It was the Men Tell All episode on the Bachelorette this week, otherwise known as every contestant’s last-ditch effort to audition for Bachelor in Paradise, nab a cameo on future Bachelor seasons, and be invited as a guest on Kaitlyn’s podcast.
This Tell All came at the heels of hometowns the episode where the contestants’ families gathered in a beige Minneapolis conference room and met Michelle. After seeing her solemnly swear to each set of parents that she was enjoying her time with their sons, she narrowed down her top three to Nayte, Joe, and Brandon. Which meant Rodney, Bachelor Nation’s Pete Davidson (apparently), was included in the Tell All.
When it comes to a Tell All, you pray to the Bachelor Nation gods not to waste two hours of your life that you could have spent watching Succession or Googling “how tall is Ben Affleck?”. And this time I felt especially entitled to a good episode, considering they forgot to include any interesting footage in the actual season.
And I’ll admit, this episode was a tiiiiny bit better than recent Tell Alls, because the men didn’t totally bro out the entire time. On a scale of Martin’s hairstyle to Hannah Brown’s recent book, I’ll give the episode a solid Pete the Pilot: smack-dab average.
This episode gave us *some* conflict (including Tayshia and Kaitlyn’s clashing green and orange dresses), a real-time apology tour, as well as one producer’s attempt to audition for SNL.
Sounds somewhat intriguing, right? Let’s dive in.
Pizza Lawsuit Is Served
The opening segment started by rehashing the feud you forgot existed between Will (who?) and Pizzaria Peter. Actually, the first 10-15 minutes went something like this:
Peter: I —
Everyone else: STFU PETER
Poor guy. From what it looked like, you could safely assume that the men from this season had a group chat with everyone but Bachelor Nation’s version of Mike “The Situation”.
The drama really heated up when Will screamed at Peter, “Tell your sister to stay out of my DMs!”, followed by Kaitlyn so kindly reading out one-star Yelp reviews of Peter’s restaurant. Ouch. Not only is this man probably never going to date again after choosing to wear a head-to-toe tan suit that would only look good on… no one, but he’s also officially lost all dine-in customers.
This intense back-and-forth was put to rest by a poorly orchestrated skit by production. Right on cue, Peter called in a Ron Swanson meets Ted Lasso lookalike “lawyer” who “served” Will with a defamation of character suit. No offense, ABC, but leave the sketches to SNL.
Let’s Call Out Some Men
Next, we learned ABC is still salty AF that Ryan and his friends figured out the Bachelor/Bachelorette formula, and that that “secret to winning” is now published in a loose-leaf binder. I swear, literally no one who’s been sent home so early has received so much attention… apart from maybe John Hersey on Katie’s Instagram stories, that is.
Up next was Rick, who was called to the hot seat for a 1:1 (1:2?) interview. To no surprise, he immediately began auditioning to be Michelle’s next boyfriend if she’s ever single again. He was hitting all the notes from Ryan’s binder saying “she’s one of a kind” and “I’d do anything for her”. He guaranteed his spot as a lifelong Bachelor Nation contestant with his speech, as well as a promising side gig writing for the next To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before film.
After that mushy-gushy interview that most definitely will have ladies (me) in Rick’s DMs, we hit another episode low when some poor guy wheeled out an exact replica of the food cart Rick hid in on night one. It even had a wax head sitting on the platter that, I guess, was supposed to resemble Rick. I wish I could say it was well done (that’s a food pun, get it?), but in the words of Will to Peter: this was one-star only quality. In fact, it was more a spitting image of Kaitlyn’s fiancé, Jason, than Rick.
RodneyCon (Ft. Tayshia)
“Rodney is about to join us to discuss his devastating departure…. But not before I ask Tayshia why she isn’t wearing her sparkling Bachelor Nation provided engagement ring!” said Kaitlyn, reading from the teleprompter. It honestly felt like one of Michelle’s third grade students ordered the events of the evening, and accidentally slotted in a segment from Kaitlyn’s podcast into the middle of the Tell All.
Despite us viewers feeling confused and/or forced to rewind the episode to make sure we heard that right, Tayshia showcased all the things she learned at the celeb school of breakup PR: through tears, she explained she was heartbroken, still loved Zac, and doesn’t know what the future holds.
And whether it was because of Kaitlyn’s question or the fact that Olu upshone her with an even oranger outfit, Tayshia exited stage left during the next segment with Rodney… with tears in her eyes.
But getting back to Rodney… clearly, clearly, some of the live studio audience confused the Tell All taping with RodneyCon. Like, I get this guy is an IRL teddy bear with a distinctive laugh and fetish for apples, but why on earth are people treating him like he’s Pete Davidson?? ICYMI, not only was the live-studio audience littered with “I LOVE RODNEY ” posters, but production also planted a streaker to recreate Rodney’s (apperately memorable?) naked running scene.
Rodney went through the usual Hallmark reel about how much Michelle meant to him, how moments were always filled with laughter when she was around, etc. He even shared his favorite direct quote from Michelle: “No matter what, I’ll always be team Rodney”. My opinion? She was referring to being on his basketball team after seeing him land a 3-pointer, but nonetheless, he definitely took it as more. Men: you give them an inch, they take a mile.
Ms. Young Takes The Stage
They finally, finally, brought out Michelle. Putting her teacher skills to work in the real world, she took her seat and basically expressed her disappointment in pretty much everyone except Olu, Rick, and Rodney. That prompted the men to uncomfortably go around and apologize to her, saying they didn’t mean to throw spitballs in class disrespect her in any way.
The one guy who got a lot of special attention from Michelle was Jamie. In fact, between Michelle, the hosts, and the men, there was pretty much a 5-minute Comedy Central roast of the guy, but without savage comments instead of jokes. But lucky for Jamie, his Spotify wrapped had self-help and motivational podcasts at the top, and he was responding waaaay too calmly and kept using words like “authentic” and “my truth”.
As happy as I am for Michelle to have gotten confirmation that each of these men in fact did talk to a PR specialist (who encouraged them to apologize on national TV), it felt like an absolute waste of time. When I’m watching the Men Tell All, I’m looking for new BTS juice, drama, and opinions, not an apology tour.
Wait, Did They Just Ruin Clayton’s Season?
Last but not least, we can’t ignore that production casually slipped in a 90 second spoiler of Clayton’s ENTIRE season. Usually the sneak peeks are just that—a sneak peek. We usually see some unidentifiable hysterical crying, girls running/jumping into the Bachelor’s arms, and ladies dressed in bikinis that would make the Too Hot To Handle cast jealous… but nope, this “teaser” explicitly showed Clayton saying he was “falling in love” with two girls, and “IN LOVE” with one. OH, it can’t be ignored that we also see him standing awkwardly professing that he was “intimate” with two of the ladies on his cast. WTFFFFFFFF. Now that we know all of Clayton’s loose-lipped secrets, is it even worth watching?
And that about wraps up this season’s Men Tell All. Based on the performances, ABC will have no troubles choosing a BiP cast, and will hopefully think twice before ever including another character sketch within the episodes again. And where do we go from here? Well, tune in next week for Michelle’s fantasy suite episode (which BTW, I can’t wait for because I’d love to see them make something “fantasy” and “sweet” in butt f*ck nowhere Minnesota).
Images: John Fleenor (3) / ABC