After a seemingly endless three-hour premiere last week, “The Bachelor” was back in fine form for the second episode of Season 23. A sassy interior designer who emerges as the villain? Check. An uncomfortable hot tub scene? Of course. Early feuds between contestants? Obviously!
Here were the best, worst and weirdest moments, which happened in between a few hundred more reminders that Colton is a virgin:
It should go without saying that the best moment of “The Bachelor” this week belongs, unequivocally, to Megan Mullally’s pantsuit. A standout sartorial moment in what was otherwise a sea of Day 2 Coachella brunch attire.
Just behind her pantsuit, Mullally, Nick Offerman and Billy Eichner came in a close three-way tie for the second-best moment of tonight’s episode.
Mullally and Offerman, an incredibly hilarious couple who have been married since 2003 and recently co-authored “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History,” led the women through a storytelling exercise during which they told stories about their own “first” experiences. We saw Hannah G., the content creator, struggling to create content. But for the most part, this was actually one of the better challenges we’ve seen in recent seasons — what should be the women’s most scripted moments turn out more authentically natural than expected.
Eichner’s best moments came from his own quippy one-liners, peppered over scenes of the women competing in summer camp style contests. “Fine, you get an award!” Eichner yelled in what can only be described a Billy Eichner-esque yell, after Colton said, for the millionth (I’m rounding here) time that he plans on “giving” his virginity to a woman he loves.
A few other Eichner-shouted honorable mentions:
“The last time I was around this many virgins, well, I was on ‘The View!’ ”
“I’m gay . . . and that I think you should look into.” (This left Colton truly speechless, although that doesn’t seem like too great a feat.)
“It’s like Colton trying to find a vagina. . . . It hasn’t happened yet!”
“I’m sorry, I wanted to guest star on ‘The Goldbergs,’ and I got this.”
And we got one more Mullally-Offerman scene before the episode ended: “It’s nice to be here at the beginning before you’re a complete basket case,” Mullally deadpanned to Colton.
“But it’ll all be worth it,” he replied.
Mullally stopped just short of rolling her eyes and laughing. “Totally, of course.” (We’re right there with you, Megan.)
Things started innocently when Colton chose 23-year-old Hannah B. (also known as Miss Alabama 2018) for the season’s first one-on-one date, which included “Bachelor” staples: A drive in an absurd-looking car, a horseback ride, and a sit-down on a couch (followed by a dip in a hot tub) in the middle of the desert.
At first, it looked like it would be a complete disaster when the date was filled with painfully awkward silences. And nothing compared with the cringeworthy moment when Colton gave a champagne toast, and then encouraged Hannah to give a toast of her own, because it was her birthday. We’ll just transcribe the moment, which rang oddly similar to Miss Teen South Carolina’s infamous pageant answer about “the Iraq.”
Colton: (Raises glass) “To being open, to being honest, to being true to who we are, and to challenging each other throughout this journey.”
Hannah: “That was good. But I feel like you took mine. . . . Dang it. I really feel like you took my words. I wish you would have let me go first. Um. (Really long pause, then laughter) I can’t do this! Okay. Like, how do I start it? What do you say?”
Colton: “You say, “Let’s make a toast to . . .'”
Hannah: “Let’s make a toast to. . . .' Okay! And I’ll put a bunch of words that sound good, that are real, that are real, real words. Okay. (More laughter) Okay. Let’s make a toast to — first, it’s my birthday, so to this amazing day. And, um . . . yeah. Roll tide."
Yikes! “I feel like, so far, this date hasn’t gone like I was expecting it to be,” Colton later acknowledged.
Luckily, that was the low point. During their romantic dinner, after hearing once again about why Colton decided to remain a virgin, Hannah shared her own story about a previous relationship: She wanted to wait until marriage to have sex, but that didn’t work out, and now she feels a tremendous amount of guilt.
Colton urged her not to feel the pressure to feel perfect because of choices she made — plus, he loved that she was able to express her feelings. “This is the Hannah that I want to see every single day,” he declared. He offered her the date rose. She accepted. And then they made out.
The early episodes of “The Bachelor” are always rife with infighting as the season works out who will be its sweethearts and who will be its villains. Because women who have watched the show before know that the latter is an easy ticket to “Bachelor in Paradise,” they’re eager to take on the role at any cost.
Nevertheless, this episode brought us some pretty bizarre and petty arguments. The main rift was between Demi and Tracy, which was first hinted at during the group date challenge where contestants talked about their “firsts.” Tracy, 31, told a rambling tale about her first time dating a virgin — not Colton! — and how it ended with a sorority sister punching her in the face.
“I think that it is a cautionary tale for the other ladies in the house,” said Offerman, spoken like a true “Bachelor” fan.
Demi used her speech to aggressively kiss Colton in front of everyone — which, had the gender roles been reversed, would have raised many, many eyebrows. Then Demi went on to commit a cardinal sin during the group date: She touched the rose.
Like the sorority girl who once fought her for a virgin, Tracy found her role reversed: She was older, wiser, and a Protector of the Rose. Perhaps she had confused the show with another rose-themed romance, “Beauty and the Beast,” where the object is enchanted and forbidden to the beautiful woman who would one day become a bride (the Beast was probably a virgin, too).
Anyway. “To even touch it is rude to everyone,” Tracy said. “I feel like she’s here to date a guy and the majority of the rest of us are here to fall in love with someone.” Probably! She confronted Demi, and a feud was born, and then amplified when Tracy was later interrupted by a bathrobe-wearing Demi, who led Colton upstairs telling him she wanted to show him her “fantasy closet.” Which, incidentally, was another thing from “Beauty and the Beast."
“Does she not have parents?” one girl remarked, and, well, you might remember from last week that Demi’s mother is in prison.
As the night went on, desperate ploys for attention moved on to air horns, and literally banging a pot in someone’s face, and numerous inappropriate uses of the word “cougar” used to describe women who are younger than 32. Demi pretended to make up with a crying Tracy in what appeared to be a utility closet, telling her, “You are one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met . . . you’re an amazing storyteller and he’s going to love your story.” They both got a rose, setting them up for an inevitable two-on-one elimination date in a future episode.