The Bachelor Episode 1 Recap: Making A Bachelor
The Bachelor Season 19 is the past. The Bachelor Season 21 is the future. But today is a gift. That’s why it’s called The Bachelor Season 20. Let’s get rolling.
To celebrate 20 goddamn seasons of The Bachelor, we get a very special gift this season: Ben Higgins.
Ben Higgins is perfect. Ben Higgins is the man. Ben Higgins is the platonic ideal of The Bachelor dreamed up in some disinfected lab in the hills of Southern California.
Ben Higgins is a studly 27-year-old from Warsaw, Indiana, making him singlehandedly the best thing to ever come out of North-Central Indiana. We’re introduced to Bachelor Ben’s hometown through a series of shots of him playing basketball in the sunset, like so many other natives of Warsaw, Indiana (including Rick Fox and the Plumlee brothers) must have feigned for producers long ago before him. Warsaw is also, coincidentally, the self-proclaimed Orthopaedic Capital of the World, so, you know, there’s that.
We learn that Ben cherishes small town values, which makes him a perfect contestant for a show that routinely involves drinking champagne in hot tubs and staging cat fights in gaudy Los Angeles hotels. We also learn that Ben felt rejected in Season 11 of The Bachelorette, admitting to “not feeling lovable” to a pair of grazing deer that the camera crew stumbles upon. Ben also briefly goes to visit with his parents at their massive lakefront house, because apparently they’re descendants of Warsaw’s famed railroad tycoons, who now proudly send their son off to bring back a suitable pride.
Now in L.A., Ben is forced to hang out with “three of America’s favorite bachelors” according to slimenugget Chris Harrison: Jason Mesnick (who proposed to a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, only to renege on that and marry the runner-up of his season), Sean Lowe (devout Christian, wife swapper, and Vlogger), and Chris Soules (everybody’s favorite farmhand/reality dance show contestant).
Despite the fact that Jason and Sean are the only two Bachelors to stay married to the people they proposed to,1 Ben still seems excited to possibliy “join the married Bachelor club,” not even realizing that the MBC currently couldn’t even play a 3-on-3 pickup game against Rick Fox and the Plumlee brothers. The Bachelor Bros shoot the shit about how to kiss a bunch of women and piss them all off, but Chris does stress the importance of making sure that Ben puts the girls’ relationship with the ABC family of networks first and foremost.
After that, it’s time to meet the ladies. Here are the contestants and their supposed occupations:
Amanda Stanton (Esthetician) — “Esthetician” isn’t a real thing. Say you’re a beautician. I shouldn’t need a dictionary to watch The Bachelor. Also, Amanda has two kids at home, which you can sure as hell bet is going to be milked by the producers.
Amber James (Bartender) — Amber’s a second-time contestant and a bartender in Kankakee, IL, which means she has definitely overserved a member of the single-A Kane County Cougars, hopefully.
Becca Tilley (Chiropractic Assistant) — This is huge, in part because Becca was already on an earlier season of The Bachelor, and also because she’s allegedly a virgin. Think that’ll be a plot point?
Caila Quinn (Software Sales Rep) — Okay, if you’ve lived and worked in Boston for five years, can’t you just say you’re from Boston? Do you have to list “Hudson, OH” as your hometown? Somebody needs to explain this to me.
The Ferguson Twins (Twins) — Not only does the mastermind Chris Harrison whip out twins for this season, their freaking occupation is listed as “twins.” Even if Emily and Haley are from Vegas, I’m pretty sure there’s no place in the world where that’s counted as an occupation. Never change, Bachelor.
Jami Latain (Bartender) — This show’s had so many bartenders on, they could probably open up a decidedly terrible bar on the Strip. Actually, that’s a great idea. We should do that, and film a reality show about it called, I don’t know, Loving Cup. Chris Harrison, that one was free.
Jennifer Saviano (Small Business Owner) — What small business??? Despite what a politician says on their stump speech, that’s not an actual description. Is she a startup CEO? A baker? A petty thief with a bakery as a front? Perhaps we’ll never know.
Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher (Real Estate Developer) — JoJo came out of the limo wearing a unicorn mask which, to be clear, is weird, but no weirder than what the other women will do to guarantee air time on national tv.
Jubilee Sharpe (Veteran) — Why not just call her a war hero? Jubilee is great — she smiles a lot, she seems genuine and nice, and she served two tours in Afghanistan. Because this is The Bachelor there’s no way she goes far, but let’s root for her while we can.
Lace Morris (Real Estate Agent) — Uh oh. Lace means business, and she knows what she’s doing too. Lace makes Ben close his eyes and then kisses him, which is exactly the kind of nonconsensual kink this show needs.
Lauren Bushnell (Flight Attendant) — There are too many goddamn Lauren’s on this show. At least she gave Ben his wings? Because every time Chris Harrison looks smug, an ex-football player attractive 27-year-old is handed wings.
Lauren Himle (Kindergarten Teacher) — Another cursed Lauren.
Leah Block (Event Planner) — She seems nice, but that might just be because I can’t keep all these women with L’s and B’s in their names straight.
Olivia Caridi (News Anchor) — Wooo boy. Apparently Olivia quit her job as a news anchor to appear on The Bachelor, because Ben Higgins is just too cayute to spend your early 20s wasting away in a news career, and we all know how easy jobs in journalism are to come by these days.
Rachel Tchen (Unemployed) — Rachel comes out of the limo on a hoverboard, because everybody else who rides them also doesn’t have a full-time job, because they’re fourteen.
Shushanna Mrktychyan (Mathematician) — Shushanna exclusively speaks Russian to Ben when she first meets him, which is a smart move because there’s no way he could understand a mathematician either.
Amanda “Mandi” Kramer (Dentist) — Mandi shows off just the kind of weirdness you need to get on The Bachelor, dressing up with a giant rose on her head and listing her hometown as Portland.
Jacqueline “Jackie” Dion (Gerontologist) — Also not a real profession. Although neither is “twins,” and at least Gerontologist sounds professional.
Samantha Passmore (Attorney) — We find out that Samantha passed the bar, which she somehow seems less excited about than the fact she’s on The Bachelor.
Lauren “LB” Barr (Fashion Buyer) — Another goddamn Lauren, although at least she’s honest about her job and doesn’t make up a fake science like “Fashioncommerciologist.”
Breanne Rice (Nutritional Therapist) — Breanne makes a first impression by slamming baguettes against the steps of the house, because gluten is the devil.
Isabel “Izzy” Goodkind (Graphic Designer) — Izzy comes out of the limo in a onesie, signifying the childlike state ABC expects these women to revert to.
Jessica Moser (Accountant) — She’s 23 and from Boca Raton. No way is she marrying an Indiana boy.
Laura Esselman (Account Executive) — Esselman tries to distinguish herself with her red hair (which, considering the show’s diversity problem, all but makes her a minority among the sea of blondes and brunettes), calling herself “Red Velvet” and all but begging us to ask whether or not the carpet matches the velvet drapes.
Lauren Russell (Math Teacher) — Too. Many. God. Damn. Laurens.
Maegan Miller (Cowgirl) — Not only is she a literal cowgirl, but she even brings a mini-pony into the house, which is of course subjected to catty remarks from the other women. Poor Lil Sebastian.
Tiara Soleim (Chicken Enthusiast) — A CHICKEN ENTHUSIAST. This show is amazing.
Back at the house, the women immediately begin cutting each other down with comments about each other’s physical appearance, while appraising their competition. Mandi gives Ben an oral exam (not as fun as it might sound), Olivia reveals her bullish opinion of her ability to get another job as a news anchor after this stint she pulled, and Caila and Ben talk software sales, because nothing gets the juices flowing like a nice, prolonged discussion of SaaS.
Lace, staking her claim as the perfect reality star, proceeds to pound about a gallon of red wine and toss slurred comments around at scattershot victims before interrupting Jubilee’s recounting of her time in Afghanistan with Ben, because honestly nobody cared about the war in Afghanistan. Ben tries to talk sensibly to Lace, but it proves difficult considering Lace’s eyes are non-consensually eye-fucking him throughout their whole conversation.
At the rose ceremony, Ben gives Olivia his first impression rose, which is almost as hard to come by as a good job in the journalism industry. Unfortunately, these women don’t receive a rose for the night, sending them home to a harsh, husband-less hell and chicken enthusiasm:
- Breanne Rice
- Izzy Goodkind
- Jessica Moser
- Laura Esselman
- Lauren Russell
- Maegan Miller
- Taira Soleim
At the conclusion of the episode, Lace confronts Ben about not looking at her during the rose ceremony (she got the last rose of the group), demonstrating that Lace is a force to behold in the household.
Better strap yourself tight, because this is going to be a wild and incredibly, ridiculously overdrawn season. Let’s do this thing.
Follow along with our weekly coverage of Season 20 of The Bachelor HERE.