her grand entrance, all I notice is this one rude man who refuses to stand up for her:



Michelle begins with the traditional toast, noting that she is looking for the kind of love her parents have and hopes that she finds it in this room. She urges them to be their authentic selves and be vulnerable, so I guess we’re going to be hearing a lot about vulnerability and authenticity this season. Lord, box wine me strength.

Reality TV Virgin is the first to take her aside and yes, he’s charming again, but I’m still kinda irritated he couldn’t be fucked to stand up for her.

Pizzapreneur presents her with some cannoli and red wine, and Michelle reveals she’s never had a cannoli before. This is incredibly tragic and makes me want to start a charity that sends ethnic foods to the Midwest: cannoli and quesadillas and samosas and xiaolongbao. WE MUST THINK OF THE POOR CHILDREN WHO ONLY KNOW HOT DISH.

Michelle seeks out Ghost and sits him down to ask why the hell he disappeared on her, and he’s like, “George Floyd made me sad?” Michelle is all, “Look. That might have worked with some white girl from California, but I am a woman of color who lives in Minnesota. I had to navigate my students through all of that. I know how the George Floyd crisis made people feel. All you had to do is say, ‘Hey, I’m not in a great place right now,’ and I would have understood.” Ghost claims he’s gone to therapy to work on his issues, and Michelle’s like, “Good for you, but you are clearly a mess and I have a lot of things to think about.”

Michelle chats with Moveable Feast who is finally released from under the table; and she confronts Granny Smith about why he claimed to be the only green apple most people know while wearing a red apple costume.

Granny Smith:

Michelle then has some ice cream with Steal Dossier and they chat about where he grew up and how he coaches Special Olympics. Worryingly, Michelle reveals in an interview that she “really connected” with him and there are sparks there.

Michelle is chatting with the Selfie guy when Tayshia and Kaitlyn interrupt and take her aside to tell her about the Bachelorette file that Steal Dossier had compiled on how to win the show. Michelle is understandably pissed and drags Steal Dossier outside to confront him.

There, she tells him that The Producers Kaitlyn and Tayshia found his file on how to get the most screen time, how to not be the villain, and that he had facts on teachers so that he could pretend to be interested in the profession … Steal Dossier here is like, “Ok, so the thing is, I’m new to this whole Bachelorette thing and I didn’t know what to expect, so my friend’s wife wrote those notes, and I added some things that I looked up about you, like that you like ice cream and it’s really not a big deal at all?”

Michelle asks to see these notes, and Steal Dossier reluctantly agrees. He shows her the file all the while babbling that he just doesn’t know what Kaitlyn and Tayshia are talking about, there’s nothing bad here, and Michelle is just like, “OK stop.”

Steal Dossier leaves the room and while standing in the hallway while he waits for Michelle to read everything, he insists to the crew that there’s nothing disingenuous about any of it. As Michelle reads from the file about phrases that are repeated every season, they cut to Steal Dossier who insists that he’s “here for the right reasons!”

Seriously, give that editor a raise.

Michelle returns to Steal Dossier and informs him that he is just one huge red flag, and she’s not going to let him gaslight her into keeping him around.

Quick note: on my piece about the contestants’ biographies, all I said about Steal Dossier here was “🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩” based on “Ryan is a planner who creates lists for all endeavors he pursues, and that includes his love life” and “Ryan LOVES spreadsheets.” They were telling us, y’all. They were trying to warn us.

Michelle returns to the men and explains that she kicked Steal Dossier’s ass out because he was being inauthentic and she’s not having it. WHAT PART OF HER TOAST DID Y’ALL NOT HEAR?

With that, the cocktail party is back on track and she visits with Nayte, the doggy dad. He discusses being raised by divorced parents, how he never even saw his parents kiss, and how he wants something different for his children. He tells her that it is hard it is for him to be vulnerable, but Michelle assures him that he’s doing a great job, and rewards Doggy Daddy with the First Impression Rose.

As for the rest of these oversized ding dongs, it’s time for them to line up for the first rose ceremony.

Rose #1: Reality TV Virgin
Rose #2: Selfie Stick
Rose #3: Backflip
Rose #4: Double Dribble
Rose #5: Moveable Feast
Rose #6: Clay-doh
Rose #7: Pizzapreneur
Rose #8: Big Fireman
Rose #9: Someone named Mollique
Rose #10: Le Romeo
Rose #11: Little Fireman
Rose #12: The Bed Guy
Rose #13: Swaggy
Rose #14: Schoolboy
Rose #15: Granny Smith
Rose #16: The Whitest Boy You Know
Rose #17: Dr. Brain
Rose #18: Spoken Word Poet
Rose #19: Hand Slappy
Rose #20: NBA Draft
Rose #21: Mr. Pantless
Rose #22: Ghost

So we must say goodbye to the Mardi Gras Beads Guy; Dancing Guy; Singing Bowl Guy; Broken Foot Guy; Jack Russell Guy; and Sleeveless Guy. I’m sure we will be seeing at least one of these people on Bachelor in Paradise next summer, inspiring viewers everywhere to say, “Who?”

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Michelle:

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

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


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