Props to Wing Chun and Sars, and continued tutorial points to my muse Potes and her muse Little Hills. Hit 'em up style, ladies. Hit 'em up style.
"Once upon a time," the disembodied voice-over of Chris Harrison explains during a synth-drenched opening montage of palm trees and beachfront sand that immediately sets this show's cheesiness quotient in an exceedingly Miami-Vice-Audio-Visual-Team- Reunion-Tour-'03 kind of way, "there was a beautiful young bachelorette searching for the man of her dreams." The logo for The Bachelorette appears on screen in the font MS Public Humiliation Sans Pride, and we cut from a Glamour-Shots-sponsored shot of Trista holding a bouquet of roses against a black background to a few shadowy shots of her interacting with this season's passel of dudes. Shot of Trista laughing with dudes. Shot of Trista drinking with dudes. Really ickily objectifying shot that starts at Trista's feet and pans up to get a tight look at what I'm sure the cameraman who lensed this shot would refer to as her "gams." Guy Whose Name I Don't Know Yet explains to the camera, "She's got her head on straight. She knows what she wants," while Guy Whose Name I Don't Know Yet II further plot-develops, "She's exactly the kind of girl that I'm attracted to." Disembodied Chris Harrison butts in from the great beyond to finish his thought: "And twenty-five men trying to prove that they're the one." Guy Whose Name I Don't Know Yet III (let's call him "Trey") tells us, "I believe in fate, and that's, I think, why I'm here. I think it's out of both of our control." Cut to montage-y proof that, in fact, this situation is very much in Trista's control after all, as she holds up a rose in the first elimination, and I look around my apartment wondering, Joe Millionaire-style, what color wine you're supposed to serve with all this beefcake. Red? Is it red? No, white. Oh, red? Oh.
After once more very slowly explaining that twenty-five men will be competing for the affections of one woman, just in case a significant portion of tonight's viewing audience had never previously been introduced to the recently invented concepts of "television" and "math," Chris "The Twenty-Sixth Bachelor" Harrison finally reveals himself. He walks onto the gaily decorated patio of The Beefcake Factory, introducing himself with a smarmy "hi" and waiting just long enough before continuing to make me feel bad that I didn't offer a return "Uh, hey, Chris" or "Hi, Dr. Nick" or whatever it is I was supposed to do and didn't. Wearing a black suit so that he doesn't have to waste his time changing before he leaves the set to attend the funeral for the death of culture, he saunters around the pool and welcomes us "to The Bachelorette." Now wait just a second, there, Mr. Harrison! Did you say what I think you just..."that's right! I said The Bachelorette!" He did say that. He did! "Tonight, instead of one man handing out roses and choosing from twenty-five women, this time it's one woman choosing from twenty-five men." Oh, good god, we know. WE KNOW! I understand that this show is very proud of itself for having turned gender mores on its ear like this, but (a) the word "bachelorette" has been used on television since The Dating Game let one woman pick from three men starting, like, the same day the picture tube was invented, and I know Chuck Barris doesn't need any more press right now but I thought it was kind of worth mentioning, and (b) we've seen the previews and the commercials and we've been to the website and posted on the forums, so it's not like they could've thrown that loping a curveball at us and, oh yes, (c) shut up, Chris Harrison. It's gender politics as normal on a reality television show; it's not like Trista is crashing a turn-of-the-century meeting of the Daughters Of The American Revolution, handing out leaflets, and yelling "Suffrage! Suffrage for women! Suffrage for all!" So let's try and keep some perspective.