On Tuesday night, The Bachelorette was blessed with one of its most eligible leads in history: Tayshia Adams. As a 29-year-old divorced woman, Tayshia brings the maturity and seriousness necessary for a reality show series starting to show its game show seams after the unpredictability of prior 2020 protagonists Peter Weber and Clare “Blew Up The Bachelorette” Crawley. But Tayshia is also playful and flirty, as seen by her instant chemistry with countless men now vying for her heart (“Sorry I’m a little hot,” she jokes about the effects of the Palm Springs heat seconds into meeting her contestants, “Well you guys are all hot, too.”). As a phlebotomist-turned-"beauty and lifestyle space” expert and shining Bachelor in Paradise alum, Tayshia even mixes real-world practicality with ready-for-the-spotlight sparkle.
This should be Tayshia’s time to enjoy the romantic perks of being the Bachelorette. But, following the hasty exist of Clare, Tayshia — an Afro-Latinx woman and the second-ever Black Bachelor National lead — has instead been tasked with healing the scars of Clare Cralwey. It's exhausting — and The Bachelorette isn’t helping.
Across social media right now, there are an overwhelming number of assertions Tayshia is here to “save” The Bachelorette. “Clare blew up the bachelor only for Tayshia to save it,” writes one person on Twitter. “I wanna hear the pep talk that Tayshia got from God before he sent her down to save America,” says another tweeter. Popular Bachelor Nation commentator Brett S. Vergara tweeted, “Tayshia coming in to save the season like #TheBachelorette,” pairing it with the heavily memed video of a determined Elizabeth Gillies gliding through the set of Dynasty; the tweet has almost 1,000 likes and 60 retweets.
Despite the expectations instantly put on Tayshia due to the romantic (and frankly understandable) antics of Clare, Tayshia herself never announces she wants to fix anything or save anyone. She simply wants to have a “bomb summer,” as she jokes during the beginning of her Night One, and the same freedom as every Bachelorette before her. “I want to find love — do you?,” she asks her contestants.
Still, a constant stream of men come to Tayshia to have her mend the emotional wounds of Clare. This is a predictable problem, since Tayshia is given 16 of Clare’s rejects and just four of her own fresh contestants. It is a problem no Bachelorette has ever faced before. Immediate front-runner Ivan Hall tells Tayshia the experience with Clare was “trending downward” and he was worried he was “about to go home.” According to editing, Blake Moynes opens up to Tayshia by complaining, “Oh my God, I feel like I went through the wringer the first like, eight, nine days,” and outlining his expectations for Clare. No one lays more at Tayshia’s feet than Jason Foster, who had the strongest connection to Clare out of the remaining men. As an introduction, Jason tells Tayshia all about his feelings for Clare.
Tayshia, a Black woman in a famously white space, has to smile and nod through all of these trying conversations. “I’m starting to actually make connections with these guys. And it was a fear of mine that I wasn’t going to,” she admits during a voiceover from what we can assume is a confessional. “I was scared that these guys could still be emotionally hung up on Clare.” Tayshia only admits her insecurity to someone else when Jason becomes a living embodiment of it by announcing his departure specifically because he is in love with Clare. “This makes me sad that it is exactly what I was fearing,” Tayshia says with deep emotion in her voice. While Jason assures Tayshia the 19 remaining guys are intensely excited to have her, it’s unlikely this one well-wish in a sea of Clare complaints totally absolves her anxiety.
At this point, it is unspoken that Tayshia may be worried that some men aren’t interested in her as a Black Latinx woman following a white (also Latinx) Bachelorette. As many conversations about modern love point out, Black women are often the victim of racist “desirability” assumptions on dating apps and beyond. Still, Tayshia is posed into the savior mold of her season.
Confusingly, just as viewers might be getting into Tayshia’s love story, The Bachelorette shoehorns Clare right back into the narrative. In between Tayshia’s Night One entrance and pair of inaugural dates, host Chris Harrison holds an in-depth 20-minute interview with Clare and her winner, Dale Moss. The segment includes several commercial breaks. We are forced to watch Clare and Dale respond to questions they have essentially already answered over the last week through Instagram live videos, social media posts, and Good Morning America appearances. The interlude does little to help push Tayshia’s already-hindered season along — it only curtails her momentum as the Bachelorette. If the series truly needed to grill Clare and Dale about their romance, their interview easily could have aired at the beginning of the episode — before Tayshia arrived on-screen — or at the end of the season.
Despite these obstacles, Tayshia soldiers on, giving viewers joyous Baywatch vibes during her first group date and a fearlessly honest initial one-on-one date with Massachusetts dreamboat Brendan Morais. In exchange, everyone should just let Tayshia enjoy her “bomb-ass summer.”