Well, fam, after 10 grueling weeks we’re about to find out which woman won Matt’s heart. We’ve come to know the best and the worst of these ladies. The best being a girl who carries a dildo around in her purse like it’s a pack of gum and speaks entirely in email jargon (no, thank you for your feedback, Katie) and the worst being a Gangs of New York-style living situation where absolutely not one person has heard of concealer before. But at least I do know these ladies. I can’t say the same for our pal Matt. In fact, his entire personality can be condensed into “guy who wears turtlenecks.” He’s really given us so much to root for.
Last week, Matt whittled his search for love down to two final women: a sexy, long-limbed school teacher and a girl who dressed as a sexy school girl for last year’s Halloween party. I paraphrase.
MATT: There’s Michelle—beautiful, smart, kind Michelle. And then there’s Rachael…
MATT TRYING TO EXPLAIN HIS CONNECTION TO RACHAEL:
Hmmm… whomever will he choose?
Michelle Meets The Parents
Okay, is anybody else just tired? I know we need to go through the whole song and dance of Matt introducing the girls to the parents and having one last great date with them, but must we really? Like, just freaking pick one already, I don’t need to watch you sit in a hot tub one more time. *takes one deep, calming breath* I suppose the show must go on, which means Michelle is up first!
Michelle walks into the room and Matt’s mom is already weeping. She heard “school teacher” and saw she was wearing a woolen force field that covered all skin from the chin down and knew this girl would be absolutely perfect for her son. Matt’s brother is also a huge Michelle fan. He’s asking her all these deep questions about her family and past relationships and she’s delivering clear, sincere answers without one single “like” or reference to TikTok.
Okay, yikes. Red flag that Matt’s brother has never seen him in a relationship. Michelle asks him about Matt’s last long-term relationship and his brother is like, “by long-term do you mean more than one date after slipping into a girl’s DMs?” Christ. The man is almost 30! This is just further proof that he’s not ready for an engagement at the end of all of this. If his last real relationship involved him checking “yes, I like you” on the back of some looseleaf math homework in grade school, then Matt has no business proposing in 90 minutes.
By the end of this date, it’s so clear that Michelle is absolutely the right pick here. Matt himself seems shocked that a girl like this is here and interested in him. He actually asks her in stunned disbelief how she’s still single after she absolutely kills it with his family. Hmmm, I don’t know, Mattie. Maybe it’s because men see that her TikToks involve less nudity and more fun multiplication hacks for her students and run for the hills from all that healthy, wholesome energy.
Rachael Meets The Parents
I already have a feeling Matt’s family is going to hate Rachael. For one, she’s daring to show her clavicle before noon. BOLD. For another, she’s wearing a look of barely contained disgust at all that rouge on Patty’s cheekbones. You can tell she’s itching to get that woman a makeup wipe and some subtle highlighter before this date goes any further.
Rachael, of course, shows up to meet Matt’s family wearing her standard muted palette of whites and blacks, and sporting that trademark middle part. Wow. Rachael is seemingly more committed to this middle part than Matt is to any relationship on this show.
Matt’s brother gives Rachael the same brotherly interview he gave Michelle, but it just hits different. For one, Michelle is just so much more poised than Rachael. She’s also a few years older and it shows. At one point, Matt’s brother asks Rachael how many serious relationships she’s been in and it’s like, five years ago she was still in SAT prep courses! How many do you think she’s been in??
MATT: So, mom, what do you think?
MATT’S MOM: She’s… cute.
HAHA. That is something my mother says right before she verbally fillets them in the car ride home from Applebee’s. In all fairness, Matt’s mom seems skeptical that Matt is going to end up with either of these girls. She’s like “so… you’re actually going to go through with this?” He better, Patty! If I don’t see an engagement at the end of this I will riot. MY GOD, THIS ISN’T A DATING SHOW. If Demi Lovato can give engagement the ol’ college try, then so can Matt!
Matt’s mom is like, “feelings aren’t forever!” and, boy, what a pep talk to give your son a mere 24 hours before a proposal. It’s cute that they think Matt has any choice here. Don’t they realize his Bachelor contract was signed in blood, as are all deals with the devil?
Matt’s Quarter-Life Crisis
I have never in my life seen a man spiral faster after a conversation about commitment than what I’m witnessing on my screen rn. Kidding! I have asked a guy “what are we?” before and watched the look of abject terror take hold of his face as he grabbed his pants, keys, and wallet, and backed away slowly toward the door.
MATT: My mom said feelings come and go… do you think that’s true Chris?
Chris is genuinely stunned by this conversation. You can tell he’s yearning for the day when contestants were jumping fences they were so in love, instead of having to placate these lukewarm feelings emanating from Matt.
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God, this is depressing. Matt’s trying to moonwalk out of his engagement obligations and I’m not having it. THIS IS THE BACHELOR. You signed up to make the biggest mistake of your life for our collective enjoyment. You can’t just go back on that sacred agreement because you don’t feel like it!
After that bleak conversation with Chris, Matt resolves to soldier on through the rest of his Bachelor duties. I’m sure it has everything to do with his feelings for Michelle and Rachael and nothing at all to do with the fact that ABC producers have his entire family sequestered at an undisclosed location. Carry on.
Similar to how I drag out menial tasks like emptying the dishwasher or answering my boss’ emails, Matt is going to drag out his Bachelor experience by taking the women on one last one-on-one date. For Matt’s date with Michelle, he makes her rappel off the roof of a building to wine and dine on what appears to be an abandoned airplane tarmac. Seriously, how come Matt only offers romance if your life is challenged in the process? Did he forget what franchise he’s on? This isn’t Final Destination, Matthew! Why does he keep trying to kill these women? So he doesn’t have to choose? “Whichever one doesn’t break her neck gets to be my wife!!”
Michelle calls Matt her “teammate” and okay, yes, I am crying in the club. She is way too good for this clown. She gifts him with (probably) hand-sewn jerseys and Matt is, like, eyeing all possible exits, he’s so freaked out. The more jerseys she hands him, the more massive his panic attack gets.
MATT: Michelle, I think I want a girlfriend, not a wife…
I love that Matt flees the scene crying. I’m sorry, but what did you expect from her? You just spent six weeks saying “my wife is in this room” only to take it back when it really counts. If she wanted a boyfriend she would have gone on that Zoom date with her coworker’s weird cousin Alan.
In the end, the jerseys are Matt’s undoing. His idea of commitment is watching your Instagram stories daily, but cropping you out of his profile picture for his Raya account. He can’t keep leading Michelle on like this, so he gives her the axe.
At least Michelle got to go on a date, though. Rachael put on these hot leather pants for absolutely no reason. Matt is too distraught over his breakup with Michelle to go on a date with Rachael. Instead, he sends his errand boy Chris Harrison to deliver the blow. Chris tells Rachael Matt needs “some space.” What’s left unsaid is that Matt’s “space” is in the Delta lounge as he books the next flight back to New York.
While Rachael falls into an abyss of despair, Matt has his own demon to face: Neil Lane. At this point, it’s clear that Matt would rather singe his own eyebrows off than embark on a lifelong commitment with a human woman, but he humors Neil Lane with this ring appointment all the same. Neil hands Matt one of his bottom-shelf rings, and Matt acts like he just touched one of Voldemort’s horcruxes, but instead of brushing the scraps of the soul of a genocidal sadist, he’s just visibly recoiling at the feeling of all of that commitment. Perfectly normal behavior for a man in love.
Matt tells Rachael to “meet him at the lake for answers” and that is how every episode of My Favorite Murder starts, not the beginning of an eternal partnership between two people. But good luck with that, girl!
Also, lol at ABC trying to make us think that Matt will actually use that ring. I think Matt knows he could get away with not proposing to Rachael. Like, she’s still buying gel pens to doodle in her Lilly Pulitzer planner. She would definitely be chill with just dating.
Speaking of Rachael, she shows up to the final rose ceremony dressed like the dragon Shrek fought to rescue Fiona. For someone who has dressed exactly the same for the last nine episodes, I’m shocked that this is the lewk she chose to be bold with.
Matt says rushing into marriage is what ruined his family, and it’s like WELL WHY ARE YOU ON THIS MF SHOW THEN?! This is what ABC gets for signing a TikTok star to be their lead. I’m so angry I would like to take an entire jug of kerosene to his most beloved turtlenecks.
Matt’s like, “I want to commit to you, but not in like any real, lasting way, you feel me?” And she does!! She signs up to be his girlfriend! This is insane! I bet she’s super glad she survived that skydiving accident for this happy ending!
After The Final Rose
Even though I am full of unending rage at just having wasted the last 10 weeks of my life watching—in real time!—a man sift through his roster until he got bored, I supposed I will tolerate one more hour of this worthless f*cking show. That said, I’m not going to recap minute by minute because, frankly, I don’t have it in me. So, here are the highlights:
Michelle Is Doing Just Fine
If you kids thought I was angry before, let me tell you, my rage boiled to cataclysmic levels when Michelle revealed that Matt refused to see her after dumping her. Before she left the Bachelor hotel, she asked production to ask Matt if she could have a few minutes with him to get some closure and, in classic f*ckboy fashion, he chose to ghost her instead. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m just going to take a page out of Beastly and place a witch’s curse on Matt’s unblemished body until he learns how to properly treat a lady.
ABC Isn’t Racist, They Just Cast Racists, Okay!!
After a chill 120 minutes of finale footage and 15 minutes of Michelle updates, ABC finally, finally addresses the racism scandal. I still can’t believe the first Black Bachelor picked a woman who probably doesn’t understand how harmful the phrase “all lives matter” is, but here we are. Emmanuel takes over the hosting gig for the evening since Chris Harrison is currently in timeout. He gets into it with Matt about being the first Black Bachelor, and I cannot express enough how relieved I am that Matt is having this conversation with an actual person of color and not Chris’ milky white ass fumbling over production’s pre-written interview cards that start with: “so, my brother, how are you?”
Matt seemed genuinely hurt and upset by the Rachael scandal. One thing that stood out in particular to me was when he said his goal was to seem approachable to audiences. He wanted to normalize seeing Black bodies on TV and he was constantly aware of trying to seem nonthreatening. I’m glad he said that because, honestly, I’ve been pretty disappointed with Matt this season. Week after week he failed to show any emotion or personality. He seemed to gloss over any particularly heavy or dynamic conversations by pasting on a bland smile and giving the women vague, generic praise for their honesty. Now I’m wondering if that was a calculated move to seem, as he said, “less threatening.” If that’s the case, then I’m genuinely sad. It feels like we missed out on seeing some real, authentic conversations from people of color for the sake of placating The Bachelor’s white audience.
I thought Rachael did an okay job at sitting in the hot seat. She stuck to script and took accountability for her actions, even with her entire body breaking out into stress hives. I can only imagine she hired the Olivia Pope of PR teams to get her through this only mildly unscathed.
Rachael And Matt Are No Longer Together
Matt revealed that after finding out about Rachael’s past, he couldn’t in good conscience continue to date her. He said she needs to do some “work” on her own. I think that’s probably for the best. Though Rachael gave us some actionable items for how she’ll be putting in the work to better understand racism, she thought that after three weeks she’d learned enough for Matt to take her back. That doesn’t really feel like putting the work in, more like putting on a show so your S.O. will be less mad. At one point Matt says he doesn’t want to be “emotionally responsible for her tears” and that’s the most real thing that he’s ever said on this show. It sucks that she’s hurting, but it’s not on him to accept her guilt and pain.
That said, I would also like Matt to work on himself. The man had no business getting engaged on this show. I don’t want to see him on another Bachelor franchise until he’s stopped using those turtlenecks as security blankets. If I start seeing some neck, I’ll know he’s emotionally ready for an actual relationship.
And The Next Bachelorette Is…
Katie and Michelle! That’s right, double trouble, people! We will get not one, but TWO Bachelorettes. Katie’s season will start filming immediately and will air during early summer. Michelle’s season will film over the summer and air sometime in the fall. No matter that with the vaccine rollout we might actually be able to enjoy a summer spent amongst people—Mike Fleiss is having none of that. Chained to our living rooms we shall continue to be! Until then!
We love to see two villains get sent home in one episode. We love to see Matt confronting their bullying head on, supporting the women who were targeted by Anna and Victoria’s fragile egos and harmful verbal attacks. And we absolutely love to see Katie—defender of what is right, champion of women’s orgasms, the people’s vote for Bachelorette—make it out of this week’s drama unscathed. But what we really deserve to see is some goddamn accountability. And not just from the Karens/villains/bullies (Victoria, Anna, and MJ), but from The Bachelor producers for encouraging this type of behavior. For creating a space that promotes bullying and women that weaponize their white fragility, for amplifying the incredibly annoying voices of the Victorias and Annas of the franchise while minimizing the voices and storylines of the contestants of color.
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If I’ve learned anything from my time as a reluctant-yet-dedicated member of Bachelor Nation, it’s that the producers have just as much, if not more, control over what happens on The Bachelor than the leads. Sure, the lead gets to choose his future ex-fiancée, but the producers are the ones moving the size zero, botoxed, Restylane-filled chess pieces around the mansion until our Bachelor is check-mated into a proposal (yes, I recently watched The Queen’s Gambit, why do you ask?). I get that the final rose is in Matt’s very large hands, but do we really believe that Matt voluntarily kept Victoria over *reviews full cast list* ANY of the 10+ women he sent home prior to this week’s episode of reckoning? No, no we do not.
…at least, not until the producers say so.
So it’s safe to assume that storylines, one-on-one date decisions, and the topic of today’s rant discussion (bullying) are at the very least producer-sanctioned, if not producer-encouraged. Victoria doesn’t get a rose without the producers telling Matt she has to stay. Anna doesn’t get approximately 500 featured ITM’s, and a baseless rumor about being an escort doesn’t get spread and televised, without editors choosing that footage to make the final cut. To all of you screaming, “Dani this is just how the show works, big drama brings a big audience”, I say: yes, I understand how ratings work, thank you. But just because I understand it doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it. Just because this is how the show has worked for years, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to bring production into the 21st-post-Trump-pro-BLM century and hold them accountable for giving white women carte blanche to do and say as they please, rewarding them with more airtime as their words become more offensive.
We can’t give ABC credit for casting a Black lead and having a diverse cast if that diversity is only used as a tool to promote bullying (the targets of Victoria, Anna, and MJ’s antics were almost exclusively women of color). You don’t get credit for diversity if more airtime is given to Victoria and Anna’s whining than to the emotional conversations Matt has had with women like Chelsea and Michelle about conforming to white beauty standards and being a Black teacher in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder. And we can’t let production off the hook now because Victoria and Anna are finally gone. In fact, even after Matt was given the okay to take out the trash, production simply handed Victoria’s burn book over to MJ for her to take over as head mean girl leading into next week’s episode. It’s rude of MJ to have such beautiful hair and such an ugly personality, and it’s even more rude (and manipulative) of production to pit her against Jessenia, yet another woman of color for a “let’s squeeze this in real quick” two-on-one date that literally nobody asked for. And don’t even get me started on the fact that the one-on-one dates of the week went to Kit, a quieter yet adamant supporter of the OG vs. new girls movement, and Rachael, who may or may not have been a racist bully in high school…
I know that drama and hot girls fighting makes for entertaining television (I watched this week’s episode with my younger brother and he simply could not get enough), and I know Matt is just kinda boring, so the producers have to look elsewhere for content. But I also know that they can and should do better than this, and I don’t think it’s out of line to expect ABC to make socially responsible television. Production and editors give plenty of screen time to the friendships between male contestants on The Bachelorette, why can’t we get the same support for female empowerment on The Bachelor? Magi got U.S. citizenship by winning the visa diversity lotto, why can’t we learn more about her than the fact that she’s not great at kayaking?
I’m sure there is plenty of non-toxic, non-bullying, non-racially insensitive content the producers and editors could use to tell an equally entertaining yet less divisive story, they’re just choosing not to. And production controls who comes back for Women Tell All, who gets invited to Bachelor in Paradise, who gets more screen time, a larger platform. They could decide that enough is enough and leave Victoria and Anna off their callback lists—but do any of us believe that they will? So how do we hold them accountable, how do we hold ABC to a higher standard? I just wrote 1,000 words about how frustrated I am with the show, but I know I will continue to watch. Maybe we aggressively tweet at Mike Fliess, maybe we boycott the Women Tell All if Victoria is there (I am very on board with this plan), or maybe we continue to have more thoughtful conversations about a show that has an undeniable impact on our culture. Whatever we do, I think it’s at the very least, time to stop saying “this is just how the show works”.
Images: Craig Sjodin/ABC; Giphy; bachelordata / INstagram