The 16th season of “The Bachelorette” was destined to be unlike any other, given that it was filmed in the middle of a pandemic. However, this season quickly proved itself to be far different from previous seasons in other ways as well when episode two premiered this past Tuesday.
In this episode, Clare Crawley, the 39-year-old bachelorette, had the contestants on a group date where they played “strip dodgeball,” resulting in one group of boys walking home mostly naked. While the franchise has never claimed to be PG, I have never seen an episode of this show that had as much censoring as this one.
This season has also proved to be the most awkward. In the same episode, Clare led a group of guys “through the love languages.” While the gift portion of the episode was sweet, listening to 20-and-30-year-old men try to confess their love publicly during the “words of affirmation” portion and watching them watch each other feel Clare up during the “physical touch” portion was more than I could bear.
But the pièce de rèsistance of this date was when it came to “quality time,” and the guys sat in complete silence when Clare asked who wanted to go first. I have never cringed so hard in my life.
I live for the drama of “The Bachelorette,” but this was too much for me to take. Scandals are this series’ bread and butter; no one watches “The Bachelorette” to witness a grown woman beg a group of guys to spend time with her. It’s almost unwatchable. Honestly, it seems that this group of guys would rather hang out with each other than with Clare, and I can’t blame them.
Clare comes across as very impersonal and superficial in this season. On night one, she spent her time fawning over the guy she liked the most and didn’t give the other contestants a fighting chance. The whole point of this series is to find your perfect match through an exploration of potential relationships, not to find your husband on the very first night.
Next week’s preview makes it look like the guys finally call Clare out for her behavior, and this season is undoubtedly going to become increasingly awkward. In the teaser trailer for the season, Chris Harrison tells Clare that she ruined the season, and it’s not hard to guess why. With rumors that Tayshia Adams from Colton’s season takes over halfway through, viewers can expect a lot more drama and a lot more of awkward Clare.