The Bachelorette Recap: "802"
Introductions have been made, the bachelor with six children has been eliminated, and Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette is officially underway.
Much to the chagrin of every other man in the mansion, Ryan, an extremely muscular sports trainer, receives the first “one-on-one” date with Emily. As host Chris Harrison explains to those unfamiliar with the show, contestants either have the honor of going on these one-on-one dates with their Bachelor or Bachelorette or are relegated to “group” dates, in which they must vigorously compete for the attention of their love interest. Each episode features two one-on-one dates and one group date.
While the other bachelors whine about not getting sufficient alone time with Emily, Ryan revels in his own good fortune. Alluding to his athletic profession, he proclaims, “I don’t go into a ball game ready to lose.” Though his passion is admirable, hopefully he will not insist upon using sports metaphors all season long.
On the first one-on-one date of the season, Emily and Ryan unload groceries, bake chocolate chip cookies for Emily’s daughter Ricki, and go to a fancy dinner in Charlotte. Unsurprisingly, this does not make for extremely captivating television, although Emily’s decision to let her able-bodied breed of suitors do the literal heavy lifting in their relationship is amusing.
Fortunately, their dinner provides more insight into their chemistry. After Ryan proclaims his affinity for the “chase,” or the pursuit of girls, his excessive emphasis on Emily’s external beauty and his love for those sports metaphors reveal his desire to win, but not necessarily a desire to win Emily. The uber-masculine Ryan seems to be craving competition, not true long-term connection. Although Emily expresses this concern, Ryan’s flattery eases her mind, and she offers him a rose that ensures his safety until next week at the end of the night. She says that the date was “perfect,” similar to her dates with Brad Womack, the season 15 Bachelor who originally proposed to her. Indeed, Ryan does seem comparable to Brad – but only in his phoniness. After the rendezvous with Ryan wraps up, it is time for the next day’s dreaded “group date” with 13 bachelors. Emily meets the men at a venue in North Carolina and announces that they will be putting on a Muppets-themed variety show to raise money for a children’s hospital in the area. While Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog are cute at first glance, the episode dramatically overuses them at the expense of potentially interesting conversations between Emily and the members of her male harem. Miss Piggy’s “jealousy” over Emily gets old very quickly, and despite the fact that Emily has a six-year-old daughter, the Muppets seem misplaced in a show so focused on finding romance between adults.
Indeed, the only bachelor who gets any substantial screen time on the afternoon segment of the group date is Charlie, who is rapt with anxiety about performing stand-up comedy in front of an audience in the wake of his mentally debilitating fall off a 15-foot balcony. Charlie voices these sentiments to Emily, who kindly obliges his request to be transferred from the comedy group to the “Rainbow Connection” singing group. Although Charlie’s stage fright is odd considering that he is performing in a childish-by-nature Muppet show, his dedication to his task is strangely admirable, and Emily’s warm compassion for him endears her to the viewer.
After the show is over and the Muppets have thankfully gone to bed, Emily gets a chance to talk to the bachelors on the date. A strange-looking contestant named Chris makes himself sound like a serial killer when he gravely declares that he will be “very disappointed” if he does not get the date’s sole rose. In a metaphorical tug-of-war that seems more childish than the Muppets, “luxury brand contestant”/token Bachelorette villain, Kalon abruptly interrupts Stevie’s time with Emily, and then biology teacher Aaron even more rudely interrupts Kalon’s conversation with her. Kalon and Stevie then engage in a war of words in which Stevie eloquently proclaims, “I don’t like you,” to which Kalon responds, “If I were you, I wouldn’t like me either. I’d much rather be me.”
While the men bicker, Jef, the skateboard-riding CEO of an environmental water bottle company, has a genuinely sweet conversation with Emily and nets himself the group date rose for the evening.
The final one-on-one date goes to Joe, a man who bears a striking resemblance to a less attractive Matthew McCounaghey. Unfortunately, the McCounaghey similarity is the only thing truly memorable about him. While he seems kind, he does not seem particularly interested in marriage or children. A tearful Emily sends him home without a rose despite feeling guilty about dismissing someone who, as she puts it, was “soooo nice.”
The final cocktail party before the rose ceremony does not provide any major revelations. Emily has an enjoyable conversation with frontrunner Arie, a racecar driver, and continues to be taken with Kalon, who acts much more favorably around her than he does around the boys. The most outrageous moment of the night comes when Ryan, who has already received a rose and is safe from elimination, reads an eight-page love letter to Emily – in front of Tony, another contestant! Unfortunately for the pen-happy sports trainer, Emily does not seem too impressed with his gutsy move.
When the final rose ceremony rolls around, it does not feature any huge surprises either. Aaron, the biology teacher who “stole” time from Kalon, and Kyle, who made a horrendous joke during his standup comedy segment in the Muppet show, both go home. Since neither contestant received much screen time, neither loss felt particularly painful.
Overall, the second episode of the Bachelorette felt average for the show. Aside from Joe’s early departure and the shockingly pervasive presence of the Muppets, who took up at least half an hour of the two-hour installment, nothing was too surprising. The most exciting moment of the episode comes in the preview for next week’s show, which shows dreamy country crooner Luke Bryan belting out one of his hits as possible serial killer Chris holds Emily captive in a dance. Until then, however, Ryan’s excruciatingly long love letter and Stevie and Kalon’s immature verbal sparring will have to appease this Bachelorette’s loyal band of followers.
Reach reporter Lindsay Dale here.