‘The Bachelorette’ Premiere: JoJo Meets Her Men

Break out that bottle of rosé — “The Bachelorette” is back!

This season’s victim, er…star, is Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher, a Dallas, Texas real estate broker, who was runner up on Season 20 of “The Bachelor” with Ben Higgins. Last time we checked in with JoJo, she heard these words courtesy of Higgins: “I didn’t know if I could find love. I found it with you…but I found it with someone else more.” Tough break for JoJo, but great move on ABC’s part to bottle up all of America’s sympathy and cast her as the next “Bachelorette.”

Between the “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette,” it’s hard to say which format is more consistent. While the “Housewives” franchise has taught us that a bunch of women in fancy dresses with too much alcohol makes for great television, the sheer unrealistic premise of trapping a group of hetero men in a house to compete for the same woman, hang out and have conversations with each other is just cringe-y enough to even things out. With that said, let’s dive into JoJo’s man-cave mansion a.k.a. Season 12 of “The Bachelorette.”

Come Back, Kaitlyn

JoJo is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime to find love (or date 25 guys, pick one, dump him in a few months and start a lifestyle blog). But before she starts, she needs advice from past Bachelorettes — you know, people who have been there. Enter: Kaitlyn (season 11), Des (season 9) and Ali (season 6).

Biggest takeaway: remember Kaitlyn? She was really fun. Or maybe it was just the the fact that she has any semblance of a personality — the caveat being that the show in no way requires the Bachelorette/Bachelor to be interesting in order for the season to be successful. Case and point: Farmer Chris Soules (“Bachelor” season 19).

Still, Kaitlyn was a real gem. Remember how 19 Bachelors and 10 Bachelorettes pretended like sex doesn’t exist, and she forced the show to address it? JoJo has a lot to live up to, but judging by this season’s cast of meat-heads-called-suitable-contestants, she really won’t have to work too hard to keep things interesting.

First Impressions

During this first round of impressions, it’s always a fun challenge to try and figure out how much of the bros’ ridiculousness is authentic and how much is initiated by producers, taking advantage of their simple minds.

Daniel’s entrance, for example feels sadly real. He opens by quoting the classic meme, “Damn Daniel” (it’s from February, but that’s old-school in Internet time). “Damn, JoJo. Back at it again,” Daniel says. (For the unaware, “Damn Daniel,” is a strange video that circulated the Internet. Someone named Daniel walks around while his friend, behind the camera, says “Damn, Daniel. Back at it again with the white Vans.”) Remember this — we’ll come back to this.

More highlights include Jonathan, who wears a kilt and tells us that he’s half Chinese, half Scottish (but Scottish below the waist), and JoJo is maybe actually legitimately confused about what he means by this.

One man who is so nondescript that it’s not even worth learning his name, gives her a heart-shaped pillow and tells her he wants to be her “man crush Monday.” We see you trying to trend. Points for Internet savvy; minus points for being terribly boring otherwise.

Wells arrives with an a capella group called “All-4-One” which we could be lead to believe is a coincidence and not a blatant marketing push, until one of the men in the house describes them as “a well-known a cappella group.” Later, Wells exclaims that he feels like he’s cheating by having “an amazing band like All-4-One” with him. Hopefully they got their money’s worth.

Finally, mansplaining Luke rides in on a unicorn. “It’s a unicorn!” JoJo exclaims. “Not a real one,” Luke mansplains.

JoJo on Fire

“I’m really nervous, but excited” has become the de facto way for everyone on this show to describe how they feeling. This season, guys are especially the former, which worries JoJo for good reason. They should probably not be this scared to talk to her. Hopefully the jitters have more to do with having cameras pointed at them than simply never having seen a woman as beautiful as JoJo. Anyway, there’s a lot of alcohol sitting around, so what better way to combat nervousness than throwing back some champagne? (It’s the beverage of choice because this is “The Bachelorette,” and we pretend to keep it classy here…)

Dammit, Daniel

…Which is where we find Daniel — completely shlammered, and desperate to make an impression.

Sitting one-on-one with JoJo, Daniel uses his precious time to…try to make a move? No. Reveal a sympathetic backstory? Still, no. Try to explain the “Damn, Daniel” meme he quoted while exiting the limo? No. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t! Oh, but he did.

“Did you understand the joke?” Daniel asks. JoJo says she didn’t. Strike one. “Have you been following the Internet for the last couple months?” Daniel asks the obvious follow-up. JoJo says not really. Strike two. Daniel starts trying to explain that he was quoting a popular meme and JoJo gets confused, thinks that the meme is about JoJo, which gets her excited. But, nope, the meme is about Daniel, Daniel explains. JoJo is baffled. We’re all at least a little confused. Strike three, Daniel’s out.

But not before he gets totally wasted and takes off his clothes. The drunkie half-belly flops into the pool in just his skimpies. Everyone is embarrassed — but none so much as Daniel’s mom when she gets together with all her gal pals on Monday for a watch party.

Brother Rogers

JoJo doesn’t say it, but out of the group of 25 men, it seems like maybe four would even have a shot (in our opinion, at the very least). One of those is Green Bay Packers quarterback‘s brother, Jordan Rodgers, who apparently played in the NFL, just like his brother, Aaron, except he’s way less famous.

Brother Rogers gets the first kiss — well, technically Will gets the first kiss (Who? Exactly.), but that was a pretty one-sided affair — and then he sweeps JoJo off her feet with his…butt. Yes, JoJo is definitely a booty girl. She comments on the guys’ derrieres multiple times in the premiere episode. (For what it’s worth, we’d like to request a full backside power ranking by episode three, JoJo.)

For now, Rogers gets the first impression rose, and takes the lead.

Rose Ceremony

It’s almost time for the first rose ceremony of the season where JoJo will say goodbye to a few guys whose names we will never know, but first, someone pays a special visit. Another contestant arriving to shake things up? Former “Bachelor” Jake Pavelka, thirsty for some screen time. Apparently he and JoJo are really close.

>At the rose ceremony, the men JoJo eliminates aren’t as surprising as some of the guys that she keeps — Santa, for one, and Damn Daniel gets the final rose. But then again, there really are only a small handful of decent contestants, so at least we have another week to see how long Saint Nick can keep up the “Jo-Jo-Jo” bit.

The episode wraps up with a sizzle reels for the ages. Will JoJo fall for a “bad guy”? Does Robbie have a secret girlfriend? Is Chad vs. Jordan the summer blockbuster we’ve all been waiting for?

Only time will tell…

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