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“The Bachelor” premiere drags with a slow start, but gains traction with “Champagnegate”

“The Bachelor” premiere drags with a slow start, but gains traction with “Champagnegate”

“The Bachelor” premiere drags with a slow start, but gains traction with “Champagnegate”
January 16
16:00 2020

Every new year brings forth a new opportunity to get sucked into the it’s-so-bad-it’s-good “The Bachelor” franchise for another eight months. ABC kicks off January with the OG of the franchise, “The Bachelor,” and season 24 started with a three-hour premiere last Monday.

Peter Weber, or Pilot Pete, was a fan favorite from last season’s “The Bachelorette” and one of the two contestants suspected of being the next Bachelor (with Mike being the other prediction). I was excited for this season because Peter was my personal favorite and his kind and charismatic yet goofy and playful personality makes him a good fit for the role. In the premiere episode, he met 30 women from around the country, ranging from jetsetters to farm girls, attorneys to fashion bloggers and beyond.

My initial excitement for the season was squandered within the first hour and a half of the episode, which was honestly quite boring. While it’s too early to officially make judgement calls about any of the girls, the lot seems uncomfortably bland. The first impressions were especially cringey this year, and their conversations both with Peter and among themselves during the cocktail party felt forced and confusing. By episode one last year, we already had personalities who were engaging to watch, like Demi (kind of immature and maybe a little bit psycho, but spirited, sure of herself and quick-witted), Hannah B. (the self-proclaimed beast who was part firecracker, part quirky-but-cute weirdo) and Onyeka (obnoxious to watch but at least had some substance to her.) But this year’s first cocktail party just conveyed these women to be immature, vapid and exceptionally tearful. One girl asked “Is that a pony?” when Jenna brought Peter an obviously cow-looking cow, 31-year-old Natasha got into a dull “he’s mine!” power struggle with someone a decade younger and Victoria F. was already boohooing after talking to Peter for only two minutes. While needless theatrics are the cornerstone of this franchise, seeing these women’s attempts at drama and cattiness felt like watching fish flounder. Comebacks fell flat and confrontations were so needlessly forced they felt puzzling to watch.

The episode finally picked up when Peter took Madison to his parents’ vow renewals. So far she seems to be the only one with kindness, intelligence and charm, and I can already see her as the next Bachelorette if she doesn’t make it with Peter. Their date gave us all the mushy-gushy, giggle-inducing sparks that the show promises. Even if the other 29 girls turn out to be as daft as they appeared in episode one, at least we have Madison to get us through the season.

Things got interesting in the last 30 minutes of the episode, where Hannah B. came back yet again and had an emo moment with Peter about their relationship and what could have been. The episode ended with a cliffhanger— after Peter asked Hannah to join the other girls at the house, a dramatic “TO BE CONTINUED” flashed up on the screen. But in typical Bachelor fashion, the cliffhanger amounted to little payoff, as the only footage from the second episode consisted of the two silently cuddling and crying before parting ways.

The rest of the second episode was significantly more entertaining than the first. Kelsey’s champagne scandal (now known as “Champagnegate” on Twitter) was so painful to watch it gave me secondhand embarrassment, but cutting from a clip of champagne exploding in Kelsey’s face to her crying about how “over it” she was had me in a hysterical fit of laughter. That particular moment in the champagne scandal proved that the team behind “The Bachelor” loves milking the juicy drama that builds but is also self-aware enough to subtly poke fun at the cast sometimes. The fashion show in the second group date (or third, if you count the Hannah-Peter cryfest) was far more interesting than the aviation-themed obstacle course in the first, and this episode also featured more girls who have potential, like Lexi, Tammy, Alayah and Deandra.

Overall, this season is stacking up to be just as ridiculous and dramatic as the last, making for the perfect guilty-pleasure watch. While the first episode was a bit of a letdown, the second brought much more promise and my excitement for the season was reignited with the series preview that followed episode two. One of the most compelling reasons to watch Pilot Pete’s season is that Chris Harrison actually isn’t lying when he says that this is going to be the most dramatic season yet at present, virtually no one knows how it ends, and I’m not convinced episode two was the last we’ll see of Hannah B. While more spoilers may be revealed to us over the coming weeks, the current uncertainty revolving around Peter’s relationship status makes this season even more tempting.

Final rating: 3.25/5

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Haley Arnold

Haley Arnold

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