Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode One

Opera singer Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on Kaitlyn and Britt’s season premiere

Sharleen Joynt

Considering how cavalierly the show announced the “Double Bachelorette” concept in March, conveniently skimming over the details (and the debatably sexist undertones), they certainly weren’t afraid to flesh out the awkward logistics in all their glory last night. As Chris Harrison summed up with a completely straight face in the episode’s opening, “Will this be awkward and probably a little bit painful? Sure.” Let’s recap, shall we?

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(Photo: The Bachelorette/Facebook)

First, we were treated to a refresher re: the Bachelorettes in question. Except their segments weren’t in the slightest about who the girls are, but rather montages of their least flattering moments on Chris’s season. Seriously! Beyond hammering home the fact that the ladies are looking for love (I think we’ve gathered that), we mostly saw clips of Kaitlyn telling dirty jokes (even the funniest jokes aren’t funny when you rehash them to death) and removing her bikini bottoms to skinny dip. (Think I’m exaggerating? The adjectives used to describe Kaitlyn: Funny, Sexy, Sometimes Completely Inappropriate). In stark contrast, Britt was shown looking intense, like she had no sense of humour, and shedding lots of tears (hence Sincere, Emotional, Very Loving).

There’s presumably more to these women than the six to eight weeks they spent filming The Bachelor. What are their jobs or career aspirations? What do they do for fun? Where are they from and what were their upbringings like? Later in the episode we learn Kaitlyn has travelled a great deal and Britt has a sponsor child. Those details were completely glossed over yet strike me as a lot more revealing than close-ups of running mascara.

Related: Bachelorette—or Chris Harrison’s New Book? Take Our Quiz!

Naturally, upon their limousine exits, the men were made to physically approach their preferred woman first. Would it have been too humane to let the girls stand together, greet the men together, and save the individual conversations for their allotted chat time? Apparently yes. The Bachelorette couldn’t let its leads forget even for a second that they were competing against one another.

When it came time for Britt and Kaitlyn to get to know the guys, there was a palpable panic in the women’s eyes that made me want to jump into the television screen and hug them. Britt summed it up aptly (and hilariously) with, “I feel like I have to go in and, in 20 seconds, prove myself as wife material so that they put a rose in my box.”

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(Photo: The Bachelorette/Facebook)

I’ve always have a hard time seeing the appeal of the men on Night One. If they’re quiet and reasonable, they tend to not be given airtime. If they’re brash or arrogant, they get the wrong sort of airtime. That sweet spot in the middle is the guy who seems gentlemanly and normal but whom you still see a lot of, revealing a possible frontrunner (Brady, Shawn B, Tony). My personal first-impression standouts were Ben H., Ian and Chris. Low points went to Josh, who relied too heavily on the latter occupation in “Law Student/Exotic Dancer,” and Kupah, who openly admitted on national television that he’s looking for a trophy wife (yuck). Last but not least, Ryan McDill. (I can’t just say Ryan M; when your surname sounds like something you could order at McDonald’s, you’re on full-name terms.) There’s always that Night One drunkard we all love to hate: Chris’s Tara, Andi’s Craig, Juan Pablo’s Victoria… But imagine those two hours sans Ryan McDill and his mortifying shenanigans. Classier? Yes. More entertaining? No.

I’ll name my top four predictions when the big Bachelorette reveal has taken place. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recap!

For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays on City, with a special episode tonight (Tuesday, May 19).

Related: Ask Sharleen: Your Dating Conundrums, Solved!

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