Long-time Bachelor US fans Jane Yee and Tara Ward met for a one-on-one date to discuss the premiere episode of the 25th season, which featured meatballs, vibrators, and a whole lot of feelings.
Tara Ward: Jane, everything in my life has led me to this point. I stand before you on the red carpet of our dreams, a giant meatball in one hand and a sequinned evening gown in the other, ready to profess my love for The Bachelor US to you.
Jane Yee: I feel the same Tara. I’m so excited to go on this journey with you to find forever love – or at least a few months dating before posting a break-up photo with a long paragraph-less caption on Instagram. You brought a meatball, I present you with a vibrator.
Tara: Jane, that is truly a gift. I knew when this season opened with contestants presenting the bachelor with both a meatball and a vibrator that this would be a bumpy ride, so to speak. What did you think of the premiere?
Jane: I’m not sure if you saw Clare/Tayshia’s recent season of The Bachelorette, but it was a Covid nightmare and a very unwelcome departure from what I love about this show. There were no elaborate dates, too many perfectly nice suitors, and far too much sweat. They’ve sorted their shit out for Matt James’s season and have an amazing location, plenty of unhinged cast members and the promo looks promising for the most dramatic season yet.
Matt’s a bit of a snore though. I listened to an interview with him and he trotted out all the PR lines like a pro, but offered very little in terms of personality. Not that it’s about him at all, it’s about the ladies. Did you notice two women wearing the same dress? I feel they didn’t make enough of this, in that they made nothing of it. That was my only complaint. You?
Tara: I certainly did notice, and they even had a similar name, which was helpful because all the bachelorettes seem to merge into one beautiful woman at some point. I feel like Matt is a welcome shift for The Bachelor. After 25 seasons, he’s the first Black bachelor, and the first in ages not to have been through the show before. He’s super nervous, but also, knows how to rock a velvet blazer and green turtleneck. He keeps his sneakers clean. He likes to exercise at sunset.
Jane: Who doesn’t (me). I feel like the casting of a Black male lead, while long overdue, is in response to the current climate. I love it, of course, but it does seem reactionary, which is a shame. Still, progress I guess? Nice to see a truly diverse cast this season. On your point about the bachelorettes merging into a single beautiful woman, how hot are these ladies? I think this is the best-looking cast I’ve ever encountered on the show.
Tara: They are fabulous. So shiny. I washed extra hard with a facecloth after episode one, but so far, I’m not even close to that level of glamour. What did you think of the show’s new setting, that incredible Pennsylvanian chateau? I feel like Covid-19 has led The Bachelor to its rightful home after so many years.
Jane: It’s so grand! It makes the regular mansion look like a backpackers. I loved seeing the women negotiating the stairs on their way in, some more successfully than others. The woman in the goat slippers (I can only remember maybe three or four names) would have been pleased she made that sensible footwear choice when she saw the staircase. By the way, it is only after watching this episode that I learned GOAT means “greatest of all time”.
Tara: Who’s your GOAT bachelor, then?
Jane: Easy. Ben Higgins. My one that got away is, and forever will be, Tyler Cameron. I live in hope that they will roll him out in a future season at which point I will do everything in my power to become the oldest, shortest contestant to fall out of a limo.
Tara: What is it about The Bachelor that keeps us watching, season after season? People argue it’s trash TV, that it’s anti-feminist and exploitative, and that it reinforces outdated stereotypes about women. That’s enough to make me drop my giant meatball.
Jane: Addiction. Escapism. Voyeurism. All the bad things. In my defence, I am a very poor judge of literally everything. Everything I’ve said there is the shameful truth, but the lie I tell myself is that it’s self-aware in its ridiculousness and that no single person ever takes inspiration from the values set out in the show. It’s almost more like a what-not-to-do and a reminder of how we should never behave with other humans. Do I need to hand in my feminist card?
Tara: Chris Harrison would not want you to do that, Jane. It’s certainly problematic, but I’ve heard on the street that feminists can like lots of different things, and also, these women aren’t dumb. They’re intelligent people with accomplished careers, lawyers and journalists and pharmacists, who are simply looking for love in a grand chateau during a global pandemic. Yes, they wear goat slippers and arrive as Queen Victoria carried aloft on a golden chariot, but you know. You gotta have goals.
Jane: With the number of cast members going on to lucrative insta-fame, you could make the argument that it’s an excellent career choice if you love the idea of shilling teeth whitener and collagen for the rest of your days. And who knows, you might accidentally fall in love on the way? It’s good for small business too, some goat slipper manufacturers can’t believe their luck right now.
Tara: Love at first sight with those goat slippers. A perfect match.
Jane: Who’s your pick to go all the way to the Final Rose™?
Tara: Lock me up in that chateau, because I can’t remember any of their names. I liked Green Dress and Long Black Dress With The Fancy Back. And I’d like to know more about Meatball Lady, because what motivates someone to give their potential husband a huge chunk of mince? That was the biggest ball I’ve ever seen.
Jane: I strongly vibe Green Dress too. She was the first out. I always pay close attention to the first contestant to slide a leg out of the limo. Matilda Tootles-Green was the earliest arrival on our version of the franchise too. Now she’s about to pop out another Bach baby that I’m desperately hoping she’ll call Bournvita.
Tara: That’s science for you.
Jane: Do you think Victoria had one too many? Or like, 15 too many? I mean I don’t care at all, I love her and I know her name. Also I love nothing more than glazed eyes and a drunken sway during a rose ceremony.
Tara: Victoria was the episode MVP. Did you see it was dawn by the time that rose ceremony had finished? The sun was up, birds were chirping, the world was probably on to their third Covid-19 update of the day. I would have had 15 too many by that point, too.
Jane: How the fuck do they still look that good after 12 hours under TV lights, wearing impossible heels and circulation-challenging shapewear? Not a single woman had a canape stain on her frock! I can’t even get my hair to hold a lonesome curl for five minutes let alone a mane of gorgeous waves for a whole night and morning thereafter. This show makes me feel very bad about my physical self. I should stop watching, but I know I won’t.
Tara: We’ll never stop. Like a purple vibrator during a pandemic, our love will go on forever.
Jane: Tara, even though you are my only option, I would like to present you with my first impression rose. I so look forward to helping you break down your walls, validating your feelings and hearing the TLDR on your mandatory traumatic life event. Thank you for giving up your job and leaving your family to go on this amazing adventure with me all over the living room. Now please excuse me while I spot-clean this pasta sauce off my evening gown (pyjamas).
Tara: I’ve waited all my life to hear those words, Jane. Thank you and goodnight.
New episodes of The Bachelor US drop on Tuesday night at 9pm on TVNZ OnDemand.