January 24, 2023
Choosing a Bachelor or Bachelorette (or multiple Bachelorettes as the case may stupidly be) should be a fairly simple math equation: you want a dumped contestant from the previous season who made it to AT LEAST the Dreaded Hometowns. The Fantasy Suites is even better, but you need this person to have made it at minimum to the final four. This is for a few reasons:
1. You want the audience to remember their name. This sounds like a joke, but I assure you it’s not. The audience is introduced to 30 contestants at the beginning of the season, and it’s not until we get close to the Dreaded Hometowns that most people know — or care — what some of these contestants’ names are. It’s a lot easier to remember 5 guys’ names over 17 guys. Or even 10.
2. You at least want to have met this person’s family so that when they become The Bachelor or The Bachelorette the audience feels like they know them. You want the audience to know that this person is a real human who has people who love them, and they become invested in their story.
3. And perhaps most importantly from a production perspective, by the time you get to the Dreaded Hometowns, the producers themselves have spent a lot of time with these individuals. If they are doing their jobs properly, they should have an idea whether these people would make a good protagonist — someone who the audience will root for, and who will help create the fairy tale narrative that this dumb show aims for.
But last season the producers chose for The Bachelor sentient gym shorts Clayton Echard, who had been eliminated in the sixth episode of Bachelorette Michelle’s season, leaving “Bachelor Nation” asking the all-important question, “Who now?” And because the producers apparently chose this nimrod from the Bachelorette pool at random, they appeared to be completely blindsided when he managed to alienate all three of his final contestants and the audience as a whole. He wasn’t merely a shitshow of a Bachelor, he was an operatic performance of explosive diarrhea.
And so it is hardly surprising that the producers have retreated to the standard formula to find this season’s Bachelor: a third-place, vaguely simian-featured contestant who seemed genuine in his feelings for The Bachelorette. Zach Shallcross was eliminated by Rachel at the Fantasy Suites and he looks like a computer program took all the previous Bachelors, added them together, and divided by 26.
But here’s the thing about Mr. Shallcross: despite making it to the Fantasy Suites, we don’t really know all that much about him. He lives in Austin, he does … software stuff, his uncle is Puddy from Seinfeld, he seemed like a nice enough guy on The Bachelorette. And honestly, that is not that much more than we knew about Chris Soules, Peter Webber, or 90% of the other Bachelors before they began their seasons. And that’s also OK! The more generic the show can make their Bachelor, the easier it is for the viewer to project onto him their romantic ideals.
But instead of just ignoring the fact that Zach is just another toothy shell in a suit, in tonight’s premiere episode, the show decides to point out that we don’t know him as well as we think we do …
“You may think you know Zac”
— TwoBrosAndARose (@TwoBrosAndARose) January 24, 2023
… and proceeds to inform us of the two most embarrassing things this show has ever shared about a Bachelor:
- He was a bassist in his seventh-grade rock band, Public Disturbance, as you can see from this blurry footage:
2. He was a DJ in college, and his stage name was — I shit you not — “Verzache.” Here’s a photo of him during that time. Presumably. It’s never really made clear:
Do you have any idea what it would take to pry either of these facts out of me if I were Zach, much less hand over video evidence to play for the entire world? Genuinely, I would make sure every single person who knew either of those facts about me didn’t have the opportunity to share them.
One way or another.
We then are treated to the typical clichéd Bachelor introduction package, with Zach marveling at how “wild” it is that he is The Bachelor and insisting that he’s ready to settle down and find a wife. Zach then meets with Sean Lowe — the only Bachelor who is still married to the woman he proposed to on the show. That’s right: there have been 26 seasons, and only one (1) relationship has worked out.
BUT NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT A RANDOM SPEED DATING EVENT AT YOUR LOCAL CHILI’S HAS A BETTER TRACK RECORD THAN THIS SHOW, ZACH IS A GENUINE GUY WHO IS LOOKING FOR LOVE AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.
Sean Lowe, who has been married to Catherine for almost 10 years now, actually has some good, mature advice for Zach — a rarity on this dumb show. First, he notes that Catherine wasn’t someone he picked at the very beginning and wouldn’t necessarily be someone he would have described as his “type.” But about midway through the season, he started realizing how much he was thinking about her, way more than the other women. And as for the secret to having a long healthy marriage: it’s important to be with your best friend.
As someone who has been married for nearly 25 years, I have to say this is excellent advice — and it is antithetical to every value this show promotes, which might just be why Sean and Catherine have made it as far as they have.
Sean then assures us for the second time in ten minutes that Zach is “genuine” — the keyword the producers have apparently chosen for the season — while making him work out with his shirt off, because hahaha, the producers are definitely in on the joke and not using this demonstration of how in on the joke they are just to make Zach take his shirt off.
We then cut to home footage of various contestants watching the reveal on The Bachelorette finale that Zach is going to be the next Bachelor, and doing their very best to seem excited it’s him.
They are not particularly convincing.
And now it’s time for the Montage of Women Who You Should Probably Pay Attention To:
Bailey (27, Executive Recruiter, Nashville, TN): Bailey clarifies: she was from Nashville, but now she lives in Venice Beach. She also reminds us that she was one of the five women Zach met on The Bachelorette finale. After giving him a little rhyme to help him remember her name, he immediately called her “Baylin.”
Katherine (26, Registered Nurse, Tampa, FL): Katherine is the first of many nurses — there are four this season — and four other women who are in the healthcare industry. I don’t know what this says about The Bachelor and its contestants, but I suspect someone could write a whole dissertation on it. She seems nice.
— Emily Haswell (@myemtv) January 24, 2023
Christina Mandrell (26, Content Creator, Nashville, TN): Christina’s package reminds us that she is the child of a Mandrell sister, in case including her last name — the only contestant who does so — wasn’t clue enough. She also has a five-year-old daughter. She calls Zach “genuine” and she won’t be the last one to do so in this episode or on this season, methinks.
Charity (26, Child and Family Therapist, Columbus, GA): Charity talks about how rewarding her job is before noting that Zach was a nervous wreck in his “After the Final Rose” performance. She thought it was “cute.” Was it though?
Greer (24, Medical Sales Rep, Houston, TX): H’OH BOY, THIS ONE. Alright … so.
Greer here has already found herself in a blackface controversy, one that hits uncomfortably close to home for your trusty blogger. I attended one of Houston’s public high schools, Mirabeau B. Lamar, which is located in one of our city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, just down the street from the River Oaks Country Club. In fact, it’s a common joke that River Oaks Boulevard is the only street with two country clubs on both ends.
When I started at Lamar, my family had just moved back to Houston after having moved around a bit because my father was in the military. And so it was something of a culture shock to come from a Mississippi middle school of all of maybe 200 students to Lamar High School which at the time had about 2600 students.
On top of that, Lamar was filled with kids who had the kind of wealth I had never been exposed to before — real wealth, 16-year-olds-driving-Porsches-to-high-school, rich-kids-out-of-a-John-Hughes-movie wealth. Lamar, like every other high school, also had what were known as “social clubs,” except some of these “social clubs” were more like sororities and fraternities than your high school’s Spanish club. And it was those same very wealthy kids who made up these sororities and fraternities. When I attended Lamar, the sorority, Wichaka, was still a sanctioned organization, but the fraternities, Ramal and Powwow, had both gone underground. (Let me be very clear — I was not a member of Wichaka. I had many friends, good people, who were members, but I was never involved. Not my thing.)
From what I understand, Wichaka is no longer sanctioned, but it certainly still exists — like Ramal and Powwow, it became a secret organization. And in 2016, Wichaka held a Halloween party where one young woman dressed as Tupac, with a Tupac T-shirt … and full blackface. When a picture of her made it onto social media, and then the local news, the girls in Wichaka tried to claim she was dressed as “a shadow.”
And here’s where our friend Greer shows up. Greer, who went to a different but nearby high school, Bellaire, was friends with some of these girls. Greer took to social media defending our erstwhile Tupac fan. It didn’t go well then and now that she’s a Bachelor contestant, the receipts were dug up. She has already issued an apology.
For some reason, none of this was mentioned in her pre-taped segment.
Brooklyn (25, Rodeo Racer, Stillwater, OK): Brooklyn, who also met Zach at the finale, is a self-described “rodeo girl.” She thinks he has “kind eyes and nice teeth.”
Brianna (24, Entrepreneur, Jersey City, NJ): Brianna won America’s First Impression Rose at the finale episode, which in some ways is a meaningless prize. Sure, she’ll survive the first episode, but it doesn’t guarantee that Zach actually has any attraction toward her, so who cares? She also thinks that Zach has “kind eyes” and the “sweetest smile.”
Kaity (27, ER Nurse, Austin, TX): What we learn about Kaity: 1. She lives in Austin, like Zach, 2. She’s a nurse, 3. She’s still pretty bitter about an ex.
With that, it’s limo time:
Jess (23, E-Commerce Coordinator, Winter Springs, FL): First of all, 23 is too young. Go home and come back when you are at least 26. Second of all, body glitter? Girl, are you covered in body glitter? THIS IS HOW I KNOW YOU ARE TOO YOUNG FOR THIS.
Ariel (28, Marketing Executive, New York, NY): Ariel tells Zach that on her way here, she missed her flight, her suitcase broke and her dress ripped. But nothing could stop her from being there because she’s so excited. However, her demeanor suggests she’s anything but.
Charity (see above): Charity tells Zach that her name means “love” and I was ready to be all, “NUH-UH!” but she’s correct. Shows what I know.
Davia (25, Marketing Manager, Charleston, SC): Davia comes prepared with champagne to get the party started. Davia is the young lady who stated in her bio that she can “out-burp anyone,” and now we see why. SLOW DOWN ON THE BUBBLY, GIRL.
Gabi (25, Account Executive, Pittsford, VT): Gabi arrives with a container of maple syrup which, for some reason, she insists he take a shot of then and there. He does not care for it.
Greer (See above): Brings him black
makeup coffee from New York.
Viktoria E. (29, Nanny, Vienna, Austria): Viktoria explains that in Austria they greet each other with two kisses. So, for some reason, she thinks they should exchange four kisses. After awkwardly darting at each other’s faces for a while, Zach is all, “Well, that was weird.”
Madison (26, Business Owner, Fargo, ND): Madison informs Zach that in North Dakota they would say, “Uff da, you’re looking fine.” Uff da is apparently a Midwestern “oy vey” — but with equally positive and negative connotations.
Aly (26, Healthcare Strategist, Atlanta, GA): Aly opens with the fact that she’s originally from Houston, and honestly, what more do you need to know?
Anastasia (30, Content Marketing Manager, San Diego, CA): She claims she’s glad he’s the one standing there. Sure you are, Anastasia.
Cat (26, Dancer, New York, NY): Cat is the terrifying dancer who screamed at him when she met him at The Bachelorette finale. Zach says it’s nice to see a “familiar face” (is it?) before pointing her in the direction of the “scary and big” McMansion. Cat protests that she’s not scared — she’s from New York — before screaming, “GABAGOOL!” at him for no particular reason.
She’s a whole lot.
Brooklyn (See above): When she met him at the finale, Brooklyn was bleeped and I have no idea what she said. When she emerges from the limo tonight, she offers a fun fact about herself: she spews profanities on live television when she’s nervous. Personally, I thought this bit of self-deprecation was charming, but it seems to fall flat with Zach.
Bailey (See above): Bailey arrives with a name tag so as to clear up any confusion. When Zach tells her that he “feels bad about that” (that being calling her “Baylin”) she questions if he really does, and he unexpectedly kisses her. It comes out of nowhere.
Kaity (See above): Kaity makes an “everything is bigger in Texas” joke, while the music editor adds some country twangy guitar in the background.
Genevie (26, Neonatal Nurse, Baltimore City, MD): She notes that he’s taller in person.
Katherine (26, Registered Nurse, Tampa, FL): Katherine demands that he spray sunscreen all over her. 1. It’s night. 2. He manages to fail at this very simple task.
Vanessa (23, Restaurant Marketer, Baton Rouge, LA): Vanessa enters on foot, throwing Mardi Gras beads while a New Orleans-style trumpeter plays. We get it. You’re from Louisiana.
Kimberly (30, Hospitality Manager, Los Angeles, CA): Introduces herself as “Kimmy G, [his] wifey-to-be.”
Olivia M. (25, Stylist, Cincinnati, OH): Olivia explains that she found two pennies heads up, which she just knows will bring good luck.
NARRATOR: It doesn’t.
Victoria J. (30, Makeup Artist, Fort Worth, TX): Victoria claims that she finds his voice very attractive, and asks him to read a prepared script that simply says: “That dress looks amazing on you.” Wasted opportunity, Victoria J. I feel like you could have done more here.
Kylee (25, Postpartum Nurse, Charlotte, NC): Kylee arrives screaming through a bullhorn. Absolutely not.
Lekha (29, Financial Advisor, Miami, FL): Lekha takes a big swing by asking Zach to bend down for a second. When he does, she proceeds to LICK HIS NECK, and then declares that he’s hers now because she’s marked her territory.
Holland (24, Insurance Marketer, Boca Raton, FL): Holland notes that Zach had a date in Holland on The Bachelorette, but it didn’t work out. She explains that was because he was “in the wrong Holland.”
Mercedes (24, Non-Profit Case Manager, Bloomfield, IA): Mercedes arrives with her adorable pig Henry, explaining that she raised pigs as a kid. Henry is outrageously cute and I know we’ll never see him again, but I would keep him over most of these contestants.
Christina Mandrell (See above): Christina arrives in a party bus, saying something confusing about having just been at a bachelorette party? I don’t really get it.
Sonia (29, Project Manager, Long Island, NY): They don’t show her saying anything. At all. Nothing. Don’t get too attached.
Becca (25, Nursing Student, Burbank, CA): Becca is ecstatic that Zach is the Bachelor. So that makes one of us.
Cara (27, Corporate Recruiter, Pittsburgh, PA): Cara has been on 30 first dates.
Olivia L. (24, Patient Care Technician, Rochester, NY): Olivia L. has the clever opening: “You’re cute.”
Brianna (See above): Brianna arrives, rose in hand, clad in a gown made of fabric roses in case you forgot who won the First Impression Rose.
Having met all of the women, Zach joins them inside to give the obligatory toast where he says that he’s just “a dude who loves family, football, and frozen pizza.”
And that’d have been my cue to excuse myself from these proceedings.
But all of the women stick around to hear him explain that he’s looking for his best friend, and yammers about his parents’ 30-year marriage, and how he’s looking for honesty.
Zach first chats with Katherine, the self-described Julia Roberts impersonator (she doesn’t look anything like Julia Roberts), where they have the most boring conversation about how “weird” and “goofy” they can be. Neither demonstrates any weirdness nor goofiness.
Zach then visits with Texan Kaity who talks about how “wild” this is and how she’s the “luckiest girl in the world” to be there with him, before going in for a kiss.
On Christina Mandrell’s party bus, she presents him with the “Christina Mandrell Compatibility Questionnaire” in which they have to simultaneously decide between two items, like the mountains or the beach or dinosaurs or dragons. They are not on the same page. But she does earn a kiss, and thanks to the camera angle, we are treated to SO MUCH ZACH TONGUE. I thought about screencapping it for you people, but decided to protect your innocent eyeballs. You are welcome.
The producers then send a herd of women onto the party bus to interrupt this makeout session and a dance party ensues.
Next, Zach has a meatball eating contest with Gabagool and I’m not going to save your precious eyeholes from this one:
IF I HAD TO SEE IT, YOU HAVE TO SEE IT.
First First Impression Rose tells Zach that she’s not resting on her laurels, and wants to know who “Zach” is. (We are all wondering.) He describes himself as “a regular dude who lives in Austin.”
The rest of Texas:
Let me just pause here for a moment and explain to my readers who might not live in Texas and thus not know, but if your entire personality is “I live in Austin” — you don’t have a personality.
Jesse Palmer brings out the Second First Impression Rose — you know, the one that actually counts because it means Zach is attracted to them and therefore a potential threat. Freaking out commences. “JESSE PALMER, GO BACK TO ESPN,” says my new favorite, Sonia.
Genevie, who is a neonatal nurse, makes Zach change the diaper on a baby doll, and he manages to do it without embarrassing himself.
Zach then chats with our blackface defender who tells him that while she lives in New York City now, her end goal has always been to move to Austin. In fact, when she was a teen in Houston, she made a powerpoint presentation to her parents arguing why they should move to Austin.
And true story y’all: Before I heard that she was pro-blackface and before I learned that she is a MAGA girl …
… all I needed to hear was that she made a powerpoint presentation to her parents about why they should move to Austin and I instantly knew that I did not like this child.
But he’s into it and they make out while other women watch on in horror.
Among those women watching is Miss North “Uff Da” Dakota, who in an interview explains that she wants to kiss Zach “SO BAD” and that she sees herself “FALLING IN LOVE WITH ZACH.”
She has said maybe three words to this man.
When Uff Da visits with him, her shtick is to make him put on a scarf and hat and blanket to prepare him for going beyond the wall to meet her parents. He’s not amused and when she goes in for a kiss, she’s gently rebuffed.
Nevertheless, she tells the other women that Zach is so “sweet” and “genuine” and “everything you hope for and more.” But when she notices that he’s touching the woman he’s currently talking to in a way he didn’t touch her, she marches over and interrupts in an attempt to land that coveted kiss.
After asking him what team he roots for, Uff Da forces Zach to do what I understand the kids call “The Griddy.”
— bachbitch (@bachbitch1) January 24, 2023
She then shoves his head into a kiss and … UFF DA … it is turrrrrrrible. She describes it as “subpar” and “awkward,” and that is being generous. Soon, Uff Da is having a full-fledged sobbing meltdown on the driveway.
It’s the only vaguely interesting thing to happen in the entire episode, which is why the show devotes a full five minutes to it.
Meanwhile, Zach moves on to a conversation with
Love Charity where she talks about her job. Zach calls her stunning and in a move that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on this show before, he asks her if he can kiss her. Zach, the Consent King!
He also chats with Glitter Bomb. They just spend the entire time telling the other how “cute” they think the other is before making out.
Finally, it’s time to hand out the Second First Impression Rose and it goes to … Blackface Defender.
Charity’s reaction is everything:
— Tayshia Adams burner (@tayshiadams) January 24, 2023
Meanwhile, whatever was left of Uff Da’s sanity has left the building. As the other women are lining up for the Rose Ceremony, she goes outside to, as she puts it, “disrupt” Zach’s conversation with Jesse Palmer.
As Jesse Palmer takes his leave, she apologizes again to Zach for “disrupting” his chat, but she needs to know whatever this might become or could have been. Basically, she wants him to assure her that he’s not going to eliminate her that night.
However, Zach can’t do that because AGAIN, THAT KISS. And with that, he sends her sobbing down the driveway of broken hearts, lamenting that she “gave up [her] life for this.”
But did you? Did you, Uff Da? You were away from your job for MAYBE a week. Probably just a long weekend. Your frozen life is still waiting for you back in North Dakota.
As for the rest of our hospital staff waiting to learn their fates:
Rose #1: Christina Mandrell
Rose #3: “Baylin”
Rose #4: Glitter Bomb
Rose #5: Baby Nurse
Rose #6: Belchmeister
Rose #7: Someone Named Aly
Rose #8: Rodeo Girl
Rose #9: Austin Nurse
Rose #10: Someone Named Anastasia
Rose #11: Bullhorn
Rose #12: Maple Syrup
Rose #13: Julia Roberts
Rose #14: Henry the Pig’s Mom
Rose #15: Bored
Rose #16: Script Writer
Rose #17: Kimmy G
Rose #18: Gabagool
*As per usual, these nicknames are subject to being changed based entirely on my whims.
Which means we must say goodbye to Someone Named Becca, The One Who Has Now Been on 31 First Dates, Holland and her Tunnel, two Olivias, The Licker, The Queen of Mardi Gras, That Austrian Chick, and the one I will miss the most, The Woman Who Told Jesse Palmer to go back to ESPN. Fare thee well, ladies, we hardly knew ya.
Here are the ladies who have been eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:
Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Zach:
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m and streams on Hulu.