Welcome back to the best Bachelor recap you’ll ever read! It’s been less than a week since Clayton announced his unofficial campaign for “Asshole of the Year”—and this week it looks like he’ll be hitting that campaign trail even harder. Usually, The Bachelor finales give me no joy to watch. What’s fun about watching two hot people exchange lukewarm declarations of love on a makeshift stage that is usually decorated just a little bit culturally insensitively to the place in which they are getting engaged? Nah, not for me. Want to know what is for me? Watching Clayton get eaten alive by these women. Is this how the ancient Romans felt right before they threw the village idiot into a pit of live tigers?
When last we left off, Clayton was just starting to realize that there would be consequences for his actions. Specifically, his sexual actions. During the Fantasy Suites he revealed to Susie—a woman he was theoretically trying to woo!!—that not only had he been “intimate” with two out of his three suitors, but he was also in love with every single one of them. And how did Susie take the news?
Not well, bitch. Like an actual reasonable adult who had just learned that her significant other was emotionally invested in other women.
Susie ended up leaving and Clayton reacted by throwing a tantrum, the likes of which have only been seen in a 2007 mall when my mom refused to pay for my Victoria’s Secret Pink thong. I will say, while it wasn’t fun for me to watch Susie get screamed at by a man twice her size, it has been fun to watch a mediocre white man succumb to the sexual double standard that has plagued women since the dawn of time. Is this what gender equality feels like? Is it??
With that said, let’s get into this week!
Welcome To Hell
This week’s episode starts where last week’s left off: with the rose ceremony. ABC has been teasing this particular rose ceremony as “the rose ceremony from HELL!!” (ABC’s emphasis on “hell”, not mine). To that I say: I’ll be the judge of that, thank you. Look, you can’t call this rose ceremony “hell” unless one of the women sets the place ablaze. So… please, one of you, set this place ablaze.
Almost immediately the women realize that Susie is suspiciously absent from the rose ceremony. Rachel asks Gabby if she thinks Susie went home, to which Gabby basically replies, “Who cares? Let her burn!” (I paraphrase.) Meanwhile, it looks like Clayton is going to tell the women everything: that he loves them, that he fucked them, that because he can’t make up his mind he’s thinking the final rose ceremony will just be an elaborate game of duck-duck-goose in which the goose has to spend the rest of her life chasing him for his affection. Yes, I can’t foresee how this could go badly for you at all, Clayton. I believe this is what my therapist calls “self-sabotage.”
Clayton does in fact tell Gabby and Rachel everything. He tells them about his confrontation with Susie, the sexual bases he ran this past week, and that he’s in love with each of them. Wooooow. If I were Gabby and Rachel there is a lot I’d be pissed about in this moment. For one, he just told all of America about their “just the tip” action. I know that the Fantasy Suites dates heavily implies sexual activity, but my god, we don’t need to know about the differences between each girl’s turn-ons in foreplay. Keep something to yourself, I beg of you.
And then there’s the matter of him saying that he’s actively “in love” with all three women. I think that’s perhaps the most upsetting to them as it cheapens each of their relationships. He’s using the term “love” with about as much reverence and intention as I use to describe my latest Nasty Gal haul. It’s not that I actually love the thing, it’s just that it fits okay enough and will look good on my Instagram. You know?
Rachel asks for a second to digest the news and, man, are the acoustics in this place great. Whoever the ABC intern was who scouted this location just earned themselves a nice Christmas bonus. All you can hear are her endless sobs as Clayton stares dead-eyed into nothing.
My favorite part about the rose ceremony is Clayton unloading his entire fight with Susie on Gabby. He’s like “and, yeah, I did have sex with you and, also yeah, I did tell her that but it’s like she didn’t even hear me when I said I was in love with her too!” Meanwhile, Gabby is mentally calculating how many years of therapy will be needed to work through this trauma. The limit does not exist.
GABBY: But if you’re in love with all of us then how will you choose?
CLAYTON: Oh, that’s easy! I’ll just choose who I love the most.
I’m telling you it’s giving me big Jackie Burkhart vibes, tbh:
The thing that Clayton is actively not telling these women is that he already told Susie he loves her the most. It’s like he’s convincing these women to stay if only so he won’t end up alone. Does he realize if he moves to Utah he doesn’t have to pick who he loves the most?
Somehow production is able to wrangle the women into submission long enough for Clayton to hand out the roses. Rachel accepts the rose but you can tell that this “yes” came at the cost of her eternal soul. Gabby flat-out says no. Gabbyyyyy. That is some queen shit right here and I was really not expecting it. Gabby, you’ve never been my favorite, but you’ve officially won me over. Congratulations, you’ve made me a belieber.
My favorite is Rachel’s reaction. She’s looking at the producers like she didn’t realize it was an option to say “no” to the rose. Despite the fact that I am constantly equating The Bachelor to terrorist acts, this is not actually a hostage situation. You can—and should—get up and leave at any moment.
While Rachel laments over the thought of having to tell her and Clayton’s future kids that their love story was less a once-in-a-lifetime romance and more of a survival, last-two-people-on-earth situation, Clayton is all but begging Gabby to reconsider their relationship. He’s like “babe, I don’t have a crystal ball that says it’s going to be me and you at the end, but imagine how cool it would be if it were?”
ME, ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM:
Here’s the thing: it’s not about if Clayton slept or didn’t sleep with someone. It’s not even about his being in love with everyone. It’s about the fact that he killed the fantasy. People go on The Bachelor to be swept off their feet. The reason they compete with 20+ other women for the attention of a guy who thinks doing it with the lights on is sexually adventurous, is because of the fantasy. Sure, they might also want to be married or become an Instagram influencer (it’s 50/50 at this point), but more than that, they want the fairytale only ABC’s budgeting department can give them. They want lavish dates where bottom-tier Nashville stars sing to them in a two-person concert. They want to dine in Croatia and make out in an Icelandic hot spring. They want fireworks and bold proclamations and emotional orgasms. They want to feel like a goddamn 8th world wonder.
What they don’t want is to be confronted with how un-special they actually are. If they wanted that they could re-download Hinge. Clayton’s little speech about settling down with whoever he “loves the most in the moment” is reminding them of every guy who ever deflected their “what are we” questions with how, personally, he just doesn’t believe in monogamy, it’s a construct designed by capitalism to keep us buying more things and his feelings for them can’t be bought. You don’t want to be bought, do you baby? No, that shit isn’t romantic. It’s way too much like reality. And nobody wants that, Clayton.
CLAYTON: *opens his mouth once*
GABBY: Wrong fucking answer
GABBY FOR FUCKING PRESIDENT, Y’ALL. I have not flipped this much on a person since my ex (probably accidentally) liked my IG story and I decided I was in love with him all over again.
I will say ABC is giving Gabby a full-blown Bachelorette edit this episode. When she says that “love shouldn’t be measured” she single-handedly rallied the strength of every sorority girl in America to her battle cry. Clayton, you will rue the day you ever wronged this bitch. Rue. the. Day.
Despite Gabby’s reservations, she does rejoin the rose ceremony where Clayton asks her once again if she’ll accept his rose. Her response is the least excited “yeah” in the history of yeahs. Rachel keeps hugging Gabby like she’s a life raft and they’re both on the Titanic. It’s clear they both seem less than enthused to still be with Clayton, especially when they all rack their brains for some semblance of a cheers and just settle on clinking their champagne glasses sadly. That’s the spirit, kids!
Clayton’s Family Would Like To Be Excluded From This Narrative, One Which They Never Asked To Be A Part Of
How do you tell your entire immediate family that you fucked three women in three nights? I guess we’ll find out! Clayton is all set to have the two women he loves the least come meet his family. And, because he’s Clayton, he introduces his love interests exactly like that!
CLAYTON’S FAMILY AFTER HEARING ABOUT THE ROSE CEREMONY:
I love that after this conversation he just expects them to be on board with meeting these women. You can tell his dad is already siding with literally anyone but his son. He looks so disappointed that he has to claim him as kin—and on national TV and everything. At least Clayton’s mother is on board. She chugged an entire bottle of champagne to get through Clayton’s “confessional.” She’s happy someone, anyone, is still here to marry her son. She wants grandkids, goddamnit.
And you know what? For a moment it looks like things are back on track for Clayton. Both the women, despite wanting to roast his genitalia over an open flame the night before, are happy to be meeting his family now. His family, despite wanting to publicly deny his claims to the Echard last name, tolerate him during the meet-and-greet and absolutely dote on his final two. It’s all going to work out, right? Right?! Lol.
After gallivanting these women—whom he BEGGED to stay on the show—in front of his family, he proclaims that he actually still loves Susie and would like to only be with Susie. Never mind that Susie is no longer an option for him. What do little things like contracts and rules have to do with him getting his happy ending? Hmm? Meanwhile, his family looks absolutely at their wits end with him. The mother especially is looking at him like with each passing word that comes out of his mouth her chance at having grandkids this millennium is getting smaller and smaller. Welcome to my hell, family.
We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if Clayton ends up happily engaged or chased from the Icelandic borders by a crowd of angry women and family members. Only time will tell. I won’t be recapping that shit show, but you’ll be in the very capable hands of my trusted colleague, Sweetest Betch You’ll Ever Meet. See ya next season!
Images: Giphy (3); ABC (2)
Hi, I’m Jared Freid. I’m a 36-year-old comedian who loves The Bachelor. I love it so much, I yell at every episode on my Instagram stories. As you can imagine, my parents are very proud. V.
This is my preview for the season. I’ve been doing this preview for both shows since before your favorite TikToker got their first dangly earring. I make massive assumptions about every contestant based on very little information. It’s like sitting with me while wearing sweats and screaming “Yuck” at what people wore on the red carpet. Please enjoy and follow me on Instagram where I’ll be making fun of these crazies every Monday night (past seasons are in my highlights).
Clayton Echard was chosen as the Bachelor before Michelle’s season even started, and nobody was happy. And by “nobody,” I mean “the internet.” The internet wasn’t happy because you’re only rewarded on the internet for extremes. So they have to go one way or the other. And which way were they going on the white guy who looks like he invented privilege? You guessed it, they hated him.
Personally, I’m excited to have Clayton as the Bachelor, because I watch this show for entertainment purposes, and you know what’s really entertaining? Watching a bunch of women fight over a guy. That sounds bad. I know. But I have a feeling you watch it for that reason too. And look at this line from Clayton’s bio:
“You can often find him there tubing out on the boat, fishing off the dock or getting competitive over some cornhole with his friends.”
That line is everything that would make a woman at a Toby Keith concert wet. And have you ever seen the women at a Toby Keith concert?!? They’re the type to say, “I just want a man who can sink a bean bag into my cornhole” and then wink at you, chug a Coors from their koozie, and turn to burp on a cop. Clayton’s musk could turn one of these put-together ladies into that Toby Keith cigarette woman, and I’m kind of excited for that.
Jesse Palmer is our new host. Jesse looks like he trains young men working in finance how to mansplain. I’m happy to have Jesse. Kaitlyn and Tayshia were there to find their next job, and I felt Chris Harrison was too old to host the show five years ago. He went from wingman to dad who takes too much interest in your friend’s dating lives VERY quickly. Jesse is old enough to be a big brother type but young enough to look cool giving a high five (high fives made Chris look like he should be put into a nursing home). He was also the Bachelor way back in 2004, when most of these contestants were babies. Back when their parents would pray for them to one day compete with 29 other women to marry a middle-class guy from Missouri. I’m excited to watch Jesse react to the differences on the show now that a woman could be there for love or to legitimately start their own multimedia empire.
Cassidy is a 26-year-old executive assistant from Los Angeles who looks like the older sister from a CW high school drama. Her profile starts by saying she’s a “blunt woman who isn’t afraid to say how she feels or do what she wants.” which vaguely translates to, “I’m mean to service workers on a regular basis and I consistently tell people that they don’t get my sarcasm but enough mediocre dudes in fleece vests think I’m attractive to never realize this is an issue.”
Claire is a 28-year-old spray tanner from Virginia Beach who looks like she married a guy whose daughters are her age. Claire is a single mother whose bio says, “People who don’t wear deodorant make Claire angry.” Something about that makes me feel like Claire participates in many Facebook comments sections by stating, “AS A MOTHER…” and then she goes on some long-winded, racially driven rant about how “THESE PEOPLE” don’t wear deodorant.
Daria is a 24-year-old law student from New York who got admitted to seven Ivy League schools, is a graduate of Harvard, and is now in her third year of law school at Yale. Daria is kind of patient zero for the racial problems on this show. She’s on this show after being admitted to SEVEN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS!!! I think that’s all of them, but I’m too dumb to know and too lazy to find out. The white people cast on this show are like, “I spray tan.” And the casting people are like, “Right this way!” Daria should be running the network instead of competing against someone who’s been admitted into seven nightclubs in Montauk because their dad knows the owner.
Eliza is a 25-year-old from Berlin who looks like a former Disney Channel star whose new pop song makes me look 1000 years old when I lip sync it. Eliza’s profile says that she “was a late bloomer when it came to dating and spent her adult years prioritizing work over love.” Can people under the age of 30 stop talking about themselves like they’re a 60-year-old CEO who never leaves the office?! Because there’s a 36-year-old out there who is on multiple apps who has made love a priority for almost a decade who just had someone they were having a nice conversation with ask for their Snapchat handle.
Elizabeth is a 32-year-old Real Estate Advisor from Colorado who looks like an ESPN sideline reporter your boyfriend follows a little too closely on Instagram. Her profile says she “has a taste for the finer things in life.” You can’t be over 30 and have a taste for the finer things and compete on this show. Elizabeth will have to be “on” and energetic while living with a roommate in a mansion full of women in their twenties and not a lot of bathrooms. And those women won’t be phased. They just spent a weekend in Vegas sharing a room with six friends while sleeping on a pile of clothes like a cat. The Bachelor will eat you up if you’ve ever stayed at a hotel with a turn-down service.
Ency is a 26-year-old sales manager from Burbank who loves the ocean. Her bio says, “nothing makes Ency happier than spending a day by the sea, splashing around and enjoying the sun.” This is actually helpful information. I’ve splashed enough women I’ve been involved with to know that there are “hair wet” women and “Don’t you fucking get my hair wet! I came into the ocean to gently squat while peeing and this joke isn’t funny at all” women. So, this might be a good addition to any dating app bio for anyone out there listening.
Gabby is a 30-year-old ICU Nurse whose bio says it’s a “nonnegotiable” that her and her goldendoodle Leonardo are a package deal. Dog people are out of their minds. In what world is someone turning down the love of their life because of their dog? He’s like, “I’m sorry Gabby! But your furry friend who gives me love for no reason CANNOT STAY!!” And cue your friend who’s like, “Well my ex left because he couldn’t handle the dog” whose ex now probably has a dog with their fiancé.
Genevieve is a 26-year-old bartender from LA who looks like a Genevieve. Her bio says she “wants someone who won’t be afraid to admit that they are wrong or change their personality when they are “bro-ing out” with the guys.” That sounds like she’s talking specifically about the last guy she dated. Like, I bet that ex is reading that while wearing a lacrosse pinnie as a guy he calls “Doodie” tosses him a High Noon and they collectively agree, “She was always crazy.” And then they arm wrestle.
Hailey is a 26-year-old pediatric nurse from Orlando who looks like she has a Bible verse in her Instagram bio. Hailey says that she’s Taylor Swift’s biggest fan. So I guess I’m right about her Instagram and we can assume we pretty much know everything about this person who definitely loves putting her hair in a French braid.
Hunter is a 28-year-old human resources specialist who looks like she loves bringing up high school memories you’d rather forget. Hunter used to work at Disney World as a princess, and that has to be the worst job in the world. Imagine it’s YOUR JOB to play along with an adult who loves Disney. They’re like, “Cinderella!! Put them together and what have you got!?!?!” and you have to look at a woman in her 30s wearing mouse ears, who traveled to Orlando alone, and sing, “Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.” I’d walk directly into the teacups.
Ivana is a 31-year-old Bar Mitzvah dancer from Queens. I’ve never been more embarrassed by a Bachelor contestant’s job. As a Jew who had dancers at his own Bar Mitzvah, there is nothing that makes me cringe more than having to explain the Bar Mitzvah dancers. Like, I’m sure someone reading this is thinking, “What’s a Bar Mitzvah dancer?!?!” Well, when a Jewish boy or girl becomes an adult, their parents throw them a party. Now, us Jews aren’t known for our “moves.” So to get the party going, some people hire men and women in their 20s to dance like they’re at the Knicks game. So now it’s older Jews dancing badly surrounding young hot people dancing seductively while 13-year-old boys and girls realize their dads look kind of creepy. It’s the part of the Torah I never understood. And if you had an issue with my people before reading my explanation, then this didn’t help.
Jane is a 33-year-old social media director from LA who says she’s “done dating F boys.” This is the declaration of someone who will definitely date more “F boys.” Like, a person who learns from the past will be like, “I need to make these changes to put myself in a better position to meet the right type of person for me.” The person who doesn’t learn screams “NO FUCKBOYS” as they respond with a blushing emoji to a fire emoji they received at 3am.
Jill is an architectural historian from Rhode Island. I would LOVE to hear an architectural historian talk about the Bachelor mansion 30 years from now: “On this ground stands the Bachelor mansion! Back in the early part of the century, truckloads of hair extensions and fake nails passed through these doors. 24-year-old men and women said they were ready for marriage even though they didn’t seem to have real jobs. And a record amount of semen got released here while both parties wore a cross.”
Kate is a 32-year-old real estate agent from Lake Hollywood, California whose bio says, “Kate’s moon/rising sign is Leo, which she says speaks for itself.” I’m not here to hate on people who enjoy astrology. I’m a fan of a show where you have to believe that someone can get engaged to someone whom they’ve never seen use their phone. We all have our fantasies. But Kate can say “it speaks for itself” because nobody has ever disagreed with someone’s self-description based on astrology. We all just kind of nod and wait for the conversation to be interesting. She could say “You know us Leos! We love farting and then smelling it and guessing which meal it came from.” And I wouldn’t ask more questions. I’d just nod and think, “Wow, Kate and I have a ton in common!”
Kira is a 32-year-old physician from Philly who is so good looking that if she were my doctor I’d lie about my weight and general health to try and get her to like me. Her bio says “taught herself to write hieroglyphics as a child.” That would be the scariest thing I can think of happening as a parent. Your kid is playing with crayons and they’re like “Daddy look!” And you’re like “Good job!! Ummm what is this?! Why are these good?! Have you been possessed?! Why do you know how to summon King Tutankhamun?! Please don’t murder me!! Let’s get ice cream! Whatever you want!”
Lindsay D is a 27-year-old neonatal nurse from Jacksonville who won Miss Teen America at age 17. Having a former Miss Teen America as your nurse when you’re giving birth feels like a mean prank. Like, “Hey! I know you’re stressed and you don’t feel very beautiful today and the wall between your anus and vagina is about to break so meet your nurse Lindsay who is not only hot but is going to explain how we can fix global poverty.”
Also, I truly can’t imagine being told I’m the hottest teen in America and then trying ever again. I’d get to college and the teacher would be like, “Do you have the homework?” And I’d be like, “Hey baby girl, you know this face ain’t doing math.” Then I’d show my abs and walk out. I guess that’s the reason there aren’t male beauty pageants. I mean, look how we act on dating apps just because our moms said we looked handsome when we wore a suit.
Lyndsey W is a 28-year-old industrial sales representative from Houston who looks like a human embodiment of “Bless your heart.” Lyndsey’s bio says “she is much more of a Baby Spice than a Sporty Spice.” Nothing makes me happier than knowing there are still adults describing themselves in Spice Girls. Also, thank GOD I wasn’t in the Spice Girls. Someone had to go around the room and look at a person and be like “Oh you’re scary!” And then they just had to deal with it. I’d be sitting there like “What’s mine?!” And the manager would be like “Chubby Spice” and I’d be like “No, wait! What about..” and they’d be like “Nope! Sorry. We already made the posters!”
Mara is a 31-year-old entrepreneur from New Jersey who looks like she plays a lawyer in a CBS drama. Mara’s bio says that “snoring is a deal breaker.” I honestly don’t buy many dealbreakers I hear from people. They’ll be like “If you clap when the plane lands then I AM OUT,” and five years later they’re engaged to a guy who dresses for dates like he’s about to play golf and actively tells people he’s “not about that going down on women stuff.” Listen, if you’re going down on me, give a standing O when the plane lands! I’ll be right next to you clapping for a whole different reason 😉.
Marlena is a 30-year-old from Virginia Beach who competed for Haiti during the 2012 summer Olympics. I’d love to date an Olympian. I don’t think they’d like dating me. Whenever they did something great I’d play their national anthem. I’d ask people we meet to guess which one is the Olympian and then start flexing. I’d make myself a medal for being the best climaxer and wear it after sex. Maybe I’ll make this my new dating app bio and never meet someone again.
Melina is a 27-year-old personal trainer from West Hollywood who created a shock absorbing workout shoe that she’ll definitely be wearing when she comes out of the limo. I’m ok with that! I’d rather someone come on the show with their honest to god invention than be like, “I’m looking for love for now and eternity!” And then a week after they’re booted they’re on Instagram stories pushing “For now and eternity” t-shirts that accompany their “For now and eternity” podcast that precedes the post saying, “Big news coming from the for now and eternity team! Stay tuned!”
Rachel is a 25-year-old flight instructor from Clermont, Florida who says she could live off of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which is actually important to know in a dating situation. You have to be a stomach match with your partner. Like, Rachel and I are not a match. She seems nice, but if I even smell a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto then I’ll be on the toilet for a week and I’ll be moaning like an orca from the pain my stomach is in. This should be on all dating apps. Just a pepper emoji followed by a whale emoji to signify your life could be ruined by a Cheeto.
Rianna is a 26-year-old registered nurse from Dallas who looks like she gets hired to appear at parties as a Chrissy Teigen lookalike. Rianna’s profile says she’s looking for a man who “loves to travel and bonus points for a man who loves hiking as much as she does.” It is so much easier to find someone when you enjoy healthy activities. Like, “Let’s go on a hike” sounds so much better than, “Bonus points to anyone who doesn’t change their clothes for a week and can’t remember the last time they went outside!”
Salley is 26 and her job says, “Previously Engaged.” The bio goes on to say that she’s a spine surgery robot operator. How is that the order of how she’s described?! I’m sure having an engagement broken off is a horrible process, but does it become your scarlet A? “Previously Engaged” makes it sound like she walks around wearing a black hooded cloak and a candle and when you say hi to her she’s like, “I used to know love… I used to know about being registered at Bloomingdales… but all of that is lost.” I bet you her former fiancé is like, “Hey! I’m Rick! I work in finance. I’ve dated around but nothing has ever gotten too serious!” And Salley is out here introducing herself as “SALLEY PREVIOUSLY ENGAGED AND NOW UNLOVED AND BACK ON THE DATING APPS MAIDEN NAME.”
Samantha is a 26-year-old occupational therapist from San Diego whose picture looks like you’d sign it on the way into her Bat Mitzvah. Samantha’s bio says she has gone skydiving 12 times. If you’re not a skydiving instructor then I have to wonder what’s wrong with you after the third time. First time? Sure. Something new. I get it. Second time? Maybe it’s a new group to enjoy it with. Third time? You’re feeling out a career change that involves skydiving. On number four? I’m asking you if everything is ok at home. Are you running from something? Is this what’s keeping you off of hard drugs? I hope Samantha finds happiness without jumping from a plane one day.
Sarah is a 23-year-old wealth management advisor from NYC who loves taking trips to the spa, growing her nonprofit, and hosting dinner parties. This all means Sarah grew up rich. Show me a 23-year-old with the ability to host a dinner party at their NYC apartment and I’ll show you their parents who pay the rent. If I had a dinner party at my NYC apartment it would be three people huddled around the toilet with the seat down and two candles on it.
Serene is a 26-year-old elementary school teacher from Oklahoma City who says she “loves to spend time relaxing with close friends or planning her next big adventure.” If I’ve learned anything from the dating apps it’s that the least adventurous people use the word “Adventure.” They’ll be like “I’m planning my next adventure!” And you’ll be like “Oh really?” And they’ll be like “I’m staying at an Airbnb in Charlotte to visit my grandma.” And you’ll be mad at yourself for not realizing this when their profile still talked about study abroad even though they’re 30.
Shanae is a 29-year-old recruiter from Sycamore, Ohio who “loves Christmas so much that she keeps her tree up all year round.” Nope. That’s not someone I’m dating. I love Christmas. It has its place. I’m not walking into the living room hungover in the dead of summer and getting pricked in the foot by some loose pine needles. Do the lights come off?! Does she water a tree?!? Is there an actual date where she’s with a guy and she stops everything to be like, “Oh my god! I forgot to water the tree!” And the guy is like “What tree?!” And she’s like “My Christmas tree!” And he’s like “Isn’t it June?!”
Sierra is a 26-year-old recruiting coordinator from Dallas whose bio says, “please be clean because Sierra has no time for anyone with bad hygiene.” I think “bad hygiene” would be the most embarrassing reason for someone to leave the show. The phrase is scientific enough for us to believe it and vague enough for us to make our own assumptions. Like if Sierra got sent home and they did an exit interview and she said, “It would’ve never worked out. Clayton has some bad hygiene” then we’d all assume Clayton has dirty fingernails and we’d never be able to watch the show without thinking about it. In fact, I now need to see Clayton’s fingernails due to this hypothetical.
Susie is a 28-year-old wedding videographer from Virginia Beach who is a Jiu-Jitsu champion and also won Miss Virginia in 2020. That sentence is why the whole pageant world is insane. They not only have to be beautiful but they also have to become experts in some random hobby. Susie was like “I gotta stand out!” And then she opted for learning how to rip out someone’s jugular with her pinky. If I entered a pageant my special talent would be looking at Instagram, then Facebook, then TikTok, then email, then Twitter, then Instagram again while sitting in front of my laptop with Instagram opened on the browser.
Teddi is a 24-year-old surgical unit nurse from Highland, California who looks like she calls everyone she’s ever met her best friend. Teddi’s bio says that she “grew up in a strict Christian household” but “she lives by her own rules” which is the scariest thing a strict Christian father can hear in their daughter’s Bachelor profile. But honestly, nobody is less rebellious than a person who grew up in a strict house and thinks they’re being rebellious. They’ll be like, “Let’s get wild” and you’ll be like, “YES!” And they’ll be like, “Let’s cuss and makeout!” And you’ll be like “Oh” as you re-buckle your belt.
Tessa is a 26-year-old human resources specialist from Stamford, Connecticut who loves grand romantic gestures and has a fear of red fruits (I’m not making this up). I thought of how annoying that combo would be for a guy who is really trying to impress Tessa. Imagine he’s like, “Ok, I’ve got the reservations! I’ve got the flowers! I’ve got the hotel!!” And then they have this amazing night. They’re making out after dinner as they head to the suite. They open the door. They make their way to the bed. It’s then when they see the concierge left them complimentary champagne and… oh no… strawberries. Tessa starts freaking out. She’s like “You know I’m afraid of red fruits!! You never listen!! I let it go when you ordered the caprese salad because some people forget that a tomato is a fruit! BUT I NEVER FORGET WHEN THOSE RED FRUITS HAUNT MY DREAMS!!” Then Tessa leaves and this guy has to explain to his parents why they broke up.
Images: ABC/John Fleenor; ABC/Pamela Littky; ABC/Ricky Middlesworth (31)
Let me start by saying: I love love. Love can open new doors, help you see things in a different light, and completely change your world. I believe that everyone deserves a shot at experiencing true love, and finding the partner that makes them feel like the best possible version of themselves. And I’m all in—my entire career is built on helping others find their person.
So yes, I’m a romantic. But when it comes to Asian dating in the U.S., I’m a frustrated romantic (though, not a hopeless one). As a longtime fan of The Bachelor franchise, I’ve tuned in every Monday (now, Tuesday) to watch live love in action. I love the romantic gestures, the fantastic dates, the proposals, and even the friendships that develop between contestants. But after nearly 20 years of watching the show, I’ve got to ask, where are the Asians at?!
Even though Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, Asian contestants are rarely seen on dating shows. And when they are, they’re disqualified early on or made out to be drama-seeking villains. Tammy Ly, perhaps the best-known Asian franchise contestant, was continuously framed as a pot-stirrer by the editors and producers, despite being there for the same reasons as everyone else—to look for love.
The phrase “reality TV” in and of itself is an oxymoron. We all know that what we see on screen is not a true reflection of life. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes and in the editing room that turns normal interactions into the dramatic, tension-filled scenes we love to watch. It’s easy to brush it off like it’s completely unimportant, but what we see on TV and in movies matters, even if it’s not completely true to life.
In a period of time when Asian hate crimes are at an all-time high, we cannot stand by and ignore how the things we see on the screen perpetuate the real and terrible things happening to Asian people in the United States—on the street, in office buildings, and yes, on dating apps.
How many Asian women have been reached out to on Tinder with fetishizing, dehumanizing pick-up lines? How many Asian men have been told, “sorry, I’m just not into Asian guys”?
The true, lived experience of Asian people in the United States cannot be viewed as separate from the storylines we see on TV. Positive media representation alone cannot solve every problem, but it’s a critical first step in ensuring that Asian people are seen as human beings, who are deserving of respect, empowerment, and love, just like everyone else.
It’s why I founded my company. I know what it’s like to be a member of the diaspora: I am so proud of my Japanese heritage and the beautiful culture that comes along with it, but it can be a challenge not to feel othered when living in the United States. I believe so strongly in the power of love, and am empowered by the amazing community of other diasporic Asians that I have been able to connect with.
I am proud that the community I have been able to cultivate runs counter to so much of what we see on television. My friends and colleagues are not the side characters we are relegated to on television, nor are we the self-hating characters who turn their backs on our culture and resent their parents’ accents and upbringing. We bring together the best parts of our cultures while remaining whole and proud.
So this is what I ask: Let’s think critically about the media we consume. Are the Asian characters on your favorite show playing into harmful, dangerous stereotypes? Are they purposefully villainizing female Asian characters, or emasculating their male Asian characters? We’re no longer settling for crumbs when it comes to Asian representation.
And to my Asian community: Don’t give up hope on finding your person. Find ways to build your community and find friendships. Not only will that make you feel more fulfilled, but opening up your network can help grow relationships with people who value your culture, and have morals that align with yours. We’re fortunate to have such a strong community here. Use that to your advantage when dating and seeking out relationships.
Bachelor Nation, if you want to talk about casting, I’m happy to help find your next Bachelorette. And Tammy, if you’re reading this: We’re in your corner, don’t let the haters (or the Bachelor editors) get you down.
Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin
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!
Can you believe that just a week ago I was over here thinking that this season of The Bachelor’s biggest racism problem was a few fragile white girls bullying the other contestants? I mean wow, things sure did escalate quickly, because now we have a frontrunner with a social media rap sheet of behavior that ranges from “should have known better” to “overtly racist”. And if that wasn’t enough, we also have a host (Chris Harrison) who went on television to defend her, in response to which there is now a change.org petition with over 10,000 signatures calling for him to be fired. Harrison has since apologized, but there is a lot to unpack here, so for those of you that don’t follow Bachelor Franchise controversy like it’s a toxic ex that you still have feelings for, let me break it down for you.
Rachael Kirkconnell’s Problematic Social Media History Emerges
Piecing together a Bachelor contestant’s personality, political beliefs, and any problematic skeletons based on their social media history is today’s version of the game Clue, and I’m ready to open the envelope on Rachael displaying a history of racism. TikToker feministmama has summarized all of the evidence that’s out there on the internet that ABC couldn’t seem to find (or just didn’t care to). I encourage you to watch the videos, but here’s the TL;DR version. Among other things, Rachael:
– Liked insensitive photos on social media (such as one with a Confederate flag displayed, and people wearing culturally insensitive costumes)
– Culturally appropriated indigenous culture at multiple costume parties
– Re-shared QAnon conspiracy theories, and most notably:
– Attended an “Old South” plantation-themed ball in 2018
Look, much to my parents’ disappointment, I am not a lawyer. But I think we can all agree that the evidence points to this being a very bad and pretty racist look. And these stories have been circulating for a few weeks now, so if any of it was false you’d think that Rachael would have said so by now. I know ABC has a lot of control over when contestants can speak publicly and what they can say, but if Rachael could confidently say “those pictures are Photoshopped,” then I think they would have let her.
What Does Matt James Think?
I’ve been watching Matt as the Bachelor for over six weeks now, and I still couldn’t tell you anything about him other than: he’s tall, he likes to work out, and he’s really into Jesus. So as a lead who hasn’t had much to say all season, it’s not surprising that he hasn’t had much to say about this. Especially since it seems pretty likely he chooses her and maybe they’re engaged?
In response to questions about the allegations against Rachael during an interview with Entertainment Tonight on February 2, he said, “Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that.”
First of all, an actual photo of her at an Old South themed event is not a rumor, second of all, this statement has “vetted and approved by Bachelor production” written all over it, and third of all, this response has big “Garrett getting exposed for liking problematic memes” energy. Judging by this response alone, it seems like Rachael goes pretty far in the show, if she doesn’t end up winning.
And Now A Word From Chris Harrison
Unlike Matt, Chris Harrison (unfortunately) had a lot to say on the matter, sharing close to 15 minutes of his thoughts on Rachael, what he likes to call the “woke police” and for some reason, a bonus mention of racist games he played as a kid growing up in Texas (literally, why?), during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black lead, on ExtraTV. Although he later apologized (more on this later), his words were pretty on-brand for Harrison and Bachelor production, and by “on-brand” I mean, he made excuses for racist behavior and instead put the blame on those calling for accountability aka the aforementioned “woke police’’.
During the chat, Chris Harrison basically claimed that back in 2018 (three years ago, for those of you counting) when Rachael attended the Old South ball, she couldn’t possibly have known that romanticizing slavery was bad, that she deserves “grace, understanding, and compassion”, and that we should give her time to reflect and wait patiently for when she is ready to speak. To me it felt like Harrison was defending Rachael like he has his own Antebellum plantation-themed wedding planned for the spring and he doesn’t want to get sh*t for it. And if you, like Chris and Matt, still want to give Rachael the benefit of the doubt, here are a few things that happened prior to Rachael attending that racist-ass ball in 2018:
– The Kappa Alpha national office (the fraternity that hosted the ball) had officially banned these events for being “culturally insensitive” in 2016
– Rachel Lindsay’s 2017 season of The Bachelorette aired, where a contestant’s racist tweets were kinda a big deal
– The BLM Movement was founded (2013) in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer and gained traction from countless other similar situations
Bachelor Nation (Sort Of) Entered The Chat
It looks like I am not alone in being infuriated by what comes out of Chris Harrison’s mouth when you let him say more than “ladies, this is the final rose tonight”. A petition calling for him to be fired has thousands of signatures. Bachelor alumni were also incensed, and took to social media to share their thoughts.
Former Bachelor contestant and outspoken critic of the franchise, Ashley Spivey, was vocal on her Instagram stories and shared a number of tweets criticizing the interview:
We can leave grace and space for learning while still demanding accountability. I feel like @chrisbharrison expresses more empathy for people who romanticize the confederacy than people who are harmed by white supremacy in this clip. So disappointing. https://t.co/Lw2BabkLpb
— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) February 10, 2021
Rachel Lindsay responded to the same thread with, “my days are numbered,” perhaps alluding to the fact that this may be the final straw in her relationship with the franchise (she hosts the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast with Becca Kufrin).
My days are numbered
— Rachel Lindsay (@TheRachLindsay) February 10, 2021
And Taylor Nolan, a contestant on Nick Vial’s season of The Bachelor and season four of Bachelor in Paradise, called Harrison out on Instagram:
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Since Chris Harrison’s interview, some others in the franchise have spoken out about the controversy, but thus far, we’re still waiting on any comment from Rachael or the franchise as a whole.
Followed By, An Apology From Chris Harrison
Approximately 24 hours and a million Twitter call-outs later, Chris issued an apology:
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Look, I’m glad he said something—I have to admit, I did not expect it. But is it just me, or did this apology somehow manage to sidestep any actual condemnation of racism? He ends his apology with a “promise to do better”, and I can’t wait to see what “better” means.
In the 24 hours since we first published this article, many more members of Bachelor Nation shared their concern and criticism of Chris Harrison’s words and support for Rachel Linsday, who has often been a lonely voice when it comes to holding the franchise to account. The women from the current season issued a joint statement:
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ABC finally let Rachael Kirkconnell finally said something, posting this apology on her social media accounts:
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As Rachael herself mentioned in her Instagram story, this apology is not for me or anyone who isn’t a person of color to accept.
This does feel like a pretty big moment for the franchise, one where a majority of its “nation” is taking a stand against racism and anyone making excuses for it. Here’s to hoping this is the moment production finally decides to make a change.
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; emmaladyrose, therachlindsay / Twitter; taymocha, chrisbharrison / Instagram
The Bachelor is the TV show equivalent of a f*ckboy. Every season I vow to stop dedicating hours of my life to an experience that gives me more aggravation than actual pleasure. But after the final rose, I delude myself into thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’ll be different next time. And as sure as an
unwanted appearance by Ashley I., I’m back. It actually is different this time, but not in the way I was hoping. My issue this season has nothing to do with the fact that Matt is a less-than-compelling lead. After all, this is a show built around mediocre men. The problem is with our villain. Coming off the literal garbage heap of Peter’s season where producers couldn’t even successfully produce a villain, this time they’re overcompensating by force-feeding us Victoria, a contestant so over-the-top, she’s practically a cartoon. Unfortunately, Queen V lacks all of the qualities that make for a truly great Bachelor villain.
She Lacks Complexity
Victoria is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe she’s anything other than a producer plant, sent to stir up drama and provoke the other contestants. This might actually be fine if it all didn’t feel so one-dimensional. Past villains like Corinne Olympios and Demi Burnett were so fun to watch because they had layers. At first glance, both women seemed like they were only there to seduce the lead and piss off the other women in the process. But as we got to know them, each woman gave us a softer side. Corinne had a sweet relationship with her former nanny, Raquel, who was a mother figure to her. Demi opened up about the struggles she faced while her own mother was in prison. Despite their villain-like qualities, each woman was vulnerable, which, despite being a comically overused term on this show, is key to not only winning the lead’s heart, but also being a good villain. Maybe we’ll get to see a different side to Victoria. But for now, waving around a crown and calling every person that you dislike “toxic” for no apparent reason feels more like the kind of shtick that should end in a night one elimination, especially given the targets she chooses. Which brings me to my next point.
She Chooses Unworthy Opponents
Almost immediately, Victoria gets into it with her roommate, Marylynn. She claims Marylynn is “toxic” and “psychologically disturbed”, even going so far as to tell Matt that Marylynn is bullying her. However, we’re given no actual proof of this being the case. On the contrary, Marylynn is sweet, docile, and seems to get along just fine with the other women. She seems genuinely shocked when confronted by Matt about the bullying accusations and tries to respectfully work things out with Victoria. Victoria, on the other hand, refuses to even hear what Marylynn has to say, steamrolling her with the “bully” narrative and finally bringing Marylynn to tears.
Targeting the mild-mannered Marylynn is like trying to kill a fly with an elephant gun. It’s unnecessary and, frankly, difficult to watch. Viewers enjoy a fair fight. Had Victoria been able to successfully spar with someone like Katie, it would’ve been far more impressive and entertaining, but she’s ill-equipped. Instead, she prefers antagonizing contestants who are unable or unwilling to fight back, which is why she then set her sights on Sarah.
Her Toxicity Has Infected The Group
We enjoy villains not only because they’re entertaining and spice things up, but also because they serve as a foil to the hero and ultimately provide a comforting vehicle for “good” to triumph over “evil”. What’s been remarkable about this season thus far is that it’s unclear who the “good guys” actually are. Aside from the real queen Katie, the rest of the contestants went from looking visibly uncomfortable around Victoria to piling onto her takedown of Sarah. As someone who wrote under the pseudonym Betchina George, I can usually appreciate a catty moment when it’s warranted, but things went way too far there. Sure, Sarah was needy, and it was wrong of her to steal the other girls’ time. But for the women to not only sit silently while Victoria mocked Sarah in the midst of her apology, but then gleefully join in on the bullying by threatening to make the rest of Sarah’s time in the house horrible was totally unacceptable, whether they knew about her sick father or not.
Unfortunately, even with Sarah gone, the cattiness continues. Victoria has a new henchwoman in Anna, with the two delighting in the vicious rumor that new girl Brittany is an escort and cackling like Cinderella’s stepsisters after Victoria calls Catalina, who by all accounts has done nothing to Victoria, “the dumbest hoe I’ve ever met”. Not a good look.
Victoria: I’m an empath.
Her Romantic Connection With Matt is Nonexistent
What’s made many past Bachelor villains believable is their connection to the lead. Krystal Nielson stuck around despite being extremely polarizing because it was clear she and Arie had actual chemistry. We even had a villain win an entire season, because Ben Flajnik was unable to hide his erection affection for Courtney Robertson. The same can’t be said for the connection between Matt and Victoria this season. He looks visibly pained calling her name at the rose ceremony week after week, and when they have had one-on-one time, the conversations we’ve seen have been totally superficial. Matt isn’t exactly shy about making out with the contestants he’s into, usually by attempting to engulf their entire face with his mouth. So far, he’s given Victoria the kind of half-hearted hugs I begrudgingly gave to distant relatives as a child.
Actual Footage of Matt and Victoria Interacting:
The chemistry is palpable.
It’s clear that this season is hitting differently when it comes to the usual villain trope. Maybe as we become savvier as reality TV viewers and the fourth wall breaks, it’s harder to suspend our disbelief and easier to spot the producer prompts and manufactured drama we glossed over in previous seasons. Or maybe we’re living in a political climate where we’re tired of the constant negative rhetoric and glorifying those who seem to be mean for its own sake. Whatever the reason, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to root for Victoria and almost all of the other women this season. I want to believe that she’ll surprise us and redeem herself in the coming weeks, but it’s The Bachelor. I’ve been burned before.
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2)
Welcome back, Bachelor Nation! Though can it truly be considered a “welcome back” situation when the break between seasons has been shorter than my hangover was after New Year’s Eve? (By the way, yes, you can still be hungover even if you only spent the night drinking Trader Joe’s champagne and binge watching Cobra Kai. Welcome to your late 20s, people!). Part of the reason ABC was able to churn out content faster than my 14-year-old cousin’s TikTok account was that, instead of choosing the next Bachelor based on whichever loser from last season lived closest to the Bachelor mansion *cough* Peter *cough, cough*, they instead cast completely outside the franchise. I would say “what a novel idea”, but this feels less novel and more like someone put an ounce of energy into doing their job—but by all means let’s congratulate them with fervor nonetheless!
And who is this nobody looking for love whom ABC decided was a better option than giving Nick Viall a 12th shot at love? Matt James! Matt is a former North Carolina college football player-turned-NYC transplant whose profession is being ridiculously good looking and famous-adjacent with Tyler Cameron. Sorry, I meant to say commercial real estate. His profession is totally that and not the sponsored deals he got through his time with the Quarantine Crew. He’s also the first Black Bachelor ever (we love to see it) and the only man to make Chris Harrison seem petite. It appears his worst quality is that he… only looks okay in that mustard turtleneck? Honestly, I’ve got nothing.
MATT’S MOM: It sounds like you think… this process could… work?
MATT: Yes, I do.
The face of someone who just realized they will probably need to wait a solid 10 more years before getting grandkids. I’m equally skeptical, lady!
Matt tells us he’s been waiting a long time to find The One, and I’m deeply concerned for my own romantic future. The man is a romance novel’s wet dream and you’re telling me he couldn’t get a few meaningful swipes on Raya?! If the 6’5″ former college athlete-turned-real estate mogul and philanthropist is hard up for dates, then what hope is there for the rest of us? I might as well head back to the Jamba Juice and take up that register boy’s offer to “kick it” sometime. As if to illustrate my point, the cameras quickly pan to a close up of Matt James’ slick body doing an insane amount of pull-ups as every man in America watching this with his significant other just went limp with performance anxiety.
CHRIS HARRISON: Damn, you’re tall!
You’re really not helping, Chris.
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As we head into the first night of Matt’s journey toward love, I’m noticing a few things right off the bat. One, though the setting for this season is a far cry from the tacky elegance and bubbling fountains of the Bachelor mansion we know and love, this place is leaps and bounds better than that trash La Quinta Inn they forced Tayshia and Clare to gallivant about last season. They went from having rose ceremonies in between the continental breakfast and the lobby bathroom to a space that has crystal chandeliers and hors d’oeuvres that didn’t come from Costco. The glow-up is insane.
The second thing I’m noticing is that instead of jumping right into whatever limo antics the producers have set up, we’re treated to a meaningful conversation between Matt and Chris about race and dating. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Chris Harrison is woefully inadequate when it comes to conversations like this, but I appreciate that they’re having them all the same. Matt talks about growing up in a biracial home and this pressure he feels to date a certain type of woman, while Chris prattles off inspirational platitudes that relate not at all to the situation, but that he saw on a Hallmark card one time.
MATT: How do I balance this enormous legacy of being the first Black Bachelor with my own happiness?
CHRIS HARRISON: They call it a leap of faith for a reason.
Christ. Someone check Chris’s programming this season because this sh*t ain’t going to fly anymore. You’re gonna need to go off book at some point, buddy!
Moving on to the limo entrances! If we’re being honest, the limo entrances are pretty lame this season. There aren’t too many gimmicks and most people stick to the “hi my name is X and I’m excited to meet you” script. Not one person asks Matt to slap the bag or sneaks a Johnny Bootlegger in their bra. Where is the spunk? Where is the personality?? Personally, I would have introduced myself as someone whose “hidden talent” involves coming up with an insult within minutes of meeting you that feels not only inappropriate but somehow weirdly personalized to your specific childhood trauma. But, hey, that’s just me.
That said, there are a few standouts from the limo entrances:
– Chelsea looked STUNNING in that little black number. I think at one point Matt says “damn she’s wearing the hell out of that dress” and he is absolutely correct.
– Magi is both gorgeous and a pharmacist. That feels like witchcraft to me.
– Kaili showing up in black lingerie and then immediately chugging red wine the minute after she met Matt is some real hero sh*t.
– Victoria’s entrance looked like a knock-off of one I saw on My Super Sweet 16, except that those youths were able to afford hot hired help, not the less-than-enthused film crew who huffed her ass down the street.
– Katie shows up waving around a sparkly purple dildo, and there is no WAY that can be COVID-safe, let alone sanitary. I hope that thing was fresh out the box before he puts his hands on it!
After the limo entrances, Matt makes his first rose ceremony speech as the Bachelor. Instead of the half-hearted “to love!!!” cheers that most of his predecessors have used, he decides that prayer is more of a mood setter. And boy, does he know his audience. Before he even finished asking them to bow their heads, half those girls were closer to orgasm than they have been with any of their ex-boyfriends. Also, please note that I’m getting a huge kick out of watching all of these women pretend to be religious as they wear lingerie and clutch their used vibrators.
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MATT: It’s about being vulnerable an— guys, I’m sorry but can someone move that f*cking vibrator. It’s winking at me.
Is it just me, or is the cocktail party also kind of a snooze fest? Nobody is really standing out to me thus far except for Rachel. She looks HOT in that emerald green dress in a way that is making me want to report her social accounts for inappropriate activity out of spite.
Mari also makes a decent impression on Matt. She tells him she’s from Puerto Rico and I’m immediately impressed. Not with her, she butchered the word “pressure,” but with Matt for both knowing anything about Puerto Rico other than he thought about going there for spring break one year, and also for not trying to twist his sympathy for Hurricane Maria victims into an opening for him to stick his tongue down her throat. Bravo! You’re not scum.
Just as Mari is about to open up about her family’s devastation, Katie takes that as her cue to literally tap her out of the conversation with her crusty vibe. You guys, I think I might be rooting for Katie? First of all, she’s the only realistic one about her pleasure. I don’t care how much b-roll they have of Matt’s abs. If there isn’t a sparkly purple dildo in every fantasy suite then I’m not believing all those sound effects. Second of all, she’s average pretty, and I mean that in the kindest of ways. She’s the only one who doesn’t look like she immediately ran to a cosmetic dermatologist two weeks before departing for this season. I hope you go far, girl!
Okay, “The Queen” looks over-served—like me in any of my friends’ wedding reception videos. I know she’s supposed to be the villain of this season, but I think the cruelest thing about her is that she was born with one singular brain cell. Seriously, I’ve met potatoes that had more neurological functions than this girl.
No one makes more of an impression than Abigail, who is hot, deaf, and has some semblance of a personality. It’s not hard to see why Matt likes her and she’s able to snag one of the only smooches of the evening. He breaks off their convo to get her the first impression rose AND WHAT’S THAT? IS THAT MY HEART GROWING THREE SIZES ON THIS DAY? I mean I’m actually smiling watching this, it’s so cute.
And just like, that we’re at the rose ceremony! The only true surprise out of this rose ceremony is that he ends up keeping Queen V. There’s something to be said for keeping the drunkest slob kabob in the room. It makes whatever you say or do look less alarming when you have a girl in one corner singing “God Save The Queen” into her over-filled champagne glass and another girl waving around a dildo in the other. I mean, I wouldn’t know, as usually I am the slob kabob in question, but these are things I’m told make my presence so “fun” and “entertaining” when I’m in the company of friends. Here’s who gets the boot: Alicia, Amber, Carolyn, Casandra, Corrinne, Emani, Kimberly, and Saneh. Miss you already!
And that’s all she wrote! Until next week, kids!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); ABC (1); @bachelorabc @therealitybitch /Instagram (2)
Well, friends, we did the impossible. After 11 weeks, two Bachelorettes, and one global pandemic, we’ve made it to the finale! Tayshia is down to her final
two three men. As per usual, Chris Harrison is doing the most in his intro voice-over:
Chris Harrison: Will she get engaged to her soulmate, or will she DIE A LONELY OLD SPINSTER?!
Damn, Chris. I know we’re living in the time of COVID, but there are other men on this planet if she decides she’s not into these guys!
We pick up where we left off, with Tayshia having a sidebar with a producer. She’s being filmed behind some blinds after being blindsided by Ben. You gotta love the producers’ commitment to imagery and metaphors on this show. They had to get them where they could, because lord knows Ivan wasn’t going to liken love to his testicles morphing into icicles on his fantasy suite date. Ben is sitting awkwardly on Tayshia’s couch. He says that by looking at Tayshia’s eyes, he sees there’s more under there. Kind of a strange way to point out under-eye bags, but Ben’s never really had a way with words. I guess it beats the alternative I’m used to getting:
Who can relate?
Ben’s talking a lot about his “love” for Tayshia, but isn’t really saying much. When Tayshia pushes back and asks him if he’s always going to run when things get hard, his response is, “I blew it”. Accurate, but not promising! Instead of sticking with her gut and sending him home for a second time, SHE INVITES HIM TO THE ROSE CEREMONY! They then walk out together, hug, and Tayshia initiates a very passionate kiss. Who knew she was a sucker for a moose knuckle?! While I definitely don’t agree with her decision, I can’t wait to see Zac and Ivan’s reactions when Ben rolls up to the rose ceremony.
The Rose Ceremony
Ivan walks into the rose ceremony with the pre-elimination confidence that has become a hallmark of this show. Feeling the pressure from the producers for not delivering the required love similes on the ice bucket date, he offers the consolation prize of saying it feels awesome to be “open” and “vulnerable” (or “vonurble”, as Tayshia would say). Not for long, buddy. Zac says he’s ready for a proposal. Ben walks in with a goofy grin on his face, as if he expects Ivan and Zac will be happy to see him. I think Bennett gave the book about emotional intelligence to the wrong guy.
Ivan & Zac:
Like many people who’ve gotten dumped, Tayshia proceeds to explain Brendan’s absence by saying “it just didn’t work out.” Control that narrative, girl! She’s about to start handing out roses but then stops and asks Ivan if they can go talk. Ivan’s face says he knows what’s coming next. They then have a cryptic talk about religious differences, but give no specifics about said differences. Is Ivan a Scientologist? That’s the only legitimate theory I can come up with for this abrupt dismissal.
All kidding aside, it may be that Ivan is atheist or agnostic. Tayshia has always been open about her devout Christian beliefs, so it’s possible this is the reason she sent Ivan home. It’d be a shame if that were the only reason she eliminated him, but, let’s face it, she’s been favoring Brendan and Zac for weeks. Given the honest conversations Tayshia and Ivan had about race, it seems strange, and frankly frustrating, that ABC isn’t allowing an unfiltered exchange about religion. Then again, this is ABC we’re talking about, so maybe that’s asking for too much. Ivan takes the elimination in stride like the angel he is. Love you, Ivan! See you in Paradise.
Ben Meets The Family
The next day we catch up with Tayshia writing in her
burn book journal. She meets up with her family and I remember how much I enjoyed Tayshia’s dad, Desmond, eviscerating Colton when Tayshia was competing on his season. Like most viewers, Desmond doesn’t have time for BS. Tayshia tells her family that they’ll be meeting Ben, whom she had previously sent home. Desmond is understandably skeptical and wants some answers. This is gonna be good.
Ben meets with Tayshia’s mom, Rosario, first and keeps talking about how he’s never felt this way before, and the way Tayshia makes him feel, yet he can’t seem to identify the feeling(s) in question. Everything he says is surface-level and there’s no real substance to any of it. It seems like Ben is in love with the idea of love, more so than Tayshia specifically. It doesn’t go much better with Desmond.
Desmond: What do you see in Tayshia?
Ben also tells Desmond about how he and Tayshia talked about “showing up” for Tayshia. Does he think that physically coming back after being sent home is what showing up means? She meant showing up for her emotionally, Ben!
Zac Meets The Family
The tone of Zac’s meeting with the family is completely different. Instead of making his answers all about him and his feelings, he expresses his love for Tayshia by showing love to her family. He even seems to win over Desmond, who says he’s going to be tough on Zac. Instead of saying the things he thinks Desmond wants to hear, Zac is honest about his failed marriage and is able to reflect on his past mistakes, even weaving in a reference to the standards Desmond has set and how Zac wants to live up to them.
I gotta give it to Zac; he is incredibly authentic and eloquent. He talks about marriage with Tayshia like it’s a real thing that’s going to happen, not some abstract idea like Ben does when he broaches the subject. Zac is making my job as snarky recapper very difficult, but he totally won me over — until he started pretending he was an authentic New Yorker with that whole pizza charade. Zac, you’re from South Jersey! Rep some hoagies like the Philly boy you are and cool it with the tired NYC cliches.
The next day Tayshia hears a knock at her door. Fearing that Bennett has gone full American Psycho, she reluctantly answers. It turns out to be her dad, which isn’t a much better sign. He tells her that the family doesn’t want her to make the biggest mistake of her life by rushing into another marriage. Tayshia starts to break down recounting how her dad was there for her in the throes of her divorce. It was raw and one of her realest moments thus far. She’s starting to have doubts.
Zac & Tayshia’s Date
On their date, Zac reassures Tayshia that he’s ready to take the next step, but Tayshia seems skeptical. Damn, Desmond really got to her! They find out that their date is to learn a wedding dance routine and Tayshia looks about as excited as Brendan did when he met Neil Lane to try on wedding jewelry. Gotta love karma. She keeps getting in her own head and is struggling to relax into the dance moves. Zac is patient with her and they actually pull off a sweet little routine. I’m honestly impressed they learned that in one lesson. It took me and my husband about two months to put together a solid first dance. Respect.
Later that evening they have a casual night in, and Tayshia is honest about her fears that Zac’s feelings will change. He tells her that he is nine years sober today and that his sobriety allows him to not run away and that he’ll love her no matter what she decides to do with her life. Ok, why am I crying in the club right now? And by “in the club” I mean “on my couch”.
Tayshia seems convinced, and frankly, so am I. It’s one of the most authentic exchanges we’ve ever seen on this show and it’s nice to see a couple talk about real-life issues for a change. “I think she believes in me,” Zac says, and I start to tear up. WTF is happening? Is this show…actually making me feel genuine human emotion?
Me watching this season of The Bachelorette:
Ben & Tayshia’s
When Ben meets up with Tayshia “the next day”, she is wearing the same tragic denim number she was wearing when her dad came to talk to her. So she’s either running out of wardrobe options in quarantine or there’s a bit of a continuity issue here and she went to dump Ben after talking to Desmond. She tells Ben that her heart is with Zac and, as usual, Ben looks like a deer in headlights. He takes it pretty well, albeit with way too many “umm”s, and says he’s happy for her. I do feel bad for Ben. He’s a sweet guy and he deserves to find love, but he needs to work through some of his issues with self-worth before jumping into a serious relationship, let alone a marriage. We’re rooting for you, Ben!
The Big Day
It’s engagement day! Tayshia and Zac are getting ready and Neil Lane is back to shill his gaudy rings. Zac looks handsome in his blue suit. Tayshia meets up with Chris Harrison and the exchange is kind of odd. She says she questions if she’s ever been in love until now and then bursts into tears that don’t really look happy. Even Chris seems confused.
Chris: What is going on?
The proposal set-up is kind of a hot mess. The area rug from the Airstream trailer fantasy suite isn’t helping. Tayshia tells us she feels stressed, overwhelmed, and scared. So basically all of the things one should be feeling right before getting engaged after knowing someone for 30 seconds. She says she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. I’m a little concerned. Is she feeling the pressure of not wanting to disappoint ABC and the fans given the whole Clare debacle?
Things improve when Zac arrives. His engagement speech is really personal and from the heart. It’s undoubtedly the best one I’ve ever heard on this show or The Bachelor. Tayshia starts her speech and after telling Zac that she knows she told him she loved him, takes an extremely long, producer-suggested pause. I admit they got me for a second and I was scared she was bolting. But she continues and tells Zac she wants to jump in fountains all over the world with him
and star in endless FabFitFun endorsement deals together. He gets down on one knee and she says yes! Like the true New Yawkah he is, he yells “TAXI!” and the two ride off Flintstone-style into the desert sunset in a cardboard cab the way god and Chris Harrison intended.
And there we have it! Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the endless hours of our lives ABC takes each year) we have no After the Final Rose to catch up with Tayshia and Zac, but it looks like they’re still going strong. This was an excellent season with some of the most mature and authentic men we’ve ever had. Keep it up, ABC! Thanks for joining me this week, guys, and congratulations to the happy couple!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (6)