The Bachelor tried something new to ring in its 23rd season, and let’s just say it was a choice.
Instead of just airing the premiere episode as they usually do—all the way through, over the course of two short hours—Chris Harrison presided over a massive Bachelor premiere party taking place live in multiple locations in multiple states, including Utah, Texas, a house in Michigan, a studio in Los Angeles, and a hot tub outside in a parking lot. Bachelor alum such as Ashley Iaconetti, Jared Haibon, Kaitlyn Bristowe, JoJo Fletcher, Blake Horstmann, Jason Tartick, Krystal Nielson, and Chris Randone all co-hosted from those various locations, including the hot tub, and while there were moments that were entertaining, the whole thing felt odd.
Colton Underwood didn’t even appear in the show until an hour in, which is also when the women finally began exiting those limos, which is really what we come to Bachelor premieres to see. Instead of watching the actual show, it felt like we were enjoying a budget New Year’s Eve celebration, peppered with bits of the premiere on occasion.
In the moments when all we wanted to do was judge limo exits and find out who was going to say “can I steal him for a sec” the most, we got regular random people proposing to each other. That’s nice, but so, so awkward on national TV, especially when it happens twice. Or maybe three times, if you count the Ben Higgins fan who got down on one knee when he surprised her.
We have, over the years, grown to love or at least appreciate all of these people (the Bachelor people, not the regular engaged people), but there was a vague sense of being held hostage here, and like the joy of lovingly mocking this show over social media alongside its stars while we watched was sort of taken away from us as they all commented in real time on live TV.
Then, after it was all over and Colton had picked his first impression rose and sent his first ladies home, the show was basically over and there was no actual discussion of anything at all, making it feel a little bit anticlimactic.
If they were going to do a live show, it might have made more sense to start things off at the beginning with an introduction, then do an hour or so at the end. Or just do a little less in the middle, at least. This was too much.
Fans’ irritation with the viewing party aspect and the endless, annoying, and over-the-top virgin jokes even made it into a Twitter moment.
The fact that the show took nearly an hour to actually begin was a major sore spot on Twitter.
A very, very sore spot.
And the fact that the delay included so many virginity jokes did not help.
Those dang virginity jokes REALLY rubbed people the wrong way.
By the time the show was ending and giving us glimpses of the season to come, we were just tired instead of pumped. Three hours of The Bachelor is already a lot, and when you pack it with that much content and that many delays of the parts we were actually there to watch, three hours is way too much. Tonight, those three hours felt like an eternity.
But all that said, you can bet your apple balloon we will be back to find out why on earth Colton is jumping over that fence and running off into the darkness. It had better be as good as it looks like it is.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.