TIME Television

Is The Bachelorette Already Slut-Shaming Kaitlyn Bristowe?

A promo for the upcoming season suggests a double standard is still at play

At the end of this week’s season premiere of The Bachelorette, the producers gave a sneak peak at all the drama to come in the new season of the show. In the promo, the producers document newly-minted Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe’s fairytale journey to find love complete with canoeing, celebrity guest appearances (hi Amy Schumer!) and sumo wrestling. It’s all rose petals and romance—until around the 1:30 mark, when things get darker. The men start to get jealous watching Kaitlyn kiss other beaus. Not helping the situation is the return of Nick Viall, a finalist from Andi Dorfman’s season, who’s been vocal about his feelings about pre-marital sex. (In case you missed it: He deemed Andi’s decision to have sex with him in the Fantasy Suite “not appropriate.”)

Kaitlyn seems to shrug it off, though, saying: “If the physical part of a relationship isn’t there for me, that is a deal breaker.” Fair enough—that’s how most of the world functions when it comes to romance. As emotions rise, one man soothes his friend’s feelings, “It’s just kissing.” And it is just kissing—until suddenly, it’s not. The lights go out, there’s the sound of heavy breathing, and it becomes clear that an adult woman on a dating reality show had sex. Cut to a picture of a crying Kaitlyn.

In the video, Kaitlyn clearly states that she’s not a bad person and she’s not ashamed of herself. So why does it seem like the producers want to make her look like she is? The next few minutes of the promo are just Kaitlyn crying, curling up in a ball, hiding her face and then admitting her actions to the other men for public pillorying. The men are shocked. One stalks off: “Don’t talk to me!”

Let’s get real: This is not the first time that someone has had sex on this show. The show’s “journey to love” culminates in three back-to-back overnight dates in a Fantasy Suite. We all know what happens there, even if it’s not documented for the camera. This isn’t even the first time that someone has had sex outside of the Fantasy Suites. Remember Courtney’s and Ben’s tryst in the ocean? Or Clare and Juan Pablo? Bachelor Bob Guiney supposedly had sex with at least five different women on his season. Host Chris Harrison low-balled that 67% of couples have sex on the show. Despite that, Courtney is still considered a villain; Clare was blasted on blogs and Twitter for her night with Juan Pablo.

But, of course, those infamous encounters all took place on The Bachelor, not The Bachelorette. Does the show have a double standard when it comes to the perception of its Bachelorette? Maybe. Bachelorette Andi Dorfman certainly got her share of slut-shaming after her Fantasy Suite encounter with Nick Viall came up on After the Final Rose. (To her credit, Andi was having none of it.) Based on the promo, it seems like Kaitlyn is in for similar treatment. Some viewers definitely thought so; many took to Twitter to express their dismay over the producers’ perceived slut-shaming of Kaitlyn.

“I made a mistake. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad person,” Kaitlyn wails in the video. Let’s hope the producers remember that this season.

TIME Television

The Bachelorette Recap: America, This Is Your Bachelorette

Someone is crying in a limo tonight

After last night’s dramatic, drunken and degrading episode, The Bachelorette season premiere continues. Yesterday, the men all put their roses in either Kaitlyn’s or Britt’s box and chose their woman. Tonight the votes are tallied, and one of these women will be named Bachelorette, and the other will go home crying in a limo (again). Let’s get on with the drama.

Here’s what happened on The Bachelorette:

The Bachelorette Is: When the show starts, Chris Harrison does not beat around the bush, he makes a beeline for Britt and immediately informs her in the most circumspect way possible that she is not the Bachelorette. She lets it sink in for a bit before thanking him for the opportunity. Then he walks her out, gives her a big hug and sends her on her away for her second sad sack limo ride. She has no qualms about crying her eyes out in the limo (again) and doubting all her life choices (again) and convincing herself that she will ever find love (again). Never forget that after years of Bachelor finales, Chris is well trained in the art of vagueness, so it should come as no surprise that he told Kaitlyn of her victory like so: “Unfortunately, Kaitlyn,” he began, she starts nodding and crying accepting defeat, before he finishes, “I had to send Britt home.” To her credit, Kaitlyn asked if Britt was O.K. Chris assured her that she was a bit shocked, but otherwise fine. As Kaitlyn takes a minute to hyperventilate. Chris is right there for her, not helping. He tells her she’s the Bachelorette, which makes her hyperventilate more, and then he reminds her that she has to stop hyperventilating because she has a Rose Ceremony to oversee, which makes her both hyperventilate and swear. (They could overdub the swearing, but the heavy breathing was there to stay.) Chris then leaves so she can pull herself together and call her mother and try not puke simultaneously. Her mother unhelpfully tells her to get out there and find her a son in law. No pressure!

The Big Reveal: Chris Harrison walks into a room full of men (and probably the smell of sweat and musk, after all that time trying to stake their claim to a woman [insert caveman chest thump]). Chris tells them that their rose votes have been counted, and a new Bachelorette has been chosen. Kaitlyn walks in and the men leap to their feet, cheering.

The Official Meet and Greet: While Kaitlyn had met all of the men earlier in the evening, she had to share that time with Britt. With Britt safely crying in her limo, Kaitlyn gets to sift through her sloppy seconds, brush off all of Britt’s cooties, and start over. To help her on her journey is the First Impression Rose. (Yes, grammarians, that’s a proper noun.)

The Menfolk and Their Feelings: Some of the men are thrilled that Kaitlyn is the woman they will be pursuing. People like Joshua the welder who gave her a steel rose, which sounds like something out of a Poison song. And Ian, who is thrilled it’s her, but forgot to bring her any presents. Then there are the men who were solidly Team Britt and have to re-evaluate their feelings. You can see the little cogs in their heads shifting and changing directions and reassessing Kaitlyn’s attractiveness levels. Like Tony the healer, who is having a hard time transitioning his energies from Britt to Kaitlyn, even though he originally wanted to vote for Kaitlyn. He’s a flip-flopper! Healer, heal thyself. Jared makes the brave choice to tell Kaitlyn that he put his rose in the box for Britt, but is totally willing to try putting his rose in her box too. Brady the singer-songwriter doesn’t know what to do with all his feelings for Britt. Maybe write a song for her?

Bachelorette Milestone: First kiss! During their first real interaction, Chris the dentist boldly went where no man on the show had gone before, and Kaitlyn let him. Naturally all the men watched the make-out session from inside the house.

The First Impression Rose: Kaitlyn had her eye on Shawn the personal trainer from the moment he stepped out of the limo. So it’s only fitting that despite the fact that she kissed Chris, that she give Shawn the First Impression Rose. Then they kiss, because that’s what you do when you are trying to find a husband on national television … or in real life.

The Rose Ceremony, Part I: The first name Kaitlyn calls at her very first Rose Ceremony is Chris, the dentist she kissed. He’s followed into rose-holding bliss by Ben H. a software salesman from Denver, with JJ, a banker, also from Denver, rounding out the top three. Then came Joe, Kupah, Daniel the fashion designer, Ryan B. (a.k.a. the only Ryan left), Joshua, the welder, Tony the healer and … hold that thought.

The Drama: Brady the singer songwriter stops the ceremony. He needs to talk to Kaitlyn. As all the men stare in shock (shock!) that this could be happening, Brady takes Kaitlyn outside and tells her that he is leaving. He has real(ish) feelings for Britt and needs to follow his heart. Or at least write a song about it later. Kaitlyn shrugs, and he heads off into the sunset.

The Other Drama: As Kaitlyn talks to Brady, it turns out that all the men all seem to know who voted for Britt and who voted for Kaitlyn. The longtime Kaitlyn boosters already have it out for the Team Britt men, vowing revenge if they are sent home early. It’s like the Chicago political machine, but with more hair gel and fewer wire taps.

Rose Ceremony, Part II: With Brady on his way out the door and the ceremony back under way, Clint accepts Kaitlyn’s rose, then there’s a Tanner, a Corey (or maybe a Cory?), an Ian, another Ben, a Justin and someone else maybe? They all blur together into an attractive mix of straight teeth and aftershave. The final rose of the evening went to Jared, because he was honest.

Biggest Mistake: The man who rolled up in a Hot Tub Car got cut in the first round. He deserved better!

Best Reason to Tune In This Season: This season of The Bachelorette goes where no season of The Bachelorette (or for that matter The Bachelor) has gone before.

TIME Television

Why Did The Bachelorette Let Rape Jokes Air?

A drunk contestant's bad behavior proves the show has a real problem

On Monday’s premiere of The Bachelorette, the reality show debuted its big twist. Instead of letting the woman choose her suitors as per the show’s usual formula, two women, Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, would compete for the men’s attention. At the end of a cocktail party, 25 potential suitors would vote for whoever they would prefer to woo over the course of the season. It was a controversial move that turns the ostensibly woman-powered Bachelor spin-off on its head, giving all the control back to the scrum of men. But we were willing to give it a chance. Last night, though, The Bachelorette went too far, allowing misogynistic comments, threats of rape and wholly inappropriate behavior to slide in the name of a game and supposedly “good” television.

The premiere began with a cavalcade of handsome suitors heading into a cocktail party after staking their claim on either Britt or Kaitlyn. (You can read a full recap here.) These parties are usually where contestants tend to overindulge and last night was no exception. The main culprit was a man named Ryan M., a 28-year old “junkyard specialist” hailing from Kansas City, Mo. Ryan got wasted in primetime and sat in the shrubbery, heckling suitors who arrived, yelling, “You suck!” from the bushes. He then drunkenly escorted Britt outside for some one-on-one time, proceeding to hug her and touch her face until one of the other suitors distracted him with the promise of another drink. Then Ryan slapped Kaitlyn’s rear as she walked by and she scowled at him, but presumably because of the show’s set-up, she couldn’t just take the power into her own hands and kick him off. Instead, she just had to take it. Both women were rendered defenseless by the fact that they needed to earn as many votes as possible to stay on the show. As he stripped down for the pool, Ryan declared that he was, “Totally horned up.” And that’s not even the worst of it.

Finally another contestant confronted Ryan about his behavior, and Ryan replied, “Why am I not raping you right now? That’s my whole thing.” The other suitor looked horrified and called him out on it, causing Ryan to simply yell, “You suck!” and stumble onward. It was a shocking moment of literal — not implied — rape culture come to life on the small screen, with one drunken loser spewing horrible things on television. Still, the cameras just rolled and a producer in an editing booth somewhere decided to leave that clip in.

When producers finally had enough of Ryan’s antics, a giant Bachelorette bouncer sent him to speak to host Chris Harrison outside of the house. “I hate to do this, but you’re clearly not here for either one of these girls or for sincere reasons,” Harrison told the disgraced contestant. “I really think it’s best if you go home. There’s a car waiting for you.” And with that, Ryan was finally sent packing.

Good riddance, but let’s back up a second. While sending Ryan off, Harrison said, “I hate to do this.” Why would he hate do that? Seems like kicking off a man who got drunk, stripped, inappropriately grabbed one of the show’s stars and then threatened to rape another contestant would be the sort of person you should enjoy sending home. It would set a good precedent not only for future contestants, but also for the at-home audience. Instead, Harrison made it clear that they weren’t sending Ryan home for his inappropriate conduct, or for getting black-out drunk, but because “he wasn’t there for the right reasons.” That reasoning seems to imply that the show and its mission of following one of these women on their journey to find love, was more important than a man acting wildly inappropriately toward the women and threatening violence on national television. It makes it seem like the producers don’t care about his conduct as long as he was “there for the right reasons.”

While The Bachelorette is not the most feminist of franchises — there’s an ongoing discussion about the show’s perceived slut shaming — there was something refreshing about a woman choosing a partner on her own terms (well, terms worked out in advance with the producers). This season was already shaking things up by removing any sense of female empowerment from the show, by letting the women compete for the men’s votes. But after last night, it seems clear that the show has lost its way. Whether viewers are Team Britt or Team Kaitlyn, it’s unlikely that they are Team Misogyny.

TIME Television

The Bachelorette Recap: Kaitlyn, Britt and 25 of Their Closest Boyfriends

BACK ROW: TANNER, DANIEL, BEN H., IAN, KUPAH, COREY, SHAWN E., JOE; MIDDLE ROW: BRADLEY, SHAWN B., JOSH A., JOSH S., BRADY, JARED, TONY, BEN Z., RYAN M.; FRONT ROW: RYAN B., CHRIS, JUSTIN, JONATHAN, CLINT, DAVID, CORY, JJ
Craig Sjodin—ABC

Hot tub car, an exotic dancer and Chris Harrison riding a triceratops and, it was only the first episode

The Bachelorette is back! This season, the producers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to shake things up and have both Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, who were winnowed from the herd of women looking for love with Chris Soules on the most recent season of The Bachelor, vie for the chance to pre-mate (in a hot tub!) on live television. Both women will be at the mansion to meet and greet a fresh batch of eager beaus. Then, instead of letting Britt and Kaitlyn fight over the men in a Thunderdome of Love, which would be uncivilized and one of them might break a nail or something, the men will choose who they will woo. Isn’t that nice of them?

As we wait to see how this new twist on an old formula unfurls, let’s scope out the competition. People to watch include Shawn E., an “amateur” sex coach from Ontario. Amateur as in he didn’t want to spring for the professional licensing fees? Or like he’s the ABD of the sex-coaching PhD set? Then there’s Josh, a 27-year-old law student who is putting himself through school as an exotic dancer (basically a “real” life version of Danny Castellano from The Mindy Project). On the other end of the sexy-job spectrum, there’s Ryan M., a junkyard specialist from Kansas City. There is also a healthy array of blokes with incredibly soporific-sounding jobs, like, investment bankers, former investment bankers, insurance agents, international auto shipperzzzzzz. Need to raise your heart rate after all that? Never fear, there are three trainers on hand. There’s also a healer in the mix, sure to use his talents to heal either Britt or Kaitlyn’s broken heart. Then there’s the guy who shows up at the mansion with a giant cupcake, which either Britt or Kaitlyn can drown their sorrows in if the men choose wrong.

Before the show begins, Chris Harrison reminds viewers that change isn’t easy and that we will all get through his awkward, painful process together. So pull out your favorite adult beverage, grab your Kleenex, sprinkle your couch with rose petals and get ready to walk hand in hand with either Kaitlyn or Britt on their journey to find love.

Here’s what happened on The Bachelorette:

The Arrival: Britt and Kaitlyn awkwardly stand across from each other in the mansion’s rounded driveway, dressed in their sequins, sparkles and lip gloss, and side-eyeing each other like crazy. The limos pull up, and as the 25 men spill out, it’s clear that Britt is winning (or those sneaky producers want it to seem like Britt is winning) as all the men flock to her and Kaitlyn stands there like a fourth-grade nothing in gym class.

Team Britt: Jonathan an automotive spokesman (he speaks for the autos?) from Detroit with a 5-year-old son (or in Bachelor parlance, “baggage”). Brady, a singer-songwriter, who marries together pain and joy in his music, but hasn’t found love yet. He thinks Britt is a “solid billion” on a scale of 1 to 10. Ryan, a realtor, thought he was a Kaitlyn, but now is totally a Britt.

Team Kaitlyn: Joe from Bluegrass Country considers himself both a Southern gentleman and a hair-gel enthusiast. He kindly brought the ladies some moonshine to chug. Joshua, a welder who is rivaling Chris Soules for smalltown-hero status, makes a lot of puns about welding. Ian manages to mention that he is a Princeton grad in his intro video, but balances it out with a tragic backstory about getting hit by a car and left for dead. He tells Kaitlyn that he wants it to be her. Jared would prefer that we call him “Love Man,” as opposed to”restaurant manager with an asymmetrical haircut.” While he pronounced his love for Kaitlyn in his intro video, Love Man chose to neg her, stepping out of the limo and only talking to Britt. JJ, the former investment banker, told Kaitlyn that as a lifelong hockey fan, he wants to “puck her” and handed her a puck. While Britt liked Shawn, one of the personal trainers, he told Kaitlyn he was there for her. Tanner, an auto-finance manager, gives Britt a box of tissues to dry her impending tears, but mostly to be mean, because he’s Team Kaitlyn.

Team TBD: Josh, the law student, considers being an exotic dancer “the best job on earth,” which it is when compared to corporate litigation. He performs a sultry strip down for the ladies, which causes Kaitlyn to happily hand him over to Britt. Ben is a personal trainer whose life highlight is that he got to try out for the NFL — not play, just try out. Chris, a dentist, pulls up in a car shaped like a cupcake to woo the sweeties. Tony, the healer, showed up with a black eye, which he apparently couldn’t heal before the show. He feels like he has been training for this moment his entire life. While he came for Kaitlyn, he is won over by Britt and now feels “energy pulsating” with Britt’s name on it. Clint, an architectural engineer, who took styling tips from Thor. Ben H., a software salesman from Denver, David, a real estate agent from Orlando, Kupah, an entrepreneur from Boston, and Corey and the Cory, the Bens, Shawns, and Ryans are all blending into a crowd of spray tans, white teeth and implied cologne.

The Scandal: Kaitlyn ran inside the mansion to say hello to the men. Britt thought that was cheating. The end.

The Drunk: Every opening night there is someone who can’t hold their liquor. This time it’s Ryan M., the junkyard specialist from Missouri. Not only did he get completely blitzed, but he came outside the mansion, sat in the shrubbery and heckled Shawn E, the amateur sex coach, who had the brilliant idea to pull up in a hot-tub car. That’s right, a hot tub inside a car. The ladies were dying of laughter, but Ryan kept yelling “stupid!” like if Statler and Waldorf lived in a bush and were idiots. Later, Shawn tried to talk to Ryan about it, not realizing he was black out drunk and beyond help. Then he drunkenly touched Britt’s face and slapped Kaitlyn’s rear. Then he stripped down into his skivvies to take a dip in the pool while yelling, “I’m so horned up!” Finally a security guard showed up to taken Ryan to the principal’s office. The principal being Chris Harrison, who sent him home to think about what he’s done.

Bachelorette Milestone: Chris Harrison came into the mansion and told the group that Ryan was sent home, not because he was drunk or inappropriate, but because he wasn’t there for the right reasons.

The Cocktail Party: Kaitlyn kicked things off with a knock-knock joke (“Knock knock!” “Who’s there?” “Two Bachelorettes!” “Two Bachelorettes who?” “Two Bachelorettes, that’s the joke!”) while Britt tried not to cry while telling the room that she’s looking for a best friend. It’s an awkward evening. As Britt and Kaitlyn mingle with the menfolk, they can’t help but glance over their shoulder to see who is taking a shine to the other woman. The men are inside strategizing. Do you take the one you like most or the one who likes you the most? Thor (a.k.a. Clint) won Kaitlyn’s heart by handing her a picture he drew of Chris Harrison riding a triceratops.

The Voting: Chris Harrison kills the vibe in the cocktail party by announcing that the voting room is open, and the men must choose. The women get slightly panicked looks in their eyes, but try to swallow it down to continue their flirting and run their own personal get-out-the-vote drive fueled by eyelash batting, sweet smiles and sultry looks. The men slowly file into the voting room and drop their roses into a box under either Kaitlyn’s or Britt’s glamour shot. Some men went with their guts, some went with lower body parts, some (the investment bankers) did their due diligence before making their decision.

Best Reason to Come Back Tomorrow: The roses are tallied, and one of these women will be The Bachelorette.

TIME Television

The Surprisingly Feminist Roots of The Bachelorette

Dating Game
ABC Photo Archives / Getty Images Host Jim Lange with dancers Ellen Friedman and Anita Mann, on the Nov. 19, 1965, premiere of 'The Dating Game'

How a book about being single led to a show about getting married

The season of The Bachelorette that kicks off on Monday night is the show’s 11th—but its precursor is much older. It was 50 years ago, in late 1965, that ABC premiered a show they called, simply, The Dating Game.

The concept was straightforward: a female contestant is presented with a bunch of suitors, and she chooses which one wins. The stakes were far lower than they are on The Bachelorette—the winner got to go on a date on ABC’s dime—but the concept was quite similar. And, at the time, such a premise was strange enough to merit this dismissive review from TIME:

THE DATING GAME proves that when big ideas die, they go on television. Its spirit is borrowed from Sex and the Single Girl, which enjoyed a huge sale at book counters and furnished the title for a moneymaking movie. For TV, the screen has become a gigantic keyhole through which viewers are invited to watch a series of career-type girls snare a date for the night. Out of girl-sight, three bachelors—at least one a celebrity—parry questions from the husband hunters. Samples: “How would you go about telling your date that she had a dress that was maybe too short or too tight?” “They can’t make a dress that’s too short or too tight.” “What’s your most favorite activity with the weaker sex?” “How intimate may I get?” “Well, let’s make it your second most favorite activity with the weaker sex.”

But, while the magazine wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect of such televised foolishness, it’s worth noting that it traced the show’s roots to a more substantial cultural moment.

The 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl (which became a 1964 movie and led to a 1965 follow-up, Sex and the Office) by Helen Gurley Brown was a sensation when it was published, and not long before The Dating Game‘s premiere its author had been named editor of Cosmopolitan. Today, aspects of the book’s “big idea” may seem retrograde—its career-girl subject is still focused on men, and her version of leaning in often relies on her feminine wiles—but it was progressive in acknowledging that marriage no longer had to be the first priority for a young woman. She could have jobs, have boyfriends, do what she wanted to do, the way a young man had long been able to—and she could still find a husband later, if she decided that was right for her. “It’s not a study on how to get married,” Brown was quoted saying, “but how to stay single in superlative style.”

So while The Dating Game may have been silly, TIME posited that its format and just-for-fun attitude owed a debt to the groundbreaking book.

A full 50 years later, it’s ironic that the highest-profile descendant of that 1960s lark is the one most focused on marriage. The Bachelorette has been taken to task for its attitude toward women and their sexuality—for example, when a contestant last season was called a slut for sleeping with a candidate whom she later rejected—where The Dating Game was part of a seismic shift in the opposite direction. As Season 11 gets underway, it’s clear that TIME’s 1965 reviewer was more correct than he or she could have known: if the big idea in question went to television and died, it’s now rolling over in its grave.

TIME Television

Amy Schumer Knows Who the Bachelorette Is and Will Totally Tell You

Will you accept this rose?

Amy Schumer stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night pretty much just to gloat about the fact that she knows the identity of the next The Bachelorette.

As you may recall, The Bachelorette threw a wrench in its well-tested, very greasy works and decided that this season, which premieres on Monday, will feature not one, but two bachelorettes. Britt and Kaitlyn, who vied for the heart of Chris Soules on last season of The Bachelor, will have to face off in some sort of rose petal strewn Thunderdome while a selection of well-coiffed men choose which of the two will move forward on a journey to find love. Until the two-part season opener, though, no one knows which of the women will be the actual Bachelorette—except Amy Schumer.

While talking to noted Bachelor enthusiast Kimmel, the Trainwreck star revealed that not only did she get to go on a date with all the men (testing them out for the bachelorettes, of course), but she also absolutely knows whether Kaitlyn or Britt is the winner. Before you get too jealous of Schumer’s insider knowledge, turns out she will happily tell anyone who the winner is, NDA be damned. Don’t worry you can still be jealous of her wine glass.

TIME Television

Everything We Know About The Bachelorette‘s Big Twist

ABC Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson

On last night's episode of The Bachelor, Kaitlyn and Britt were both chosen as the new Bachelorette

Meet your new Bachelorette, America: Kaitlyn…and Britt!

Last night it was announced that the popular ABC reality show couldn’t choose just one woman to escort on their journey to love, so instead the show is shaking things up—the next season will star both Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe, who were winnowed from the herd of women looking for love with Chris Soules on the most recent season of The Bachelor.

One of the longest running tropes in The Bachelor‘s history is for host Chris Harrison to dolefully intone that there will be “a dramatic twist” that is “unlike anything in Bachelor history” and will have “everyone talking.” Usually this speech precedes a particularly gruesome hissy fit or a contestant sneaking into the Bachelor’s suite for same late-night nookie (which is so unfair to the other 11 women he’s dating), or someone “shockingly” turning down a rose—but all of that is pretty typical turbulence for fans of the reality show. Last night, however, Harrison’s words actually had the ring of truth to them.

He announced that the producers of The Bachelor were evenly split between casting Britt or Kaitlyn as the new Bachelorette, and since the fan community seemed evenly divided as well, the show was going to try something new: They would cast both women.

Here’s what ABC’s press release had to say about the twist:

ABC’s hit romantic reality series, “The Bachelorette,” will kick off its 11th the surprises of this season’s “Bachelor” with the biggest one of all: there will be two Bachelorettes: the charming, charismatic beauty, Britt, who captivated Chris Soules and the rest of Bachelor Nation with a memorable hug on that first night at the Bachelor mansion, and Kaitlyn, the gorgeous, fun- loving, warm-hearted, but irreverent firecracker who let down her guard only to have her heart crushed. Who will the men prefer? Eventually, only one woman will be left to hand out the final rose.

So here’s what we know: the show has cast both Kaitlyn and Britt, but, much like The Highlander, there can be only one Bachelorette. Last night, Chris Harrison said something along these lines: both women will arrive at the mansion for an opening night cocktail party and then the men will decide which woman continues on her journey to love. This is what happened way back in Season 6 when The Bachelor tried to boost its ratings with a similar twist. The show cast both Byron Velvick and Jay Overbye and 25 women chose between them by handing out roses to their preferred suitor during one of the show’s infamous cocktail parties. Byron earned the most roses and went on to be The Bachelor. It didn’t end well. Yet, the producers are trying it again.

On The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, when Harrison asked Kaitlyn for her take on the twist on The Bachelorette formula she admitted her first thought was: “Well, that’s not ideal.” America just might agree with that sentiment.

Right now it sounds like what has ostensibly been a woman-powered show, where an empowered woman chooses her own life partner, is now becoming a show where two women compete for male attention for sport. Does America want to watch Britt and Kaitlyn enter a Bachelor version of the Thunderdome where the men will decide who is showered with roses and who gets the thorns? Who knows! It doesn’t sound like ABC knows yet, either. Based on the vagueness of the press release, it seems like the network is trying to keep their options open, depending on how this twist will play out with fans. If fans are unhappy, maybe the show will decide to let both women stay and find their own paths to love on reality television—just like our fore-mothers dreamed.

The Bachelorette returns to ABC, on Monday, May 18.

Read next: The Bachelor Explains His Big Decision

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TIME Television

The Bachelor Watch: Farmer Takes a Wife

ABC

Also: The Bachelorette is revealed. Sort of

Tonight on the Bachelor finale, Chris Soules, America’s very own Fresh Prince of Farming, engages in a little animal husbandry on himself. The gentleman farmer’s journey to find love draws to a close, and tonight he makes his decision between Chicago-based fertility nurse Whitney and the San Diego–based chiropractic assistant Becca. Will he choose the woman who loves him (Whitney) or the woman who might some day love him, but she isn’t exactly sure when (Becca)? Will the farmer take a wife? Or will the cheese stand alone? Let’s get to it.

Here’s what happened on The Bachelor:

Whitney Meets the Family: There’s little doubt that Whitney really, really likes Chris, so she really, really wants Chris’ family to like her. So when she goes to the farm she wears a plaid flannel shirt dress and does her best to blend in with the triumvirate of blonde sisters. During dinner, she gives a toast and manages to make herself cry — and then makes Chris’ dad cry. The sisters pull Whitney aside to grill her about giving up her life in Chicago to live in the micro-town of Arlington, Iowa. Whitney makes it clear that she is done making other people’s babies and wants to start making her own, which is good enough for the sisters. Then Whitney tells her possible future mother-in-law (PFMIL?) that Chris makes her feel like the “only woman,” which is pretty impressive considering that up until very recently he was dating a baker’s dozen of other women. Whitney tells her PFMIL that since her mother died, she has been waiting for someone to call mom. The PFMIL wisely tells Whitney she likes her fine, but it’s up to Chris. While Whitney has charmed the pants off of Chris’ family, Chris can’t help but talk up Becca. His brother-in-law points out that he probably likes the slight mystery that is Becca, because he took a psychology class in college and knows things.

Becca Meets the Family: Becca tells Chris’ family that she’s not in love yet, and she’s scared that Chris is going to dump her because Whitney wants to get married and have babies right now and she’s not sure. Chris thinks Becca is worth the risk, but the sisters are not impressed. Chris swears up and down that he and Becca have a special relationship, and he knows that she will fall in love with him eventually. The PFMIL grills Becca about the fact that she lives in California, and Becca shrugs that she’s not in love with him yet and isn’t ready to move to the middle of nowhere yet. Chris’ mom keeps optimistically trying to point out that Becca might be in love with him, but she’s like whatever. Chris’ dad opines that he thinks Whitney is the sure thing, but thinks Chris loves Becca.

Post-Family-Visit Scorecard: Becca isn’t in love with Chris yet, isn’t ready for a proposal, and is not sure she wants to live in Iowa. Whitney loves Chris, wants to marry him, wants to move to Iowa. While his choice Chris should be clear, it really isn’t.

Final Date with Becca: Chris goes to Becca’s hotel and tries to kiss her on the bed, but she pulls away to talk. They finally have The Talk. Chris wants to know if she has any interest in being part of his small town life, and while she swears she’s excited to be with him, but she can’t make any promises about when she would be willing to move to Iowa. She doesn’t know why she’s not in love with him. Chris looks brokenhearted as she lays out all her fears and concerns and won’t commit to anything. She finally admits that she is not that into Arlington. She says, “I’m not just gonna pick up my life and go anywhere for someone,” which is not a sentiment that has ever been uttered on this show, like, ever. They hug and try to pretend there aren’t cameras trained on them. Afterward, Chris has no choice but to go stand in a field and stare into the middle distance.

Final Date With Whitney: Whitney gets dropped off in Chris’ field (which is not a euphemism, but could be) and they go jump on a combine with his dad and harvest some corn. Whitney is so touched that he wanted to bring her here to see the harvest (but, seriously, it’s just free labor). Whitney does Emmy-worthy work pretending that she is thrilled to be on a tractor harvesting corn in the middle of winter. Then he takes Whitney to his house and says leading things like, “It’s made for a family!” and she wanders around redecorating with her eyes. They sit by the fire and try to figure out why Whitney is getting the loser edit on the show. Later, at Whitney’s hotel, they have cocktails and talk. Whitney loves small-town life (although does she know she probably can’t get her eyelashes done in Arlington?), she love Chris, and can’t wait to get married and have babies. No pressure. Chris says, “I reciprocate that.”

The Decision: As Chris mulls over his options, Neil Lane comes to glamorous Iowa to help Chris choose an engagement ring. As Chris’ disembodied voice floats over the image of a limousine cruising through frost-covered corn fields, Chris stands in a barn (which is set decorated into an inch of its life filled with hurricane lamps, decorative blankets, and flower arrangements on wrought iron pedestals) and waiting to make his decision. It should be noted that the barn is so cold that you can see his anxious breath circling his head.

First Out of the Limo: Becca steps out of the limo, wearing high heels and a long-sleeved burgundy velvet dress to the final Rose Ceremony. Chris tells her that he’s always liked her and tells her that he could see her as his wife. Then he makes the trademark Bachelor sigh. The one that means: I didn’t choose you. He tells her that she’s just not ready. He knows she will make some guy happy, but it’s not going to be him. Becca looks relieved, but probably mostly because that means she can go inside where it’s warm now and end this farce. He tucks her back into the limo and sends her off. She does her best to cry during the limo ride, but doesn’t. She claims she can’t process it and might be in shock, but also just kind of shrugs.

Second Arrival: Whitney pulls up in front of Chris’ family’s barn and Chris Harrison pats her on the back and wishes her good luck, presumably he’s talking about getting up the barn stairs in heels. Whitney looks elegant in black as she goes to tell Chris that she loves him and that she is so scared right now that he is going to dump her for a 26-year-old chiropractic assistant. Then Chris tells her that she is “perfect for him.” As he talks she anxiously studies his face, looking for a clue as to whether he will fall on his knee or send her out the door. Then he tells her that he loves her and gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. She says yes and he slips a giant Neil Lane diamond ring on her finger. Then they sit in the barn and make out.

After the Final Rose: Chris Soules joins Chris Harrison for a little Chris Time in front of a live studio audience. He is excited to finally tell the world that he is engaged to Whitney and declares her the right person for him. Chris S. reveals that Whitney has only been watching their dates in order to spare herself any unnecessary heartache. Being a smart lady sure makes for boring reality television, though.

Facing the Ex: Before the happy couple can revel in finally going public, Chris must endure facing Becca. Normally facing The Shunned is a grueling ordeal that makes everyone uncomfortable. Becca, however, clearly doesn’t care. She is totally nonplussed, because despite Chris S.’s claim to “strong feelings” about Becca, Becca just wasn’t that into him. She basically high-fives him and is like, “we’re chill.”

The Happy Couple: Chris and Whitney finally reunite and out themselves as an engaged couple. Chris H. asks Chris S. what he likes about Whitney, and he basically says that since he can’t marry his sisters, he wants to marry someone as close to them as possible. Whitney doesn’t seem to think that’s off-putting or odd at all.

Surprise Guest: Jimmy Kimmel comes out to congratulate the happy couple — and congratulate himself for setting them up on their first one-on-one date. He brought them a wedding present, too: a cow named Juan Pablo. Chris H. leans over and says, “Ees O.K. Ees O.K.” to the poor cow, which was pretty much the best thing ever.

The Big Surprise: Chris H. finally reveals who the new Bachelorette will be. It’s not Britt. It’s not Kaitlyn. It’s both of them! Apparently they will both show up on the first night of The Bachelorette, and the 25 men will determine which of them will make better marriage material, which sounds completely bananas. The new season will definitely be one to watch.

TIME

Bachelor Chris Soules Promises ‘I Love You’ Is in His Vocabulary

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - January 05, 2015
Ray Tamarra—GC Images Television personality Chris Soules tapes an interview at Good Morning America at the ABC Times Square Studios in New York City on Jan. 5, 2015

This bachelor knows the three little words his audiences want to hear

Chris Soules, the love seeker on the 19th season of The Bachelor, is assuring viewers he won’t disappoint them like his predecessor did: this bachelor says he has said “I love you” before, and he hopes to say it again.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Soules confessed he said “I love you” during his time on the most recent season of The Bachelorette, in which he finished second runner-up in bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s sweepstakes for her heart.

“Yes, I did,” said Soules, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I think I can say that. I did.” The sought-after bachelor also promised audiences that his “biggest goal at this point” is marriage.

Juan Pablo Galavis upset viewers on the 18th season of The Bachelor by declining to tell his winner, Nikki Ferrell, that he loved her. The pair later split.

[THR]

TIME Television

We Skyped with Bachelorette Hunk Cody About Chris Soules, Bachelor-Ready Abs and Making It Work in Iowa

ABC

Cody Sattler talks about training the new star of The Bachelor

Cody Sattler leans in close and half whispers, “The secret to Bachelor-ready abs is…”

Just as the former Bachelorette contestant and trainer of this season’s Bachelor Chris Soules is about to reveal the key to getting a six-pack stomach that’s perfect for shirtless strolls through a mansion, the transmission freezes and Sattler’s grinning face fills the frame. Two seconds later the internet adjusts and Sattler and his then-girlfriend Michelle Money, who he met on Bachelor in Paradise but has since broken up with, is looming over the computer next to him asking, “Why can’t we see you?”

After a quick reboot, Sattler and I are back on. Such technological difficulties are a regular part of Sattler’s life now, ever since he started a Skype-based training business. Charging clients $100 for 30 minutes and $175 for an hour, Sattler plays a combination of Max Headroom and SNL’s Hans and Frans, beaming his disembodied head into your living room to pump — pause for the clap — you up.

“I do a lot of Skype consultations now,” said Sattler. “I’ve been doing them for a few months and I love it. Some people want to talk meal plans, some people want to talk workouts, some people just want to talk about their lives. I work with them to make fitness and nutrition a part of their lives. Some people just want the motivation to start, so they talk to me,” he says.

Sattler was already a personal trainer when he vied for Andi Dorfman’s heart on The Bachelorette, but he says his business really took off after appearing on the show and on Bachelor in Paradise. “Being on The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad got me a ton of exposure,” said Sattler. “Those shows get a ton of views, so after doing that, business was really good.

Not that Sattler thinks other entrepreneurs should head to The Bachelorette to kick start their careers. “I don’t think that’s the wisest plan, but any time you are in front of that many people, that’s a great way to get your name out there,” said Sattler. “But people fall in love with your business, and then your personality on the show will be horrible and people will say, ‘Hell no. I don’t want to buy any of his products.’ So, I definitely wouldn’t go on The Bachelor just to promote a business.”

Sadly, Sattler won’t name names as to whose personality was worse in real life than it was on the show. “I haven’t hung out with a whole lot of people post-show,” said Sattler. “But I can guarantee you that there are people who acted a certain way just because they were on camera. After you spend several weeks with those guys in the house, your real personality comes out. You can only fake it for so long.”

One contestant that Sattler has spent some time with post-show is Chris Soules, who will be playing Prince Charming (or rather, Prince Farming) to a dozen fair princesses on this season’s The Bachelor. “I love Chris. He was one of the first guys I met in the house and we just hit it off. He’s a down-to-earth good guy,” Sattler says. “I spent five weeks down in Iowa with him. He lives out on a farm and there was nothing around us. Nothing. So, we spent a lot of time together.

“I was his personal trainer and, well, any time you’re in the leading role, you’re going to have your shirt off quite often,” said Sattler. “Chris is in good shape, but they wanted me to work with him for five weeks. I moved from Chicago to Arlington, Iowa, and we just trained — and then I moved to Salt Lake City.”

As for the secret to Bachelor-worthy abs? “Your abs are made in the kitchen,” says Sattler, who swears a six-pack is all about the food (and product placement). “You have to eat really good,” said Sattler. “We had this company called Flex Pro Mills out of Kansas City and they shipped our meals to us every week at the house. Our nutrition was on point. We were on a low-carb, high fat diet. Just changing Chris’s diet created a pretty incredible transformation. I can’t share it with everyone yet, but as soon as the show airs you’ll see.”

Sadly, camera-ready abs don’t also come shipped to your door in a hygienically-sealed container, but require a work out, at least twice a day. “We would wake up and do our cardio work out and then at night we would do a weight routine somehow and some high-intensity cardio,” Sattler recalls. Soules’s farm is located in a remote corner of Iowa, so Sattler had to use his imagination while devising a work-out routine. “The nearest gym was 30 minutes away from his house, so we had to get pretty creative with workouts. We were flipping tires and throwing sledgehammers and throwing all kinds of stuff. ABC came out and did some filming with us so hopefully a few clips of us working out on the farm will get in there.”

But even if Soules manages to find love on this season of the show, he won’t have an easy time making it last once the cameras are off. “For someone to move to Iowa, it’s going to take a special woman,” Sattler says. “Chris lives in the middle of nowhere. His town has, like, 800 people and he lives outside of that. There is no one around. The producers shot most of the show around his hometown, so it would be as realistic as possible. They could fall in love on the show, but to really think about moving to Iowa is going to take a special person. But whoever ends up with him is going to be very, very lucky.”

The Bachelor airs tonight on ABC at 8/7c

 

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