Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor Premiere!

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s premiere of The Bachelor

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! It’s nice to be back here at FLARE voicing my ever-important opinions about the ever-important television show, The Bachelor. This being a new year full of new possibilities, it seems apt to kick things off right out of the gate with a season UNLIKE ANY OTHER. Chris Harrison himself described this episode as “unprecedented,” you guys!

Truthfully, though, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out exactly which grounds this episode broke. Yes, there’s the obvious fact that, for The First Time In Bachelor History, a black girl received the First Impression Rose. Of course, that’s undeniably fantastic considering this show’s history of under-representing folks of colour. However, to sell Rachel’s FIR as something revolutionary—and yes, calling the premiere “unprecedented” is indeed selling it as revolutionary—is a mistake. Remember with Bachelorette Canada, when I marveled at how Mikhel, an Indian man, made it to the final 2—yet there was not one mention anywhere of it being groundbreaking? That fact alone shows how advanced Canada is in the race department; the country pretty much collectively shrugged, “An Indian guy made Final 2? NBD.”

Sharleen Joynt

Nick with one of our faves out of the gate, Rachel—the lawyer who “cools down” at the end of the day by vacuuming (Photograph: Courtesy Omni)

The bigger a deal is made out of Rachel being the first black girl to get the First Impression Rose, the more shocking it’s made to sound, as though every black contestant from seasons past were solely there to fill some quota rather than as legitimate contenders. My point is, OF COURSE Rachel got that rose. She’s gorgeous, very bright, accomplished and elegant. We didn’t hear Rachel herself refer to this moment as revolutionary; she accepted the rose with grace and, frankly, not nearly the surprise people seemed to express on Twitter. To bring so much attention to the fact that Rachel is black makes this about something other than the fact that there’s a real connection between her and Nick, and also the fact that she’s every bit as lovely and accomplished and deserving as—if not more than—the next girl.

So let’s assume the adjective “unprecedented” did not refer to Rachel’s FIR but rather to the episode as a whole. I mean, I found the episode pleasant. I liked most, if not all of the ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed Nick’s near-chronic stoicism and how the fact that he’s seemingly impossible to surprise adds a new dimension of analysis. We were conspicuously missing the token drunk, which spoke to the girls’ smarts and self control. We had Alexis’ “dolphin” costume, but as I said in my Facebook Live video, even that didn’t feel dramatic; if anything, she was fully clued into the role she was playing and in no way made a fool of herself. (In fact, girls said they wanted to be her friend!) The whole shebang felt, well, amicable. There were no ladies-as-butts-of-jokes, no deep-rooted insecurities on full display, no horrifically cringe-worthy and/or regret-worthy cries for attention. So, in a sense, yes, this premiere was quietly revolutionary, just not in the way I think Chris Harrison meant.

Sharleen Joynt

Nick with Canadian hopeful—and total cool girl—Vanessa (Photograph: Courtesy Omni)

My predictions for Top 4? Drumroll, please…

1. Rachel, 31: Shocking, I know. What else is there to say about Rachel that I haven’t already said? She’s the total package—confident beauty, career woman, girl you’d want to be friends with—and that was not lost on Nick (I’ve always respected this man’s taste in women). And from an analysis standpoint, she had a Hometown Package, plenty of airtime, and already has the coveted FIR on her resume; Rachel goes very far.

2. Vanessa, 29: I really like Vanessa. Vanessa oozes class, wordliness and effortlessness. I love that she’s trilingual yet didn’t even need to lead with that; it sort of came out just because she mentioned her family’s Italian. Her Hometown Package, many of which often seem hokey, was instead moving and inspiring thanks to her commendable career. She seemed to breeze through Night One, an evening that often has many in a state of insecurity and stress. I also noticed how natural she was—she wasn’t caked with makeup—which also speaks to her elegance. Have I mentioned I like Vanessa? Oh, and don’t forget the fact that her full limo exit and 1-on-1 conversation were also shown, and that upon meeting her, Nick called her “a keeper.”

3: Danielle M, 31: There’s a quiet confidence and gentleness to Danielle M that makes her very intriguing. I still need to do more research on her, but I truly believe one’s choice of dress says a lot about a person and I LOVED hers; it was sophisticated simplicity. Her at-work segment was adorable and I loved how much her work clearly means to her. On the scoreboard, Danielle M’s full limo exit and 1-on-1 time were shown, and she too had a Hometown Package. Danielle M’s a bit of a dark horse next to the above two but I suspect she’ll stick around for awhile.

4. Danielle L, 27: Danielle L is beautiful and I can see her being very much Nick’s type. In fact, he seemed almost speechless upon meeting her. But, when I said above that one’s choice of dress says a lot about a person… Don’t get me wrong, Danielle L’s dress looked fabulous on her, but it was not subtle. In fact, it was so unsubtle that it made me sort of furrow my brow every time she was onscreen. Nonetheless, Danielle L is plenty likable and accomplished and has “frontrunner material” written all over her. Analysis-wise, while Danielle L didn’t get quite the airtime as the above ladies (her full 1-on-1 time wasn’t shown), she did have a Hometown Package and got the coveted first-out-of-the-limo spot—last season, that girl was eventual winner Lauren B.

For more from Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.Then come back to FLARE.com every Tuesday for a fresh recap!

Tune into The Bachelor Mondays on Omni at 8:00 EST/PST—and catch up on past episodes at www.omnitv.ca/the-bachelor.

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