I may not know you, but allow me to speculate. Maybe the “Bachelor in Paradise” controversy earlier this summer enraged you. Or maybe you closed your eyes and covered your ears and hoped it would go away. Maybe you felt a little queasy about the lack of information that was made public, the lawyering up, the accusations and speculation. Maybe you felt uncomfortable about the way the whole mess was not addressed on “The Bachelorette” and only used to tease and emotionally manipulate people into watching the premiere. Maybe you felt guilty about watching. Well, if the lead-up to this season of “Bachelor in Paradise” made you feel anything at all, you probably have a lot to say after the first episode, which did essentially nothing to address the situation that caused production to shut down. Ah, yes, a full two hours was spent on the events leading up to the event.
But, of course, we saw it coming. The first two episodes of “Bachelor in Paradise” are spread across consecutive nights — Monday and Tuesday. They can’t just give it all away on the first night, you know? They’ve dragged it out this far, after all.
If, at this point, you’re in need of a catch-up, here’s what you should know: “Bachelor in Paradise” production was suspended in early June over “allegations of misconduct,” which, upon the completion of an internal investigation, were found to be invalid, and production resumed. In the meantime, speculation regarding what happened had gone absolutely nutso, and some of the key details about the event in question have still not been made public.
Anyway, the episode starts with a speech, courtesy of Chris Harrison, explaining that the show will address what happened. He taped the footage — which is interspersed throughout the episode for maximum hype — just before production resumed. He is stern, yet barefoot. He explains that two and a half days of filming took place before production temporarily stopped, and that is what will air during the premiere. Cut to an especially absurd credit sequence (quick aside … was Danielle M.’s CPR on the beach supposed to be a reference to her dead fiance???) and then the introductions begin.
We’ll get to the coupling up and dates in a bit, but first, the DeMario and Corinne footage (they’re the two at the center of the scandal). When production starts, DeMario is pushing a redemption arc after he was confronted on “The Bachelorette” by a woman who claimed to be his girlfriend, and he was promptly sent packing. He starts “Paradise” by trying to win over Raven, who is especially skeptical. “If you just owned it, I and everyone would respect you more,” she says. DeMario tells the camera that he won over Raven “in a minute or so.” Cut to Raven: “I would say DeMario is full of sh—.”
Then, Corinne. The show is not subtle in its decision to include in her introduction, this exchange: “Do you have a boyfriend?” Chris Harrison asks. “I don’t,” she says. “So you’re single,” he responds. This, as rumors and reports to the contrary spread during the time that production was shut down.
Corinne and DeMario are almost instantly flirtatious. “When it comes to guys, Corinne doesn’t make the big gestures,” says the woman who pulled Nick away during his season of “The Bachelor” to have him grind on her in a bouncy castle.
Later in the episode, the camera shows DeMario and a stumbling Corinne crash Alex’s ITM (or In The Moment) interview and hop into the pool together. “Corinne has not changed out of her clothing, she is fully dressed,” Alex narrates as Corinne and DeMario splash around.
That’s about as much as we get of Corinne and DeMario until the last few moments of the episode. It’s the night of the first rose ceremony, and the camera operators put down their cameras (and yet there is still footage to air … anyway). “I’m thinking it’s something with Corinne and DeMario from the first night,” a voice off-camera says. “It’s kind of like a chill fell over ‘Paradise,'” says another voice. And, just like that, the episode ends.
But, all that said, there are some fun things to talk about too. For example, Dean, who has somehow become the hottest property on the beach. Kristina asks him out on her date, and he goes with it, but it doesn’t seem like something that could last. Since the women are handing out roses the first week, Dean is probably just playing his cards to make sure he gets to stick around. Still, Kristina manages to throw some excellent shade: “After one date, I already felt more chemistry with Dean than I did with Nick.”
Jack Stone is here for redemption: “I just want to go on the record that I haven’t killed anybody,” he says. “I am not a serial killer.” By the end of the episode he has coupled up with Danielle M., but that, too, seems temporary.
Lacey arrives, and no one knows who she is. But Iggy sees an opening. Then, one of her grandparents dies, and she leaves the show (at least temporarily). Iggy does a pretty bad job of feigning sympathy, and seems way more distraught about his chances of staying on the show.
Jasmine, known basketball dancer, reveals that she was also Princess Tiana on a Disney cruise. (Did we know this already?) She is pulled between two men — Nick, who came on the show explicitly for her, and Matt who gets a date card and asks her out. They go to a drag bar, and make him dress up. He can’t walk in heels, and compliments the makeup artists. It’s weirdly sweet. Jasmine loves it.
Amanda is back … again, and gives the most devastating commentary on dating apps. “I tried, and I swiped through like 700 guys,” she says. “I applied for the celebrity one, and I didn’t get accepted. They put me on the waitlist.”
And then, there’s Robby. Oh, Robby … or, rather, Robby’s hair. I genuinely forget if he looked this ridiculous on JoJo’s season of “The Bachelorette,” but she must feel pretty good about her life decisions right about now. Robby looks somewhere between the Long Island Medium and Stefon. And his occupation (which are notoriously up for interpretation in the “Bachelor” world) is listed as social media influencer. Help! Who has he influenced? He gets date card, and chooses Raven, who mocks him mercilessly after it’s over. Which seems about as good a place as any to end.
How guilty do you feel about enjoying this episode? Who is your favorite couple so far? Weigh in below.