Bachelor in Paradise Combines Love Triangles With Tears and Tequila

Ingela Ratledge
Rick Rowell/ABC

KIRK DEWINDT, CARLY WADDELL, JUELIA KINNEY, JOE BAILEY, ASHLEY SALTER, DAN COX, TENLEY MOHLZAN, MIKEY TENERELLI, JOSHUA ALBERS, MICHAEL GAROFOLA, JONATHAN HOLLOWAY, CHRIS HARRISON

For most Americans, summer has been in full swing awhile. But to members of Bachelor Nation—the self-dubbed superfans of ABC’s hit matchmaking franchise—the season has only just begun, now that Bachelor in Paradise is finally underway. Luckily, the tequila-soaked series, which invites Bachelor and Bachelorette alums to don their swimsuits in steamy Sayulita, Mexico, and take another crack at romance, has wasted no time heating up. “It was odd how quickly things progressed,” host Chris Harrison says. “It took hours, not even days, for relationships and love triangles to form and for people to start staking their claims.”

With good reason: Every episode, any contestant who comes up empty-handed at the rose ceremony is sent home immediately and replaced by a new arrival. “You could tell [which ones] had just stepped off the plane, because they hadn’t acclimated to the weather yet,” Harrison says. “It looked like a fire hose had been turned on them.”

Among the standouts so far in this wet-and-wild round of musical dating? Former Playboy model Jade Roper (“A lot of guys came here specifically to meet her,” Harrison says) and Ashley “Onion Girl” Salter, the oddball from Chris Soules’s recently wrapped season who is prone to hilariously nonsensical rambling. “There’s interest in her, but also confusion,” says Harrison. “It’s a little bit like talking to Dory in Finding Nemo, where she’ll all of a sudden be distracted by a shiny object.” Then there are the wizened thirtysomething veterans: Tenley Molzahn, originally a Season 14 Jake Pavelka cast-off, and Clare Crawley, who appeared last year on the first edition of Paradise. Says Harrison, “[Clare] is here to prove that she’s not the emotional, dramatic person she came off as.”

If all goes according to plan, that won’t happen. While it’s lovely enough to watch folks find their soul mates—“The process works, and there will be couples coming out of this,” Harrison promises—the real point here is to submit to the unapologetically frothy fun. “This is don’t-think-too-hard TV that should be enjoyed with a box of wine and cheap chocolates,” Harrison says. “We are definitely in on the joke.”

Bachelor in Paradise, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC

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