So there I am, entire bottle glass of wine in hand, watching the season premiere of Peter the Pilot's run as "The Bachelor," when something strange happened: It turned into a bonus episode from Hannah Brown's "Bachelorette" season instead.
Honestly, I'd much prefer a second season hanging with Hannah Beast – a true villain-to-fave story who really grew into fan's hearts and into her own person by the end of her season – than this upcoming star vehicle for boring ol' Petey Propellors, seemingly everybody's third choice (including Hannah's). But the show did everything all wrong, and I'm now I'm annoyed at everybody: Peter, Hannah, the producers and, most of all, Bota Box for not creating a refrigerator-sized box to help get me through all three hours of this show Monday night. (I'm just saying: "Cats" is only 110 minutes long.)
The first few moments of last night's "Irishman"-length premiere made me wonder if the show knew they needed to work a little harder this year than most to hook audiences. And so, we opened with a flash forward to the finale, with Peter and Harrison having a tense powwow about some sort of twist or reveal that's COMPLETELY RUINING this romantic sunset. Then the show jumps to a montage of clips from the upcoming season, and everyone's talking about sex, and I'm pretty sure at least five women got their dresses or skirts hiked up – so yeah, ABC's pulled out all the dramatic shortcuts and lowest common denominator tricks to get viewers on board.
But hey: You could do worse than Cockpit Pietro. He's got a goofy "Top Gun"-themed introduction during which he keeps his shirt on the entire time (WHAT KIND OF SHOW AM I WATCHING HERE!?), and he's got a terrific family that has fun Cuban catchphrases and dances while cooking dinner. The only problem: Peter's still kind of boring. Actually two problems: He's kind of dull, AND he's given everyone permission to bust out every single airplane pun ever conceived. If you took a drink every time somebody made a flight pun, well, I'm so sorry to break this to you, but you are reading this recap from the afterlife because you have died of alcohol poisoning. "I'm in the captain's chair now!" "Mile high club!" "Taking flight!" "Turbulence!" "Please be seated, fasten your seatbelts and return your tray tables to their upright positions!" I'm not saying I got tired of all the plane wordplay, but if heard one more pun, I was going to pull a Sully and drive myself straight into a river – and this was all before we even began the bombardment of Instagram influencers and future podcast hosts exciting love prospects! BEGIN THE PARADE!
First, there's Alexa who waxes people for a living, so the odds of Peter being forced to reenact "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" while she's around are one billion percent. Unfortunately, I think she'll be gone quickly because her name causes havoc on people's Amazon Alexa devices, and ABC won't want to be responsible for millions of viewers accidentally ordering 27,000 Neil Lane bracelets. There's Tammy, who flips houses on the street and human beings in the MMA ring, as well as Victoria P., who talks candidly about how her father died and her mom battled addiction – a nice sneak preview for the future episode where she shares this with Peter on a one-on-one date, and he'll say, "Thanks for being so vulnerable," before sending her home.
The calvacade continued with Hannah Ann, a model who really needs to pick a name. It's redundant; "Ann" is already half of the name "Hannah." Gotta pick one. Anyways, she's my early pick for winning the show; she's Southern, a model and she got the happy pleasant family edit, so she's certainly making it to at least Hometowns. There's also Kelley, an attorney who works with her entire family. WOO, LET'S HERE IT FOR NEPOTISM! And let's hear it for HR violations after one of her brothers makes a Mile High Club joke while they're all hanging around at the office. And then enter Madison, a former Auburn basketball player who may have daddy issues.
But enough of that, because Peter's outside the mansion, ready to actually greet some women and start what he expects to be "the most beautiful love story ever." Yeah, move aside, Romeo and Juliet, because we've got a true romance for the ages ... involving a guy getting dumped after having sex four times in a windmill. ROMANCE!
The first one out of the limo is Alayah (I think? Honestly, they all blended into various Courtneys by the end of the night.), who gives Peter a note from her Grandma Rose. Hold on a second: Peter has a grandma named Rose! MY GOD, THEY HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON! I take everything back; this IS the greatest love story ever told. She's followed by Sydney, who's from Alabama but insists that not every Bama girl makes bad dating decisions like certain former exes. The parade continues with Hannah Ann Bananarama, who seems significantly more Southern-accented than I remember, as well as Victoria who does a little mini-rave with Peter because she's nervous. This is fair. There's also a Canadian fashion blogger, about 25 flight attendants (MORE PLANE PUNS!) and also Madison, who shows up in a giant paper airplane and is way too happy about it.
Meanwhile, house-people flipper Tammy makes a package joke – but that's immediately forgotten, however, because the next woman shows up IN A LITERAL PACKAGE. A concierge shows up with a rack of luggage, and one bag starts moving and shaking and making people sounds. Surely, this is some magic trick – but no, it's a contestant named Kiarra whose dress is amazingly nowhere near as wrinkled as you would imagine. And she's just a nanny!? FORGET THE REST OF THE SHOW; EXPLAIN HOW YOU ALL FIT IN THAT CARRY-ON!
Unfortunately, she doesn't; instead we meet Lexi, who shows up in a very cool car. She also sounds very tired to be there. I feel you, Lexi. Then a whole bunch of new women show up talking about the windmill and busting out condoms – because when I meet someone on a first date, I like to remind him of his ex-girlfriend and all the sex they had. Then a new arrival named Katrina makes a joke about her hairless ... pussy ... cat. HEY, THIS IS A FAMILY NETWORK, LADY! Mickey Mouse shall not be pleased.
Somehow the show isn't cancelled after that gag – and even more ridiculous, there are more women. There's a second Victoria who can't even make it through her awful introductory "wet" joke. She's very upset to discover that there's ANOTHER Victoria already in the house, so she lets the camera know that she plans to establish herself – aka, she's going to murder someone. And then Jenna shows up with a cow – but not just any cow, an emotional support cow named Ashley P., who the lower third says is a vegetarian. (More of a career than most of the people on this show can claim!) A bunch of the ladies already inside the mansion mock her a little bit for the cow delivery ... but they also keep calling it a pony, so joke's on them, I guess.
Also Kelley arrives – with some backstory? Apparently she and Peter already met randomly in a hotel lobby and bonded well before the show – which is a story that definitely has no holes in it and I have no questions about at all. Are you sure you didn't meet at Stagecoach? Anyways, she seems WAY too genuine and normal to be on this show, and she sparks up some nice authentic awkward chemistry with Peter. I'm sure the other women will LOVE her.
And that's all the women – all 7,129 of them. BUT WAIT – there's one more arrival: Hannah Brown. And my god, considering the amount of shrieking coming from the mansion, you'd think a slasher villain popped out rather than just an ex-girlfriend. Poor Mykenna's brain I believe actually broke; another lady asked if this was legal. But come on, girls, the odds of this visit just being her coming by to say hi and good luck, plus maybe some advice is ... uh, whatever good odds are. (Math: It's hard!) And indeed, that's all it is as Hannah gives Peter the wings he gave her on night one all those weeks ago. It's almost kinda sweet ... for a moment that completely and needlessly tormented more than two-dozen stressed-out and liquored-up women in the house in the process. But it's OK; when he goes into the house to explain what happened with Hannah, he definitely doesn't sound like he's close to crying and that he hasn't moved on whatsoever!
Thankfully, the women quickly start distracting him and helping him forget about his stomped-upon heart. Alayah and Peter read the eHarmony profile that her grandmother wrote in letter format, while Peter and Maurissa awkwardly make a secret handshake while he keeps saying "this is going to work!" a lot. It is not going to work; she is doomed. Madison tosses paper airplanes with Peter and asks to know something interesting about him, so he says that he's secretly shy – because nothing says shy like going on a reality show to make out with 30 models in front of America, all after you previously boinked a lady four times in a windmill on television. But yes: shy.
I DiDnT eXpEcT tO bE kIsSiNg So MaNy GiRls! — Mike Golic Jr (@MGolicJR57) January 7, 2020
But I know why you're here: You want to know when these ladies are going to start asking if they can steal Peter away for a sec – and it took a while, but we got some great ones. First of all, there's Hannah Fanna Fo Fanna, who has a great time with Peter, talking about healthy marriages, laughing and absolutely torturing the other women as a result. But that's standard; what's less standard is then busting into another woman's time after you already had plenty of chats. Actually, that's standard too – but not for Shiann, who is STUNNED that Hannah Ann would steal Peter away from her. "I don't understand," she complains, clearly never having watched this show ever before and not comprehending the concept.
Annoyed, she takes HannananananananaBATMAN! aside to confront her about cutting into her Peter time. OUR FIRST BEEF OF THE NEW SEASON! And so, confronted by a housemate, Hannah Ann ... calmly says, "Thanks for bringing this up to me; I'll try to watch that," and then encourages Shiann to go chat with Peter. WHAT KIND OF FAKE VEGAN BEEF IS THIS!? Even Shiann's brain seems to shatter from the politeness – though it's Southern politeness, aka a prison shiv made of manners and smiles.
Elsewhere, Natasha gets "can I steal him for a sec"-ed by Mykenna the Canadian fashion blogger – who gets shot down at first, but comes back with some paper airplanes to attack their chats. AND HERE I WAS THINKING CANADIANS WERE NICE! Mykenna, however, started a fight she was unprepared to finish. She brought regular paper airplanes, so Natasha responds by bringing over the "Independence Day" alien spacecraft of paper airplanes to dive-bomb Mykenna's Peter chats. Best of all, while waiting for Fashion Canuck and Peter to wrap it up, Natasha starts sipping tea a few feet away. NOW THIS IS BEEF I CAN GET BEHIND!
Unfortunately, none of their aerial combat helps either of them score the First Impression Rose, which predictably goes to Hannah Ann. Edmonton Elegance is DISPLEASED – as well as Victoria F., who's very sad that she only had a little bit of time with Peter, which she chose to spend telling the same sleazy "I'm wet" joke twice. We'll see how that goes for you!
We won't have to wait long because it's rose ceremony o'clock – so, by this point, like, 3 in the morning? "You could literally cut the tension with a knife," says Sydney, not understanding what the word "literally" means. Victoria P., Madison, Sleepy Lexi, the Winnipeg Wardrobe, Shiann and – last but not least – Victoria F. all get roses, sending home all of the flight attendants as well as a bunch of people I don't believe we ever met, much less even saw. (There was someone named Eunice?)
But my god, that's not even half of the episode. Commence hour eight of Monday's premiere!
After washing his plane shirtless (wow, it took 90 minutes; that's got to be a new record) and getting more excited about planes going vroom vroom in the sky than he did about any of the women, Peter invites several of the contestants out for the season's first group date: flight school. BECAUSE HE'S A PILOT, YOU SEE! And by "flight school," I mean regular school, as the ladies sit down in some desks and get quizzed on some basic math problems by some very unimpressed military pilots. It's not very often I get to feel intelligent while watching "The Bachelor," but watching these Instagram influencers trip over how many feet are in a mile (it's 5,280, not 30,000), I felt like valedictorian.
In case all that math didn't make them sick enough, now they're off to reenact "First Man" and spin around in a gyroscope! Unfortunately for Victoria P. – who looks a bit like if Demi was strapped to one of those medieval body stretching racks – she once puked on a spinny teacup ride, and now she has Vietnam-like PTSD flashbacks about it. Listen, don't mock her. I too vomited on a spinning cups ride, and I haven't been able to even look at tea ever since. SOLIDARITY, STRECHY DEMI! Anyways, despite her fears and her stomach, she tries out the gyroscope ... and yep, pukes immediately after. But she's just so happy to see that Peter cared enough to visit her and make she was OK afterwards. Never mind that he peer pressured you to do it and was LITERALLY THE ONE spinning the Puke-a-Tron 5000. Dude shouldn't get credit for putting out the fire he started.
The games are not over, however, as "The Bachelor" turns into "Double Dare" for ten minutes with an obstacle course featuring giant fans, tricycles and spinning around on office spinny chairs. "The Bachelor" clearly spares no expense. Hotel Lobby Kelley wins the race, and therefore a private ride with Peter in his plane – but it's not without CONTROVERSY, as Kelley clearly ditched the race path in the tricycle section of the obstacle course and just drove in a straight line. That's right: We're getting sulky over proper tricycle-racing etiquette – so much so that, when she returns from her trip in the clouds, the other women confront her a bit about incorrect tricycling. Sometimes this show is glorious stupidity.
Unfortunately, the show giveth and the show taketh away – and while I was feeling OK forgiving Kelley for cheating at tricycling, unfortunately "The Bachelor" producers must've been disappointed in how un-villainous she seemed. So they sent her into the final portion of the date to take up all of Peter's time and "can I borrow you for a second" all over the place. Dang it, producers; I liked that Kelley seemed normal and genuine and not about the reality show silliness! And now she's a cliche. Well, there goes one of my favorites. The gambit works, though, as she gets the date rose.
Elsewhere, basketball player and dad enthusiast Madison gets the one-on-one date this week(-long episode), which turns out to be an invite to Peter's house to meet his entire family and participate in his parents' vow renewals. That ... is a lot for a first date. I DEFINITELY love inviting essentially strangers to very emotional family functions. "We are gathered here in front of friends, family and random reality dating show contestants for this intimate celebration of love ... broadcast across the nation on ABC, in the same episode in which a lady made a hairless pussy cat joke." Anyways, Peter's parents still seem delightful, and I'm very happy for them. In the end, I'm just glad Peter didn't bring Victoria F. to this, so the following never happened:
Sweet Old Grandmother: So how did you and Peter meet?
Victoria F.: I made a joke about how he makes me wet on national TV.
Sweet Old Grandmother: *deceased*
Anyways, back at the romantic dinner portion of the date, Madison talks to Peter about how she wants to marry someone like her dad. Think about our phrasing, folks. My prediction: Madison will probably go far, perhaps even to hometowns, and her dad and Peter are probably going to HAVE TENSE WORDS. The evening's capped off by the first Unexpected Country Concert of the season, provided by Tenille Arts. Hold on a second: Tenille Arts was just the Unexpected Country Concert back in Colton's season! It's fine if you want to reuse the same romantic set-ups, "The Bachelor," but using literally the same band too? Come on ...
And finally, we are on the final date of the night – or so we thought – as Peter gathers up the final group of ladies for a mystery date assembled by a mystery friend who definitely is Hannah Brown. Lo and behold, they walk into a warehouse to find her on a stage next to a windmill – because, and I don't know if you knew this, she and Peter had sex a lot of times in a windmill. And in case you ACTUALLY didn't know, she tells the WHOLE STORY AGAIN to Peter and all of his new girlfriends, in fairly graphic detail. I'm not saying it was incredibly awkward, but I did try clubbing myself over the head with my empty wine bottle in the hopes of concussing myself out of watching this seemingly 45-year-long scene.
Thankfully, story time ends as Hannah B. explains that the women will have to share a sex story with Peter – and a crowd of total strangers. So while the new ladies frantically jot down letters to Penthouse, Hannah Brown starts breaking down because – stunner – she's still kind of in love with Peter. Who could've expected the ex who shows up twice on your dating show, the second time to brag to your new girlfriends about all the sex you had that one time, still has a flame for you?
There's some decent material here – mainly a confuddled Peter confronting a tearful Hannah B. about whether she ever considered after him out instead of Tyler after Jed Sheeran turned out to suck – but in general, this whole situation makes me sad, and frankly kind of annoyed by everyone.
If you're Peter, why invite your ex to put together a date for your new significant others? That's a guaranteed nightmare. If you're Hannah, why go with this concept for the date – and also: WHY COME BACK TO "THE BACHELOR"?! Girl, you are famous now. You don't need to stoop to reality TV drama anymore. You are above crying in front of America on ABC – especially if they're not going to give you waterproof mascara. (They done you dirty there, Hannah.)
But most of all, I'm annoyed by the producers because clearly this was all their idea – and clearly Hannah B. and Peter weren't ready to move on from each other. So now you've got Hannah B. hijacking a show that she should be done with and Peter offering Hannah the chance to join the house for the rest of the season. CAN'T IMAGINE THAT GOING OVER WELL WITH THE REST OF THE WOMEN! At least that should be a good way of cleaning out some of the two-dozen contestants still remaining.
The only way this would've been worth it is if one of the contestants popped into their big emotional heart-to-heart and said, "Heeeey, can I steal him for a sec?" I guess we'll have to wait and see until next week if that happens – which, considering how long this episode was, should be only a few hours away now.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.