Aaaaaannddd we’re back! Hello, Bachelor Nation!

Or should I say, Slucham—after all, to kick off the night Ben introduces us to his small Podunk hometown of Warsaw, Poland Indiana. This is going to be a really long season of me doing a double take every time he casually mentions growing up in Warsaw.

This Warsaw might be in Amurrica, but it’s still hella ghetto. Ben cruises down Main Street in the requisite midwestern Tonka truck and excitedly points out such hotspots as That Place He Played All The Sports and The Cinema, an ominous-looking beige building with the word CINEMA plastered across the side that also may or may not serve as a dumping site for the bodies after they get shanked in the parking lot. Jesus. And I thought the Times Square AMC was rough.

Ben: “Despite how small Warsaw is, there’s a ton going on”—No Ben literally the only thing going on is that you’re the Bachelor, like every single shot of the town revolves around that. This is legit all this town has going for it right now.

Love that Ben’s family probably raises the median income level of Warsaw by about 75%.

Ben’s totes adorbs parents are about as low-key as the man himself, until it becomes clear that ABC is going to try to make fetch happen by bringing back Ben’s earth-shattering, totally not forced at all confession from Kaitlyn’s season: He thinks he might be unlovable.

Just to recap where we’re at here, Ben is:

1) Gorgeous

2) Super nice but not really in a gross beta way more in an Upstanding Citizen sort of way

3) Super rich, at least by Warsaw standards

Yeah, ew, you guys, what a sadsack. Ugh, soo unlovable. Definitely a well-founded concern on Ben’s part.

A Tree Grows in Warsaw as Ben leans against the singular evidence of green foliage in this ridiculously depressing town and contemplates who will become Mrs. Higgins by the end of this journey. And will she have all her teeth, if so she’s probably already got a leg up on everyone he dated in high school.

Side Note: The commercial break featuring the entire extended Bachelor/ette cast munching away at all-day breakfast at McDonald’s pretty much sums up the level of quality we’re dealing with here. Yes I’m aware this just gave away that I don’t have DVR and yes you can go eff yourself.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT BACHELOR MANSE…

Thank god Ben has left behind the slums of Warsaw and that monster truck for a sleek new ride as he rides the L.A. streets. He also seems to have left about half his hair back in the midwest. #Shortsideslongtop

Before we meet the ladies, Ben gets some much-needed ‘real talk’ from three of America’s favorite saddos who just can’t seem to hop off the Bachelor train—Chris Soules, Sean Lowe, and… Jason Mesnick? Seriously?

Jason: “All they’ll be thinking about is you, all day every day, bro.” – Spoken like a guy whose stint on reality TV was the high point of his life. Okay seriously Jason you’re like 80 years old and sporting some verrry obvious hair plugs, we get it, your golden years are behind you.

Jason: “When I was on that there Bachelor show, ‘Merica didn’t even have color TV, boy.” **shakes cane at camera and cackles**

Then, a tidbit of wisdom from Farmer Chris and literally the only thing he says the entire segment: “Kiss ‘em all.” Oh, big shocker there. Can’t imagine why things didn’t pan out for this pervert. I’m not sure Ben should be taking advice from the guy who openly couldn’t close with his #1 choice and settled for a chick who would literally have accepted a marriage proposal from a poodle if he could get her pregnant.

Sean Lowe was actually relatively unoffensive and norms, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until he and Catherine do a public gender reveal ultrasound on this season, a la Ash and J.P.

From all of this expertly imparted wisdom, Ben concludes that he’s “Alive and in love.” Someone’s salesman is showing. I wonder if he’s going to be subconsciously alliterative this entire season, if so I’m into it and will also be making shirts featuring his best slogans.

Ben also realizes he wants a “young lady”, so I guess any of the contestants over, like, 25 can just GTFO.

MEETING THE LADIES

Chris Harrison: “The most heartbreaking moment of last season was when Ben revealed to Kaitlyn he feels unlovable.” –Yeah, wow, what an emotional rollercoaster that conversation was. In fact, let’s look back at the moment that pretty much changed Bachelor/ette franchise history FOREVER:

Ben: “Sometimes, I feel unlovable.”

Kaitlyn: “Idk. I’d do you. Wanna go for it?”

Ben: “Nah. You’re old.”

Wow, I know you guys, I felt it too—that’s just powerful right there, is what it is. No wonder this is going to be exploited as Ben’s primary storyline for the entire season.

While Ben attempts to recover enough from this decapitating personality flaw to meet the ladies, we get some special introductions to some extra-special contestants. We learn that Lauren B. just loves being a flight attendant because she gets to travel, explore, and get consistently dumped on by annoying passengers. Caila is inexplicably wielding an umbrella when there’s absolutely no rain and then having a blast at what appears to be a solitary Paint Night. Jubilee was clearly selected for her intense army background and is doing a weird forward march situation through the waves—relax those shoulders, girl, this isn’t roll call.

I don’t even know what to say about Mandi, pretty sure the KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD sign behind her says it all. She’s a dentist so it obv reasons to follow that she would never date a guy suffering from periodontal disease because, like, that’s something for sure only a dentist would stay away from. This stint on the Bachelor is either the smartest thing Mandi could have done for her career or the dumbest.

Poor, poor Emily & Haley—I’m not saying these two didn’t know what they were signing up for, but they’re going to be forced to be together, like, ALL the time. They’re also bizarrely stuck in seventh grade as we see them roller-blading, tandem bicycling, and playing a hand game (lolz, not that kind, gross), but with, like, big boobs and bleached hair. I’m getting mixed messages.

Amanda: “My two infant daughters are the biggest parts of my life and that’s why I’m abandoning them for a chance at reality TV fame. But first I’m going to teach them that Prince Charming is worth giving up everything for so they lose all sense of self-worth and value super early on.” #MomGoals

Ugh, Tiara. Resident psycho alert! Clearly ratings got a bump from Ashley S., so now we need to suffer through at least one of these planted nutjobs every season. I can’t say I’m not amused, though: “Chickens are like my babies since I don’t have human babies.” I don’t know why you don’t have human babies, you’d be, like, such a good mom. Maybe Tiara can give one of her chickens to Whitney to adopt. Things get a little dark, though, when Tiara starts talking about ‘Sheila’ who apparently sleeps in her room with her. They do everything together, like lay eggs and braid each other’s feathers. This doesn’t sound 100% platonic.

Lastly we meet Sam, a 26-year-old attorney who apparently suffers from perpetual laryngitis/vocal fry. Must make her a real pleasure to listen to on the stand. Sam’s father apparently passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease a little while back—listen, Sam, you may think you have it hard but Ben thinks he’s UNLOVABLE, okay? That’s suffering. That’s real.

LIMO #1

Chris Harrison: “Ben is only 26 years old. Is that too young to find love?” In the meantime they have respiratory assist devices at the ready for any female contestants over the age of 28.

Ladies of Car #1: “We’re coming for you, Ben.” –As heard outside of The Cinema in Warsaw, IN.

LAUREN B.: Gives Ben a pair of pilot’s wings and waits for him to get excited about it, which he totes isn’t. Seems to be under the mistaken impression that Ben is about seven.

CAILA: Does a “run and jump” from the limo into Ben’s arms and there’s a horrifying moment where it seems like he might drop her. Caila: “Thank you so much for catching me.” You didn’t really give him a choice there, C-Dawg, you literally hurtled your body onto his.

JENNIFER: Owner of small business that hopefully is not a clothing or personality store. Seems vaguely Gothic and/or stoned.

JAMI: Hoping Ben will mistake her for Kaitlyn both by also being from Canada and being excessively vulgar: “Kaitlyn told me you have a really really big… heart” (exaggerated wink). They really make ‘em classy up North, don’t they?

SAM: “I found out on the way here that I passed the bar exam!” Literally the first thing she says to Ben. How convenient. Also they don’t call you to let you know you passed the bar exam, this isn’t the sixties, there are such things as online portals. I call BS.

JUBILEE: “I was going to say this line when I came out of the limo but then I decided against it but actually I’m just going to say the entire thing anyways before I tell you I decided not to go with that one.” So smooth.

Happy the producers didn’t make Jubilee comes out of the limo wearing fatigues and waving an M4, but don’t think we didn’t notice that so far both of the black girls are wearing white dresses. Subtle, ABC.

Jubilee: “I was more nervous getting out of the limo than I was touring Afghanistan.” #ArmyStrong

AMANDA: Sounds like Samantha’s vocal fry infected her in the limo ride over.

LACE: Wearing, what else, a dress made of lace. Her name is definitely Rachel or Sarah but there wasn’t a fabric to go with it, so she reupped. There always has to be one who goes straight for the kiss, but I can’t tell if Ben is alarmed, pissed, or fine with it. His poker face is really spot on.

LAUREN R.: So you openly admit to Ben that you stalked him on social media for the past two months but you won’t give him your first name? Super coy. Also an excellent way to ensure he doesn’t remember your name, which in this game is like the kiss of death. Not getting her tactic here.

SHUSHANNA: Watching this chick hit white-bread Ben with some serious Russian is hilars, he has no idea what to do and seems to actually think she might not speak English. Actually we don’t hear from her the rest of the night, so she might not. Ben: “Oh, shit, how do you say hand job in Russian?

Wow, that car was a doozy. Poor Ben looks somewhere between shell-shocked and slightly constipated. Onward!

LIMO #2

LEAH: Clearly trying to capitalize on the fact that Ben plays sports, if I was her I might have just thrown the football instead of hiking it and putting my butt in his face, but hey maybe she just wants her assets on display.

FREAK WEARING UNICORN MASK a.k.a JOJO: “Ben you were so scared when I came out wearing that mask!” Ben: “Nope. Just extremely turned off.”

LAUREN H.: Okay, she just ‘happened’ to be at a wedding last weekend where she ‘happened’ to catch the bouquet and bring a piece of it here. I.e. purchased a wedding bouquet from her local florist and then dried it out for a week so she could make a lame pun. Nothing like having too much time on your hands.

LAURA: “My friends call me Red Velvet…You can call me Red Velvet, too, if you want.” Ben: “No, thanks.” Also I want a cupcake.

MANDI: Attaches a giant paper rose to her head and asks Ben to pollinate it, to which he responds “Interesting.” LOL. Keep Portland Weird.

All the girls are soo jealous they didn’t think of attaching a giant paper rose to their heads. Caila: “I’m worried I won’t stand out.” Don’t worry, Caila, no one else has bodily lunged at Ben yet right out of the vehicle so you’re fine.

EMILY & HALEY: “We NEVER date the same guy!” Are we supposed to be impressed by that?

MAEGAN: Oh, Maegan. No, Maegan. What happened to the cute Daisy Duke-style cowgirl of yesteryear? Maegan you’re not badass because you ride a mini horse, it’s a mini horse.

BREANNE: “Gluten is Satan and I also don’t give a f**k about poor people or world hunger so let’s just bash all these expensive-looking baguettes into the ground.”

IZZY: She’s wearing PJs because she wants to find out if she’s the ‘onesie’ for Ben. CRINGE ALERT.

RACHEL: Unemployed but somehow still manages to purchase an expensive scooter device for a two-second gimmick. Rachel is both without a job and a reasonable eyebrow line.

JESSICA: They share a randomly super intimate moment and a really, really long hug. And possibly a forehead touch? I have no idea what just happened here for reals.

TIARA:  Right away Ben knows she’s nutso. “What can we do to calm you down?” Maybe bring her a chicken sandwich?

LB: My name’s Lauren! Ben: FML.

JACKIE: #TOHIGGINSANDTOHOLD is trending nationwide.

OLIVIA: Kills it coming out of the limo and Ben is literally so tongue-tied that he can’t carry a coherent conversation about dimples.

As if he isn’t already totally perfect, before going into the manse Ben takes a beat to call his parents. Unhealthy for a grown man, perhaps, but adorbs nonetheless. “Hey guys. Just met the girls. Many are stunning. Some are manly and one doesn’t have eyebrows. ILU byez.”

No but for real he seemed into maybe two of the twenty-some women we just met, so that sort of sucks for them. Ben approaches the house like a soldier being dragged into war (no shade, Jubilee) man off to find his true love.

Ben: “My wife could be in this room” –Looks suggestively at Huey the mini horse.

Then it’s time for some one-on-one sessions with the ladies. Mandi grabs Ben first and decides to play dentist with him, which is like playing doctor’s sad and very unsexy cousin. Mandi’s like if we’re gonna make out you HAVE to floss, I’m not hitting that if there’s anything in those teeth. Ben immediately asks producers for giant ear of corn to gnaw on ASAP.

Tonight’s headline: Olivia ‘left something really good to find something really great.’ There’s that hard-hitting newsanchor style at work.

Caila sells retail software. Ben sells back office processing software. Both of these sound like a GIANT snooze. Any software you can sell I can sell better, I can sell any software better than you.

SURPRISE LIMO #3

Becca and Amber emerge like two avenging angels dressed in slutty black, but one is hot and one is Amber. Obv Becca looks cool AF.

Chris, being super casual: “Come on, why you guys wanna do this?” –Pretending like he hasn’t been contractually negotiating with them for weeks to get them to come back on the show.

But the truth is I have no idea what they’re doing here—Amber probably has nothing better to do, to be honest, but why is Bex putting herself on this farce of a television show again? Could she actually see something happening between her and Ben? Probs not, but it’s going to tear the other women’s shit UP, so I’m pumped.

As expected, the women bug the f**k OUT when they see Becca and Amber walk inside. Lace is literally so drunk she can barely formulate a sentence, but she’s like “Becca’s beautiful so she’s a threat. Amber not so much.”  #basicbetch.

Ben seems genuinely happy to see Becca and pretty much nonplussed to see Amber, so we can tell that her third time (!) on this franchise probably won’t be the charm. After he gets over the SHOCK and SURPRISE at seeing two former contestants on the show, he gets back into the groove and Lace finally snags him (ba-dum-bum!) so she can try to personally violate him for the second time this evening.

Ben: “The first person to severely cross a line tonight was you, so I just wanted to congratulate you on that.” It’s clear he’s not super into the idea of kissing on the first night as he gently tries to reject her while still conveying he thinks she’s smokin’. But I don’t think he’s really clear enough on his intentions, or maybe Lace is just delusional. Or shitfaced. Or both.

Ben: “I really, really don’t want to kiss you right now. Like, not even a lil bit.”

Lace: “ I can’t believe Mandi just stole him like that. We were ABOUT to kiss.”  

Wut?

Oh good, another dentist appointment. Ben is literally going to have all his teeth forcibly extracted to avoid future alone time with Mandi.

I thought Ben wasn’t into Lace, but then he escapes Mandi’s clutches and pulls Lace to the side to explain EXACTLY what he explained before. Somehow this makes everything better for Lace who was seriously bugging out. Also why has she made Laura her DUFF?

The first impression rose finally comes out, and Becca demonstrates her veteran status by explaining that the first impression rose is, like, a really big deal. Jubilee’s like bitch there’s only one vet here and it’s ME.

Jennifer: “My morals and values are really important to me, that’s why I’m agreeing to date you before I even know your full name and basically putting my boobs in your face.” Ben: “I was extremely excited to talk to you and have the chance to look down your dress, your aggressive display of cleavage really suggests a lot of confidence.”

Unsurprisingly, the first impresh rose goes to Olivia, who looks mildly special while Ben is talking to her but I think this one could really be a frontrunner. Lace looks like she wants to choke a bitch and also hurl up the night’s taquitos, but before she can get to either of those things, it’s rose ceremony time, people!

ROSE CEREMONY

I will spend the rest of the season trying to figure out what Jubilee’s tattoo on her chest says after “The”. It could literally be ANYTHING, you guys. This is more exciting than figuring out who Ben’s going to pick.

I cannot believe Ben keeps Mandi in the running, maybe his dental insurance just lapsed or something.

Breanne, Izzy, Jessica, Laura, Lauren R., Maegan, and Tiara all get the boot. So basically Ben likes bread and doesn’t like onesie PJs, farm animals, redheads, lack of eyebrows, or social media stalkers. This is all very good to know but I’m a little sad to see Tiara and Maegan go before we get to see more of their chicken-loving, horse-crazed ways.

Apparently Ben DOES like batshit crazy, though, since he decides to keep Lace on. Lace shows Ben he made a really good call by immediately pulling him to the side and flipping the f**k out because he didn’t “look at her enough” during the Rose Ceremony. She’s doubting this is the right thing and I’m doubting she’ll remember any of this tomorrow. Oooohhh my gosh she’s SO needy. Or, as Caila adroitly says, “50 Shades of Crazy.” Nice.

The previews for this season are CHOCK FULL of drama, suggesting among other things that Olivia might have a dark side, someone winds up with a black eye, and that Ben is taking the ‘double trouble’ twin thing very literally. Ben in the highlights: “I’m not running. At all. Like, I’m not even jogging. Not even a power walk.” –Is this about love or fitness? We shall find out!

Saddest breakup of the night goes to Chris Harrison and Huey the mini horse.

Were our predictions from Bachelor pre-season spot on or off the mark? Check them out here!