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The Californian Idiosyncrasies of the Current Bachelor Are Cracking Me Up

The kNUcKs ...

Bill Hader is the truest Californian of all in SNL.

Growing up in a Bachelor-watching household, I’ve gotten very used to just tepidly dipping my toes into whatever’s going on in any given season, and then very easily putting my attention elsewhere. But when Zach Shallcross was announced as the newest Bachelor, my ears pricked up, because Zach is a very specific type of guy.

As a lifelong Californian who has experience with Californian men (for better or worse), I feel qualified to say that Zach is very much a type—that generally inoffensive type of guy who’s into finance and crypto on the DL but you only ever see him smiling and talking about things like football. When you’re in the car with him, he’ll ask if he can put on his own original tunes, and you’ll realize you’re hanging out with a closeted EDM fan.

He’s tall and athletic and generally handsome, yet he talks like a southern dad with the mannerisms of a cartoon character. So when people were rallying behind calling him the “World’s Most Boring Bachelor” preemptively, I called bullshit: I knew that this type of Californio was gonna give the show some of the weirdest vibes yet.

And you know what? I was right. All those years of screwing around with college DJs who had playlists made up of both Pavement and Anderson .Paak weren’t for nothing.

NO drama!!!

If there’s one thing Californians love most, it’s vibes, and Zach is here for vibes and marriage ONLY!! Whereas in past seasons, some leads let themselves get swept away by the BS, Zach has been clear from the jump that he wants a NICE LADY to be his WIFE and he is NOT about the drama.

This last episode, the man literally called a girl out by name—which, for reference, is practically unheard of:

What is this “bahama mama,” you ask? Well gawrsh, I’m so glad you asked, and also, I’m so sorry.

Quirks galore

Listen, I know, us Golden Staters do and say weird shit sometimes. It’s definitely overplayed in media, but there’s also a lot of truth in acknowledging that Californians are all about their silly little phrases. I learned the phrase “darksided” a year or two ago, and it hasn’t left my mind since. Nobody I’ve met outside the L.A. area says “darksided.” I’ve even used it in an article or two; I’m surprised none of you have called me out.

But the fact that Zach is a white guy with “apolitical” leanings and a background in tech coalesces to create a very specific kind of awkwardness that I truly don’t know how to describe. You have to live it, and I guess The Bachelor is giving Americans of all backgrounds a chance to live my high school experience by providing us with shit like this:

Sir on what planet?? Sir?? This is you, sir, excuse me:

Like, sir, you are dressed to go smoke weed in the fields on the outskirts of campus; you’re not a “bahama papa!” No! For the love of god, enough!

But he’s out for love, guys, so he literally can’t get enough. That’s why we also got a phrase that nobody else seems to be picking up on: “the knucks.”

What are “the knucks”? Well, after kissing a lovely lady named Brooklyn, he asked if the kiss was good, and she replied with a fist-bump. Okay, sure, awkward first date energy, whatever. But then this man follows up with, “The KNUCKS after a kiss! Oof.” (Below at 4:25.)

The knucks!!! What!!! The knucks. The knucks. I got too many flashbacks to the dating horrors of my youth from that phrase alone. I don’t know what’s worse/better, The Knucks, or the fact that he pronounced “conch” as “conk”—and in the context of holding a shell up to his face and more or less saying, “Well, time to blow some conch.”

I need to be very clear: If a man, no matter how tall and rich, gave me The Knucks and then asked if I wanted to blow some conk, I’d give up on life. OR. I’d marry him on the spot. There are no in-betweens.

Addressing the “boring” allegations

As I’ve covered in past articles, I understand why people were gunning so hard for the “boring” campaign. We had some hard-hitters in the Bachelor franchise’s past who would have been compelling leads (I’m still holding a torch for Ethan Kang, founder of “Baby Back Bitch” inc.), so picking someone like Zach was ultimately a pretty safe choice. He’s got a fair amount in common with past leads, notably the AI-isms:

But I’ve gotta admit, the things about Zach that make him break convention (even in ways that are ever so small) have made this season incredibly entertaining, at least for me. Not only do we now have The Knucks, we have shit like this:

We also have some sweeter things, like the fact that Zach always asks for consent before he kisses anyone. Is he kind of a kiss bandit, in the sense that he goes for it with multiple people every episode? I mean, yeah, but honestly, I love when men are consensually slutty, so I can’t fault him for that.

Production has also been letting him show off his humor more than past contestants (like Matt James, whom they really did dirty), so that’s been delightful:

Now, does this mean we need a shower scene at the beginning of every episode, especially when he truly doesn’t seem to be into it? No thanks, if I were into that, I’d reread that part of Slaughterhouse-Five where Billy Pilgrim was put in an alien zoo. It also doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily down with the aforementioned apoliticism. (We get it: You can afford to not care.)

But, considering this show is serving a fantasy, I’m appreciating the whimsy and silliness that this current season’s fantasy is serving. Every week, I see hundreds of people saying the same sort of thing:

So hey, you know what? Zach, on behalf of all the sweet football players I knew in high school who then went on to do something related to tech and may or may not have sheltered sociopolitical beliefs but are otherwise charming people to hang out with, you’re doing the most. And we’re here for it, brah.

(featured image: SNL)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.