The single person
Photo: John Fleenor / ABC
This episode begins with a hilarious and overly emotional return to the Single mansion, a building that has always seemed more remarkable as an idea than as an actual location. Nonetheless, applicants flock to the mansion, and the episode sets it up as a triumphant reunion, as if the house is a treasured cultural institution that had been closed for a decade. Maybe some of us were looking forward to the beige sofas and textured stucco walls of the mansion and I hadn’t realized it?
Then it’s time for the first group date, which is a kid’s birthday party hosted by Hilary Duff. They’re all supposed to throw a party for a kid named Maya – the episode doesn’t carefully say who this kid belongs to, how old Maya is, or who one of those kids is. Or why Duff would be there if it wasn’t his child. (She’s here to promote How i met your father.) Either way, it’s not about Maya, whatever it is. Sorry, Maya. There are two points: Cassidy hates children and Clayton loves children. We get very meager evidence for this second part other than Clayton jumping into a bounce house and his ability to not hit any kid in the face, I guess. Cassidy, however, tells the birthday girl directly that she hates children, then rubs him down, dropping the cake on the lawn. “I’m not here to throw a birthday party for a kid,” says Cassidy, who’s supposed to be a naughty line but actually looks very appropriate given that they’re almost certainly child actors and that there’s no way it’s someone’s real birthday.
Still, it’s not the most subtle villainous edit I’ve ever seen. “I think Cassidy could be a favorite,” is something Cassidy says before gloating for the billionth time she has been able to speak to Hilary Duff. She has her eyes set on a prize, and it seems obvious that her preferred prize is a Baccalaureate in paradise place rather than a relationship with Clayton. In this case, it’s hard to fault Cassidy for pursuing her goals.
Then it is the date of the group after the party. Clayton wears a thin white hoodie under a navy checkered sports coat. I do not know what to tell you. He has a conversation with Serene, who seems reasonably sweet, and tells Clayton that even though she’s a teacher, it’s really the kids who teach. her. Clayton’s answer is basically, No matter what, let’s stand out. This man’s kiss is getting out of hand! Then everyone in the group yells at Cassidy for being a jerk and not doing anything at the real birthday party. “I’m just not going to apologize for not hanging enough banners,” says Cassidy. Credit where credit is due: This is a decent line.
Teddi and Clayton chat, implying that Teddi is already almost horizontal on a couch. Clayton lick her lips and promises to validate it whenever she needs it; then he tells Serene that he had a good time chatting with her. But still, he gives the group rose to Cassidy. It’s helpful for Cassidy to have this rose so the drama can play out later, but it’s a questionable producer call! It hurts viewers’ affection for Clayton, which was already on pretty shaky ground since the last episode, when we learned that many women didn’t like him. And the ground didn’t firm up in this episode because did I mention his hoodie-sports coat look ?!
Then it’s a one-on-one date between Clayton and Susie, and they get into a helicopter. Nothing says “We didn’t know what to do for this date” like “Here’s a helicopter ride”, but it’s good to keep a classic. Single tradition. They land the helicopter on a yacht, which is cute because everyone reacts like it’s a stunt scene from a ’90s action movie, but Clayton then describes that date. like “candle” and … where is this Clayton? Why can’t we make the version of Single Where is Clayton taking someone on a date on a small canoe in a lake with a cooler full of Natty Light? Maybe there could be a better Bachelor in this setting? Instead, they go to a fancy dinner party. Susie says it was tough when her dad was seriously ill last year, and it looks like he had COVID-19, but apparently it’s the word no one is ever allowed to say again. Clayton and Susie both say they feel a connection; someone named Amanda Gordon sings a song as they dance. I tried looking for her, but Google kept trying to suggest groundbreaking poet Amanda Gorman.
There is a second group date where Shanae immediately stands out as “essentially like Cassidy but let alone articulate”. The notable thing here is that the group date is hosted? MC-ed? by Ziwe, who first leads the group in a Never Have I Ever series, then yells at them as they complete an awkward, dating-themed obstacle course. She’s charismatic and fun to watch as always, but she’s such a watered-down version of Ziwe’s character. Of course it’s – it’s The single person – but you can’t get Ziwe out and then make me feel disappointed when she doesn’t ask Clayton how many black friends he has. (Everything she asks for is tame, and it’s disappointing, but kudos to Ziwe for successfully Single-level guest appearance status. Get paid!)
Shanae, who is furious for reasons that are not at all clear to us, tells Clayton that Elizabeth is “double-sided” and here for the wrong reasons. Clayton seems to take this at face value even though Elizabeth seems fairly balanced and Shanae has an aggressive alter ego she calls Shanae-nae. Oh, Clayton, honey. Is there someone you can ask when you’re confused? Can you phone a friend?
When Elizabeth and Shanae have a conversation about this mysterious and completely baseless ox, Shanae claims Elizabeth has ignored her. Elizabeth explains that because she suffers from ADHD, she really has a hard time dealing with multiple auditory inputs, and Shanae says yes, she sees it as a double-sided symptom. It’s incredibly stupid. Shanae continues to attack Elizabeth; Elizabeth can’t do anything because it’s like being the target of a fireball out of nowhere. It’s like when a bad racing car hits someone in the middle of the field just because the driver got angry and both cars are destroyed for nothing. Yes, I started watching the Formula 1 Netflix show recently. Sarah gets this group rose.
Somehow, the whole cocktail party is just a questioning of Shanae against Elizabeth, the most insane nonsense to honor this franchise since Corinne’s cheesy pasta. Shanae’s gesture, oddly enough, is to laugh and say she also has ADHD? It’s horrible, it’s all horrible. It’s such a shame that even Cassidy sees cards on the table and decides that she can no longer be friends with Shanae.
Speaking of Cassidy: It’s time for the drama planted by the producers! Sierra tells Clayton that she overheard Cassidy talking about her friends with benefits (excuse: “man on the side”) at home. There’s a big build-up – maybe Cassidy is here for the wrong reasons, not just Shanae? Clayton, bewildered, walks up to Jesse Palmer and asks if anyone has taken a rose before.
It becomes the dramatic cliffhanger, which is so silly. It should be a drama of the first 40 minutes, not an end-of-episode jaw drop. With no real interesting things to consider, The single person leaves the door wide open to too many other questions. Does the franchise regret choosing Clayton since he is enough wrong with that? Did anyone think it would be unwise to make Palmer the host this season given that he looks exactly like Clayton but slightly more attractive? Where does Sierra get her body glitter from? She looks like a fairy queen!