Desiree Hartsock is living a fairy tale.
The star of ABC’s The Bachelorette and host Chris Harrison were eager to remind us of that, again and again, during Monday night’s season premiere.
Speaking almost exclusively in clichés, Des discussed how exciting it is to be “Cinderella” and “the belle of the ball” with a chance of a “happy ending.” I sense a drinking game coming on — one might be necessary to ingest the generous helpings of cheese served up on the show.
Fresh off a heartbreaking elimination in Season 17 of The Bachelor, Des, a 27-year-old bridal stylist from Los Angeles, is ready to walk down the aisle. Before meeting her eligible bachelors, we’re shown around her swanky Malibu mansion, complete with pool, amazing view and powder blue Bentley. Her reaction? “This whole experience is very humbling.”
There’s a music video-esque montage that could double as stock footage from a karaoke bar, a lot of crying, and then, finally, it’s time to meet the guys. Each pops out of a limo to say hi. Des has roses to hand out to those with whom she immediately connects.
First there’s Drew, a digital marketing analyst who had a rough childhood. He’s a little intense, but doesn’t do or say anything too embarrassing, other than forgetting to tell Des his name, a mistake repeated by many other suitors.
Cue the gimmicks. Brad brings Des a wishbone; Michael tries — and fails — to retrieve a lucky penny Des tossed in the fountain during her season of The Bachelor; Kasey, an advertising executive, speaks in hashtags: “Hashtag ‘marriage material,’” he declares upon meeting Des. There are magic tricks and a pretty horrific homemade suit.
Other guys take it to the next level.
Jonathan offers Des a card that reads, “Should you choose to forego the remaining men, you may proceed with Jonathan to the fantasy suite.” He even slips in a key — super thoughtful, right? Des passes.
Zak shows up without a shirt: “Will you accept these abs?” She obliges.
Larry, a 34-year-old ER doctor tries out a dance move, but when he goes to dip Des, her dress gets tangled and it’s more awkward than anything else. And then there’s Diogo, 29, who takes the fairy-tale thing a little too literally, rocking a full suit of armour. At this point I’m really starting to wonder if Des will have some leftover roses on night 1.
Luckily, there are a few normal dudes in the bunch. Zack, a publisher looks cool and confident in his suit and Chuck Taylors; Chris, 27, gets down on one knee and makes a joke about tying his shoelace; and Venezuelan Juan Pablo smartly offers Des chocolate.
Ben, 28, pulls the trump card, when he lets his three-year-old son Brody precede him, dressed in a suit and carrying flowers for Des. It’s adorable and transparent and it works.
Ben gets the first rose once the party commences. After that, the pressure is on.
Brandon starts off heavy, giving Des a coin that symbolizes his mom’s sobriety — he asks her to keep it until the homecoming dates. “I want you to give it back to my mom,” he says. He winds up with a rose.
Unsurprisingly, shirtless Zak strips his pants off and jumps into the pool. The plan almost backfires. Des is stolen away while Zak is in the pool and he’s left shivering and alone. But Des relents and gives him a rose later in the night. She also gives one to Bryden, a 26-year-old soldier who spent a year in Iraq. Worth noting: Bryden says his last and only serious relationship was five years ago. I’m not sure I’d be rushing to get married if I was barely drinking age the last time I dated someone.
Jonathan, who spends some time doing one-legged pushups, makes several attempts to get Des into the fantasy suite. She rejects him and he wonders what’s wrong. “My mom says I’m good looking,” he muses. “My love tank has not been depleted for years.” I’m not even going to try to dig into that sentence.
Des kicks him to the curb, asking him to leave the house before the rose ceremony.
Then she hands out the rest of her roses and sends six guys packing, including the ER doctor with sloppy dance moves, magician Nick, and — surprise — Diogo, who dressed as a stunt double from RoboCop.
Now we can look forward to some completely unrealistic dates and a lot of man drama if ABC’s extended, tear-filled teaser is any indication.