It only took 31 hours for any hope of a better year in 2017 to be completely extinguished. Don’t get me wrong, 2016 was terrible. But after watching two hours of Nick Viall on this season’s The Bachelor, 2017 is poised to be much worse. If 2016 burned down everything I love, 2017 just blew the ashes in my eyes.
To be clear, I’ve generally liked Nick in his prior appearances. His quick wit and clarity of mind were refreshing in an atmosphere which usually lacked either. I even cheered for Nick to become the Bachelor this season, thinking he would bring sanity to the show. Oh, how wrong I was.
So very, very wrong.
The show begins with Nick mumbling about how excited he is to be “The bashelur” over some gratuitously lingering ab shots. Speech impediments aside, ab porn is fairly common in any Bachelor episode. It keeps the ladies watching interested, and the men vaguely confused about their life choices. What isn’t common, however, are close ups of a grown man’s lower abs showering on my TV while I’m eating dinner.
After he dries off, Nick goes to visit previous bachelors: Ben Higgins, Sean Lowe, and Chris Soules. The three bachelors emeritus offer up the usual platitudes (“You get out of it what you put in.” “Just be yourself.” “Try not to stare at their boobs.”) before reminding Nick that no one really likes him and that he’s failed at this three times already. Then after a brief pause to let that sink in, they leave Nick alone to wallow in self-pity.
Speaking of people who left Nick...
A brief montage of this season’s women airs next, featuring a metaphorical binder full of women discussing their personal and professional accomplishments and how they are meaningless without a man and children in their lives. Two years ago, I would have written an entire paragraph about what a sexist nightmare this was. Now the best I can muster is an exasperated sigh and the understanding that the only person’s life ruined by this show is likely my own.
The women’s arrivals were next and they were largely uninteresting. Most contestants simply greet Nick, give him a quick hug, and move along their way. Some, like Taylor, tell Nick everyone thinks he is a piece of shit except for her before smiling as if this is an acceptable thing to say to someone. Others, like Josephine, trick Nick into eating an uncooked hot dog in the name of romance. Most memorable was Alexis, who arrives in a shark costume and possessed all the grace and poise of Left Shark. Alexis also proceeds to get into multiple arguments throughout the night regarding whether she is a shark or a dolphin. It’s nice to see that The Bachelor producers didn’t exclude women without a grasp on reality this year.
How does this not win a first impression rose?
Speaking of a lack of grasp on reality, a former one night stand of Nick’s showed up on the show and bragged about how he wouldn’t possibly remember her, only to be immediately remembered and publicly shamed for trying to mock him. At one point, Liz, the woman in question, tells Nick, “I didn’t want you to think I was here because you were the bachelor.” Despite this being wildly insulting, Nick gives Liz a rose, because he is an insane person, too.
Attorney and all around interesting person, Rachel, got the first impression rose. Later at the rose ceremony, a slew of women whose names I don’t remember were sent home. None of them managed to throw a punch or use any expletives, which was admirable, although disappointing.
Buckle up, everyone. This season is going to get weird.