No one mentioned the shards of glass ceiling around Rachel Lindsay as she walked out onstage during Monday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. She was there to help Jimmy Kimmel confirm a bit of newsBachelor blogger Reality Steve broke earlier in the day: Rachel will be the next lead of The Bachelorette.
But though they talked about a few things — notably, the awkwardness that Lindsay is still in the top four on the current season of The Bachelor, trying to win Nick Viall’s heart in an attempt we now know was futile — they didn’t mention the historic nature of Lindsay’s casting. As the first black lead of either The Bachelorette or The Bachelor, Lindsay breaks a 33-season streak of almost entirely white leads (one American-born Venezuelan, Juan Pablo Galavis, led a season of The Bachelor).
It’s about damn time the Bachelor franchise breaks that ground. Read more
As a TV critic who keeps an eye on social issues, I’ve long been critical of ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises. They urge viewers to believe completely contrived events are somehow spontaneous. They also support an unhealthy princess fantasy in which romance is conflated with an upper-middle class wonderland filled with reality TV fame and luxury resort getaways.
So why do I find it so important that The Bachelorette is welcoming its first black woman as a star this season? The answer came as I watched Rachel Lindsay navigate what turned out to be a pretty typical Bachelorette debut episode, which aired Monday night. The show hit all the expected notes: a quick review of how she was rejected by Nick Viall in the last Bachelor season, a hasty reminder of her background as an attorney and a turn into the new life she was hoping for at the end of the Bachelorette “journey.”
But part of the show’s princess fantasy involves building up its bachelorette as an archetype of beauty: a smart, personable, all-American woman who a bevy of Abercrombie & Fitch model lookalikes would fight over.
Okay, but let’s be real. Peter. Handsome silver fox. With cute matching gap teeth. Who likes her dog. Who isn’t uncomfortable talking about going to therapy to deal with how past relationships have affected him. Who wouldn’t force her to move and leave the job she loves. Who seems confident enough in himself – but also doesn’t walk around talking about how Rachel’s already his. Didn’t spend their first date acting like he’s already in love with her [which is a massive pet peeve of mine]. Who doesn’t eat someone’s face off as a first kiss. Peter.
I want to be on the Bachelor so I can make a cookie cutter white guy fall in love with me and then, when it gets to the final two, set off red flags everywhere. Really, I just want to be the Bachelorette so I can break the hearts of all 20 or so of the guys who all look the same. I really want to just call them all by the wrong name and make them all cower before me. I will own them.
“Handing out roses at these damn rose ceremonies takes forever. Instead of handing out roses to the guys she wants to stay, she should hand out dead roses to the two she’s sending packing.” - my father, pretending he’s hating The Bachelorette but is making zero attempt to walk away