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‘The Bachelorette’ gets down to business

and one thing is obvious: Dudes are trash

4:54 PMAfter a slightly bizarre first episode of The Bachelorette, the country sat down after dealing with their families to watch a bunch of dudes fight over a woman on national television. Nothing says America like a trashy dating show, and this week did not disappoint. We finally got down to the business of who these guys can really be.

The answer was simple: not much.

What’s clear from this season of the program is that the field of people who are willing/able to be a part of this show is dwindling rapidly and the show is suffering as a result. This week, we got to meet all the contestants in a different way. Now, when it comes to dating on television, there are a couple of ground rules. You’re either there to be on television or maybe to find someone you like and get a bunch of free dates out of it. Monday proved that when you go too far either way, problems ensue.

We started things in a fun, flirty, even if somewhat stupid manner. At a group date cookout, the guys were put through the ringer of “Husband Material” challenge. Change a diaper, put on a Babybjorn, vacuum. Clear a drain, set a table, race with a bouquet of flowers. Pretty simple. With a twist. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were there.

Newsflash: Bringing on an adorable couple to cheer on a Bachelorette looking for love, never mind a famous adorable couple who also ONCE PLAYED AN ADORABLE COUPLE ON TELEVISION THEMSELVES, is just a horrible idea. I spent the whole time thinking how great it would have been to watch a Bachelor/ette season with one of them being the target and another being the host. Everyone involved instantly looked like a huge loser.

Of course, to that point, Lucas, aka Whaboom, won the challenge, showing a surprising amount of gumption in his victory. Then it all came crashing down, sort of. You might remember Blake, the drummer wannabe who spent a lot of time talking about his member during his intro interview in the first episode. He dropped a bombshell by letting the audience know that not only did he strongly hate Lucas, but he also actually knew him in real life.

Mind you, this is where things have moved a little too far into the “this is real life” zone. Part of the fun of the program is suspending disbelief just enough to the point that you want to believe people sort of have their lives together enough to be there without having to *really* worry about what’s back home. But nope, Blake busted through that fantastical fourth wall, pointing out that he lives with Whaboom’s ex-girlfriend (sidebar: OK, that’s a little weird) and that his “act” is something he’s been on for a couple of years. As if he thought he was revealing deep dark government secrets, he boldly declares, “I know the real Lucas. Lucas is garbage. Rachel is looking a husband and Lucas is not here to find a wife. Lucas is here to be on television. The one person who could ruin this for him, is me, and I’m going to.”

You don’t say, old buddy. Most of us don’t actually have a problem with this. Some of us love it. Others among us might have immediately gone to his website and bought a tank top with his dumb catchphrase on it. And by “others among us,” I mean me, and by “might have,” I mean “definitely did.” It’s one thing to beef with a guy because you crossed paths with him in the house on some macho nonsense. It’s quite another to know that some low-rent ACTUAL soap opera between a couple of random Los Angeles losers is going down at home that we’ve all got to get dragged into. We don’t need to paint this far off the canvas.

After that all calms down, we get to see Rachel’s first one-on-one date. It’s with Peter, who in all of his gap-toothed glory appears to be a relatively likable person. One problem, he is once again upstaged. His date turns into a dog date, in which Rachel’s Copper, with his wounded leg, is the star of the show. They go to something called Barkfest, which genuinely appeared to be one of the most fun outings ever. But again, with her and her dog traipsing around and having fun, Peter appears to be completely superfluous, although nonproblematic. The dog should have its own show, obviously.

The second hour is where things went full haywire, making even a shameless trash television watcher like myself feel a tad slimy. After a rather informative basketball session with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, the NBA legend), real life collided with television in a way that did not help the show. DeMario, the suspected Kappa who made a lot of wild claims in the first episode, as it turns out is a fraud. Not in the sense that he’s lying about his job or station in life, but he’s basically got a girlfriend whom he ditched to be on the show.

Said woman confronted Rachel, text message receipts and all, detailing how he ghosted her to show up on television a few days later. She seemed rather happy about blowing things up, which she should have been. But it was a shame all this had to come at Rachel’s expense. She summarily dismissed him with an all-time classic line: “I’m really gonna need you to get the f— out.”

At this point, the dudes in the house get wind of DeMario’s shenanigans and the moral high-grounders step to the plate. It’s not the first time that someone’s ditched a maybe non-ex to take a chance at love on television, and it won’t be the last. Josiah, the lawyer, then proceeds to tell Rachel about how deeply offended he is that DeMario would try such a thing. Not for nothing, but dude, you’re trying to date on TV. The space is not sacrosanct, although yes, DeMario is a jerk for treating two women that way.

But once again, we were dragged into someone’s off-camera life in a way that only embarrasses everyone involved. To further double down on matters, DeMario pulls an all-time stupid move and shows back up to the mansion during the cocktail hour, looking to perhaps apologize to Rachel. She shows up out of curiosity, and the crowd of other guys still in the race gather around to watch the fireworks. The episode ends before we see the denouement, yada yada, cliffhanger.

Which points us back to the original point: We need more Rachel. For as much as we need to drive plot and fill airtime, that’s the whole point of having a Bachelorette whom people actually like. At this point, she’s become more of a prop than usual even for this show, which is saying a lot. Particularly because none of these guys has any remote standout qualities from a star or companion standpoint.

Next week, we’ll presumably get to watch some dude grovel for forgiveness and likely end up in a physical confrontation with a guy looking to show his loyalty to Rachel. It’ll be hilarious television, and we’ll likely all love it. But let’s not forget why we’re all here to begin with. More of Rachel makes the show better, and it’s time to get back to that.

Daily Dose: 5/26/17

The Bronx salutes Khalif Browder on his birthday

1:14 PMOK, so y’all know I’ll be on #TheRightTime on Friday afternoon. By now, you also know about #TheMorningRoast on Sunday mornings. But, on Memorial Day, Aaron Dodson and I will be co-hosting The Dan Le Batard Show. Yay!

Thursday was a public relations disaster, again, for the White House. President Donald Trump managed to create fiascos on, like, four different fronts after getting into a handshake battle with France, pushing aside Montenegro‘s prime minister and calling Germany a bad country. Then, at the end of the day, we found out that Trump’s son-in-law is part of the focus of an FBI investigation. Oh, and on top of that, Trump decided to bad-mouth NATO, all of which ended in what many people are calling a completely disrespectful speech.

Thursday would have been Khalif Browder’s 24th birthday. If you don’t remember, he was the kid who was locked up at Rikers Island for years with no charges and eventually killed himself after he was released. His life and death are an example of the worst-case scenarios involving the penal system in this country. Jay Z ended up making a documentary about his life. Thursday in New York, the Bronx renamed a street after Browder with a ceremony that included his family. I get angry every single time I think about how he had his life stolen from him by the New York Police Department.

When I was a kid, sick days from school meant watching The Price Is Right. Yet, while it’s not the greatest American game show of all time — that’s Family Feud — it is in the top five. And within that show, the single greatest prize game in TV history is obvious. That would be Plinko. And earlier this week, some guy broke the all-time scoring record for the pegboard contest that everyone loves. The guy who did it couldn’t be more adorable, and his 15 minutes of fame have been quite fun.

If you’ve heard me on the radio recently, you know how I feel about LaVar Ball. His dustup with Kristine Leahy was a bad look, not to mention his insensitive comments about Kyrie Irving’s mother. But he is a man about his business. And as I’ve said many times, his Kardashian business model is one that I love in theory and like in practice. Can’t wait for the Balldashians. Magic Johnson agrees with me. Now, there’s a separate question about whether these two families can even coexist within the Los Angeles Lakers organization.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Some people think Lil’ Yachty is everything that’s wrong with hip-hop, from his moniker to his mumble rap style to his lack of concern for the old school. Frankly, that’s all nonsense, IMO. I like the young man. He’s got a new album out called Teenage Emotions.

Snack Time: Um, there’s a new collaboration between Drake’s OVO and the Clarks shoe company that you can go ahead and buy if you’re trying to get your pimp wizard game on this summer.

Dessert: Need a summer plan? Try Zac Efron’s Baywatch diet. Apparently, it works.


Daily Dose: 5/25/17

Ben Carson is still wilin

12:56 PMAnother reminder: I’ll be hosting The Right Time with Bomani Jones on Friday, so be sure to tune in to ESPN Radio from 4-7 p.m. EST. Really looking forward to it, kiddos!

I don’t know what Ben Carson’s problem is. He is one of the worst types of people when it comes to being in power. He blames poor people for their own problems, as if systemic income inequality isn’t a real thing, and it’s infuriating. Not everyone can just make it out of bad situations because they want to. There are very real obstacles to upward mobility in this nation, so his arbitrary declaration that poverty is a state of mind is ignorant and harmful. Ugh.

At this point, every time Barack Obama speaks, it’s a blessing. The 44th U.S. president is such a far cry from who we have in the Oval Office now, and it’s almost weird to see a politician talking with a measured calm. Everything from Capitol Hill and the White House seems so hectic and harried that you have to wonder who’s in control at all. Earlier Thursday, during an appearance in Germany, Obama said a wall on the Mexico border is straight up not the answer.

The NFL is shortening overtime. Why? They say that 15 minutes is just too long and increases risk of injury. Sure. But presumably this situation will lead to more ties, which are always supremely weird in the league. Totally unsatisfying. It’s the second semi-major overtime modification that the shield has put in place in the past five seasons, but if you do the math, will it really lead to more ties? The answer is likely yes. Awesome.

The Lonzo Ball situation is not improving. He’s decided that he’s only working out for the Los Angeles Lakers, which is something that could eventually crush his draft stock. Sure, he’s a good player, but these kinds of shenanigans are starting to look bad. He clearly wants to play in Los Angeles. Yet, by basically boxing out every other team in the league, he might be screwed if the Lakers don’t actually decide to pick him. You live, you learn.

Free Food

Coffee Break: One of the best things about California is the driving. But one of the scarier things about the state is the weather and climate situation. So when you read that a mudslide took out a large part of the Pacific Coast Highway, that is not a good omen.

Snack Time: Podcasts are all the rage right now, in all forms. It’s basically the premier form of personal entertainment. But could they possibly lead to the mainstreaming of audiobooks?

Dessert: Need some new music? Here you go.