Jenn Makes History in the Best ‘The Bachelorette’ Premiere in Years

The first Asian-American Bachelorette shined in a fantastic premiere that kicked off with sweat, a stolen car, truth or dare, and a “love virgin.”Published Jul. 08, 2024 10:00PM EDT ABCLike Sunset Boulevard, Fight Club, and Ratatouille, the premiere of The Bachelorette’s 21st season begins with a traumatic flash-forward to the finale. Shots of people standing on beaches with

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The first Asian-American Bachelorette shined in a fantastic premiere that kicked off with sweat, a stolen car, truth or dare, and a “love virgin.”

Emma Stefansky

Film still from The Bachelorette

ABC

Like Sunset Boulevard, Fight Club, and Ratatouille, the premiere of The Bachelorette’s 21st season begins with a traumatic flash-forward to the finale. Shots of people standing on beaches with roses in hand whir by as this season’s Bachelorette, Jenn Tran, murmurs tearfully that she can’t allow [REDACTED RUNNER-UP] to propose to her.

And we’re off! Grab your popcorn, your plastic champagne flutes, and your Kleenex, because Bach is back, baby.

The most recent season of The Bachelor saw the franchise at one of its highest points, revitalizing a show that had stagnated in recent years simply by casting a really nice, regular guy. While Jenn didn’t end up being one of Joey Graziadei’s finalists, she was easily the fan favorite of the season, and it came as no surprise when ABC announced she’d be starring in the show’s next iteration. Her first episode as the titular Bachelorette followed the same pattern as premieres past, but the parade of gimmicks performed by this season’s cast of eligible men as they emerged from their limousines promises plenty of antics and infighting to come.

Before we get to them, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Jenn is the show’s first-ever Asian American Bachelorette, a title she bears with a certain sense of responsibility. The episode begins with the traditional reel of Jenn talking about her hopes for finding The One on the show, and her love for her parents, both Vietnamese immigrants, and includes a scene of her meeting two young fans, both also Asian, who remark on her historic turn. For a show plagued by racism scandals in the past, Jenn clearly represents a step forward.

Film still from The Bachelorette

ABC

And then, a deep breath, some words of encouragement from host Jesse Palmer, and Jenn steels herself to meet her new boyfriends.

The best part of any Bachelorette premiere, besides the gimmicks, is seeing how the contestants describe their professions on the chyrons that pop up every time one exits a limo. In this episode, we got the requisite carousel of entrepreneurs and real-estate professionals, as well as a number of men in the medical field who bond with Jenn over her work as a physician associate. The standout by far is Spencer, a “pet portrait entrepreneur,” which, he explains, means he runs a business where he puts photos of people’s pets on iPhone covers. He and Jenn bond over loving animals, but it’s Tomas A. who brings two live puppies for Jenn to coo over while he attempts to introduce himself, who makes the best impression.

They’ve all got their little bits: Marvin, who grew up in Cameroon, speaks fluent French; Grant arrives beatboxing; sommelier Dakota sabers open a champagne bottle; Brendan pops two hot peppers in his mouth, chokes out “I can handle the heat,” and starts sweating. Aaron is the twin brother of former contestant Noah Erb, who found love on Bachelor in Paradise. After introducing himself, Sam N. announces that he is a “love virgin”—that is, someone who has never been in love—which under normal circumstances would be a red flag. But he gets the last rose of the night, so it looks like Jenn is keeping an open mind.

Jenn is clearly glowing under all this attention, looking like a Disney princess in her sequined gown. “These guys are really making me feel wanted and desired,” she says, explaining that she’s had bad luck with toxic relationships in the past, and is unaccustomed to feeling legitimately wanted. Now there are 25 guys playing Truth or Dare, dropping into the splits and streaking the house in lion-printed briefs just to impress her.

Film still from The Bachelorette

ABC

Some attention-grabbing stunts don’t go quite as planned. Hakeem arrives wearing about as many balloons as the house from Up, and explains that they’re meant to represent how he felt when he heard that Jenn would be the next Bachelorette. “I am ready to pop off,” he says before getting stuck on a tree. Jonathon is rolled in on a stretcher because he is “lovesick,” and his skimpy hospital gown means his rear has to be digitally obscured with a giant rose for the rest of the episode whenever he has his back to the camera.

Real-estate investor Jeremy roars up to the house in a red Corvette and assures Jenn that it’s not because he’s compensating for anything. “Did you just say the P-word?” Jenn gasps, chagrined. Later, while Jeremy and Jenn are having one-on-one time in the driver’s seat, Brian unmans him by showing up with Jeremy’s own set of keys, temporarily stealing his girl and his car after a tense standoff. It’s sort of a bad look for both of them, but they both got a rose, so Jenn either wasn’t bothered or she (read: the producers) wants to keep a couple of pot-stirrers around so see what they cook up.

Film still from The Bachelorette

ABC

By the end of the night, there are a few real contenders. Devin’s rowdy sense of humor gives Jenn a “Pete Davidson vibe,” and she and Thomas N. bond over being the children of Vietnamese immigrant parents who sacrificed everything for their kids’ happiness. Myrtle Beach contractor Sam M., giving “Travis Kelce with sleeve tattoos” vibes, gets the First Impression Rose, traditionally a very good sign of his odds going forward. The two bond during the cocktail hour by exchanging vague platitudes about trusting the process and everything happening for a reason, and share a lengthy kiss on the couch. “He’s got this energy that I am digging,” Jenn says.

After the cocktail hour ends, Brendan, Brett, Dakota, Kevin, Matt, Moze, and Ricky are sent home. The rest of them are headed to Melbourne, Australia, and beyond, where, according to the sizzle reel at the episode’s close, someone from Jenn’s past will show up to throw everything into chaos, and Jenn commits an act that “no Bachelorette has ever done before.” Vroom vroom!

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