Illustration of the Bachelorette logo. (Illustration by Eri Iguchi, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)
Will 2020 be the year for Clare Crawley to find her match on "The Bachelorette"? (Illustration by Eri Iguchi, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

‘The Bachelorette’ Premiere Asks If the Fifth Time Is the Charm

Clare Crawley is looking for love once again on ABC’s newest season of the hit reality dating show.

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Illustration of the Bachelorette logo. (Illustration by Eri Iguchi, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

Clare Crawley is looking for love once again on ABC’s newest season of the hit reality dating show.

Roses have been handed out, men have been sent home and — as always — drama has ensued as the first night of the newest season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” has premiered. As rumors have already begun to circulate about this season’s ending, viewers have been watching intently to find out for themselves the truth behind Clare Crawley’s journey as the bachelorette.

The choice of Crawley as the bachelorette shocked the show’s fan base, affectionally dubbed “Bachelor Nation.” At 39, Crawley is the oldest bachelorette to have ever starred on the show. She originally debuted on the franchise during Season 18 of “The Bachelor.” She placed as runner-up and famously told Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis that she would “never want [her] children to have a father like [him.]”

After the season, Crawley became a fan favorite and took part in the first-ever season of “Bachelor in Paradise.” After an unsuccessful journey to find love, Crawley appeared again in the second season of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Finally, during the 2018 “The Bachelor: Winter Games” season, she got engaged to contestant Benoît Beauséjour Savard. However, the engagement was short-lived and the couple broke up before the season was over.

At the finale of Peter Weber’s season of “The Bachelor,” it was announced that Clare Crawley would be the next bachelorette. Her past once again resurfaced as Bachelor Nation — many of whom had forgotten about Crawley — began to wonder if her fifth time on the show would finally be the charm.

Crawley’s bad luck streak continued as her season, set to debut this summer, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After much consideration and thoughtful brainstorming, the franchise was able to implement a unique production strategy that allowed for the season to safely continue with filming.

The contestants, Crawley and — of course — host Chris Harrison were sent to a vacated resort in California. There they were each given their own rooms and spent two weeks in complete self-isolation where they were monitored for COVID-19 symptoms and tested frequently. After being cleared by multiple negative test results, all of the contestants were released from isolation and allowed to mingle with one another and Clare.

“The Bachelorette” is one of the first reality TV shows to film and be aired during the COVID-19 pandemic. Viewers were able, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, to relate to the contestants’ mix of emotions, quarantine loneliness and fear of the virus.

Although this season began a little differently than most, the first night ensued in a manner similar to previous seasons; each contestant stepped out of a limo or a transportation method of their choice with a cheesy pickup line on-deck to introduce themselves to the bachelorette.

Crawley and the rest of the Bachelor Nation were left speechless by several of the men. From a Rolls-Royce to a station wagon to a straitjacket to a giant bubble, all of the men were creative in the way they presented themselves to Crawley.

One contestant in particular stood out to the bachelorette immediately. After exiting the limo, Dale Moss confidently smiled at Crawley and walked over to her, letting her know he was a “big hugger.” He then quite literally swept Crawley off her feet as he picked her up off the ground, giving her a full-on bear-hug. Moss then introduced himself before strolling inside toward the other men.

Moss left the bachelorette grinning from ear-to-ear, and she turned to the camera and whispered, “I definitely feel like I just met my husband.”

Later, Chris Harrison spoke with Crawley, and she repeated the same sentiments to him, saying she was confident that Moss was the one for her. Harrison was taken aback, replying that he was amazed by how sure she was, but excited for her journey to continue on.

Crawley eagerly met the rest of the contestants, all the while keeping Moss in the back of her mind.

Crawley’s confidence in finding “the one” so quickly made viewers realize that this season might play out a little differently than others. Will there be any tears of confliction shed by the bachelorette? Will Bachelor Nation be shocked by her choice in the final rose? Or will this season be cut short after just a few dates with Moss? This is surely not the narrative that fans of “The Bachelorette” have become accustomed to.

As always, “The Bachelorette” could not have premiered without a little man-on-man drama. This time, the pot-stirrer took form in Tyler Cottrill, an old-fashioned West Virginian with a cute country accent.

Cottrill was skeptical of contestant Yosef Aborady after hearing from women in his hometown that Aborady had been direct messaging a number of them just before filming for “The Bachelorette” began.

After gossiping with other contestants, Cottrill decided to confront Aborady. He pulled him aside and questioned Aborady’s motives for being on the show. Soon after, Aborady went to Clare, telling on Cottrill like an elementary school child. Crawley sat the two down and listened to both sides of the story before dramatically storming away and leaving the two men to discuss the situation between themselves.

Clare made it clear that she would not be putting up with the petty drama, and she made an example out of Cottrill by sending him home that night. Bachelor Nation was astonished by this choice. What’s a season of “The Bachelorette” without someone there to wreak a little havoc?

Night one made it clear that this season of “The Bachelorette” is going to look a little different compared to others, which is to be at least somewhat expected, as there is no precedent to a season set during a global pandemic. Without the mansion where the show is typically shot to provide a sense of normalcy, things definitely feel a little strange. Viewers are intrigued to see how the producers will get creative in filming a show that thrives off of travel and physical touch at a time when both of these things are heavily restricted.

With Cottrill long gone and Moss still around, a pandemic love story might still be in the works for Clare Crawley. Perhaps she’ll prove the fifth time’s the charm after all.

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