And just like that, it's Bachelor Season once again. Former NFL player Colton Underwood's already different turn as the man with the roses has... kicked off. We met the 30 women fighting to take his flower (Hey look, I made it to the second sentence of this recap without referencing Colton's virginity!), which was down to 23 by the time dawn broke over the hills that would be on fire a few months after this episode taped. (Bachelor Mansion had a close call but thankfully survived the Southern California wildfire.)
Not all of Colton's gals made an impression, but the goils who did made a very strong impression indeed. Early frontrunners include Hannah G., who got the first impression rose, and Cassie, who is clearly going to get a very sweet edit this season, possibly because she's a sweet person. Meanwhile, early problem contestants are Demi, who is very forward in a way that's probably going to make Colton uncomfortable, and Catherine, who set a record for most interruptions during a single cocktail party with three.
But that all came later in the episode. Before we got to that, we had to sit through 18 hours of Chris Harrison checking in at watch parties across the country. No pleasure without pain. It was fun to see Blake and Jason shipped out to somebody's house in Lansing, Michigan, and it was fun to meet Chris Harrison's mom. Less fun was seeing Krystal and Chris (who apparently is just "Goose" now) in a hot tub in the parking lot of the theater where the watch party was happening. The most fun would have been to just have a normal two-hour episode so we could all be in bed by 10:30, but that wasn't an option, apparently.
After 15 minutes of that, the show finally started. The first girl to get an intro package was Cassie, a blonde speech pathologist from California, and she came off really well because she seems normal. She seems normal because she has a more natural makeup look. Less normal is blonde Hannah B., aka Miss Alabama, aka "The Hot Mess Express." Her thick Southern accent marks her as this season's Raven or Tia.
Also notable: Demi, a blonde Texan whose mother is in FEDERAL PRISON FOR EMBEZZLEMENT and whose EYES CAN SEE GHOSTS.
Then we were finally reintroduced to our special boy Colton, who got two shower scenes and said, "For the first time in my life what I feared people might say to me, actually got said to me," which is genuinely very sad and hurtful. I would be devastated if people told me told me my Bachelor obsession was stinking up the TV Guide website. Oh, wait.
Then we checked in with a bunch of Bachelor Nation parents and their kids. I'm happy for you all, but I wanna see some girls get out of a limo! Pick up the pace!
Some dude proposed to his girlfriend at the Park City watch party. There's a good chance they're the only people who get engaged on The Bachelor this season.
The limos finally started rolling up to Bachelor Mansion at 8:59 p.m.
First out the limo was Demi, who said, "I have not dated a virgin since I was 12," which honestly is kind of a disturbing sentence.
Virginity jokes incoming! Some girl brought a balloon and "popped Colton's cherry." Another girl pulled his "V card." Nicole said she would never bring up virginity right away, instantly becoming the most sensible person on the season.
Then the sloth. IT'S BEEN DONE, ALEX THE SLOTH. There was a chicken on The Bachelorette last season and Alexis the Dolphin two seasons ago. And this girl's not as funny as Alexis. Respect for committing to the bit, though.
Rival beauty queens Hannah B. and Caelynn's smiles when they saw each other were faker than Bri's Australian accent.
Blonde Hannah G. gave him an empty box that she said had Colton's underwear, because Colton famously doesn't wear underwear. Then blonde Catherine gave him her dog, which the chyron told us 70 in dog years, which is a funny joke for The Bachelor.
Oh hey, Courtney and Lily from Bachelor Winter Games showed up at the LA watch party to critique Bri's fake Down Under accent! I like them. Shout out to them. And that was just shy of the halfway point. Ugggggh.
Then another dude proposed to his girlfriend at a watch party, this time at the one in Lansing. I take back what I said about the first one being the only proposal this season. They ended up doing proposals at two parties. Do I care? I can't even pretend, sorry.
After Colton's opening toast, Demi grabbed him. Back at the party, blonde Erika grabbed him and addressed the elephant in the room: Why you virgin? He explained that he was so focused on football that he didn't get around to it, and then when he realized he decided it was a special thing. I have the same thing with Wes Anderson movies. He's not waiting for marriage, he's waiting for the right person.
The deep breaths with Hannah G. to calm down was really cute.
First kiss of the season is Caelynn, and my man just went for it! Very confident move for a virgin, honestly!
Some girls did some gimmicks. The sloth climbed a tree. She finally took her mask off and she has nice brown hair. Her name is Alex D. and she's from Cape Cod, which is a tough place to be from.
Then our evil queen Catherine took over. She talked to Colton for a little bit, and then she got interrupted. So she went over and interrupted the girl who interrupted her. Power move. Then Onyeka interrupted her by putting on a snorkel, blowing a whistle, and yelling, "I heard you were drowning in some bitches!" Catherine thought that was "tacky." But then Catherine interrupted someone else! "Third time's the time," Colton said.
Onyeka pulled Catherine aside and told her she looked "desperate" for being so aggressive with Colton. Catherine was like "sorry, whatever," and then... she stole Colton for a third time!!!! Catherine is a killer. "Fourth time's the charm," said Colton, hilariously. Catherine's Instagram is currently private, which means she knows we aren't going to like her. She shouldn't have to, because people shouldn't go on her Instagram and say mean things to her. They should confine it to Twitter.
Some other girls did some stuff, and then Colton gave the first impression rose to Hannah G., with whom he did the cute deep breaths thing.
Before the rose ceremony, though, there was a special tribute to our intrepid host Chris Harrison, the one constant on this show since 2002. He used to be so young! It's weird. He looks better now. He also looked genuinely touched by the tribute. It was sweet.
Then it was finally time for the rose ceremony. The call out order was Caelynn, Katie, Alex Bronchitis, Hannah B., Onyeka, Caitlin, Annie, Kirpa, Heather, Elyse, Tayshia, Courtney, Cassie, Demi, Nina, Erika, Sydney, Bri, Angelique, Tracy, Nicole and Catherine.
Tahzjuan, Erin, Devin, Sloth, Jane, Laura and Revian were sent home. Good for Colton for not keeping the sloth. She wasn't a real contender and she wasn't that funny. Also:
All right, we're doing this. Week one down. Please subscribe to TV Guide's Bachelor podcast A Beautiful Podcast to Fall in Love with Jacqueline Trumbull. I'll give you my rose if you do.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.