Well, the day we thought for a week in June would never come is here: Bachelor in Paradise Season 4 has premiered. We thought it was done after it got shut down over sexual assault allegations, but here it is, out of the ashes like a sleazy phoenix.
I will speak only for myself for a moment. I was very, very unsure of this, and kinda still am. For a long time, I could not imagine how ABC thought it was a good idea to bring back a show seemingly so tainted by scandal. But it's become clear that ABC and Warner Bros. truly don't think that anything bad happened. Today, The Hollywood Reporter ran an interview with Rob Mills, ABC's head of unscripted programming Rob Mills, who's the most forthright person involved in the franchise. He said, "The most important thing, and this was why it was really important to us that production resumed, was to get the show out there so people can see that there was an allegation, they were investigated, the investigation was incredibly thorough and there was no wrongdoing."
So this premiere is about trying to convince a skeptical viewing public of what they believe. And I'm willing to be convinced, if Chris Harrison and Co. come with the evidence. So many things I love have been ruined for me (RIP, "Ignition (Remix)"), and I would love for something to not be bad.
The episode began with voiceover news clips, and then barefoot Chris Harrison recapping what happened that caused "trouble in paradise." He promised that everything would be explained. He also promised, with a bit of a wink at one of his catchphrases, that this would be "the most dramatic season ever."
After the credits, it cut back to "two weeks earlier," with Raven's arrival, followed by Dean. Raven admitted she has a crush on Dean. Then Kristina arrived, who also has a crush on "dreamy" Dean. Then Danielle M. Then Ben Zorn, who Dean, speaking for everyone, said "I don't know who that is." He was on Kaitlyn's season, which is a hundred years ago in Bachelor time. He blathered on about dogs to Raven. It was wack as hell.
The next arrival was Iggy, who is in love with Dean. We're five minutes in and Dean is already the star! Then it was Jasmine. Then it was Jack Stone, who promised he's not a serial killer. Next up was Alexis, who instead of coming down the stairs, came up from the beach in her
dolphin shark costume. She was "hot as balls" in the costume, she said in her outrageously thick New Jersey accent where balls sounds like "bawls."
Then it was DeMario, who still maintained that he didn't have a girlfriend but admitted that maybe he led her on. He came seeking redemption. It didn't turn out that way, as we now know.
He walked up, and immediately everyone started calling him out, like, "are you single right now?" He gave a toast to "new beginnings." He decided if he could get Raven on his side, everyone else would start liking him. But it didn't work. Raven said he's "full of s---."
Next up was Derek Peth, who somehow looks even more like John Krasinski now than he did on JoJo's season. Alex also showed up, and apparently he had beef with Derek, which we don't remember. We remember his beef with Chad, who's not here. He's on Celebrity Big Brother in the UK right now, which maybe conflicted with BiP contractually.
Then it was Corinne, who rolled up with two flutes of champagne; one for her and one for Chris. Drinking is fun until it stops being fun.
Dean pulled Kristina aside, and Kristina was genuinely excited, like, "me???" They bonded over their difficult family histories.
Next up: Lacey, who we don't remember as the girl who rode in on a camel. Then Vinny and Diggy.
We saw the first interaction between Corinne and DeMario, where they bonded over being from New Jersey. She jumped into his arms.
Then Matt, one of Rachel's guys who mysteriously went very far, arrived, followed by St. Nick, who beelined to Jasmine. They went for the first kiss of Paradise.
And hey, look, it's Amanda! She got engaged to Josh Murray last season, which ended very badly. She gave her engagement ring back to Chris Harrison. She said she ignored several red flags, which, yeesh. She said she wasn't going to rush in to anything.
Next up was Taylor, who I can't believe is doing this, considering how badly her time on The Bachelor went. She didn't want to have tension with Corinne, her nemesis, but Corinne was so focused on flirting with DeMario that she didn't even seem to notice Taylor. She started to bond with Derek, though.
Corinne and DeMario were all over each other. She jumped into the pool with her clothes on, about a half-hour in, and DeMario followed. Alex narrated their "date." Remember: this doesn't indicate consent.
Jorge the bartender came out and said that he's leaving to start a business called "Jorge's Tour-ges," and introduced the new bartender: Wells! He's just here to bartend, not go on any dates, which is so rude. What, just because Wells doesn't have 16-inch biceps he doesn't deserve love? (Can you tell this is something I'm sensitive about?)
Derek and Taylor like each other. Makes sense. They're both a little smarter and weirder than the average Bachelor in Paradise contender.
Kristina got the first date card. She, of course, chose Dean. Danielle M. was disappointed. She and Wells have been friends for years, from Nashville! The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are mostly cast by recommendation now. Don't bother with an open casting call. Anyway, Danielle is showing a lot more personality than she showed on Nick's season. She was very quiet and demure on The Bachelor. She's less so here. She's doing most of the narration.
Iggy and Lacey made out. Iggy is built like Alex Jones.
Dean and Kristina's date went pretty well. Even Kristina, who in my opinion is the dreamiest (email me, Kristina), couldn't believe Dean liked her. She said she already felt more chemistry with him than she ever felt with Nick. Damn, shots fired!
St. Nick was hammered, and Jasmine wasn't into it. So Matt — who is identified as "penguin" — swept in. They got in the hot tub, while St. Nick sat by himself because he was barely able to form sentences.
It was morning after the next commercial break. They didn't show the incident with DeMario and Corinne, which they said they weren't going to show and are never going to show. But the incident that led to the shutdown happened that night. I do feel like seeing that footage would be the clearest way to judge what happened. But that's not what we're getting ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Lacey went to Iggy and said that her grandfather passed away the night before, and was leaving the show to go be with her family. Aw, sorry, Lacey! Iggy didn't listen to her too thoroughly and said her "grandma" passed away, and was mostly concerned that he wasn't going to get a rose. Iggy is not likable.
Speaking of not likable, Robby, JoJo's runner up, showed up. But Raven said he's cuter in person, so, alright. He had a date card. Corinne wasn't into him. Neither was Danielle M. Raven lost her voice. She said she hadn't dated anybody since Nick's season since she knew she was coming to Paradise. That's nice. She got Robby's date card.
Robby brought a bathing suit for every day. I actually like that. He and Raven went for a ride on a jet ski. Robby's from Florida, so riding a Sea-Doo is like riding a bike for him. But Raven didn't like that he's prettier than her and talked about being an Instagram influencer.
St. Nick was determined to win Jasmine over. He tried, but he was interrupted by a call for a date card, which of course went to Matt, who asked out Jasmine. They went to a drag show. He's in construction, a real manly man, so this isn't something he normally does. But then he got drafted into performing. He needs to learn how to strut if he's going to be a queen. Jasmine was impressed by his willingness and kissed his glittery face.
It seemed like the day after Corinne and DeMario were no longer into each other. Corinne said they were "homies" and they fist-bumped. DeMario said he was interested in Alexis, and Corinne gave her rose to Vinny. But they didn't show us what happened, so we don't know yet.
Derek and Taylor kissed, and it was magical. Hmm.
Corinne was chilling with Alex and Amanda, and then a producer called her over. She said, "What's up?" and the producer said, "I don't know." DeMario got pulled away, too. Then the cameramen put their cameras down. The contestants had no idea what was happening. No one said, "Yeah, I saw this coming last night." And then the episode ended. A cliff-hanger. Great.
It's so like this franchise to tease us with "everything will be revealed" and then reveal nothing, forcing us to tune in again tomorrow for another two hours. The shamelessness is relentless. They can't turn off the hustle tactics for a minute. Just tell us what happened! So frustrating.
I mean, they were clear that the second night of the premiere would be the one that explained things. Rob Mills in his interview confirmed it. But again, not the best way to handle it. The gulf between how ABC is treating this and how the media (of which I am a part) wants it to be treated is chasmic. The stuff with the other contestants was entertaining and light and fun, sure. In a different situation it would be lovely. But that's not important right now. We're trying to find out if we can watch and enjoy this show in good conscience.
I'm still reserving judgement on the Corinne/DeMario thing. But my opinion of this franchise's inability to handle serious subject matter remains unchanged.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.