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Jews Watching TV: The Bachelorette with Andi Dorfman, Episode 1

It’s gotta be better than JDate.

That’s probably what Andi Dorfman was thinking when she agreed to appear in the latest season of The Bachelorette—that, and the pursuit of fame and fortune.

Andi is the first Jewish bachelorette in the considerable history of the television franchise; amazingly, we’ve endured 18 seasons of The Bachelor and nine seasons of The Bachelorette (and a whopping four marriages!) with nary a starring female member of the tribe—until now. Thankfully, Andi did the Chosen people proud in the last night’s opening episode: she embarrassed herself no more than any other previous Bachelorette, and the crop of guys in her orbit are better-looking than the men in previous seasons and certainly better-looking than most of the guys populating JDate. Let’s recap, shall we?

The show opens with a tribute to Eric Hill, a contestant who died in a paragliding accident after he finished filming for the show (he did not win). The cynical side of me suspects that more than one producer had a wild moment imagining an alternate reality in which Hill was the victor, only to die after proposing but before his grand romance with Andi could publicly commence. But because I like to believe that good triumphs over evil (even among calculating entertainment executives), I did my best to dismiss these thoughts. Anyway, host Chris Harrison says they are dedicating the whole season to Hill, and I’m sure his bereaved family members will take some small measure of comfort from this gesture.

Next, we meet Andi “I put the bad guys away” Dorfman, who is shown traipsing through the desiccated backyards of Fulton County, Georgia. Do assistant district attorneys normally go poking around such rough turf as part of the investigation process? Andi tells us her job is fantastic, but she is not complete without love. Of course you’re not, honey: that’s why this entire franchise exists in the first place. But you’re 26, so I understand your urgency.

The montage that follows is as predictable as the arc of a celebrity marriage: Andi, trying on crazy hats and cool clothes. Andi, driving in a convertible. Andi, posing with a rose and a tight, tailored suit, because what else do attorneys wear? Andi, posing with a rose and an elaborate, flowy gown, because what else do Bachelorettes wear?

Chris, who is paid a lot of money to pop in and out of the frame and narrate exactly what is about to take place—”The limos are almost here!”—does just that.

An assortment of men emerge from the limos, beginning with Marcus, whose chiseled jaw elicits an audible gasp from Andi. Then there’s guy from Iowa. Guy with bowtie. Token black guy wearing a picnic tablecloth for a shirt. Guy with earring, who turns out to be named Tasos and who has the first adorable opening move of the night, which entails putting a lock on the gate and then throwing the key into the fountain with Andi, in homage to Lover’s Bridge in Paris. Cody, a personal trainer whose muscles cannot be contained by the blazer he is wearing and pretends to push the next arriving limo. Rudie, a fellow attorney, who asks, “May I approach the bachelorette?” Carl, a firefighter who is reserved and quiet. I suppose not being easily excitable is only a plus when you fight fires for a living, but it doesn’t make for very compelling television. Jason, a long-haired blond surfer dude who is actually a doctor. “I diagnose you with a fever because you are HOT!” he chuckles. Let’s hope he’s a better healer than comedian, for his patients’ sakes.

Then there’s Emil, the proper enunciation of which, he tells Andi, is “Anal with an M.” Where do they even find these Prince Charmings? Brett, who brings a lamp—that’s it, just a lamp—because his mother told him to never greet a lady empty-handed. Considering the fact that this series has no end in sight, mothers should really be teaching their sons never to greet a lady in a scripted reality show with a stupid gag. It’s only sound parenting advice in this day and age. Eric, who has been traveling around the world for his job, has a cute opening: he gives Andi some small wooden dolls from Peru that a local girl instructed him to pass onto his girlfriend. It’s pretty sad watching Eric interact with Andi and excitedly discuss his travels. If I learned anything during this whole extended scene, it is that Andi is a hugger, because she says it no fewer than seven times.

Host Chris returns to give Andi the first impression rose, earning approximately $65,000 in ten seconds. Nice work if you can get it. A guy named Nick gets the rose.

The manufactured drama of the episode peaks when the camera pans to Chris Bukowski from Emily’s season, standing right by craft services! What’s he doing here? Is he hungry? No, he wants to meet Andi, who doesn’t want to meet him because it’s weird but more importantly, her rejection is part of the script. “I’ve been out here for seven days!” cries Bukowski. He is summarily dismissed. I sincerely hope he is adequately compensated for this show of humiliation.

Andi then mingles with the actual contestants, which was boring enough to watch without having to write about it too. I did catch that Marcus, the Aryan-looking blond from Texas, is half Polish and half German, and really, what better combination of ethnicities to attract a nice Jewish girl?

Finally, the rose ceremony. I don’t know what barometer Andi is using, because Brett with the lamp got a rose but Attorney Rudie didn’t, and he seemed nice enough. Anal guy didn’t make the cut, nor did the surfer-dude doctor. So she’s Jewish, but got rid of a lawyer and a doctor right away? Someone get this girl a DNA test, Jewish mothers of a certain age are asking questions.

“I’m not going back to a whole lot,” says surfer-dude doctor in his confessional. I hope his patients saw that and switched practitioners, stat. Good lord. A rejected suitor named Josh B. who wasn’t interesting enough to mention before shows a flash of personality in his confessional. “This is stupid,” he mumbles angrily. Yes, Josh B. Yes, it is.

“Cheers to all of ya’ll,” says Andi to the remaining men, who are trying hard not to look too pleased with themselves as they clink glasses of champagne.

Which reminds me, it’s going to be a long season: bring wine.

Image: The Bachelorette

Editor’s note (5/24): Jason Mesnick, Bachelor #13, is Jewish. Thanks to readers Sarah and Shira for the correction!

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