On Monday night, two Jezebel staffers with varying degrees of encyclopedic knowledge about the modern Bachelor universe watched the premiere of Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor. The wine was poured, and the virgin jokes were flowing. This is their story.
Maria: Before we dive into last night’s 27-hour premiere, I think we should set the tone: Colton Underwood, the 26-year-old retired football player from Colorado, is looking for a wife after having his heart broken by Becca Kufrin on the last season of the Bachelorette and, most recently, by Tia Booth on Bachelor in Paradise. None of that really matters because he is a virgin, regardless of not being outwardly religious (other than having admitted to being raised Christian last night) and, somehow, not saving himself for marriage. All of the promotion for the season has been about his lack of boning experience whilst dousing him in a sexy, baptismal shower and the premiere obviously went hard (heh) with it. I know you were taking a drink every time someone alluded to his virginity, so I assume you’re dead and I’m talking to a ghost right now. I lost count at the 13th mention at minute 34. What did you think of the premiere?
Lisa: Yes, hello, here I am from beyond the grave! Thirty-four mentions last night, and I’m not sure I can play this game ever again. One of those women needs to sleep with Colton please, for my health.
I had extremely low expectations for the premiere, but it wasn’t actually that bad. That is, the 45 minutes of actual time we spent inside the mansion was semi-entertaining. I did not care for the 17 remaining hours watching the watch parties in the least interesting cities in America.
Maria: Right! Those viewing parties hosted by Bachelor alumni were weird and felt more like an “After the Final Rose” episode tactic to get people to watch post-reunion and not, like, a premiere? Didn’t help that my nemesis, Chris Harrison, was doing his classic “We’ve never done this before!” posturing. The cities selected were mostly Trump towns: Dallas (featuring Chris Harrison’s adorable mom Mary Beth); Park City, Utah; Lansing, Michigan; and, I guess, the welcomed exception of a random hot tub somewhere in California with Krystal and Goose. I’m poking fun now, but if there was a New York one and had we known about it, I would’ve suggested we attend.
After about an hour of watching people question Colton’s virginity, we met the 30 contestants. What did you think? I have a few theories...
Lisa: I’m already planning our New York watch party for the finale, so don’t worry. The TWO separate couples who got engaged at their watch parties last night are not invited.
The contestants are a mixed bag, for sure. A lot of them looked like blonde clones to me, so forgive me if I can’t tell most of them apart for the first three weeks. Demi, aka Hotdogger, hasn’t “dated a virgin since [she] was 12" and frankly, scares me. Cassie was cute, but her box of butterflies gave me PTSD from Asia O’Hara’s Drag Race butterfly disaster. One of my favorite parts of the night was watching Colton get anxious whenever one of the women introduced herself in a foreign language, which also explains why he fell for Bri’s god-awful fake Australian accent.
Maria: I respect Bri’s fake accent because Australian accents are hard to do—I recently watched an interview with Natalie Portman and she was like “Aussie accents are impossible, ‘No’ is actually a five-syllable word in Australia. Norr-rrr-rrrr-rrr-rrr.” She’s not wrong! It’s cursed island prison talk!
Cassie’s butterfly box seemed really virginal to me, and also kind of self-infantilizing, so I was sure she was Colton’s type and was going to score the first impression rose. Imagine my surprise when he gave it to ONE OF THE MULTIPLE HANNAHS, a 23-year-old “content creator,” which I assume means Instagram Thot. Their kiss was wack. She didn’t want to smooch back. Like you said in group chat last night, she’s in it for the Fit Tea deal and then she’s outta there.
There were also a number of sexually inexperienced women contestants on the show this year, and part of me wonders if it’s some weird backlash to more open sexuality in other pop culture mediums. I saw people on Twitter arguing the same. Like, I think she’s a fraud, but did the Bachelor producers really go digging to find someone who is not only a virgin, but also claims to have never been kissed (Heather) and the other blonde who said something like, “I’ve only kissed four guys that were not my boyfriend”?
Lisa: Hannah was cute, too. I’m pretty sure she was the one who asked Colton whether he got more nervous playing pro-football or being on The Bachelorette, and he told her they were basically the same thing. I guess it’s true that neither Colton nor the NFL want you on your knees right now.
All the women were either dramatically pure (a literal Cinderella in a horse and carriage) or the polar opposite and probably keep a tally of their sexual conquests etched into their bedpost. But they’re all hot for Colton and make it clear they want to “pop his cherry” or “rub oil on his body.” The horniness was cringeworthy by the time they got to talk to Colton, presumably amplified by sitting around for hours getting wine-drunk waiting for their turn. We’ve all been there.
Speaking of waiting your turn, what do you think of Catherine? She brought her dog (who she referred to as her “daughter” but then abandoned and left her with Chris Harrison for the rest of the night) and then stole Colton four times before the rose ceremony.
Maria: Poor Lucy, the 10-year-old Pomeranian, my favorite contestant and perhaps the first to ever get ditched before even entering the mansion. I appreciate Catherine fully embracing the villain role, though she gives me a real Krystal-from-Arie’s season-vibe: I think she doesn’t speak in her natural tone and wants to come across as hella calm and agreeable even though she’s being straight-up rude. I’ve never seen someone so brazenly steal time from other ladies; it was as impressive as it was horrifying. It was clear Colton was getting annoyed, too, announcing it each time she interrupted: “Third time’s the charm!” “Fourth time’s the charm?”
I also think he’s afraid of her, I mean, he touched her knee in the most uncomfortable way. It brought me back to middle school, which may be the theme of the season. However! There was not a single doubt in my mind he would award her the final rose because, hello, the major dramatic arc of the season can’t be between the two Miss USA contestants: Miss North Carolina (Caelynn) and Miss Alabama (Hannah B.).
Which reminds me, we gotta talk about the women he actually kissed: Miss North Carolina, who exited the limo in her pageant sash and spun it around to read “MISS UNDERWOOD” (Not even “MRS.” I guess he doesn’t care much for grammar!); and Katie, who I actually genuinely like so, naturally, I have nothing funny to say about her. And oh god, how have we not talked about the Sloth yet?
Lisa: It’s so funny to me that they will all talk for hours on end about his virginity, but having a sash that says “MRS.” would be too forward. Gotta play it cool, ladies!
LONG LIVE THE SLOTH! Except not really, because Colton obviously has no taste and let her go at the first rose ceremony. R.I.P to the most interesting contestant this season, you were too good for this franchise, even if you were a discount version of Alexis’s dolphin-shark from Nick’s season. My favorite part about Sloth Alex was how hung up Tahzjuan was on what the sloth and Colton’s future grandchildren would think of their grandma’s antics. I say power to you, Grandma! Unfortunately, by the time the sloth was unmasked after an impressive amount of time spent in costume and in character climbing on the mansion trees, she was very drunk and likely on the verge of heatstroke, so she really couldn’t hold a conversation. She just needed more time. Tahzjuan was also eliminated, presumably for not minding her own business and being afraid to let her inner freak out.
The rest of the women he let go didn’t make much of an impression on me. What did you think?
Maria: I was bummed to see Revian go, but I guess Colton was too intimidated by her bilingual abilities (she spoke Mandarin to him). I did actually like the Sloth, mostly because she committed to the bit even when it was going on for way too long, and who doesn’t love a drunk-on-night-one bich?
I was surprised Colton kept McNutt because the first question she asked him when she finally scored some one-on-one time was not delicate: “Why are you a virgin?” He replied, “For me growing up it was conscious decision then I started diving deep into my professional career and my personal career took a backseat... it’s not like I’m waiting for marriage. I’m waiting for the right person.” Which I get, but my theory is that his virginity was a religious thing (recalling his Christian, conservative upbringing) that became a business thing. And if he’s anything like my Christian high school boyfriend, he’s definitely received a few hundred blow jobs before. Whether he’s gone down on a woman has yet to be decided.
I’m not even sure who else was eliminated, because I think I blacked out when they cut to a Chris Harrison tribute video. If he’s not dying or retiring, I don’t understand the point—is anyone truly endeared to the host?
Lisa: I would bet money that Colton has spent a lot more time receiving than giving in his limited sexual experience. My guess is that any woman who makes it to fantasy suites has her work cut out for her.
The Chris Harrison tribute was certainly bizarre. We’ve seen him less and less each season, so I think it was just to remind us that he still exists. It also felt like one of many last-ditch efforts to try and convince us that The Bachelor franchise, which is no stranger to Bad Men, has a few good eggs left — especially the clip in that montage of him confronting the former contestant who had a secret relationship with a crew member. The series has sparked a few sexual misconduct scandals, but remember, Colton is a virgin, and Chris Harrison is a sentient boyfriend pillow so there’s nothing to see here!
For now, I’m actually looking forward to the rest of the season? From the preview at the end of the episode, it’s clear that they’ll keep playing up the sexual tension while Colton takes a steamy shower roughly every five seconds. (A fun way to remind viewers that Colton is sexy, but oh so pure and squeaky clean.) Maybe the showers are my new drinking game.
Maria: I love the shower motif; it’s such a ’90s boy band move, which is also sexy and inherently sexless. There’s probably an entire thinkpiece in there somewhere, but for now, I’ll just say... Until next week, Bachelor Nation!