TV

This Week’s “Bachelor”: A Champagne Nightmare Starring Carson Kressley

“Boyfriends are temporary. Cashmere is forever.”

The real mystery of The Bachelor isn’t who Peter will pick in the end—it’s what happened to the veritable river of mascara that was pouring down Hannah Brown’s face at the end of last week’s premiere. Did the producers tell her to wipe it off? Seems unlikely, given that their job is to extract visible emotion out of wine-drunk young women. Did she notice it during an (unaired) break from filming before returning, magically clean-faced? The world may never know!
 

What we do know is that Peter still clearly has feelings for Hannah, but not feelings so strong that he’d be willing to abandon his Bachelor contract and leave behind a mansion populated by 23-year-old girls who are already going apeshit over him. Peter seemingly comes within centimeters of kissing Hannah before realizing that it probably wouldn’t go over well with his future fiancée, who will presumably watch this episode in the not-too-distant future. So it’s bye for now to Hannah Brown and hello to a house-full of horniness!

First, though, his contestants have to get over feeling sidelined by Peter’s ex. Natasha, an event planner from New York, is particularly pissed about Hannah, to which Peter responds, “You’re so direct, but I love that.” (Translation: He hates it. On this show, the Bachelor always says that he wants a woman who will challenge him, but he winds up usually choosing a more subservient type.) But Mykenna, a fashion blogger who looks like she came out of a laboratory that produces Bachelor contestants, is ready to forget Hannah, telling Peter, “Let’s leave it. Let’s say goodbye to it.” (Shades of Kylo Ren telling Rey, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.”)

ABC/Eric McCandless
Mykenna on The Bachelor.

Peter doesn’t seem quite ready to kill his past—you can almost see the Hannah Brown thought bubbles swirling around his head—but that doesn’t stop him from pulling off his signature move: picking Mykenna up, putting her on a countertop, and kissing her while she wraps her legs around him. (Avid viewers will remember that he tried this move with Hannah Brown on a pool table and ended up bonking her head on a light fixture. Oops!) However, the surest sign that Peter is ready to move on arrives when he gives Alabama girl Madison a framed photo of her with his parents. That’s the kind of gift you give to someone you’re pretty sure you’re going to marry, but in the Bachelor-verse it’s apparently the kind of gift you give someone the second time you see them.

But just when it seems like The Bachelor might be starting to settle into a boring, early-season routine, #ChampagneGate happens. Kelsey, a “professional clothier,” hears a cork popping in the distance. This turns out to be the Bachelor equivalent of “the shot heard ’round the world.” Hannah Ann, a model and this season’s clear frontrunner, has cracked open a bottle of bubbly with Peter that Kelsey is convinced she had stashed away for him. As it turns out, there were two different champagne setups on the group date that had gotten mixed up—but Kelsey just knows Hannah Ann deliberately opened her champagne. (“I was unaware of your situation,” is how Hannah Ann, assured of her own victory, robotically responds to Kelsey’s tirade.) Ultimately, they spend the rest of the episode fighting over a bottle of champagne—proof that reality TV is already a parody of itself.

ABC/Eric McCandless
Hannah Ann on The Bachelor.

In the end, we do get a little taste of genuine gayness in the straightest show on earth: Queer Eye O.G. Carson Kressley appears alongside supermodel Janice Dickinson and Revolve brand officer Raissa Gerona to host a runway contest in which the girls stand to win tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing.

ABC/Eric McCandless
Carson Kressley and Janice Dickinson on The Bachelor.

It’s telling that many of the women are far giddier about this prospect than they are about the idea of becoming Mrs. Weber. As Carson sagely notes, “Boyfriends are temporary. Cashmere is forever.” Despite a daring lingerie walk from Victoria F., Hannah Ann—who is a professional model, after all—wins the loot. But that doesn’t mean Victoria F. isn’t one to watch out for. She calls herself “the girl who whispers,” which sounds like the title of a Gillian Flynn novel, but it accurately describes how she might wiggle her way into Peter’s heart even as more confident girls vie for his attention.

What’s important is that his options are wide open: Peter left Hannah Brown behind, and now he’s got his pick of the constantly catfighting litter.

Samantha Allen is the author of "Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States" and a GLAAD Award-winning LGBTQ journalist.
@SLAWrites