“I’m confident I’m going to meet my fiancé here!”
Now that’s the spirit you like to see in your “Bachelorette!” Of course, there’s no telling if Renton’s Katie Thurston, 30, is going to meet the man of her dreams on this season of ABC’s never-ending date-a-rama, but she certainly did meet a lot of men — 30 of them, in fact — during Monday night’s season premiere.
The bank marketing manager, whose season is filmed at the Hyatt Regency Tamayo Resort and Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, is off to a breezy, easy start, perhaps because she comes off so breezy herself. The show is pushing her self-described sex positivity pretty hard, but so far it feels fun and natural rather than forced. Don’t disappoint us, show.
Katie just seems, well, normal, so it makes sense that her First Impression rose went to New Jersey’s adorably nervous Greg Grippo, 27, the most normal-seeming and least slick guy to get that highly coveted prom boutonniere in recent memory, which is probably a good omen. We’re almost certain.
Here’s what else happened on Monday night’s episode.
BIGGEST CHANGE: With longtime franchise host Chris Harrison on at least a temporary time out, his “dad waiting up after a date” energy has been replaced by former “Bachelorette” stars Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams, who bring a fun big sister vibe. It makes a lot more sense to have her guided by people who have been there, and the sight of Kaitlyn and Tayshia peering out the window judging all the guys getting out of the limos (and trucks and giant boxes) felt like a live “Bachelorette” watch party. They even ate popcorn at one point. Good choice.
BIGGEST FASHION TREND: Tight, tight suits. Was it an homage to equally snug-suited “The Bachelor: After The Final Rose” guest host Emmanuel Acho? We may never know. Either way, half of the suitors looked like the obviously incompatible stockbroker boyfriend in every Hallmark movie that the heroine dumps for the hot small-town carpenter.
WEIRD ENTRANCES THAT WORKED: Tre Cooper, 26, of Covington, Georgia, who arrived buried in a makeshift ball pit in the bed of a pickup truck; Connor “Connor B” Brennan of Chicago, who came dressed as a cat to woo self-admitted “crazy cat lady” Katie, and James Bonsall, 30, of San Diego, who delivered himself in a giant box and stayed there most of the episode, inspiring at least one Brad Pitt “What’s in the box?” joke from “Se7en.” It was hilarious watching the other suitors hope he was a hideous goofball and being highly disappointed that he turned out to be a slick-haired stunner. (Somebody derisively called him “Jay Gatsby.”)
STUPID DRAMA NOBODY CARES ABOUT: Aaron Clancy, 26, an insurance agent from San Diego, apparently has some random beef with Cody Menk, 27, who hails from the same area and showed up with a blowup doll. For some reason no one explained at all, Aaron told Cody he didn’t like him, and it’s already boring.
WILD UNSCIENTIFIC FLAILING GUESS: We haven’t even met all of the men yet. Apparently Blake Moynes, 29, of Tayshia’s season, shows up later. But already, Katie seems to have taken a special shine to Connor the Cat Guy, Ball Pit Tre, James-In-The-Box and Greg. We wouldn’t be surprised if they make up Katie’s final four. But we’re not willing to put money on it. Yet.