*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*

I have a love-hate relationship with The Bachelor franchise. So, I was extremely torn when I heard about the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise. Although I enjoy seeing fan-favorite contestants, I couldn’t help but wonder if the new season will be as disappointing as The Bachelorette.

Here’s my honest review of Bachelor in Paradise season seven.

bachelor in paradise season 7
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Full disclosure, not much happens in the first episode, which documents the arrival of 23 single contestants. Throughout the installment, guest host David Spade continually teases the first rose ceremony, where each man will choose one of the 13 women.

The problem? There are only ten boys, which means three women are going home before their journey even starts. While it sounds dramatic, the episode doesn’t get anywhere near the rose ceremony because it’s so focused on introducing the contestants. (Go figure.)

There are a few recognizable faces—like Ivan, Serena C. and Queen Goddess Victoria. *Eye roll* However, I spent most of the episode trying to figure out who the majority of the people are. I can barely remember who appeared on Katie Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette, let alone Clare Crawley’s or Hannah Brown’s. It doesn’t help that the show has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, creating even more of a gap between my Bachelor Nation knowledge and these somewhat familiar contestants.

After sorting out who’s who, I compiled a few key takeaways from the episode: Abigail hits it off with Noah after receiving the first one-on-one date of the season. Tahzjuan confirms that Tre is a better kisser than his uncle, who she previously dated. Grocery Store Joe feels extremely old compared to the rest of the contestants and, therefore, spends his day moping around the beach and reminiscing about Kendall. Oh, and Demi arrives at the end of the episode to make things interesting.

bachelor in paradise review
ABC/Craig Sjodin

So, is Bachelor in Paradise worth the watch? If you’re anything like me, then you might be considering bailing on the franchise altogether. However, based on the premiere episode of Bachelor in Paradise, I think it deserves one more shot. There are two key reasons for this decision: 1. David Spade and 2. BiP is my last hope.

First, Spade makes his debut as the show’s new guest host, and he doesn’t disappoint. During the arrivals, it’s hilarious to watch some of the contestants (*cough, Tammy, cough*) recognize him and then totally butcher his name. “Dave Chappelle?” In addition to offering comedic relief, Spade also takes a realistic approach that I’ve never seen on The Bachelor franchise. “Let’s re-meet the people we’ve already met a hundred times,” he said while introducing the contestants.

Second, Bachelor in Paradise is more respectable than, let’s say, The Bachelorette. BiP is different because the dating scene is actually realistic. When it comes to The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, the feelings are often forced because the contestants have no other choice but to “fall for” the lead.

With BiP, the singles are given a choice. They’re allowed to talk to multiple love interests before taking someone on a date. And even then, they can change their mind at any moment to pursue someone else. Yes, this format causes more drama between the contestants. But it also presents a more realistic dating environment that occasionally results in success stories. And for that reason, I remain hopeful that BiP will be far less painful than its spin-offs.

PureWow rating: 3 stars

I wouldn’t call it great, but I wouldn’t call it terrible. The only reason it received a decent rating is because I’m genuinely curious about what happens next for people like Abigail, Grocery Store Joe and Tre’s uncle.

For a full breakdown of PureWow's entertainment rating system, click here.

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