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Welcome back, Bachelor Nation!

| Thursday, October 15, 2020

Mary O'Reilly | The Observer

I didn’t realize how much I had missed Chris Harrison until he graced my TV screen last Tuesday night, introducing Clare Crawley as the lead for the sixteenth season of “The Bachelorette.” The Bachelor franchise has been a major component of American pop culture for as long as I can remember, and this season may be “the most dramatic yet.”

Clare Crawley is a 39-year-old woman from California, and she is a Bachelor franchise veteran. First appearing on Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis’s season seven years ago, she famously told him off for leading her on until the very end. “I would never want my children having a father like you,” is still one of the most iconic lines in reality television history. In the years leading up to this season, Clare appeared on the first two seasons of “Bachelor in Paradise,” and was briefly engaged to a Canadian man she met on “Bachelor Winter Games.” However, she is full of hope that this season will be the one where she meets the love of her life.

After watching the season opener, I have a lot of respect for Clare. Being only the second Bachelorette to lead the show in her thirties, Clare makes it clear that she knows what she wants in a partner, and she will not settle for anything less. She’s so confident that she unapologetically pets Bachelor Kenny’s chest because he’s wearing a shirt with her dogs printed on it. She is not afraid to ask her Bachelors tough questions or openly express her emotions. After her father’s passing and her mother’s current struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Clare exudes strength and is vulnerable with the men vying for her heart.

Of course, one of the Bachelors had to cause drama the first night. Tyler C. (who I couldn’t help but compare to the absolutely iconic Tyler C. from Hannah Brown’s season of “The Bachelorette”) pulled fellow Bachelor Yosef aside to address DMs he had allegedly sent to a mutual friend of his. There doesn’t seem to be any substance to this allegation, though, especially since Tyler C. is from West Virginia and Yosef is from Alabama. While social media does connect people from all over the world, this is a big stretch.

So, what did Yosef do after Tyler C. pulled him aside? He tattled to Clare, of course. Clare immediately and brilliantly shut down any further spread of rumors. She quickly pulled Yosef and Tyler C. aside together to hear both sides, and she didn’t give any more time to the bickering than she needed to. Unfortunately for Tyler C., Clare didn’t find his claims believable either, as she sent him packing while Yosef got to stay.

Contestant Brendan asked in his quarantine vlog, “Isn’t it crazy what we do for love?” In order to film this season, Clare, Chris Harrison and all of the Bachelors had to be tested for the coronavirus multiple times, as well as live in isolation before shooting the season in their COVID-19-free bubble. Filmed solely at the La Quinta Resort and Club, this bubble allowed the contestants to hug and kiss Clare like any other season. The Bachelors were able to pull off memorable first impressions, including wearing a pregnancy belly to “foreshadow” their future, and jumping through a giant poster designed in a comic style with the words “future husband” printed in the middle. There seems to be a pretty good mix of energetic, soft-spoken, sweet and bold guys this season.

Of course, the future of this season of “The Bachelorette” will be determined by Clare’s relationship with first-impression rose winner Dale, especially since Clare claimed she felt like she had met her husband after first meeting him. The previews for the rest of the season clearly suggest that she will “blow up The Bachelorette” at some point and leave early. I guess the question is: Will she be leaving with Dale?

Title: “The Bachelorette”

Episode: Season 16, Episode 1

Dreamiest of the week: Eazy (for having a great energy the first night) and Blake Moynes (for reaching out to check on Clare during quarantine)

Wilting roses: Yosef (for not blatantly denying the DM accusation) and Bennett (for calling the fact that he went to Harvard “the H-bomb”)

Where to watch: Netflix, ABC app or website

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5

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