All Day, The Bachelorette -

‘The Bachelorette’ gets down to business and one thing is obvious: Dudes are trash

All Day, The Bachelorette -

‘The Bachelorette’ gets down to business and one thing is obvious: Dudes are trash

After a slightly bizarre first episode of The Bachelorette, the country sat down after dealing with their families to watch a bunch of dudes fight over a woman on national television. Nothing says America like a trashy dating show, and this week did not disappoint. We finally got down to the business of who these guys can really be.

The answer was simple: not much.

What’s clear from this season of the program is that the field of people who are willing/able to be a part of this show is dwindling rapidly and the show is suffering as a result. This week, we got to meet all the contestants in a different way. Now, when it comes to dating on television, there are a couple of ground rules. You’re either there to be on television or maybe to find someone you like and get a bunch of free dates out of it. Monday proved that when you go too far either way, problems ensue.

We started things in a fun, flirty, even if somewhat stupid manner. At a group date cookout, the guys were put through the ringer of “Husband Material” challenge. Change a diaper, put on a Babybjorn, vacuum. Clear a drain, set a table, race with a bouquet of flowers. Pretty simple. With a twist. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were there.

Newsflash: Bringing on an adorable couple to cheer on a Bachelorette looking for love, never mind a famous adorable couple who also ONCE PLAYED AN ADORABLE COUPLE ON TELEVISION THEMSELVES, is just a horrible idea. I spent the whole time thinking how great it would have been to watch a Bachelor/ette season with one of them being the target and another being the host. Everyone involved instantly looked like a huge loser.

Of course, to that point, Lucas, aka Whaboom, won the challenge, showing a surprising amount of gumption in his victory. Then it all came crashing down, sort of. You might remember Blake, the drummer wannabe who spent a lot of time talking about his member during his intro interview in the first episode. He dropped a bombshell by letting the audience know that not only did he strongly hate Lucas, but he also actually knew him in real life.

Mind you, this is where things have moved a little too far into the “this is real life” zone. Part of the fun of the program is suspending disbelief just enough to the point that you want to believe people sort of have their lives together enough to be there without having to *really* worry about what’s back home. But nope, Blake busted through that fantastical fourth wall, pointing out that he lives with Whaboom’s ex-girlfriend (sidebar: OK, that’s a little weird) and that his “act” is something he’s been on for a couple of years. As if he thought he was revealing deep dark government secrets, he boldly declares, “I know the real Lucas. Lucas is garbage. Rachel is looking a husband and Lucas is not here to find a wife. Lucas is here to be on television. The one person who could ruin this for him, is me, and I’m going to.”

You don’t say, old buddy. Most of us don’t actually have a problem with this. Some of us love it. Others among us might have immediately gone to his website and bought a tank top with his dumb catchphrase on it. And by “others among us,” I mean me, and by “might have,” I mean “definitely did.” It’s one thing to beef with a guy because you crossed paths with him in the house on some macho nonsense. It’s quite another to know that some low-rent ACTUAL soap opera between a couple of random Los Angeles losers is going down at home that we’ve all got to get dragged into. We don’t need to paint this far off the canvas.

After that all calms down, we get to see Rachel’s first one-on-one date. It’s with Peter, who in all of his gap-toothed glory appears to be a relatively likable person. One problem, he is once again upstaged. His date turns into a dog date, in which Rachel’s Copper, with his wounded leg, is the star of the show. They go to something called Barkfest, which genuinely appeared to be one of the most fun outings ever. But again, with her and her dog traipsing around and having fun, Peter appears to be completely superfluous, although nonproblematic. The dog should have its own show, obviously.

The second hour is where things went full haywire, making even a shameless trash television watcher like myself feel a tad slimy. After a rather informative basketball session with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, the NBA legend), real life collided with television in a way that did not help the show. DeMario, the suspected Kappa who made a lot of wild claims in the first episode, as it turns out is a fraud. Not in the sense that he’s lying about his job or station in life, but he’s basically got a girlfriend whom he ditched to be on the show.

Said woman confronted Rachel, text message receipts and all, detailing how he ghosted her to show up on television a few days later. She seemed rather happy about blowing things up, which she should have been. But it was a shame all this had to come at Rachel’s expense. She summarily dismissed him with an all-time classic line: “I’m really gonna need you to get the f— out.”

At this point, the dudes in the house get wind of DeMario’s shenanigans and the moral high-grounders step to the plate. It’s not the first time that someone’s ditched a maybe non-ex to take a chance at love on television, and it won’t be the last. Josiah, the lawyer, then proceeds to tell Rachel about how deeply offended he is that DeMario would try such a thing. Not for nothing, but dude, you’re trying to date on TV. The space is not sacrosanct, although yes, DeMario is a jerk for treating two women that way.

But once again, we were dragged into someone’s off-camera life in a way that only embarrasses everyone involved. To further double down on matters, DeMario pulls an all-time stupid move and shows back up to the mansion during the cocktail hour, looking to perhaps apologize to Rachel. She shows up out of curiosity, and the crowd of other guys still in the race gather around to watch the fireworks. The episode ends before we see the denouement, yada yada, cliffhanger.

Which points us back to the original point: We need more Rachel. For as much as we need to drive plot and fill airtime, that’s the whole point of having a Bachelorette whom people actually like. At this point, she’s become more of a prop than usual even for this show, which is saying a lot. Particularly because none of these guys has any remote standout qualities from a star or companion standpoint.

Next week, we’ll presumably get to watch some dude grovel for forgiveness and likely end up in a physical confrontation with a guy looking to show his loyalty to Rachel. It’ll be hilarious television, and we’ll likely all love it. But let’s not forget why we’re all here to begin with. More of Rachel makes the show better, and it’s time to get back to that.

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