The Bachelor struggles to define a bad bitch (2023)

The Bachelor struggles to define a bad bitch (1)

Welcome to the second week of Zach Shallcross’s season of The Bachelor. He cut 10 out of 30 women in the premiere, but I still only know maybe five of their names. We get some cursory footage of Zach in the shower as he explains in voiceover that he wants to find his “forever person.” I want to know when “forever person” entered the lexicon. When did people decide “soulmate” was just too cheesy and land on a stupider way to say it?


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Jesse Palmer gathers the harem for a morning debrief before telling them that Zach is doing things a little differently. Instead of two one-on-ones and a group date, he’s going to have two group dates and a single one-on-one so that he gets face time with everyone this week. Cat does a thing with her face that makes me want to stop watching this show.

We’re off to some sort of club, and the guest is Latto! The whole theme is her song “Big Energy” and seeing which of the women are bad bitches. What’s a bad bitch, you ask? The show doesn’t really seem to have a grasp on its definition. Latto says it’s someone beautiful inside and out. A bad bitch is a good dancer, which is why everyone has to stand in a circle and show off their best moves. (This is the stuff of my middle school nightmares.) Zach dances in his confessional, and a producer asks, “Are you a good dancer?” “Nope,” he answers, and I can appreciate the self-awareness.


Then Latto says she has a surprise: There are going to be more women on today’s date! The doors to the stage burst open and Victoria, Tahzjuan, and Courtney strut onto the catwalk. These “iconic” (?) ladies of Bachelor Nation are here to judge the bad bitches! A bad bitch will grab the attention of everyone in the room, so the ladies have to dig through a box of props and walk the runway in an attention-grabbing way. Or something? The producers did not put a ton of effort into this date. Bailey comes out in a pink wig. Cat is wearing cat ears and crawling on all fours. Brianna has found one of those money guns and rains cash all over Zach as he sits in the chair. Tahzjuan says there are some baddies, but like in a bad way. “I don’t think they understand the assignment.” Tahz, none of us do! It was not well explained!

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The Bachelor struggles to define a bad bitch (2)

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Next up is the college essay portion of the evening, in which everyone has to get up onstage and talk about a time when they were a bad bitch. Again, no one is really clear on what makes a bad bitch. None of this matters, no one is crowned a winner, and we’re off to the cocktail party at that weird antique shop they always visit once a season.

As Zach gets some time with each of the women, they all remark what a good, drama-free group they have, and like clockwork, Tahzjuan comes to crash the date to express her own interest in Zach. She’s cartoonishly evil about this, telling the other women their performances earlier were painful to watch and she thought it was clear none of them would be his wife. She is putting a lot of weight on prop usage! What would you have done on the catwalk, girl? This drama is ultimately just a bump on the road because after “thinking about it,” Zach sends Tahz on her way. She cries to a producer about how she’s never going to find a good guy, hilariously whispering through her tears, “Bad bitches don’t cry.” I’ll be happy if I never hear the term “bad bitch” again.


At the end of the night, the rose goes to Katherine, which doesn’t sit well with Brianna. She reminds us frequently that she had “America’s rose” to start the season, so she hasn’t gotten that validation from Zach yet. When she cries to him about this, he reassures her and asks for a kiss. But the rose for the evening still went to someone else.

The Bachelor struggles to define a bad bitch (3)


The episode’s one-on-one date goes to Christina, the content creator with a five-year-old daughter and a famous mom. Jesse promised the date would be “incredibly intimate,” but not in the way you’d expect. They start with a helicopter ride over L.A., and Christina says, “I never imagined when I woke up that I would be on a helicopter today.” You didn’t? It’s one of the most frequently deployed Bachelor dates, after a random hot tub in the woods or dancing in an empty room to a no-name band. Then they visit Zach’s childhood home for his mom’s birthday party! Siblings, cousins, friends and neighbors are all there to see how Christina fits in. She asks for the dirt, but I don’t know what they could tell you that would be worse than Zach’s own admission that his first concert was to see Nickelback.

At dinner that evening, Christina takes the plunge and tells him she has a daughter. Her name is Blakely Mae, and I don’t want to mock a child, but the name is so dumb that he has to ask her to repeat it. After a good first response, Zach starts to spiral in terror at the idea of becoming a father overnight. Christina gets the rose, but you can almost see him doing the mental calculations of how many more weeks he has to keep her before he can let her go without being an ass. There are 19 other women here he could choose without becoming a stepfather.


The second group date is just a nighttime cocktail party, an even weaker effort than the first date. Ariel tries to get on his radar by trading admissions of their “worst fears,” but hers is just that she won’t get kissed tonight. Gabi, the maple syrup girl, wants his attention but goes into their chat a little too drunk and calls him Zachy Poo. My current Bachelorette frontrunner Jess snags the rose by asking him to share a fact no one else would know at this point, and it’s a good move. Everyone likes to be asked about themselves. “I shouldn’t have to feel like a worthless person!” Gabi cries to a producer, and I’m begging women to stay off this show if they don’t have the self-confidence to make it through one night where you don’t get the rose.

Finally, it’s rose ceremony night. Gabi redeems herself by bringing Zach a jar of peanut butter cups (“Want to Lady And The Tramp it?”). Brooklyn teaches him how to lasso, which is kind of hot. Watching someone be good at something is sexy! But Brianna’s insecurity, which has been simmering throughout the episode, dominates most of the action when she decides to confront Christina about an interaction they had on night one. In flashback, we see Christina say “I hate you, just kidding” in reference to the fact that Brianna comes in with a rose. Christina immediately apologizes when Brianna brings this to her, which is better than I would have done, since this is such an outrageous fight to pick.


But instead of being disarmed by Christina’s apology, Brianna doubles down and tries to tell on her to Zach, who could not be less interested in this drama. Brianna, I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! Why are you self-sabotaging? Zach tells her that none of their conversations have been enjoyable, and she realizes how badly she’s fucked this up right as we head into the rose ceremony.

The Bachelor has a bad habit of ending on cliffhangers instead of seeing the rose ceremony through, which always makes watching the following week a hellacious experience since I’m expected to remember where we left off. Thankfully, this week we see the three cuts, with Brianna being the last one to receive a rose. The message is clear: You better turn that frown upside down next week, girl.


Stray observations

  • Brianna says things like, “America really saw something when they gave me that rose,” as if the U.S. government got together to make this decision.
  • No matter how many times the women talk about how attracted they are to Zach, nothing is going to convince me this man is hot.
  • Katherine looks like a celebrity. Someone figure out who it is and tell me.
  • I can feel the show wanting us to see that it’s reducing the gimmicks and taking itself seriously this season. In a previous year, the producers absolutely would have made Zach keep Tahzjuan.
  • The women discuss kissing with tongue, and Jess says she has to be laying down for that?
  • “Today was wild,” Zach says of attending his mother’s birthday party.
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