bachelor nation

Clare and Dale Aren’t Even Pretending Anymore

Photo: ABC

Okay, here we go. After starting off with two rather underwhelming episodes, season 16 of The Bachelorette seems to finally have hit its stride. There’s a villain, there’s true love, and absolutely everyone is angry.

First, there’s Yosef. Yosef is a dad from Alabama who appears to have been chatting up women on Instagram immediately before the show but is nonetheless shocked — shocked! — to find that there is ogling going on in this La Quinta Resort & Club. At the beginning of the episode, he says that Clare’s behavior has been “completely unacceptable” and “classless” and that he wants to wash his hands of this “atrocity.” Oh my gosh.

What did Clare do to make him react this way? Skin a kitten on a group date? No, Yosef is angry that Clare had the guys play strip dodgeball on a date, a date on which he wasn’t even invited. The episode opens with his hurling insults at Clare for a while and saying he’s “ashamed” to be associated with her. At one point, he talks about how hard it is for him to take time away from his family to be on this show for which he has voluntarily signed up, and Clare says, “I get it. My mom is dying —” before Yosef cuts her off so he can go back to talking about how offended he was that she had other guys strip down to their jockstraps.

Clare kicks him out, thank God, then cries for a while as model and former NFL player Dale comforts her. The rest of the episode is all about how Dale and Clare are falling in love and how they’re not even pretending to be going through the motions of engaging in the show’s structure anymore. During one group date, Dale says he needs to take Clare aside for five minutes to talk about the Yosef incident, and they end up going to Clare’s room and making out for an hour. Later, there’s a comedy-roast-themed group date that Margaret Cho oversees, and Clare gets mad that everyone roasts Dale. Dale seems fine with it because he gets to make out with Clare all the time anyway, so the joke’s on them.

At one point, Clare does actually give another guy a chance. She goes on a one-on-one date with a man I’ve never seen before named Zach. The two get pedicures and hang out in the pool and then there’s an uncomfortable almost-kiss at the pool that ends, upsettingly, with Zach aggressively grabbing Clare and insisting she kiss him again. There’s no joke about this part; it was just bad. The two were supposed to have dinner together that night, but instead Clare sends Chris Harrison to go kick Zach off the show.

According to the previews, it looks like next week may be when this whole season blows up and Clare leaves and former Bachelor season 23 contestant Tayshia Adams replaces her. I hope so. I’m ready. In the meantime, here are some questions I had about the episode.

• Why does everyone talk about Clare being 39 like it’s a medical oddity? Like, the next time some supercentenarian dies, the announcement is going to say “The title of oldest living woman now goes to Clare Crawley, 39, Bachelorette.” Yosef kept calling her “the oldest Bachelorette that’s ever been,” as if she’s some villainous crone in a fairy tale.

• Isn’t it funny that Terrible Yosef made such a stink about Clare having guys strip down to their underwear and then all these Bachelor fans online were like, Uh, hold on … what’s this about you being a boxer model? Good riddance, Yosef!!!

• Did you see the pictures from Dale’s old Party City modeling gig?

• Oh, sweet, lovestruck Dale. When he goes to interrupt another guy’s date to make out with Clare some more, he claims he got lost on the way to the bathroom? Not a great excuse. Anyway, this screenshot belongs in the Louvre.

• Harvard guy Bennett has such bad jokes about Dale at the roast, but the guys act like they’re really clever. Do you think, because he has the jawline of a finely carved marble statue, people always laughed at Bennett’s jokes even if they weren’t funny and that’s how we ended up here?

• One guy’s joke about Dale was just to say that he thought his name was pronounced the same as “Dalai Lama”? Really?

• Has this man “Chasen” been here the whole time?

Clare and Dale Aren’t Even Pretending Anymore