If the tickle monster, a strange doll, and acoustic guitars during the first episode of Rachel Lindsay’s historic season is an indication of what is to come, well, it’s going to be a long 10 weeks.
The male contestants on this season of The Bachelorette, and their incredibly lackluster gimmicks, have already started to wear down viewers, who frankly don’t need that sort of producer-polished hoopla to stay tuned in week to week. Lindsay, and her seemingly well-intentioned search for The One, is enough for us all.
The first black bachelorette is a delight to watch this season, even during cheesy staged courtroom scenes and sweat-free basketball b-roll shots. She understands the corny elements of the show but embraces it with expert levels of charisma, acutely aware of the ridiculous premise but also knows anyone watching would risk it all for love, too.
ABC already ditched traditional advertisements leading up to the premiere, to the point where not many people even realized the show would begin earlier than normal. The overly saccharine ads were scarce, and Chris Harrison’s dull live reveal of the candidates was abnormal for a show that has shoved promotions in the same calculated way for 13 seasons.
While these strategies ultimately gave Lindsey a disadvantage in viewership, what gives us all a disadvantage is the show’s formulaic need for a self-branded contestant ready for fame and fortune beyond the franchise. As Harrison pointed out in his opening remarks, Lindsey is one of the most publicly supported bachelorettes to grace the screen. There’s no disputing that the older, intelligent and affable Lindsey doesn’t deserve to deal with childlike antics and neither do we.
Like, for example, the “Whaboom” guy.
We met Lucas when we pored over the contestant answers online but nothing prepared viewers for the “WHAAABOOOOMS” that exploded in the house on Monday night as soon as his limo pulled up. The over-the-top schtick, which had him voluntarily convulsing at any given moment after a brutal yell, was unanimously declared loud and obnoxious.
Everyone was Very Much Over It, so when Lindsay offered him the last rose during the first ceremony, fans watching let out a collective grumble in one direction: the producers.
There have been key contestants in past seasons Corrine and Chad stand out during recent seasons that have carried the producer’s load of “good” television content that now seems destined to be placed upon Whaboom (he doesn’t deserve to be called Lucas). But while Corn was actually entertaining, we really don’t need these gimmicks anymore to stay tuned week-to-week.
There’s enough people in the world to hate today, and Whaboom (which is trademarked, by the way) might be the last straw for viewers who haven’t ever really come for a contestant this early. Lindsay’s intelligence and success and the diverse pool of contestants gracing our screens for the first time forces us as an audience to level up a bit and frankly, it doesn’t seem anyone watching needs or wants the incessant Whabooms in the mansion. Or the doll, for that matter.
The franchise has always been an opportunity for contestants to access 15 minutes of fame and move on, but like everything in the world today, this season feels remarkably different. Whether it’s because of the overly-produced, polished reflection on race and gender Lindsay’s season might reveal, or if it’s just our collective tradition in watching love unfold on screen, the producers have missed an opportunity to do better.
And if the latter ends up being the case, then at the very least we and Lindsay deserve a higher caliber televised search for love. Give us some quality and maybe we will all stick around for the right reasons.