‘The Bachelorette’: Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

The Bachelorette
October 26, 2021

It’s morning in California, and Michelle is excited to go on her first group date, God bless her. As Michelle chats with Tayshia about what’s to come, Kaitlyn delivers the first date card to the men: “Bed Guy; Le Romeo; Moveable Feast; Big Fireman; Swaggy; NBA Draft; Hand Slappy; Little Fireman; Mr. Pantless; Pizzapreneur: Today’s lesson is love. ♥ Michelle.”

While some men yammer in interviews to remind us that Michelle wants an “authentic” man — the secret word of the season, apparently — the guys on the date join Michelle outside some building where she explains that she has three friends with her who want to meet them. Michelle warns that these friends have high standards, and won’t be easy on them.

The men, nervous, head into a classroom where they are greeted by three adorable fifth-graders, who order them to take their seats. Class is in session, and these kids are in charge.

The men, who at first thought this was cute, soon learn that these children are not playing. LOOK AT THESE FACES:


The first lesson is math, and a stunning number of men simply can not multiply. Assessing their whiteboards, 5th grader Riley declares flatly, “WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.” She’s my favorite. I want her to move into the house and just terrorize all of the men all of the time.

During this process, Le Romeo informs us that he studied math at Harvard, and in my notes, I asked how it was possible that he graduated from Harvard but that we didn’t hear about it in his bio.

Dear Reader, we did. In the second sentence:

“For Romeo, math has always come easy. The one equation he has yet to solve though is Romeo + X = True Love, and this Harvard graduate is here to find that missing variable!”

Did you know that you are not allowed to keep your Harvard degree if you do not mention it immediately upon meeting someone? A team comes and finds you and strips you of it within 24 hours.


But somehow Harvard here, he’s not the villain of this exercise, because that’d be our Pizzapreneur who constantly tries to draw attention to himself. When they move on to science, instead of listening to the instructions for their chemistry project, Pizzapreneur keeps whispering at Michelle, trying to get her attention. Which, as anyone who has ever spent time in a fifth-grade classroom could tell you, oh, you’ll get attention from the teacher doing that, just not the kind of attention that you want. And in fact, after several attempts at hissing at Michelle, Riley finally snaps: “LEAVE HER ALONE.”

I’m in love.

One by one, the men’s chemistry experiments go off, but the Pizzapreneur’s never does. As the children inform him that he fails, he wonders if it didn’t work because there was a certain way to put in the ingredients, and the children sass “that was the whole challenge, you have to follow directions.”

The men then have to play musical chairs, and Pizzapreneur, he takes it WAY too seriously, shoving men out of their seats. He loses, by the way, coming in second, but not before thoroughly pissing everyone off with his shenanigans.

They then have a spelling test, and while most of the men, but for Bed Guy can spell “protein,” some of them struggle over “entrepreneur.” But not Pizzapreneuer, who draws a picture of pizza while bragging that he owns a pizzeria.

The kids are not impressed.

Swaggy has had enough of Pizzapreneur sucking all of the oxygen out of the room, so when the word is “narcissist,” he writes “Peter” — you know, as a joke!

Guess who doesn’t take it as a joke.

While Pizzapreneur seethes, the kids hand out participation awards to all of the men and take their leave. BRING THEM BACK, ABC. PUT THEM ON ALL OF THE DATES, ABC.

That evening, the group attends their cocktail party, where Bed Guy takes her aside to talk first. She addresses the E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T in the room: he can’t spell, and he’s like “Yeah, I’m dumb, whaddya gonna do?”

Bed Guy stares deeply at Michelle, and she notes that it feels like he’s looking into her soul. He explains that he is trying to remember every single thing about her so that he can go home and have a dream about her, and wake up and realize that his dream girl is real.


But she makes out with him anyway.

Michelle also chats with Moveable Feast who has written up a whole Mad Libs about their date, which — and I hate to admit this — is actually kinda cute?

While Michelle tries to have a conversation with NBA Draft about how she likes “quiet confidence,” Pizzapreneur decides that this is the moment to confront Swaggy for calling him a narcissist. Swaggy insists he was just having fun, but that’s not cutting it with our unhinged pizza guy who starts screaming at Swaggy that he’s a “stunod.” Swaggy screams back that EVERYONE IS SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THE PIZZA.

This goes on for a while.

After, Michelle takes Pizzapreneuer aside and is like, “What is your problem?” He whines that Swaggy called him a NARCISSIST! IN FRONT OF HER! IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN!

A reminder of what the children thought of him:

It was UNCALLED FOR! It was DISGUSTING! Pizzapreneur whines.

Michelle, using her teacher skills, calmly explains to Pizzapreneur that she understands that he’s angry. But here’s the thing: one day she might really piss him off, and she will not tolerate him screaming at her the way he was screaming at Swaggy.

Pizzapreneur quickly realizes she’s not been swayed by the “IT WAS DISGUSTING TO MAKE A JOKE AT MY EXPENSE” defense, and swears that this behavior was completely out of character for him, and apologizes. But then in an interview, Pizzapreneur reveals he learned nothing, whinging that he might now not get a rose because someone “decided to be a petty bitch.” Message clearly not received.

Michelle returns to the group and offers Bed Guy the group date rose, to Moveable Feast’s shock.

Back at the hotel, the next date card arrives: “Reality TV Virgin: I’m looking for someone to be my rock … ♥ Michelle.”

Reality TV Virgin is excited about receiving the first one-on-one, sure, but he also is excited to see if Michelle is the right person for him, too. He has a “wild life,” you know, traveling to third world countries at a moment’s notice by himself … it’s a life on the edge and that’s not for everyone.


Does he … does he know that he’s not The Bachelor? Does he realize he’s not actually the star of this show?

The next morning, Michelle picks Reality Virgin up for their date and drives him out to Joshua Tree National Park, where she explains they’ll be having a picnic — on the top of a rock formation — that they have to climb.

So they climb the rock and all the while, Virgin guides her on the places to find footholds. They make it to the top just in time for the Golden Hour.

On top of this rock, Michelle notes that she’s already learned a lot about Reality TV Virgin: he likes to have fun and he is not a complainer. And to be fair to a person that is going to be eviscerated later in this recap, being a not complainer in this situation is genuinely admirable. Because if I had been told that my date was going to involve scaling the side of a giant rock for a picnic, I too would not have complained: I would have just put my ass in the Jeep and driven myself back to the hotel and ordered my own picnic from room service.

That night at dinner, Michelle tells Reality TV Virgin that her philosophy is that if you’re in a good relationship everything can be an adventure — even going to the grocery store. She adds that her parents have treated their relationship as an adventure for 33 years now.

And Reality TV Virgin is like, “Yeah, about that.” He then goes on to tell a heartbreaking story about how his single mother raised him and his sister by herself. When he was little, he excelled in school, but then around the time he went to middle school, his mother’s mental health began to spiral, and soon he and his sister were taking turns skipping school to make sure she didn’t kill herself. Ultimately, when he was 24, his mother did take her own life, and it took him a long time to recover and decide that life is worth it.

Michelle is deeply moved by this and openly weeps while he tells his story. She tells him that while she doesn’t know him very well, she’s very proud of who he’s become and how he conducts himself. His strong character clearly comes from having to carry so much weight from such a young age, and she now understands how he became the beautiful person now sitting in front of her.

Reality TV Virgin appreciates that she doesn’t once tell him that she’s “sorry” because he has to love every part of the story that got him to where he is today. Which … I mean … I can’t imagine going so far as to say all that, but this is his path, I suppose.

She offers him the rose, and they have a private concert by some country artist you have never heard of who is just hanging out in that corner of the desert, waiting for Stagecoach 2022.

The next morning, Ghost receives a call from his mother informing him that his beloved basketball coach has passed away, and he becomes very emotional.

Possibly rubbing salt into the wound: the next group date, which he is on, is a basketball date.

Michelle meets him; Doggy Daddy; Granny Smith; Backflip; Hand Slappy; Doube Dribble; Someone Named Mollique; Dr. Brain; Schoolboy; and Caly-Doh at a basketball court, along with WNBA players Dearica Hamby and Diamond DeShields. Our two professionals put the men through their paces in a warmup, while Michelle tells us that she’s not sure that the other men know that Ghost was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball in 2011, which is kinda a big deal. She was the runner-up to Miss Basketball the same year. I HOPE THEY HELD A BASKET BALL.

The point is, Ghost is good. Really good. So good that they put him on the team with Dr. Brain, goofy white boys Clay-Doh and Schoolboy, and poor Someone Named Mollique. They are put up against a team that includes Doggy Daddy; Granny Smith; Backflip; Hand Slappy; and Doube Dribble. I mean, his nickname is “Double Dribble!” These goofy white boys had no chance! And despite Ghost and Someone Named Mollique’s best efforts to carry the entire team on their backs, they lose, and subsequently are sent back to the hotel while the other team goes to the cocktail party with Michelle.

But while Ghost’s team loses, the nice WNBA ladies announce that there is an MVP award which goes to Ghost because, I mean, did you see him and Someone Named Mollique score the only points their team scored? Because I guarantee you, Clay-Doh did not score any points. His giant football-playing ass was standing as close to the sidelines as you can get the entire time.

Still, Ghost winning this MVP award triggers some alarm in a couple of the other men who are all, “She’s from Minnesota … and he’s from Minnesota … she played basketball … and HE played basketball … ”

At the cocktail party, Ghost takes Michelle aside first and tells her about his coach, adding that being on the basketball date actually made him feel like himself again — which GOOD, because that really could have gone the other way, HARD. Michelle expresses her condolences and notes that she, of all people, she gets it. Coaches can be like family. He adds that he is trying to be composed, and she tells him that he doesn’t have to be composed around her — he doesn’t have to show her his game face all the time.

And then they kiss and they shoot hoops and they kiss some more.

Michelle chats with Double Dribble who shows her a whole photo album of his three-year-old son.

And she also visits with Doggy Daddy who admits he’s not great at basketball, but only because he wanted to let the other men and Michelle shine. Also, he’s terrible at basketball (despite being 6’8″). And LISTEN, my husband is ridiculously tall, and he can not play basketball to save his life, so I feel this. Doggy Daddy adds that “opposites attract”: she got 1,000 points, he got 6. They make out.

I like him, but I’d like him even more if he’d brought his dog with him.

Finally, Michelle gives Ghost the date rose. The other men:

It’s finally rose ceremony time, and every man recognizes that time with her that night is CRUCIAL — especially for the dudes who didn’t get a date this week: The Whitest Boy You Know; Spoken Word Poet; Selfie Stick; and Mr. Pantless.

Michelle takes Granny Smith aside and gives him an apple taste test. You can probably guess that he fails. Miserably. He identifies a Fiji apple as a Granny Smith; a Granny Smith as a Fiji; and a piece of pizza as lasagna. She kisses him anyway.

MEANWHILE, Reality TV Virgin is chatting with Double Dribble, Backflip and Someone Named Mollique and the topic of conversation is “Michelle and Ghost: Did They Know Each Other Before This?” For Reality TV Virgin, this is A Very Pressing Topic: he wants to know whether or not they’re all starting from the same spot, and considering she’s so hung up on “authenticity,” shouldn’t she also be authentic with them? Hmm?

Double Dribble is like, “She’s going to like who she’s going to like, and she’s going to be with who she wants, dude.” Someone Named Mollique is all, “If she knew him already, it’s no big deal to me, I’m ready to do my thing.”

When Reality TV Virgin protests that she signed an agreement for what this was supposed to be, and Someone Named Mollique is all, “Oh, so you’re saying she’s not here for the right reasons?” When Reality TV Virgin claims that’s just what he’s “hearing,” Someone Named Mollique challenges him: “Is that what you’re hearing or what you’re thinking and feeling?”

Alone with Backflip, Reality TV Virgin claims that a friend of his from Minneapolis saw Michelle leave a bar, and that the ladies who were with this friend told him that she was the Bachelorette, and that she was “boo’ed up with a light-skinned baller.”

Backflip, however, doesn’t react the way I think Reality TV Virgin expected him to, asking if he forgot that information until just now or what? Reality TV Virgin is like, “I am just telling you, everyone is talking about this; every room I walk into, this is the main topic of conversation,” but Backflip’s like, “Yeah, but no? That’s not happening at all?”

But Backflip’s skepticism isn’t going to stop Reality TV Virgin who decides he has no choice but to confront Michelle about this. He takes her and informs her that the feeling amongst the guys is that she and Ghost knew each other before coming here. Now, he doesn’t care one way or the other, this man lies to her face, but everyone keeps feeling it. And considering this is supposed to be a “journey about authenticity and trust” … well, there are a lot of men now questioning her. He then tells her the story of how his friend heard she was dating a “light-skinned baller,” and Michelle is, needless to say, blindsided by all of this. After a few moments of stunned silence, Michelle tells Reality TV Virgin that she needs a minute to figure out how to deal with this.

Virgin leaves, and explains in an interview that he feels good that there was nothing between Michelle and Ghost from before; he didn’t need to hear her say the words, he could just tell by her reaction. As for whether or not he thinks she took this information well, yes, he thinks she did.

Narrator: She did not.

Michelle is now completely adrift, wondering what these men are saying about her, and who is questioning her. Tayshia joins her and after hearing what Virgin said, agrees that this is a tough situation. She then urges Michelle to let the men know that she didn’t have a relationship with Ghost and that they all started this process on a level playing field.

And so Michelle does just that. She addresses all of the men, noting that she heard they were all talking about whether or not she and Ghost knew each other before. She admits that she and Ghost exchanged some messages a few years back, but that he ghosted her after two (2) messages. She also hears there is a rumor that she is dating a light-skinned basketball player. Michelle explains that as a woman of color in Minnesota, every time she’s seen with a man of color, people assume they’re dating. She’s not seeing anyone, and if any of these clowns have questions for her, she’ll answer them.

The men:

With that, Michelle leaves, and the men are all, “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?” Everyone wonders who told Michelle that they were questioning her, becoming increasingly angry that this bullshit might upset her.

Reality TV Virgin:


And then, to make matters worse, Tayshia and Kaitlyn announce that the cocktail party is over and they are headed straight into the rose ceremony, thus hurting the chances for the men who haven’t yet had a chance to talk to Michelle, and for the men who didn’t even get to go on a date that week.

Good luck, chuckleheads! Now LINE UP.

Rose #1: Doggy Daddy
Rose #2: Granny Smith
Rose #3: Backflip
Rose #4: Moveable Feast
Rose #5: Selfie Stick
Rose #6: Double Dribble
Rose #7: Hand Slappy
Rose #8: Spoken Word Poet

And I need to pause here and admit that I’ve been confusing those two dudes this entire time. BUT CAN YOU BLAME ME?

Rose #9: Someone Named Mollique
Rose #10: NBA Draft
Rose #11: Schoolboy
Rose #12: Swaggy
Rose #13: Le Romeo
Rose #14: Mr. Pantless
Rose #15: Clay-Doh
Rose #16: Pizzapreneur because the producers aren’t done making trouble yet.

Which means we must say goodbye to Dr. Brain; The Whitest Boy You Know; Big Fireman; and Little Fireman.

Guess she doesn’t dig firemen.

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.

2 thoughts on “‘The Bachelorette’: Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

    1. I might have been switching back and forth between The Bachelorette and La Brea and confused myself, so thank you!


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