Ready, set… Roll Tide! Less than three months after Hannah B. made a teary-eyed exit from Colton’s season of The Bachelor, she’s back at the mansion as the newly crowned Bachelorette — and judging from the collection of 30 (er, 29) men who will be vying for her heart, she’s gonna have a helluva time.
But first, before jumping ahead to the inevitable bro-fights, insecurities, and gossip that make every season premiere of The Bachelorette so delicious to watch, Chris Harrison wants it to be known that the Hannah B. we’ll be seeing this season is a different Hannah B. from the one we all got to know (while occasionally cringing) earlier this year.
For starters, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native is fine, totally, totally fine with being imperfect. She’s definitely not fretting over things like what to do with her hands, how she looks while she’s walking through a sunny field for B-roll, or how she’ll make a good impression on her suitors. No, the new Hannah B. is too busy embracing her newly discovered self-respect and chill to be worried about such things. Sort of. Well, she’s working on it.
“It’s really important for me to find a man who will love me for all for me,” she says in voiceover at one point. “Bless the man who’ll spend forever with me, because I’m so much to handle.”
It's a perfect segue into her chat with pals Demi and Katie, who are excited to root Hannah on in her quest for love. In fact, they’re so excited that they actually help their girl weed out some bad apples on night one (more on that later).
But what about the good apples? In classic Bachelorette form, we’re introduced to a handful of the men who’ll be vying for Hannah’s heart — including, but not limited to, a would-be dancer (or so he says as he sashays around an unfinished home), Tyler C.; one of two pilots, Peter; Mike with the huge smile (who gets brownie points for his use of the phrase, “I’m like Macaulay Culkin, home alone”); and Luke from Gainesville, who had an encounter with God while in the shower. I'm sure viewers at home liked that.
This season, we’re also getting more behind-the-scenes looks at the men as they ramp up for the show — a la Colton’s self-taped “confessionals" — which led to perhaps one of the realest lines on a first episode: “I may projectile vomit in front of millions of people.”
Fast-forwarding to the silliest part of any Bachelorette's big night: the long slog that is the limo entrances. In the history of Bachelor Nation, this limo night may have ranked squarely in the middle on the sliding scale of totally average to totally out there and head-scratchingly bizarre. No sloths, dolphins, or other animals made an appearance, though a good number of the men did manage to make an impression in the form of different modes of transportation: a tractor (Matt Donald), roller skates (Ryan, whose job description is “Roller Boy”), and perhaps most memorably, a box. Joe, whose chyron simply read “The Box King,” was *this* close to being this season’s answer to Grocery Store Joe, but he didn’t end up making the cut, or enough of an impression, to stick around. There was also, naturally, a fence jump — a forced reference to Hannah's ex, Colton Underwood. Sigh.
The real juicy part of the evening, instead, comes about when Hannah’s girl squad, aka Demi and Katie from Colton's season, roll up in a nondescript white van to help suss out the men for their gal. From within the van, they watch, riveted, as Hannah chats with one dude after another, looking for — drum roll — the man with the girlfriend.
And of course, that man turns out to be Scott, whose monotone rambling isn’t suspicious at all, nuh-uh, not one bit. “I’m here to find a life partner,” he says during his first moment with Hannah as she nods, smiles, and takes note of his feigned interest in interior decorating. Cue Chris Harrison, who bursts onto the scene to spice up the episode with a little not-at-all-staged (wink wink) drama. He whisks Hannah away to the unmarked white van, where Demi and Katie are waiting, ready to spill the tea.
“What do you think of Scott?” Demi asks pointedly. After Hannah hems and haws a bit about how “nice” (read: vanilla, plain) he is, Demi spills the beans. “He has a girlfriend,” she says. A shocked Hannah B.’s face falls, then sets itself again. She storms into the house to find Scott, and dude could not look guiltier if he were DeMario Jackson from Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette. Once the two are sitting down together outside, Hannah lays into him. And I mean, really lays into him.
“I knew you were nervous coming in today,” Hannah starts. “It might be because you have a girlfriend.”
“I don’t have a girlfriend,” Scott says oh-so convincingly. It turns out, he was dating someone up until a week before the limo night, and that woman is under the impression that he's down to get back together after the show. Also, Demi has the receipts. Definitely not a good move to lie to the Bachelorette on night one, dude.
After much bickering back and forth, including a moment in which Scott tries to turn the tables on Hannah and suggest that she's doing the same thing because... she was also dumped... three months ago... by the Bachelor (uh, not the same!), Hannah B. promptly kicks Scott out. “You are such a jerk,” she says. “And that is such shit. You know what? I’m done with this.” Then, like a stray dog held by the scruff of his neck, she shoos him out of the house as the guys watch.
Not to be cliche, but Scott’s loss is every other man’s gain: from there on out in the evening, the suitors take turns comforting Hannah and rebuilding her spirits, though no one does it better than born-again Luke P., who receives (unsurprisingly) the First Impression Rose and an A+ for his makeout talents. “Before I met Hannah, I knew there was something about her,” Luke says in voiceover as a blushing Hannah gathers her composure. Her post-makeout glow when they all reconvene in the living room makes it clear to the other guys that she thinks there’s something about Luke, too. He’ll definitely be one to watch as the season plays out.
At the first Rose Ceremony of the season, Hannah apologizes to the men she didn’t get a chance to chat with because that jerk Scott took up so much damn time with his girlfriend drama. (Personally, I think it's fine given that a lot of the men are sadly not all that memorable.) Of the 21 who are handed roses, however (Cam of freestyle rapping fame and Luke were already safe with their previously-given roses), perhaps the most memorable — and memeable — is the last called: John Paul Jones, whose obsession with flicking his hair and whose pre-rose ceremony temper tantrum didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter. Joe the Box King, Chasen the second pilot, and the nice math teacher guy are among the exiled Bachelors, sent out into the morning sun and into a series of chartered vans to the airport.
“Cheers to the start of this journey,” a very exhausted, very still-cheerful Hannah proclaims at the end of the night, toasting (properly) with her 23 remaining men. And you know what? I'm pretty exhausted already too.
Limo Entrances For
The Ages Your Snarky Tweets
1. In a moment so dramatic it apparently had to be divided in a pre- and post-commercial break mega segment, Hannah giggles to herself about the "big package" that's delivered to the front of the mansion. It turns out to be Joe "The Box King" making his grand entrance. He then proceeds to rack up the puns with "Hannah, this package isn't complete without you!"; "I just want you to know that you check all my boxes"; and "You're the total package." Ah yes, definitely worth a commercial break cliffhanger.
2. For his entrance, Grant, whose chyron simply lists him as "unemployed," chows down on a hot dog doused in what appears to be a pint of mustard while reciting series of condiment and barbeque puns that he clearly thinks is cute, but his open-mouthed chewing isn't quite as suave as Brad Pitt's charming and near-constant snacking in those Ocean's Eleven flicks. Sorry, Grant.
3. Back from a second round of rapping (the first was on After The Final Rose, when he first met Hannah), Cam proves himself to be quite the ham, dropping quote-worthy lines like "spittin' some bars like Willy Wonka" and "ABC: Always Be Cam." They're not... great. But who can blame him for going for round 2? When you've already got the Pre-Impression Rose, it's easy to get cocky, I mean, uh, comfortable.