Bachelorette season premieres tend to consist largely of dudes in suits hopping out of a limo with some sort of gimmick that they hope will help them stand out from the crowd.
It's tough to be unique in that sort of scenario, so Clare Crawley's suitors might enjoy hearing that this year's premiere was unlike any we've seen before.
Unfortunately, it wasn't because of any of the stunts that the guys pulled off.
No, Clare's first episode was different for two reasons:
1. Covid-19 restrictions led to the contestants being forced to hole up in little cabins and endure multiple rounds of testing.
2. This is the first time that a Bachelorette announced she had met her husband just seconds after making the acquaintance of one of the suitors.
By now, we all know how this plays out (if you've avoided spoilers up to this point and wish to remain in the dark, now would be the time to stop reading):
Clare goes through the motions for a few days, eventually decides she can't pretend anymore, runs off with Dale Moss, and gets replaced by Tayshia Adams.
Obviously, there are a lot of details that need to be filled in, which is why we'll be watching as closely as ever -- especially now that we know the men get a little testy as it becomes clear that her mind is elsewhere.
"Clare's actions are completely unacceptable," one of the guys gripes in a preview of next week's episode.
A bunch of other lantern-jawed bros sit around him, glumly nodding in agreement -- and it seems they're not the only ones feeling the tension.
"Does anybody wanna spend time with me?" Clare asks at one point.
"If you guys all wanna hang out with each other, you can do that and I can go home and go to bed."
From what we've seen so far it seems there's only one word to sum up the start of Clare's season -- and that word is awwwwwkward!
Tayshia picked up on the tension as an observer, but she's spoken out in defense of Clare, pointing out that the weirdness is not all her fault.
“I thought it was so interesting how many people and how many times they referenced like, ‘This is the first time I hugged somebody in, like, six months or, like, holding hands even,’ you know what I mean?” Adams said of the episode, in a new interview with Us Weekly.
"It’s just, that’s just the way of the world lately, and I couldn’t imagine having that much freedom because we’ve been having to put masks on every single day, and so to be able to, like, walk around and date and kiss and hold and do all that stuff without a mask is kind of bizarre.”
Tayshia, of course, cannot offer up any details, but she confirms that Clare's season is a game-changer.
“I hope that it does change the way future seasons go because when you follow your gut and you stick to that, you can’t regret anything,” she said.
“You honor yourself … your truths. That’s something we all should be doing.”
As for what's in store for next week, here's the official description offered up by ABC:
"Clare left no doubt the first night that she knew what she was looking for and let the men know it! Nine eager suitors get the opportunity to impress Clare as they learn how to communicate through the languages of love," the network reveals.
"Jason is the lucky bachelor to go on the first one-on-one date, but will he reveal some dark secrets from his youth and still be able to gain Clare's acceptance?
"Clare's explosive moment with one suitor leads to an immediate reaction," the description continues.
"Another bachelor, uncomfortable with the dodgeball competition, plans to confront Clare about her behavior as the drama is ratcheted up from the very start of her journey."
There's some sort of serious conflict over a dodgeball game?! Oh, you can definitely sign us up for that one!