When this season of The Bachelorette began, I stated my one wish: that Hannah would, to quote myself, ” “f*ck it” when the format of the show no longer her.” This week, Hannah did say f*ck it, and decided she’s taking four men to fantasy suites. And I. was. ELATED. (If sad for every other Bachelorette that came before.) Ultimately, I question the idea that you can meet someone on a reality show far less than the idea that you fall in and out of love on cue, perfectly timed to a series of rose ceremonies. So, Hannah refusing to eliminate someone—and putting her own timetable on these relationships—convinced me that she’s a) not faking it, and b) learning from past Bachelorette mistakes.
All too often on The Bachelorette (Bachelor too, but less emotional), we see the lead send home someone promising, and be absolutely shattered by it after. When it came down to it, they tell the camera between sobs, there was that little tiny bit less with the person who left than the ones who stayed. But imagine this: if these leads weren’t being rigorously told that they needed to send someone home on a schedule every week, how many of those relationships might have gone on longer? Is there a chance that previous leads would have made different choices, if their third or fourth runner-up had been given a little more time? How many people sent home contestants because they could genuinely say there was less promise there—and how many because they felt they had no choice?
RIP, my sweet Peter.
I know, I know: it’s a reality dating show, and frankly, one that would be dull as hell without mandated, recurring eliminations. But the show works so hard to convince viewers their contestants have found real, lasting love (hello, TV spots of still-together couples at every feasible opportunity). And the fact is, these relationships are most convincing when they don’t follow an ABC-scripted timetable. I believed Hannah’s interest in Luke P. and Jed, only because she was ignoring such glaring red flags from both—but it wasn’t until she refused to send anyone home that I thought she might be seriously interested in Tyler and Peter too.
What Hannah did wasn’t particularly polite. If I were Jed or Luke, I would be steaming; Tyler or Peter, lightly annoyed. But more people should be insanely, ragingly rude in their turn as the Bachelorette. These women have (supposedly) put their lives on hold to accomplish one goal: so why the f*ck would now be a time to worry about manners, or hurting someone’s feelings? Arie and Colton certainly didn’t share those concerns, and if you’re curious how that worked out, I’d be happy to direct you to baby Luyendyk’s Instagram. Yes, Colton and Arie made a complete hash of things, and Hannah’s handled herself far better, but the concept is the same.
Remember when Colton tried to make Tayshia and Hannah G. make him feel better for dumping them? Yeah, Hannah’s not doing that.
If you’re here for one of the most important missions of your life—if you’re really, truly taking this seriously—why would you accept for a single second that you “have to” send someone home before you’re ready? Or keep anyone around a second longer than you’re interested in seeing them? I fail to believe that Hannah is the first Bachelorette who wanted to keep someone longer. But she’s the first Bachelorette to do it, and that’s a win if I’ve ever seen one.
I hope Hannah finds the love of her life on this show, I really do (not Jed). But more than that, I hope she comes out with zero regrets about how she handled the process—a claim I worry too few previous Bachelorettes can make. The way Hannah handled herself this past week convinced me that, pending secret ex-girlfriends she had no way of knowing about, she made the best possible choices she could this season. And if I see another Bachelorette go through a season pretending her emotions are perfectly in line with ABC’s plan every week, I’ll f*cking riot.
Well, another nice guy bites the dust. Jed Wyatt has seemed like a clear front-runner for Hannah’s affections on this season of The Bachelorette—but now, a new report claims that Jed had a girlfriend back home when he left for the show. The news comes from none other than the girlfriend herself (well, ex-girlfriend now): Haley Stevens, who exclusively told People all the details of her relationship with Jed and why he went on The Bachelorette. We learned on Night 1 how Hannah feels about guys with secret girlfriends back home, so I’m very eager to hear how Hannah will respond to all this—and what her comments might reveal about Jed’s fate this season.
According to Stevens, she and Jed were dating for four months before he left for The Bachelorette. The two Nashville-based musicians met last October; Jed was confirmed for The Bachelorette in February, and filming began in mid-March. “We spent the night together the night before he headed to L.A.,” Stevens tells People. “He told me was just an obstacle and we’d be stronger on the other side because of it.”
First, I think I speak for all of us when I say: LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOO.
So clearly, Stevens had known he’d applied for the show; Jed had told her it was “probably not going to happen,” but he couldn’t pass up the “huge opportunity” to advance his music career. As we all know from Jed’s one-on-one, he did initially think of his Bachelorette run as a “platform”. So did he have a genuine change of heart after getting to know Hannah? Or is he just another manipulative f*ck who knows that elements of the truth make a lie sound better? Given what I know about The Bachelorette and men in general, I know where I’m leaning…
Can someone please get Demi on this?
Stevens says Jed’s motives in joining the show were purely financial: apparently, Jed’s musical talents weren’t quite covering the bills. “I don’t want my dad to have to help me pay rent anymore,” Jed allegedly told Stevens. Jed’s plan was to make it to the top five, just long enough to be a “major player.” In the weeks before he left, Jed told Stevens he loved her for the first time, and reassured her constantly about the show: “It’s not real. It’s acting.”
If that’s the quote that convinces me of her story, though, here’s the one that makes me skeptical: “I was terrified that he would fall in love with Hannah,” Stevens tells People. “In the beginning I felt bad because I thought he loved me and was faking dating her. But then I thought, my boyfriend could be engaged to someone else. Seeing him kissing her for the first time was the worst day.” Hmm. The show first aired on May 13; Jed’s one-on-one aired June 3. Filming likely ended in late April—and no matter how long Jed stuck around, he should certainly have been back home and in possession of a cell phone before May.
So: why is Stevens watching The Bachelorette in late May and feeling “bad” thinking that Jed is “faking dating” Hannah? At that point, she knows she’s been ghosted by Jed: even if he did go on there only for his career, he also made no attempt to contact her after returning. That’s a pretty clear sign that he wasn’t thinking about Haley on these dates.
Maybe I’m being harsh or missing something, but it does seem like selective processing on Stevens’ part. She says she was “baffled” to discover that Jed had returned to Nashville without contacting her, and says they ran into each other at a concert this June. “He said, ‘Hey how have you been?’ and I said, ‘How do you think I’ve been?'” she says. “I asked him, ‘You didn’t think I deserved a phone call?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t know what to say.'” To be fair to Stevens, this sounds like a very realistic conversation with a guy who has ghosted you—they never do know what to say. According to her, that was the hardest part: “he ghosted me. He loved me, but he didn’t have enough respect for me to have that tough conversation.”
Jed, thinking about dodging that tough conversation:
Surprisingly, Stevens is still out here semi-defending Jed (while also majorly blowing up his spot). “I don’t believe he’s a terrible person,” (k) “but it’s a terrible situation,” she says. “And part of me thinks I was the backup plan and he wanted me to be here in case it didn’t work out. I feel 100% betrayed.” Yeahhh, sadly, she’s probably 100% correct—and I stand by saying that her biggest mistake here was not realizing she’d been dumped by the time The Bachelorette started airing. Either way, if even 75% of her story is correct, Jed is a serious douche, a compulsive liar, and not a particularly great musician. Well, that last part is true either way.
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