31 divided by 1 = 1

31 males came on a journey for Clare’s heart. But she is already quite smitten with only one – hot, ex-footballer Dale [cue Luther Vandross The Rush]. He seems to be right there, too, as the chemistry between those two was totally off the chain.

And yet, the previews of coming attractions suggest that there may be future drama involving Dale and the guys. As always, be prepared for misdirection with Bachelor franchise previews. We also need to recognize Clare’s past on The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor Winter Games which resulted in three broken hearts and one broken engagement (Winter Games).

The evil genius producers spent a lot of time at the start of the show having Chris Harrison show us a new, improved Clare [cue Kristine W. Stronger and Helen Reddy I Am Woman] and, honestly, I’m low-key rooting for her. I’ve always wanted to like Clare and each season I try and then each season she gives her “He is THE ONE!” declaration only to end up with said multiple broken hearts. So when she breathlessly tells Chris that “at 39, you know these things”, Ima just gonna wait a minute before I trust the new-and-improved Clare’s judgement.

As always, getting through the first couple of episodes is something of a challenge with so many contestants. Chris Harrison was his usual overly dramatic self, talking about The Bachelorette and “this moment in history.” And if “journey” is – as it should be – your drinking game word, you had five belts in the first fifteen minutes of the show. Fortunately, the pace slowed down as a nip every three minutes for two hours would have been unsustainable. Also, “the right reasons” was first uttered 82 minutes into the show. Aren’t you glad I keep track of such things?

Among the memorable guys were the salmon-suited Eazy who’s a bit extra but entertaining (“I thought we were at a cocktail party to see Clare. Now it’s turning into a potluck.”). He probably won’t last long.

And you gotta love Straitjacket Guy who is a 2020 metaphor for all of us[1]. Had to admire his commitment to coming and staying in character.

There was also Boy Band Manager who is only memorable to me because, well, Boy Band Manager. I don’t even remember if he got a rose [cue Backstreet Boys Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely]. Not to mention the chef with all the tats who didn’t get a rose. I don’t even recall seeing him until he said his goodbyes.

As typical after the first episode, we are left with a number of vague previews most of which are sound and fury signifying nothing. Eventually seeing the actual reality of those previews are, of course, part of the delicious fun. Is Dale THE ONE?? Or is he The Villain? And what of Chris Harrison’s grave discussions with Clare about she’s blowing up the show? What other cool color suits does Eazy have?

I look forward to joining you in finding out the answer to these and other existential questions.

[1] Need to mention that My Daughter Diandra mentioned how Straitjacket is one of her favorite Alanis Morrissette songs.  

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