What’s three hours long, full of bad sex jokes and impossibly beautiful people in sparkly gowns?
No, it’s not the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards. It’s the premiere of “The Bachelor,” which stretched itself to an ungodly length Monday night.
The pregame show lasted a full hour before we even arrived at the mansion, where Bachelor Colton Underwood, the first virgin Bachelor, would meet his 30 prospective suitors. Bachelor Nation alums Ashley Iaconetti and fiance Jared Haibon interviewed fans in Park City, Utah, who held signs proclaiming “Utah Loves Virgins” and gushed about how much they love former Bachelor Ben Higgins. (He’s not a virgin, but he is quite wholesome.) A couple at their party got engaged (stay tuned; they aren’t the only proposal this episode). In Dallas, former “Bachelor” contestant Alexis Waters and former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe joked about how dolphins are the only mammals (other than humans) that enjoy sex for pleasure (and of course made reference to Colton). Runners-up from Becca’s season, Blake Horstmann and Jason Tartick, chatted with superfans in Lansing, Mich., where, yes another couple got engaged. Is “The Bachelor” trying to up their ratio of successful engagements by roping in civilians to propose?
It sure seems that way.
Whatever ABC was going for with the breathless watch parties, it was far too much. Which brings us to ...
The worst moment:
Two hours and 26 minutes into “The Bachelor” premiere, host Chris Harrison brought Colton out onstage at the live premiere party in Los Angeles. “We’ve never done anything like this!” Harrison gushed.
The response from living rooms around the country: Please never do this again! Twitter agreed: There was really no reason for a “Bachelor” premiere to be three hours, especially when most of the time was taken up by those “viewing parties.”
The excruciating footage involved the Bachelor franchise alums chatting with fans: “A lot has been made of Colton’s virginity; I’m just glad that nobody’s talking about mine anymore. Do you guys think that it’s as big of a deal that people are making it out to be?” Ashley asked. (One fan, Melissa, responded that she “respected him more for it.”) Jared, meanwhile, threw all of his energy into being the TV host he has apparently always dreamed of being: “It’s night one, it’s limo night. Are you ready to meet Colton’s ladies?!” he bellowed at the crowd.
And oh boy, were there proposals. In Park City, a man named Alex popped the question to his girlfriend, Rachel, and said “The Bachelor” reminded him a lot of their relationship because it “started off so quickly.” At the viewing party in Lansing, a pregnant woman named Kimberly got engaged as her boyfriend got down on one knee with a Neil Lane diamond, ensuring that the show’s favorite jeweler is still around for another season.
“That is amazing. Blake and I are taking boyfriend notes,” Jason observed.
And in more time-wasting (but kind of adorable) footage, Chris Harrison’s mom in Dallas showed up to talk about what a nice young man he is. Good for him! But what’s going on? Is Chris winning a lifetime achievement award?
The weirdest moment: It’s not a limo episode without a wacky animal costume stunt (see also: Alexis Dolphin/Shark, Matt the Penguin and David Chicken Man). But this premiere might have raised the bar. Alex D. crept out of the limo in a furry, wild-eyed sloth suit, in the longest-running of all the over-the-top virginity gags on this entire show.
“IIIIIIII heeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrdddddd yyyoooooooouuuuuuu tttaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkeeeeeee thiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggggsssssss slllllooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwlllyyyyyyyyy,” she said, moving in a zoologically accurate pace for a real live sloth (one foot per minute, if you’re curious). It was so slow that the show actually cut to a commercial in the middle of her limo exit.
Which, to be honest, encapsulated this extremely plodding episode. Boy was it slow. According to World Animal Protection, “The facial structure of a sloth gives the appearance that it is constantly smiling — even if it is experiencing pain, stress or anxiety” — and that’s a pretty good description of what it feels like to watch “The Bachelor.”
The sloth suit stayed on at least halfway through the night.
“She’s in the damn tree!” one of the contestants shouted, at one point, and there she was, doing what sloths typically do. (According to National Geographic, “Dead sloths have been known to retain their grip and remain suspended from a branch,” which also feels like a metaphor for watching “The Bachelor” in 2019.)
“IIIII aaaaammmmmm sooooooo exxxccciiiiitttttteeeeeeddd toooooo taaaaaallllllkkkk wiiiiiiiiiith Cooooooollllllllltoooooooonnnnnn,” said Alex D.
Finally, it was time for the big reveal: She stepped out of her costume. “Oh, she’s got good hair,” said one girl.
“You stayed in character the whole time!” Colton said. “You nailed it.”
And then the sloth began to speak as a human. It was so fast, we could not even keep up.
These were some of the things she said: “I love cats, I love dogs, but I love all animals.” Okay.
Alex D. was not even the best animal on this episode — that honor goes to Lucy, the Pomeranian quickly abandoned by Mean Catherine, the season’s blond villain. (Lucy was probably the only girl on the show who did not fall in love at first sight with Colton.)
In the end, the sloth was not able to evade her natural predators: She did not get a rose, and she did not even get the dignity of an exit interview.
The best moment: As a first name, “Hannah” might be the new “Lauren”; there are two this season. And one of them has already captured Colton’s attention. “From the very beginning, she reminded me of home,” Colton says of Hannah G., the 23-year-old content creator, which translates to: I don’t have a real job, but I do have an Instagram account.
And she is already creating content on night one. Hannah G. gets the first-impression rose, which is the most reliable indicator that a contestant will go on to do well. The way Hannah G. snagged that rose was a little transparent — by confessing that she had some first-night jitters, which is one of the oldest tricks in the book: Be vulnerable, and the Bachelor will swoop in to soothe you. Sure enough, as soon as Hannah G. opened up about her nerves, Colton calmed her down by taking her hands and asking her to take three deep breaths together. The whole thing was a little put-on, but the chemistry between them seemed genuine.