It Turns Out That, Yeah, It Doesn't Matter Who Hosts 'The Bachelorette'
The latest season of The Bachelorette premiered on Monday, and it's the first-ever not to be stewarded by 20-year warhorse of the franchise Chris Harrison. In February, Harrison stepped aside from the show after a controversial exchange with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay over race, and on Tuesday, it was announced that Harrison would be permanently leaving -- though we had all seen it coming for a while now after he engaged in a lengthy legal battle with the network. There was only one question remaining on the minds of everyone, myself included, who closely follows the goings-on of Bachelor Nation: What will this show possibly look like without Chris Harrison?"
The answer, we learned on Monday's premiere, is that it looks pretty much the same. It seems that many of us took until now to realize that standing in front of a camera and saying "ladies/gentlemen, , this is the final rose tonight. When you're ready" for five seconds, an episode isn't as irreplaceable a skill as we once thought.
Don't get us wrong. It was a tense moment near the closing minutes as the camera cut to that final rose laying on the table. However, new hosts Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristow handled their fateful line without swallowing their tongues or choking on air mid-sentence, instead fully conveying to anyone incapable of counting past zero that yes, there was indeed one rose remaining.
That isn't to diminish their other hosting duties of making idle chit-chat with the Bachelorette from time to time or throwing their arms up in a sweeping gesture as the first limo is about to arrive, both of which they managed with aplomb. Still, when you see two rookies step into the shoes of a decades-long veteran and do the job just as well, if not better, you start to think that maybe this job wasn't worth the reported eight-figure settlement to begin with. You start to think that maybe just about anyone can host a reality show. Even a robot.
Granted, Harrison wasn't paid all that money because he's impossibly good at pointing to a flower. He was paid because he allegedly had dirt. But still, those things seem to get conflated, and it's why we should take this as a moment to acknowledge that it doesn't matter who hosts the show because hosting doesn't matter.
Hmmm … no, I'll stand by it. Not even David Spade could screw this up.
Some other takeaways from Week One:
- Every season some shmo comes out of the limo wearing a full-bodied costume and practically guarantees their own elimination. This season said shmo was Conner the Cat and, naturally, he …
… stole our Bachelorette, Katie's heart? What? We'll admit this is kind of a shock and even more so because Conner gets the first smooch of the season. There are only two things that Katie ever talks about in promos and ITMs (In The Moment interviews) - she's “sex-positive,” and she loves her cat. But in light of all this should… should we be worried for that cat?
- I spent this entire article bashing the role of the host, but counterpoint: the scene with Kaitlyn and Tayshia watching Katie from the control room while eating popcorn was genuinely great. Give us more of that. We don't need a host. We need a Greek chorus. I'll watch Tayshia and Kaitlyn roast these guys all day.
- There was one place where Chris Harrison's absence was actually felt. At the beginning of the episode, we usually hear Harrison's voice says something like “Tonight, on The Bachelorette" before the opening montage plays. On Monday, it was just some random dude's voice. WHO IS THAT GUY? It'll be the mystery that consumes my every waking moment.
- Ah yes, The Bachelorette premiere. It's like a groundhog signaling the end of winter. If there's a sign, folks, that no one on TV gives a shit about covid anymore, it's 30 strangers running around in a hotel resort making out with each other.
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Top Image: ABC/Hulu