“The Bachelorette” Semi-Started Last Night And HO BOY Was It Awkward

1. Rachel Lindsay, the new Bachelorette, is a sparkle princess and we are so very excited for her season to begin!

2. But not as excited as ABC, apparently. During last night’s finale, Chris Harrison kept teasing a “surprise” for Rachel, warning us to “Hold onto your Spanx!”

3. The big reveal? That — UNBEKNOWNST TO HER — Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette was starting RIGHT NOW ON LIVE TELEVISION.

Not only was it shitty that Rachel won’t get her own, special normal first episode to meet all of her suitors, but what followed was…uncomfortable. On a lot of levels.

5. Rewatching the clip, I was shocked by how many times Rachel straight-up verbalizes her unhappiness or shakes her head…with a big smile on her face.

13. After meeting the second suitor, Blake (who was so boring/unprepared, it hurt), Rachel said to Chris Harrison, “They’re great! I mean, we could stop there…”

(Raise your hand if you’ve ever said, “I mean, we could stop!” while grimacing because you’re not comfortable saying, “Holy shit, let’s definitely stop.”)

And how did he respond? With “You want to stop there? I mean, we can stop there.” *takes two steps closer to Rachel* “We should probably keep going.”

15. And because The Bachelor wasn’t done giving me college frat party flashbacks, the next thing they did was bring out Dean, who introduced himself by saying, “I’m ready to go black…and I’m never gonna go back.

16. And then — and I missed this the first time because I was so busy yelling at the television — he licked his lips and made this face:

19. My face watching all of this unfold:

And, look, I don’t want to speak for Rachel but I will say this: yeah, she claps and laughs and says “I love it!” to Dean (and throughout the segment)…but as a black woman who has had a lot of smarmy white dudes say fucked up things that made me uncomfortable — and as a woman who has struggled to find nice ways to say “no” many, many times, especially in public settings — there’s a power dynamic here that put Rachel in a very tough position. This was live television and, as the new Bachelorette, Rachel is supposed to be America’s sweetheart — which means, in part, making white people feel comfortable.

So even if she was uncomfortable or unhappy, reacting negatively could have real consequences. Her options were to either roll with it, or risk being labeled “difficult.” Quite frankly, I wouldn’t expect her to do anything but laugh it off.

20. The segment ended on a high note, at least, with some genuine chemistry between Rachel and the fourth suitor, Eric:

21. Rachel handled every cringe-worthy moment with total grace, but I’m really hoping that ABC and Chris Harrison will chill out with the “surprises” in Rachel’s upcoming ~epic~ ~historic~ season.

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