Why (Spoiler) Clare Was Right To Bail On Her Season Of ‘The Bachelorette’

What a night. Also, what a year for a show which heavily depends on so many things that are the exact opposite of pandemic rules, like having two people sitting indoors on a couch together.

The premiere of The Bachelorette, Coronavirus Season kicked off this week with a lot of content we expected (tattling, guys manspreading in front of outdoor fire pits like cavemen), and also some content we haven’t really seen on this show before—namely, love at first sight. Which is ironic, considering no franchise on Earth talks more about “following your heart” and “taking leaps of faith off a cliff” than this one—except for when it actually happens and then breaks all the rules and messes with the ratings. WTF, Chris Harrison? Let Clare live.

For those of you who haven’t already heard, the big drama of this season—which was definitely teased during the premiere—is that Clare doesn’t actually finish it at all. She starts strong with a great group of guys (for the most part) and then bails pretty early on because she falls in love with one contestant, rumored to be Dale Moss, an ex-NFL player and general smokeshow. I can’t blame the girl. He is one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen. You could say he’s ridiculously sexy and unbelievably cute at the same time, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Clare says, “I feel like I definitely just met my husband” directly in front of the camera, Disney princess-style, after their first interaction.

I’ll say this: for all of Clare’s strengths, a poker face is not one of them. We all saw the way you melted into a puddle as he walked toward you, girl. Apparently playing it cool isn’t in her contract. If we didn’t already know she’d leave her season for this guy, it became pretty obvious after her voice got all high and breathy and she looked like she was about to start drawing their initials in the desert sand with the toe of her stiletto.

Anyway, Clare has gotten a lot of hate and a ton of viewers have been criticizing her since this news broke earlier this year for basically blowing up her season and leaving early. Seems a little unfair, considering she’s hardly the first contestant to break the rules—remember when Colton jumped a fence after Cassie left when he was the Bachelor, and that wasn’t even the most concerning part of their relationship? In any case, after watching the very first episode of Clare’s season, I can say I’m 100% backing homegirl on her decision to cut out early for a variety of reasons.

Almost as soon as the men started arriving on night one, it was clear that while Clare is definitely not too old to be on the show, she is maybe too mature for these fools. It was so obvious after just one episode of all the squabbling that characterizes this franchise that her actual problems— like having a parent with dementia and Alzheimer’s in a care home and her own journey for love—were going to supersede the pettiness of DM sliding. She seemed honestly bored by it. Her moments of emotion came during much more real, down-to-earth situations, like when she was thanking Blake for reaching out to her after her mom had a fall and broke her nose, even though it was against the rules, to make sure she was okay. That’s a much more reasonable time to get emotional than bursting into tears because one of your thirty suitors might have talked to another girl before in his life at some point, IMO. Maybe that’s actually a benefit of her being almost 40—she comes off as just having even less patience for the bullsh*t that tends to dominate a Bachelorette season.

If anything, Clare’s age uniquely qualifies her to leave when she damn well pleases. She trusts in herself enough to go with her gut. You can see her reaction to Dale as soon as he walks out of the limo. It’s visceral and genuine and I honestly believed it. She’s still trying to be open-minded as far as I could tell during night one, but she isn’t wishy-washy between guys or swayed by sh*t that doesn’t matter; she’s past caring and I find that refreshing. She also makes out with him on night one, which I’m all for. Girl was in quarantine for months, and considering how this year has made us all so aware of basic things like mortality and the passage of time, I wouldn’t have wasted my time, either. Like, if I felt about someone the way Clare clearly does about Dale and a TV network was trying to force me to keep dating around (the way my mother did before she found out my now-wife was going to med school), I’d rebel too. And if you meet someone who makes you very aware of the moments you spend apart, especially when you’re surrounded by a bunch of other very attractive men who are intent on dating you, that’s a good sign you should go get ‘em.

Leaving her season of the show was a bold move and it threw the network—and fans—into a tailspin, but I’ll say this: if her initial reaction to Dale, and his to her, was any indication of how their rumored continued relationship is progressing, she was absolutely right to leave. Yeah, she broke the rules and probably a bunch of contractual things she’d sworn to abide by, but who cares? She saw what she wanted and she went for it without letting herself be swayed by irrelevant details like legal agreements and other people’s opinions. She actually followed her heart, which is kind of the most insane thing you can do even in the best of times, and it’s also incredibly brave when everyone (read: ABC and Yosef, probably) was telling her no. 

In the coming episodes, we’ll get to see the buildup of both the relationship that is rumored to have made her leave the show, and also of her interactions with the other men in the house. It seems like she does her best to engage with other guys even if Dale was always her favorite, and I give her credit for trying to stay in the game until she couldn’t deal anymore. If the clips are any indication, there’s no shortage of drama leading up to her blowing up her own season, Daenerys Targaryen style. But if things with her and Dale really worked out the way they seem to, I have no doubt it was worth it.

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Images: GIPHY (2), ABC/Craig Sjodin

SPOILER: All The Evidence That Tayshia Really Is Replacing Clare As Bachelorette

Last month, after months of delays, production on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette finally got under way. Of course, due to COVID-19, this season will look a lot different, with the entirety of shooting taking place within a quarantine bubble at a California resort. Due to the closed setup, my expectations for spoilers were low. Normally, we have group dates at concerts and theme parks, one-on-ones at restaurants, tons of opportunities for eagle-eyed Bachelor fans to figure out what’s going on.

Well, someone in that quarantine bubble is looking out for us, because in the past week, rumors have been exploding left and right, and this might actually be the most dramatic season ever. First, there was a report that some guys from the potential contestant list who didn’t end up being cast got called to come back. Did Clare send everyone home? Did some guys test positive for COVID? It was all unclear, but this definitely didn’t seem normal. Then, there was another rumor that Clare was “falling for” one of her contestants, and was quitting the show mid-filming. And the, there was ANOTHER rumor that Clare was, in fact, done, and TAYSHIA is the new Bachelorette.

Okay, let’s go through this. On Friday afternoon, a Reddit post popped up, providing some very intriguing (though unverified) tea. According to the poster, who said they run a Bachelor spoiler account, they received information that “production is having a lot of problems with Clare during filming.” Apparently, Clare canceled certain filming events and wouldn’t leave her room—which would check out with the rumor of her wanting to quit. The Reddit post continued, saying that last week “they called in a new bachelorette”—that would be Tayshia. The poster said that Tayshia was already quarantining at the hotel, and they would be taking her phone to start filming shortly.

I’m sorry, what?? I love Tayshia, and seeing her as the lead would make me incredibly happy, but WTF Clare?? If she found love, that’s great for her, but did she not understand what she was signing up for? If she already knows who she wants to pick, that’s great—she can just act! I’m not saying The Bachelorette is fake (low-key I am saying that), but do you think every other lead really didn’t know who they were going to pick until the last moment? It’s a TV show! If she really did quit, I hope she and are happy, because I’m sure ABC is never going to call her again.

But anyway, back to Tayshia. The Reddit mods stated that the poster’s “sources are 100% legitimate,” and our most trusted spoiler machine seems inclined to agree. Initially, Reality Steve called the rumor about Clare quitting “so dumb,” pointing out that she signed a contract, and suggesting that “PLENTY of former leads” would have quit once they knew who they wanted to end up with. But over the weekend, he changed his tune, saying that he feels there is “some serious validity” to the report of Tayshia being called in.

(MAJOR SPOILER): I’ve been made aware of this Reddit post making the rounds. Been on the phone for the last 2 hrs digging. I cannot confirm with 100% certainty if it’s true yet, but if you ask my opinion, I think there is some serious validity to it based on what I’m hearing now pic.twitter.com/y0SudK7Pcl

— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) July 31, 2020

I desperately want to know who he spent two hours on the phone with, but obviously he’ll never tell. In general, Reality Steve has a very solid record for being right about these things, so he wouldn’t have tweeted this if he didn’t really think it was true. Over the weekend, Reality Steve also did an Instagram Live with Demi, and while she said she didn’t know anything, she dropped an important piece of evidence. She said she had texted Tayshia to ask what was going on, but the text turned green and didn’t deliver. DUN DUN DUN. This could definitely be a sign that her phone has been taken by production.

And on Sunday night, the plot got even thicker when Clare Crawley liked a tweet about Tayshia joining the show. Unless someone else is logged in to her Twitter account, this would suggest that Clare has her phone back, which would basically confirm she’s no longer the Bachelorette. It’s f*cking happening, people!!! The tweet has since been unliked, so it seems like she probably tapped it by mistake—oops! I’m sure ABC already isn’t happy with her, and a slipup like this can’t have helped.

Honestly, it feels like all of these rumors are probably true, but it’s too soon to know for sure. We’re still going off of unverified Reddit tea and Reality Steve’s mysterious sources (and that tweet Clare liked), but hopefully we’ll have more concrete information soon. If Tayshia is replacing Clare, I’m interested to see how ABC chooses to handle the announcement. Usually, the new Bachelor or Bachelorette is always announced before filming starts, so they’re not trying to keep their identity a secret during production. Given the amount of spoilers that leak out, it doesn’t really seem like they have the ability to keep something so big secret for more than, like, 15 minutes.

Whatever ends up being true here, I am totally here for it, because I need some DRAMA on my TV screen. Thankfully, The Real Housewives of Potomac is finally back, but a messy AF season of The Bachelorette would be a welcome addition to the fall TV lineup. I just hope that ABC shows us what’s actually going down, not some glazed over Chris Harrison bullsh*t. BREAK THE FOURTH WALL!

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; realitysteve / Twitter

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