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The holidays are over, and it’s time to give ourselves television’s answer to a season of peace and good will toward men: watching a bunch of contestants getting blown around by a giant fan and trying their tight 5 on an unsuspecting boy pilot who drinks straight from the hose (a.k.a. the new season of The Bachelor.)
ABC gave us the greatest Christmas gift of all when they dropped the bios for this cast of characters in December—I’ve spent weeks looking forward to meeting these women with nicknames like “Turtle Princess” who have fears like “murky waters and chicken on the bone.” I had high hopes, and these ladies absolutely did not disappoint. Who’s got their game faces on? Which ladies’ cheeks will be red from crying and which ones will be red from Peter’s weapon-grade 5 o’clock shadow? How many possible synonyms for “good!” can Peter summon up to respond to the things that happen in front of him? The answers to all these and more await you!
Without further ado, let me introduce you to your contestants (and fallen soldiers) for the 24th season of The Bachelor.
Kelley is coming into the competition with a little advantage because she and Peter had already met at a hotel in California a month before taping. I would love to get a timeline on this encounter because it keeps getting more involved with each retelling. Peter keeps telling her he can’t stop thinking about her. I’ve gotta assume that’s not just about an inexplicable hallway swing dance they shared, which they think was so important that they reenact it. Literally. Peter’s feelings for Kelley are even powerful enough to blind him to her blatant cheating in the obstacle course challenge. I’m excited for the hometown I already know she’s getting, where we will be reunited with her terrible brothers who took their one moment on camera to make a mile high club reference.
Hannah Ann Sluss
It’s always fun when someone’s primary characteristic is how much they love their dad. And Hannah Ann loves her dad. Truly. She even gifts Peter with a painting she and her dad (together?) made of the Smoky Mountains with some distinctively O’Keefeian looking flowers, which Peter calls “very exciting.” She tells us, as she clutches her First Impression Rose with an absolute raw chicken cutlet of a face courtesy of Peter’s stubble, that she’s never gone after someone like this before. All due respect, but I absolutely don’t believe her.
No, this isn’t just a second picture of Hannah Ann in a wig. Madison is doing pretty well for herself considering there’s someone else running around the mansion with her face on. Madison not only establishes herself early with some great prop work (where do you even get a giant paper airplane on such short notice?) but is potentially the first and only woman to ask Peter a question about himself on camera. Madison also gets thrown into the first one-on-one of the season and got a lot more than she probably bargained for when Peter brings her to his parents’ vow renewals. Peter, I can’t believe you’ve done this to everyone involved! Madison puts on her four-championships game face and gets through the night with a smile while catching the bouquet from Peter’s mom and getting hand-fed wedding cake. She even manages to keep a straight face when the designated country band halts their intimate solo dance, announces “It’s party time,” and floods the venue with Peter’s entire family again. Exactly the romantic surprise she was expecting, I bet! I’m proud of you, Madison.
What can I say about Victoria P? She’s a sweet lady with an inspiring backstory and she also was able to make Peter “dance the scaries away” with her. Now that I think about it, forcing someone you’re competing for to do the dumbest dance imaginable in front of you is a good way to retain power in the situation. Victoria P. is also the first contestant to Overcome A Phobia this season by getting on a gyroscope and subsequently vomiting. When she brings up the fact that nobody’s ever given her flowers, Peter takes the opportunity to damage some mansion property and give her a handmade bouquet. I’m almost positive she was hoping for the group date rose that she absolutely earned with blood, sweat and vomit but c’est la vie.
Not to be dramatic, but everything Tammy has ever done is perfect. Her limo entrance was literally scanning Peter’s entire junk with a metal detector because she “got word of a big package in front of the mansion.” Part two of this bit was Tammy actually physically handcuffing Peter, kissing him and “discovering” a condom on him which received the most negative reaction I think Peter is capable of (a tepid “aw, c’mon”). She also misidentified Jenna’s cow as a pony with more confidence than I will ever have in my entire life. Tammy was robbed of the obstacle course victory by Kelley correctly assessing that there would be no negative repercussions for cheating, but I’m sure Tammy will rally. I’ve got Tammy ranked as number one most likely to bite Peter, and she certainly will go home in the middle of the season when he gets tired of being dominated by her in every way, but until she goes I’ll love watching her.
Mykenna is definitely shaping up to be a nice little mini villain, but her limo exit was making Peter turn around so she could check out the goods, so I am forced to respect her. Mykenna’s biggest moment in this episode was an inexplicable and fiery feud with Natasha which mostly involved them throwing airplane props at each other to grapple over Peter time. Her shining moment was hissing Natasha out of the room so she could very quickly and forcefully tell Peter that her grandparents were married for 61 years.
One of Natasha’s “fun facts” was that she makes her presence known when she enters a room which I was really hoping would mean she brought a trumpet. What she did bring into the house was a really labored metaphor about which women are rats and which ones are cats, and a huge paper airplane she stole from Madison to throw (ineffectively!) at Mykenna. I will never forget the shot of Natasha sipping from a comically large mug while shouting “tick tock” at Mykenna to get her to cede her Peter time. This potentially makes Natasha the most powerful contestant for being among the very few able to bully producers into giving her anything that’s not champagne.
Alexa genuinely seems too cool for this competition. She doesn’t get a lion’s share of screen time after a package that shows her giving a bikini wax to a woman who signed a release for some reason unknown to man or God but she may truly be the first person with one modicum of chill to appear on this program, and I’m holding out hope for her.
Courtney was one of the few women to take full advantage of her entrance—a pedal car shaped like a plane, preceded by runway controllers that made Peter think, somehow, a woman would be taxiing an actual plane up to the mansion. Peter told Courtney her eyes were “literally insane,” which I think was a compliment?
Alayah was the first entrance of the season, armed with a stunning amount of décolletage and a letter from her grandmother, Rose, which happens to also be Peter’s grandmother’s name. Look, I would never call the legitimacy of a contestant’s grandmother into question. Does Alayah correct Peter’s reading of the letter inhumanly quickly? Does the letter contain a lot of decidedly un-grandmotherly language? Could Alayah have, as I just did, seen that Peter has his grandma’s name listed in his fun facts from last season? We may never know and I certainly wouldn’t dare to conjecture.
In a way, Lexi’s entrance was perhaps the most calculated of all—she drove out in a vintage car, causing Peter to go (and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was verbatim), “Oooh, sexy car, haha.” Lexi really got down to the core of who Peter is, which is a boy who’s “gotta go fast,” and she really spoke to that. Good job, Lexi!
You might remember Victoria F. best for what would have easily been the worst opener of all time if Katrina hadn’t been there. She spends one thousand human years telling Peter that she has a dry sense of humor, “but, ah, that, haha, is the only dry thing about me.” Upon her very next opportunity to talk to him, he has graciously and correctly erased the entire event from his brain, and instead of taking this as the gift from God that it was, she proceeds to do the entire joke over again. She then takes her place as one of the episode’s two criers, prompting one of the other girls to ask, “can I get you a towel or something” in a stunning display of maternal instinct.
The first woman of the season to get the [weeping] caption, Shiann seems to already be having a rough go of things. Every season there are contestants who arrive to The Kiss Fight Show expecting to not have to actually compete, so Shiann is very much following a storied tradition. However, she does stand alone as potentially the first person to ever try and make a barf bag look flirty and cute.
Another champion entrance, Kiarra emerged, somehow, from a zipped suitcase. In a full-length gown. I’m still marveling at this one. Would it be too much to ask that she emerges from a suitcase at the beginning of every episode?
Savannah explicitly stated her goal to Peter as being as bold as possible (accompanied by some pew pew gun noises), and boy, did she accomplish this. By blindfolding Peter, Savannah was the first to achieve Kiss Status this season. She seemed nervous for most of the night, but eked on through, and thank God, because something in her bio refers to calling herself the Turtle Princess, and I’ve gotta know more.
You know, sometimes it’s not as much about how much screen time you get, but what you do with it. Nobody proved this more than Payton, who somehow got ahold of Megan’s loudspeaker and used it to lazily summon Peter and commentate on the women who kept intercepting him in the most Michael Scott behavior I’ve seen in years.
I don’t know much about Lauren other than that she wore a truly excellent jumper and executed the most genteel boy steal of the evening. Oh and she procured a bowl of Skittles from somewhere, so we know she’s resourceful.
We knew there were going to be a lot of windmill references, but at least Deandra put some papier-mâché into it. I really admired how far into this evening Deandra committed to being the windmill even though it must have ruled out at least 90 percent of the seating options for her.
Sydney’s only function this episode was to give the absolute best deliveries about how Hannah B. was “really still here, huh?” I would absolutely be the person in the house giving these soundbites, so I feel a kinship with her already.
We didn’t get much from Jasmine this first episode, but what we did get was her talking to Peter about his own windmill sex romp in Vietnamese. I’m highly doubting he ever got a translation on that, and because I love nothing more than a man in a suit looking disoriented, that’s a gold star from me.
I will give Sarah this: She had the inner fortitude to look another human in the eyes and say the words “hubba hubba” out loud in 2020 AD. That is a thing she very much did, and nobody will ever take that away from her.
Look, I am not being dramatic when I tell you this woman drifted in and out of this episode as a phantom. This contestant introduced herself to Peter and then donned a cloak of invisibility to wander the mansion undetected. Who’s to say she wasn’t conducting some sort of Black Ops mission to get dirt on the other women? We may never know. Well played, Kelsey!
Gone But Not Forgotten: Eliminated Night One
It’s always sad to lose contestants before they’re really able to shine on camera, so here’s my tribute to them.
Look. I was more excited about Katrina than anyone had any reason to be, based solely on this Instagram I found of her and her cat dressing up as each other for Halloween. But the thing she did to Peter potentially violates the Geneva convention sanctions for prisoner treatment. In her intro, she tells Peter that he’s going to love her “Hairless……………….. Pussy…………………. Cat.” Those ellipses, and I’m barely exaggerating here, each took about 10,000 years and gave me nuclear scabies. Katrina pulled out a framed photo of her hairless cat and even though I’m on the cat’s side here, I can’t say I can blame Peter for not wanting to Continue On This Journey.
Maurissa seemed like a sweet girl with a backstory-and-a-half as a former teen pageant winner who struggled with body image, health and self love. But yeah, Peter, keep the girl who wouldn’t stop telling you how wet she was instead. Nice work. By the way, the act of eliminating her violated their not one but two pinky promises, so I’ll be seeing ol’ Pete in court.
The Flight Attendants: Eunice Cho, Jade Gilliland, and Megan Hops
These ladies could not possibly have been done dirtier. Peter seemed excited about the coincidence of meeting Eunice when she happened to be a flight attendant, but three in a row seemed to make him feel like he was being pranked, which arguably is a good 50 percent of the producers’ actions on the show. Jade literally had an entire backstory where she got divorced at age 22, and I can’t believe this franchise robbed me of getting to hear her reference it in every talking head for at least 4 episodes.
We didn’t get much time with Kylie, but she spent the time she had doing something truly magnificent: waving a devastatingly large roll of condoms in Peter’s face as a bit. She went out like a champ, and I salute her.
Jenna did the extremely important work of bringing a live animal to the mansion and allow Chris Harrison to do puns about it, and for that, I’ll be forever thankful. I’m not going to lie, I feel like the cow really was emotionally supporting me.
Just one of these seasons when a contestant brings an animal as a bit I’d like to see the network force the Bachelor to actually take care of it for the run of the show. Can someone get me ABC’s phone number please?