By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 28, 2020 at 6:36 AM

Make sure to play along with "The Bachelorette" with Kesslers and SportClub's Bachelorette Fantasy League!

"The system works."

Every season, Chris Harrison says this like a desperate pitchman, and every year, the show provides evidence that, eh, maybe it actually doesn't? That's definitely the case this season, in which Harrison's beloved system is clearly not working. The concept is broken, and instead of finding love, the "Bachelorette" process is actively getting in the way of a romance, forcing a woman whose obviously found love to pretend she doesn't and turning her into a villain for ... achieving the goal of the show too soon? Sure, she could definitely play along better with the show, but if a person is a problem for falling in love with one person on the show ABOUT falling love with a person, that sure seems like a broken concept, not a broken character.

In the end, the season's just making life worse for everyone – Clare, the Handsome Generic Stubbles, me, my liver – and the sooner everyone is freed from its pointless grasp, forcing them through a rigmarole that no one wants to participate in anymore, the happier everyone will be. 

Anyways, last we checked, Yosef is grumbling at the cocktail party because he is APPALLED and DISTURBED by the INDECENCY of Clare having some of the guys play strip dodgeball for her amusement, so much so that he clearly just wants to get off the show. But why make a graceful dismount when you can make a full dink of yourself on the way out the door? So Yosef goes to talk to Clare about his feelings and "wash his hands of this atrocity." Dude, it was a misguided game of strip dodgeball; it wasn't a war crime. Pump the breaks. 

But no, Yosef keeps that aggrieved energy going, soliloquizing first about how she snapped at their group date for not seemingly ... wanting to date her before finally getting to the GREAT INSULT that was strip dodgeball. Clare, at various points, tries to explain herself and talk about these issues with Yosef, but he is no mood to let this become a conversation, instead just trucking through every synonym for "appalled" he can think of – somebody read the thesaurus during quarantine! – and noting that she's "the oldest bachelorette that's ever been." Should've kept reading that thesaurus and finding better words, Yosef. 

Clare eventually hears enough variations on the words "classless" for one night and sends him home, with Yosef mocking her for being still single at (*gasp*) 39 on his way out and serving as a true inspiration to his daughter. Surely she will beam with pride at her father being sexist and ageist, yelling at his date on national television about having to see dude butts. (Because reminder: He wasn't even on the controversial date.) Truly an exemplar of class – which, again, if Yosef really cared about class, he wouldn't go on a dating show about 30 people hoping to make out with the same person.

While Yosef rides off in the SUV of shame, hopefully heading to NASA where they'll launch him into the sun, Dale pops out to comfort Clare – because of course he does. It'd be nice if any of the other guys showed an interest in providing Dale with competition. Anyways, Harrison asks if Clare would like to call it a night, and she decides to nix the rest of the cocktail party and go straight to the rose ceremony – devastating news to Patrick Bateman, who starts drying his tears with Benjamins and his Harvard degree. Luckily for him, he gets to stay while a Robin Thicke stand-in and two other anonymous dudes who may have just been lost cameramen are shown the door. Dale gives a final toast about strength – because OF COURSE HE DOES; any other guys want a speaking role this season!? – and they all call it a day.

The next day, Harrison drops by the guys' space to note that Yosef getting exposed shows that "the show works." OH DOES IT NOW, HARRISON!? Nothing says this is a quality system for love and romance like a guy heckling a woman into tears just 12 hours ago. Good vetting, great system. A polite reminder that, in 40 seasons of this show, about seven final couples have actually stuck together. The last "Bachelor" star ended up with the woman he met outside of the show anyway, while the previous star, Colton, has a restraining order out against him. And now you've got a woman who's clearly found her guy, but can't exclusively date him because she's stuck on your show, half-heartedly dating miscellaneous Zachs and Tylers. 

Harrison also comes bearing a new group date card – but before then, Clare wants to hang out with DeAnna from season four of "The Bachelorette" and talk about how much she really wants to be with Dale. WELL THIS IS A REVELATION! Together they talk and ... sniff pants? Yes, Clare has a pair of Dale's ripped pants from the first night, which apparently she snorts like a drug whenever she needs a hit of Dale. Love sniffing men's pants with friends! I don't want to be crude, because I'd rather not have Yosef drop in here and start yelling at me for being an indecent atrocity to humanity, but Clare, Dale's definitely farted in those trousers. You are sniffing old farts and junk sweat. Just a warning.

Unfortunately, Clare gets so distracted sniffing trow that she forgets that she's got a bunch of guys waiting for a date night. So, an hour or two after the date was supposed to take place, she drops by, cancels the date and just makes it a cocktail party. My apologies to the poor production staff who put together some big ornate obstacle course for the guys to sprint through on a date challenge, only for Clare to render it useless because she was too busy getting high off pants. 

Anyways, on the date, Dale brings in everyone for an awkward group hug before stealing Clare away so the two can go talk in a conveniently set-up secret hotel room – and by talk, I mean gigglingly make out while the rest of the dudes sit around and get hammered waiting for them to return. I never thought I'd say this, but these guys need to be more rude; start interrupting Dale's time and asserting yourself on this show. I get that Clare has fully committed to Dale, but it's not like the rest of the cast is providing much competition for her to consider. They're like that "Simpsons" quote: "We've tried nothing, and we're all out of ideas!" She's not playing the game particularly well – but neither are they.

Eventually, Eazy takes his glass of wine and decides to check and make sure Dale or Clare haven't been murdered by a mountain lion or something, and finds the two giggling in their random hotel room. Dale finally gets the hint that he should go, giving Eazy some time with Clare while the rest of the guys rip on him for taking up their entire evening – and, most annoyingly, not owning up to it. That's not the most annoying part, actually. The most annoying part is that, after sucking up the first hour of the date, Dale goes back to steal away more time with Clare, pulling her away from a guy who ... appeared to be blowing bubbles in his wine? Actually, I fully approve of Dale interrupting that nonsense. 

What I don't approve of is Dale interrupting a THIRD time on the date, conveniently walking through the door during someone else's time with Clare because a producer told him the craft services table was through there or something. And while he's there, Dale figures he'd steal Clare away again, all the while the two giggle like high school lovebirds in front of the other guys getting pushed aside. It's a bad look, bordering on rude – but then again, the point of the show is for Clare to find love, and she clearly already has. The show's mission is over – a shame there's still weeks upon weeks of show to do and 17 guys still stuck hanging around on set. 

Anyways, Dale gets the rose for the date because duh.

But maybe Clare's upcoming solo date with ... uh, A Person Who Definitely Has A Name And Personality will awaken new feelings. Oh wait, nope; when she goes to pick up the lucky rando – named Zach, as it turns out – she spends the entire time making cartoon googly eyes at Dale and his sexy backwards cap. Off to a promising start!

Things somehow get worse from there as the two have a spa day in which Clare can't stop thinking about Dale instead of Zach. They talk and get foot rubs and she covers his face in quacamole – maybe in the hopes of convincing herself that she's actually on a date with Dale – but none of it works. And it sure doesn't get better when, after a swim, Clare goes in for a kiss and then ... stops. She bails within centimeters of the smooch, either because Zach didn't bother leaning in or because she realized all too late that he wasn't Dale.

It's awkward – BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD, because Zach, embarrassed after blowing the moment, grabs Clare by the neck and shoulder area in the hopes of pulling her back in for a kiss that she doesn't want to give anymore – and certainly doesn't want to give in the midst of a Vulcan death grip. She clearly wants out, and he's not particularly taking no for an answer, eventually letting her go but still stalking after her and grabbing at her in the hopes of making up for his botched smooch – all the while I'm macing my screen in the hopes of making it all go away. It's terrible and profoundly uncomfortable, to the degree that Clare sends Harrison in her place for the dinner portion of the night to send Zach home while she cries with her dogs. INDEED, HARRISON, LOOK AT THAT SYSTEM WORKING!

There's still one more group date to go to wash the taste of that out of our mouths: a roast, hosted by Margaret Cho. Clare's excited because she wants bold guys who can laugh at themselves and let loose. The assorted Stubbles are even more excited, though, because the other guys are in the audience – including Dale, who becomes their target for the night. Everybody takes their turn verbally pummelling Dale on stage like a speedbag – particularly Patrick Bateman. None of it's particularly funny – John Mulaney need not quake in his boots – but there is something cathartic about seeing Dale finally taking an L after being untouchably smug the night before as well as seeing the guys finally figure out three episodes in that, wait a second, this is a competition?

Clare, however, does not find it satisfying at all. She's very annoyed that everyone's beating up her fiancee – and I know that sounds like a joke, but later in the night, she literally Freudian slips and calls Dale her fiancee. For a roast to be funny, she laments, you shouldn't hurt people's feelings. In related news, Clare has no idea what a roast is. Pro tip: If you don't want somebody to get roasted, DON'T HOST A ROAST! So much for wanting people to be bold. 

The show sticks so much in Clare's craw that, at the afterparty, she spends all of her conversations questioning the guys about Dale and why they don't like him. Patrick Bateman even tries to steer the topic away to their relationship – but sorry, guy, she only cares about one relationship, and she only wants to know why you don't like it. I haven't seen anything this ridiculously overprotective since that mama bear tried murdering Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant."

Amazingly, it's the boy band manager with the biggest brain in the group. Yes, Kenny starts putting it together that she's not into them; she likes Dale and only Dale, and right now they're only there because the show mandates it. Patrick Bateman doesn't want to believe it, but it's impossible to deny when Clare comes out and declines to give anyone a rose on the date because she didn't get what she wanted out of the date (because none of them were Dale). So Kenny pitches essentially a strike. If Clare is done with the guys, then maybe they should walk out and be done as well. SUCH DRAMA; I HOPE THEY HAVE A BACK-UP BACHELORETTE ON STANDBY WHOSE NAME RHYMES WITH GEISHA!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

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.