Okay yes, we’re still talking about this. But this one has been a real journey and honestly, those of us who have committed to 3-hour, back-to-back, Greg Grippo-focused episodes of The Bachelorette have been through a lot, and the least we could do is learn a lesson at the end of all this. In case you need a reminder (you don’t), recently millions of people watched as Greg Grippo, one of three contestants remaining on season 17 of The Bachelorette, had an intense emotional meltdown when the lead, Katie Thurston, was unwilling to communicate her love to him in a way that felt reciprocal. He said, “You fill a hole in my heart.” She said, “Nice face.” I’m paraphrasing—a little. A meltdown ensued, an unexpected and painful (for all of us) breakup followed, and Bachelor Nation took to the streets (social media and podcasts, primarily), to debate: Team Katie? Team Greg? Was Greg gaslighting or having a justified emotional response? Was Katie cold and withholding? The answer, I think, is yes. Both things, all things. Whatever reaction you had to those horribly uncomfortable breakup scenes likely held some truth, because ending relationships is complicated and messy and usually pretty gross. For the record, as a Master’s-level Counselor with professional experience in relational communication, there are some specific examples of gaslighting behaviors in their interactions and I bet if we got to watch back any of our own breakups, we’d see some gaslighting there too. Humans with big emotions, especially about love and intimacy, will do some wild things to get what they want, including using tactics to confuse and manipulate each other.
Let’s be clear about one thing, though. While we might not all agree on the level of gaslighting Greg Grippo engaged in here, he most definitely wrote us a playbook for Emotional Manipulation 101. He relies on the narrative that being with Katie is the only thing that’s made him happy in the two years since his dad died. His family and friends then come in to reinforce this, telling Katie that he just hasn’t been himself, but now that she’s here, the Greg they know is back. Yikes.
I believe them. I believe that Greg is finding joy in this process and that he is genuinely feeling lighter and happier. I don’t think he’s acting (ahem, cue the Meryl Streep moment). I think he’s coming out of very regular, grief-induced depression because he’s had time to heal and now he’s on a TV show with a bunch of dudes he likes to hang with and a cute girl he likes to make out with, mostly in the rain. (In the desert. It’s fine.) But to frame his happiness as solely dependent on Katie is setting a fertile ground for a relationship built on emotional responsibility and caretaking. It’s so much to take on. And it’s manipulative.
And this, my friends, is a lesson we can all learn. If watching Greg and Katie in these final scenes together felt just a little too familiar, then it’s likely you have experienced emotional manipulation. You’ve probably even done it. Honestly, who hasn’t at some point? A little silent treatment here and there can be pretty passively impactful. Or maybe using the old “Well if you don’t know why I’m upset, I’m not going to tell you!” technique when you can’t articulate the reason for your feelings, you just know you’re having them and someone needs to pay attention ASAP! Storming out of the room during an argument without telling your partner you plan to return? We’ve all done it. These are all forms of emotional manipulation we see Greg use. They aren’t healthy modes of relational communication, but we’ve all done them, haven’t we? We’re all human here. If these are your primary methods of communicating during conflict, then maybe the lesson for you here is to practice something new. Maybe begin practicing expressing your emotions directly and clearly. Maybe examine why it might not feel like you can? We could all probably work on this more, and maybe GG was sent here to inspire us. Get to work!
Or, hear me out, maybe you watched all this go down and had an even stronger reaction. Maybe you were like me and the familiarity was TOO specific. Maybe, like me, you’ve lived it over and over again. Honestly, any moment of the GG drama could have been picked from any of my previous relationships. This is because I have spent a lifetime choosing partners out of a compulsion to be with highly emotional people who depend on me for emotional caretaking. I have been “Caught in the Grip(po)” of this compulsive cycle without ever even knowing why or how until recently.
It turns out, I have a thing called Love Avoidance. It develops through some specific childhood trauma related to family enmeshment and it manifests into issues with intimacy. There is a range for Love Avoidance, but mine happens to be severe. Unlike avoidant attachment, which people seem to be more familiar with, a Love Avoidant craves intimacy. We don’t run from it—we seek it out. But because in childhood we took on some kind of overly mature role protecting or nurturing our families, we think we can only be loved by people if they need us to manage their emotions or they depend on us to take care of their emotional needs. Like, a lot. In fact, we take this role with so much determination that we become absolutely suffocated by it. Intimacy feels like drowning. Maybe even dying. It’s called Engulfment and we engage in all kinds of avoidant behaviors to find relief from it, but because it’s a cycle, we continue the compulsive behavior of choosing people who need emotional caretaking because they will let us. And then we all end up in the cycle again. It’s pretty torturous for everyone involved.
The good news, for people who experience some level of Love Avoidance, is that you can recover. The first step is the most difficult one because it requires some brutal honesty about our choices and patterns. But it’s just possible that Greg Grippo can help.
Do you constantly choose a partner with high emotional needs? Are you drawn to the Greg Grippo in the room, someone who needs constant reassurance and/or attention? The person whose eyes seem to be masking something intense and mysterious? Do you always pick partners who have an emotional connection or response to every single thing that happens? Do you feel constantly drained in your relationships but still choose people who just need and take so much from you? Do I sound like a 2am infomercial trying to convince you to buy my self-help program DVD box set? Yes. I do. And I’m sorry, but this could be really important if it’s the first time you’re hearing it!
Before my recovery, I would have been obsessed with Greg. It would have become a full-blown TV crush by the end of the season. From night one, I would have chosen him. He would have had his emotional meltdown and shown his propensity for emotional manipulation, and I still would have chosen him. I would have taken care of all of his emotions and he would have let me until we destroyed each other. We don’t get “Caught in the Grip(po)” over and over again because of “fate” or “true love.” We do it out of compulsion. It took a series of devastating losses (and a lot of therapy) for me to recognize these patterns in my own life. Maybe watching Katie Thurston making a different choice this season will be the start for you.
Image: Craig Sjodin / ABC
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Can you believe we’ve actually made it to the season finale? That’s right, Katie has narrowed down her list of eligible bachelors to her final two men: Blake and Justin. If those names sound surprising to you, that’s because her selection process was done much like the way I used to select a partner during college at last call: by blindly reaching for whoever was left standing and hoping he wouldn’t puke in the cab ride home. But, you know, I’m sure this will work out great for you, girl!
Last week during Hometowns we watched Katie’s relationship with Greg—arguably the strongest relationship of the season—deteriorate faster than a New Years resolution. Ultimately, I think Greg needed more emotional validation (read: an “I love you”) from Katie and she wasn’t willing to give him that at this stage in the process. This resulted in Greg fleeing the Hyatt in a whirl of flannel and angst, an exit that would have given 13-year-old me a run for my money when I made a similar dramatic departure from a Dillard’s after my first bra fitting, and Katie questioning if she even wanted to finish out the rest of the season with the losers she had left. (I paraphrase.)
Which brings us to tonight! I think it’s safe to say that the finale felt… anticlimactic? In the sense that no one f*cking cared who actually won Katie’s heart and everyone just wanted to know what the deal was between her and Greg. The first 45 minutes included ABC replaying old footage from the season on loop for the sake of a “recap.” It’s as if ABC expects us all to have the short-term memory of my grandmother, because there’s literally no excuse for them to insist on replaying something we just watched SEVEN DAYS AGO with this much fervor. We just want to see who she chose as her consolation prize and move on with our lives, okay!!
Speaking of the consolation prizes, Tayshia and Kaitlyn tell the men that Greg has left the show and that, congratulations, we’re moving directly into a Fantasy Suites/Proposal Day hybrid situation! I will say the horror on Justin’s face at realizing he somehow made it to the final two and will have to propose to a woman his parents couldn’t even be bothered to FaceTime is actually priceless. Don’t worry, buddy! You’ll only have to propose if Blake decides to slide into Claire’s DMs after all! On second thought, maybe you should start Googling “heartfelt proposals” now…
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Pretty quickly it’s established that this game is Blake’s to lose. For a moment there I thought Katie might take Justin to the Fantasy Suites because he’s hot and hasn’t self-eliminated yet and his cum face is probably outrageous, but Katie sends him home before there’s time for him to waggle those eyebrows at her and change her mind. This means that Blake is her first and only Fantasy Suites date and she puts it all on the line. And by “all” I mean the one thing she swore up and down she would not do until a guy got down on his knee and proposed.
During the dinner portion of the evening Blake fumbles out an “I love you” and Katie, realizing it’s either compromise her morals or have to re-download Hinge, says she loves him too. Excuse me, WHAT. Okay, so let me get this straight. Exactly 24 hours ago, she would not say the “L” word to Greg after he handed her his ravaged heart on a bloody platter AND YET Blake mentions soft kisses once and she relents?!
I’m sorry, but that “I love you” felt strategic AF. Like, that was a giant F*ck You to Greg. Not only did that feel petty and insincere, but if I were Blake watching this back, I’d feel a little used.
Speaking of Blake, is it just me or does he seem especially out of sorts this episode? It’s like now that Katie has set fire to the entire foundation of this show by combining the fantasy suites with proposal day, his last two brain cells are malfunctioning and refusing to process it.
TAYSHIA AND KAITLYN: How are you feeling about your proposal?
BLAKE: I feel like scrambled eggs.
Wow. So beautiful. Is that a direct quote from Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy?
Like, Blake looks positively ill at the thought of proposing and having her accept it by default. But you know what? They go through with it! They grin and bear it and get engaged! A love story for the ages!
Aunt Lindsey Is A National Treasure
One of my favorite parts of last night’s episode was Blake meeting Katie’s family. I love when ABC brings out family members just in general because there’s nothing that feeds my soul quite like watching large amounts of disdain and skepticism. And I knew we’d be in for a real treat when Katie’s mom entered stage right with the Charmed logo tattooed on her cleavage. I hope they make Blake swear his intentions on the Book of Shadows.
But no one—and I mean NO ONE—stole the show quite like Katie’s Aunt Lindsey did. She was wholly unimpressed with this entire production. A total Phoebe, if you will. And look, Blake’s presence on this show is a hard pill to swallow for most people. For one, it’s not just that he’s trying to find love on reality TV, but that he’s tried to find love on reality TV multiple times. Then there’s the total suspension of disbelief you need to engage in when he discusses his “job” but supplies about as many details about it as a blank MadLib. So, you know, I understand the brazen lack of respect she showed to him.
I will say, though, Lindsey was the only one really asking the hard questions. My favorites being, “so why do you want the beard” and, “what do you two have in common aside from both owning vibrators?” LINDSEY. YOU SAVAGE. The vibes I’m getting from this family is that they would definitely require a blood oath upon asking for someone’s hand in marriage. How else will they be able to vanquish their enemies?
An icon for the ages
Also, can I just say, it’s probably for the best that Greg self-ejected before this little meet-and-greet with Katie’s family? There is no scenario in which that boy wouldn’t have crumbled beneath the unrelenting gaze of Katie’s aunt.
Greg’s Final Stand
And now for the real show. Yeah, it was nice to see Katie get engaged and all that, but let’s get to the good stuff: Greg’s return to the stage. During “After the Final Rose,” Kaitlyn and Tayshia brought Greg out to have one final confrontation with Katie. Before I get into this section of the recap, I’m just going to make my stance known: I’m #TeamGreg AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.
Here’s the thing, I’ve been a long-time fan of Katie’s and, despite what I’m about to say, truly do hope she’s happy with her choice and got the love story she wanted from this franchise. BUT her behavior over the whole Greg thing was outrageous to me. I know a lot of people have been throwing the term “gaslighting” out there and calling for Greg to be drawn and quartered in the town square, but I’m gonna be real with you guys: I just don’t see it. And this is coming from a woman who has a bottomless pit within her specifically reserved for the unending, blistering rage she has toward the male gender!
Look, do I think Greg overreacted last week? Absolutely. But fundamentally, I think they couldn’t effectively communicate their feelings to each other and because of that a very real connection was severed in the most dramatic of circumstances. Like, I think Greg was contextualizing their relationship as an entity beyond the show. He saw their connection as the real deal and something that went beyond rose ceremonies and cocktail parties. Meanwhile, Katie was wholly invested in this “process” and wanted to see it through to the end. That’s totally fair, by the way, but because of that I don’t think she was looking at their relationship as a thing beyond the show, but rather, as a thing within the show that she was still trying to figure out. The situation sucked, but I don’t think either of them should be vilified for the way they handled it.
Flash forward to ATFR, and Katie is out for blood. During Greg’s one-on-one interview with Tayshia and Kaitlyn he seems sad but ultimately accepting of Katie’s engagement with Blake—despite her throwing out an “I love you” before proposal day. He could have been super petty and snide, but the only person who acted that way last night was Katie. I mean, their confrontation was literally nuts. Katie had so much hostility and anger for someone who is supposedly very happily engaged to the love of her life.
First, she accuses Greg of never loving her and only being on the show to progress his acting career, to which he replies, “I’m no Meryl Streep.” Look guys, I’m pretty sure Meryl would like to be excluded from this narrative, one she never asked to be a part of since summer of 2021. Also, I love that Katie just believes something that she read on the internet. She’s screaming at him about something she read about on Deux Moi for goodness sake! I’ll say it again, but if she’s soooo happy in her current relationship then shouldn’t this sh*t with Greg not matter?
Then starts in on how she thinks he gaslit her which… agree to disagree I guess. Personally, that was not my take on the situation, though I’ll concede that I’m an outsider looking in and ultimately don’t know the reality of their situation. But he seemed genuine and heartfelt in his feelings for Katie. Again, he could have been extremely petty in how he handled himself on ATFR and he was nothing but respectful to her. Plus, he’s apologized like a million times. What more does she want from him? For him to sacrifice his pinky finger as penance?
The crowd seemed equally confused about who to root for. Though they gave Katie some half-hearted claps when she called him a gaslighter, the crowd also cheered for Greg after he declared, “I emptied my heart out to you on the couch and all you gave me was a pat on the back.” The thing about Greg is he seems authentic and maybe that’s the acting classes he took in undergrad, but MY GOD, if he were that good of an actor he wouldn’t be on this freaking franchise. Can’t we just leave it at they weren’t right for each other and be done with it?
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I think her behavior was so off-putting to me because she made her bones on the franchise by advocating against petty squabbles and bullying behavior, and here she was taking petty jab after petty jab. I know she’s upset and hurt, but I guess I was just expecting her to be kinder about the whole situation? Especially considering she was always the peace maker on Matt James’ season.
Throughout the interview she kept saying this was about MY journey and MY time on the show and it’s like, there are two people in a relationship. It’s not just about you. And poor Blake! He had to go toe-to-toe with Aunt Lindsey like he was facing off a starved lion in a gladiator ring. And for what? If I was Blake and saw this blatant display of rage and unresolved feelings I would have hightailed it off that stage. But, you know, ever happiness to you both!
On that note, I’m out! I would like to never hear or speak of any of these people again unless that person is Andrew S and he would like to finally respond to my DM. *manifests a response through the harnessed power of the Halliwell/Thurston sisters*
See you hoes on Paradise! Xoxo
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC (3) @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1); Giphy (4)
Despite the varying casts and locations, there are a few constants viewers can count on in The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. The lead delivers emotional, dramatic monologues (occasionally through tears) about making sure each contestant is tHerE fOr The RiGht rEasOns, but spoiler alert: they rarely are. While some contestants are able to be more subtle about their goal to ultimately become FabFitFun partners or start a podcast, others’ fame-chasing aspirations get exposed. Another point that happens season after season without fail? There’s always someone who, mid-filming, seemingly forgets that the entire premise of the show revolves around one person dating multiple suitors. Fueled by confusion and jealousy (and perhaps the desire for more airtime), that contestant has an on-camera breakdown that’s equal parts perplexing and cringey.
This season, Greg Grippo has proven to be both of those contestants, after a confusing exchange with Katie Thurston and rumors about his acting past surfaced. Greg, who ABC described as “the full package” and “handsome, kind, vulnerable and serious about wanting to settle down,” might be less of the full package and more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, depending on your interpretation of Monday night’s episode. Fans and Katie alike fell for the New Jersey resident on night one; he received the first impression rose and melted our screens with his steel-cut bod and perfect locks. In the second episode and first one-on-one of the season, he shared an honest conversation with Katie where they bonded over the shared trauma of losing a father.
But, in another spell of predictability, it turns out the frontrunner may have been a secret villain all along. Greg introduced himself on the show as a marketing sales representative, and although he only listed a Bachelor’s in marketing at Saint Michael’s college on his LinkedIn, he also studied at the prestigious William Esper Studio, a NYC acting school. In May 2019, Greg posted a shot standing outside the school, writing in the caption, “What a journey. Forever grateful for these last two years.”
Bachelor Nation, upon learning Greg might be an actor:
Was Greg for real, or was acting like he was falling for Katie just method acting? His premature, confusing exit from The Bachelorette has lead some fans to wonder if this was just an audition for his next role. It all went downhill during the franchise’s cheesy excuse for hometowns, when Greg tearfully professed his love for Katie. Her immediate response? “I just love looking at you.” Yikes.
Now, anyone remotely familiar with The Bachelor/ette knows the unofficial rule that prohibits saying “I love you” until the end. Moreover, Katie made it clear from the beginning that she didn’t want to tell any of the guys she loved them until the finale. Nonetheless, she admittedly could have responded with something deeper than “I just love looking at you”. Katie, the man is crying.
The gaffe sent Greg into a tailspin, first outside the hometown date, and then later, when he went to visit Katie at her hotel room. Even though Katie did everything except explicitly tell Greg that he would be her final pick (and before their confrontation, she told his mom, “Greg will 100% be at the finale, I have no question”) Greg later told Katie, “It was never about a rose for me this week, and I was never asking you to confess your love to me. All I was asking for was Katie” He maintained that Katie had dismissed his feelings: “When I said I love you, I felt like I was telling it to a stranger,” he said through tears. While, in her hotel room, Katie scrambled to figure out what, exactly, she’d done wrong and repeatedly apologized, Greg insisted, “I feel like you’re giving me a surface level response.” Ultimately, he decided that Katie had “put up a wall” and said her “whole demeanor shifted”. After telling Katie “I’ve never given up on us”, he left the show. As a reminder, before said scene, Greg stared straight into the camera and said, “ no question in my mind that there can be an engagement at the end of this.”
Some fans were quick to point out that Greg’s behavior looked like gaslighting, and Katie herself shared a thread of posts about gaslighting on her Instagram stories in the wake of the episode. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse “that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity”. There are a variety of tactics an abuser might use to gaslight their partner, including countering (which the NDVH explains as “questioning the victim’s memory of events”), trivializing (“making the victim’s needs feel unimportant”), and forgetting or denial (pretending to have forgotten things that occurred or denying they did).
Bachelor Nation had a lot to say about the confrontation. John, one of Katie’s contestants who was eliminated on night two, wrote on his Instagram stories, “Along with many of you, I watched last night’s episode and was shocked by some of the behavior I witnesses , namely the words and body language exhibited by Greg. Watching these actions get defended (and therefore normalized) strikes me as extremely unhealthy and a step in the wrong direction.” He also pointed out, “It should be noted that an individual can be a good friend to some while simultaneously being harmful to others in another relationship; friendship cannot be an excuse to blindly defend someone’s behavior.”
Bekah Martinez, a contestant on Arie Luyendyk’s season, wrote on Instagram, “I know he opened up to her and she said ‘the wrong thing’ but shutting down emotionally being like, ‘wut, nothing’s wrong why would you think that’ and then punishing with silence is emotional manipulation 101.”
Not everyone agreed with the assessment that Greg’s behavior was manipulative, though. Andrew, another fan favorite on Katie’s season, posted to Twitter, “I care for Katie and Greg very much,” adding, “their love was sooo real! Hate to see Katie like that.” Tre, another contestant of Katie’s, tweeted, “Greg/Justin/Blake slander won’t be tolerated on my TL.” The next day, he followed that up with, “Katie slander OBVIOUSLY won’t be tolerated either.”
Others surmised that maybe this was all an act on Greg’s part. Luke Stone, a contestant on Hannah Brown’s season, tweeted, “I’m getting the strong vibe that Greg is sabotaging this on purpose. If you aren’t into her be a man and tell her you want out rather than gas lighting the situation. My theory: Greg got further than he expected/wanted and pushed the eject button real quick.”
While it seems like Greg has left the show for good, we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what this all means for Katie—and co-host Tayshia Adams told Ryan Seacrest that the rumors about Greg’s acting past “will be addressed”. One thing we do know? After the Men Tell All, the Bachelorette told UsWeekly that her ending is “a first, for sure” and “a shocking ending”. However it shakes out, for now, fans can take comfort in knowing that she’s said, “ultimately I’m very happy with how everything turned out.”
Images: Craig Sjodin/ABC; Giphy
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! This week we’re off to Hometowns, if you can call a Hyatt conference room papier-mâchéd within an inch of its life to vaguely resemble whatever podunk towns these dudes crawled out of a “hometown.” Gone are the days when contestants would have to sully their family name by allowing ABC entrance into their childhood homes. It’s sad, really. How are we to know which of these guys still masturbates to their high school yearbook quote or lets his mommy cut his meat for him if we don’t get a decent look at the house that built them? Hmm?
At least Katie’s in high spirits! She seems far too excited about the first hometown of the week: Blake’s. If it feels like we’ve watched this date before, that’s because we absolutely have. This was the exact “authentic Canadian experience” that production cobbled together for Serena P’s hometown last season, right down to the maple syrup shots and pickup game of hockey. Like, I know Canada has a diverse and rich culture, and yet, production’s attempt at showcasing said culture was to google “Canada” once and follow the first pop-up ad on its Wikipedia page.
And the contestants go right along with it! They make it out like the entire country of Canada is their hometown. Meanwhile, in America, if you even suggest that living in Greenwich Village is synonymous with living in the West Village, you get called uncultured swine and booed off the subway platform (or so I would assume).
THE BACHELORETTE: What did you do for fun growing up?
CANADIANS ON THIS SHOW:
I love how Blake turns everything into sex. Like, hometowns is a time to connect on a deeper level, to share stories from childhood and bask in adolescent nostalgia. Meanwhile, Blake is like, “have you ever used syrup as lube before?” Blake! She asked you what your favorite sport was growing up, not to launch into your favorite way to incorporate food into the bedroom. Come on, read the room!
After Blake and Katie get done desecrating Canadian culture, it’s off to meet Blake’s family! So, who did Blake bring to hometowns anyway? His mother, sister, and a random man with a ponytail. Don’t ask me for more details. That’s all I can divulge at this time.
I will say, I have a loooot of questions for Blake’s mother, but those leather pants are already telling me everything I need to know. She’s giving me major Stifler’s mom vibes. Does she or does she not look like the kind of mom who caught him masturbating and instead of leaving the room, sat down with him to give him better tips for reaching completion?
The resemblance is uncanny.
My favorite thing about meeting Blake’s family is that they clearly think he ain’t sh*t. His sister is like, “sooo this is the one you’re in love with now” and I may have spit out my wine at the audacity of such savagery. Later, his mom practically calls him a pussy for not telling Katie he loves her. There’s nothing I love more than watching strong women verbally emasculate a man on live television. Please do carry on, ladies.
Blake’s date ends on a meh note. He never actually professes any deeper feelings for Katie, though he does allude off-camera to being ready to propose. If that sounds half-hearted to you, that’s because it is. He’s like, “when I know, I know and this is the most I’ve known.” Hmmm, doesn’t sound promising. It sounds like he’s convincing himself of this. Exactly the solid foundation on which you’d want to build a life-long commitment!
How Is Justin Still Here?
The most dramatic thing to come out of Justin’s hometown date was learning that he could not convince one single family member to show up for his date. He gets both of his parents on the phone and they’re like, “sorry we couldn’t be there, we just didn’t want to. You get it right?” Wowwwww. They seriously said “nah, I’ll pass.” I have so much respect for that family.
Even though Justin was unable to lure any blood related family to New Mexico, he is able to procure two friends. Or at least, two hired actors portraying the role of friends. He’s like, “they’re the brothers I never had! Mostly because my actual brothers said they’re too embarrassed to be related to anyone willing to associate with this franchise.” Again, I say: I have so much respect for this family.
There are actually other major red flags on this date aside from his parents refusal to bend the knee for ABC. For one, his “friends” are suspiciously hype about the intimacy of his and Katie’s relationship. They’re like, “we’ve never seen this much PDA from him!” PDA?? He touched her pinky once! They’re acting shocked that he would breathe in the same direction as the girl he likes. Red flag. RED. FLAG.
JUSTIN BEING “INTIMATE” WITH KATIE:
But the real deal breaker happens during Justin’s tour of “the best of Baltimore.” I’m not saying production gave him a lot to work with here (I’m sure they gave him nothing) but MY GOD what a sad excuse for a date. The tour consisted of two papier-mâchéd signs (I told you there’d be at least one!) and a large suspense of reality. Apparently the best that Baltimore has to offer is a single 8 ft. piece of cardboard with doodles spray painted on it that’s supposed to represent “graffiti”.
And then—AND THEN!—Justin has the audacity to feed her crabs whilst in landlocked Albuquerque. Look, my family also hails from Baltimore, so I get that blue crabs are, like, the glue that holds that culture together, but those ain’t no blue crabs and you know it, Justin. I’ve seen fresher looking seafood in the Costco frozen aisle. You’re sick, Justin! Just sick!
Pork Roll, Egg, & Emotional Breakdown
It’s hard to reflect on the other hometown dates when Greg’s dominated much of the episode. Their date starts off strong with Greg wanting to show Katie “a taste of my beach town.” I’m sorry, but I thought he said he was from Edison, NJ? Show me where the beach is in Edison, Greg, I dare you. Also, let’s be honest about the authenticity of this New Jersey experience. I think we all know the real New Jersey experience is less tandem bike riding and more giving someone the finger on the parkway. Be honest, Greggie!
And, look, it’s all so very cute up to this point. They’re making out in fake rain again and giggling through random activities that do not represent the state of New Jersey in any way, shape or form. Then Katie meets his family and the mood shifts. Things get very emotional very quickly. Greg tells Katie that she fills the void in his life that his dead dad left. She tells Greg that she loves… looking at him. Ooof.
ME WATCHING THAT SCENE IN REAL TIME:
Katie has said time and again that she won’t say the “L” word until the very end, even if it kills Greg in the process. It’s very clear from this date that Greg would like to skip to the end and propose to Katie. When Katie doesn’t immediately offer to ditch the show, Greg spirals. Like, reallyyy spirals. Like, I’ve seen less melodrama in an Aéropostale fitting room.
And this isn’t some new side of Greg we haven’t seen before. Greg’s jealousy and insecurity have been a recurring theme over the last few weeks. Though he’s been a frontrunner since night one, he’s struggled with the idea of Katie having relationships with other men. I’m not even talking about the physical aspects of dating multiple men at once. No, Greg seems most upset that Katie might be emotionally invested in a relationship outside of theirs. It’s like he doesn’t understand the foundation on which their relationship was built. This is a reality dating show, after all.
I love that he’s like, “ditch the show! Who gives a f*ck!” Sir, she signed a contract. Also, Greg is an idiot. Even though Katie didn’t explicitly say “you’re the one, Greg” she does say over and over again that their relationship is the most important to her and she outright tells him he’s advancing to Fantasy Suites. I mean, she did everything but wink at him and he STILL didn’t get it.
KATIE: I can’t tell you what the future holds for us, I can’t tell you if we’ll end up together.
Their date ends on shaky ground. Greg is still in his feels. I think for him, getting the green light from his family meant he was ready to take this relationship to the real world. He’s ready to commit right now and cannot fathom that she might need a little more time to sort out her feelings.
The next day things get worse for the couple. Greg goes to Katie’s hotel room to tell her he’s leaving the show. Chaos ensues. He keeps bringing up that Katie dismissed his feelings from the night before and I honestly don’t think Katie could do anything to get him to stay, short of breaking the space/time continuum to travel back in time and say “I love you” at the exact moment he wanted her to.
Greg keeps emphasizing that this isn’t about roses, that this is real life and she’s still thinking of people in a point system. Though he has a point, he’s not being very fair to her. She’s the Bachelorette, for Christ’s sake! That’s kind of the whole point! It’s a shame because even though he’s overreacting, there’s a real connection there that’s being lost in hurt feelings and miscommunications. Do I think Katie could have handled that conversation better? Sure. She did seem a little cold and standoffish. But I think that’s because she doesn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up—including her own.
So how does their fight end? Well, Greg has left the Hyatt and is probably halfway to the closest CVS to Bridget Jones the sh*t out of his night with chocolate and drugstore wine before leaving that godforsaken town. Meanwhile, Katie is where any woman rapidly approaching 30 ends up after breaking up with a guy she’s known for barely three weeks: crying on a bathroom floor. Ah, yes. I know that scenario well.
And that’s all she wrote, kids! Next week sets us up for the dramatic season finale. We’ll have to wait until then to see if Katie is able to recover from her breakup with Greg by letting some sexed-up Canadian pour maple syrup on her in the Fantasy Suites. Until then!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4)
This week, I’m taking a break from writing your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap in favor of providing you with a rare glimpse into my ABC burn book. That’s right, ABC, welcome to your tape. Now, you might be thinking to yourself: “but Ryanne, aren’t all your recaps just entries from a burn book?” Lol, you’re cute. Usually (for legal purposes) I try to contain my wrath as (legally) it’s a personal growth goal of mine to be less of a garbage monster and more of an emotionally functioning human being. But ABC, you have BURNED ME FOR THE LAST TIME. All bets are off now!
Here I was thinking this week we’d get to see
a Hometown date Katie test out her dick jokes on unsuspecting family members in the Hyatt’s best conference room. BUT NO. Instead, we are gifted with about 25 minutes of usable, interesting footage and the rest of the time we’re forced to endure The Men Tell All. Here’s the thing about these “tell alls”: they tell nothing. It’s not like I was expecting Tayshia and Kaitlyn to spill state secrets or anything, but MY GOD the most interesting thing to happen this evening involved an audience member going rogue. Where was the drama? The intrigue? The big reveals? If I wanted to watch a bunch of straight dudes compliment each other, I’d go hang out around a beer pong table at a frat party. But I digress. Let’s dive into it.
ABC Goes In For The Kill Shot
Before we jump into the Men Tell All, ABC gives us one final twist in the Hometowns line-up. For weeks now, Michael A. has been winning over Katie—and casually all of America—with his blushing, sad dad act. Even if he didn’t have the background story of a Nicholas Sparks character, there’s just something about his affable personality that feels genuine in ways we definitely don’t often see on this show. Naturally, ABC’s first instinct is to obliterate that goodness.
The episode opens with a conflicted Michael. He tells us that being so far away from his son has really been weighing on him emotionally. The producers, like the dementors they truly are, arrange for Michael to FaceTime his kid. Don’t be fooled for one second into thinking they did this out of the goodness of their hearts. No, this FaceTime was a strategic maneuver designed to inflict maximum pain.
Case in point: Michael tells his son that he loves him and misses him and the kid shrieks “daddy left because he doesn’t want to see me” and then rushes off camera. DADDY LEFT BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME. Are you kidding me with this, ABC?! While you’re at it, why don’t you take him out back and shoot him? It would finish the job and be kinder than putting him through this!
MICHAEL: *wavers emotionally*
Michael ends up self-eliminating almost immediately after that call. He tells Katie that he can’t focus on Hometowns and their relationship when he’s this worried about his son. Look, guys, I love Michael. I do. He’s a scruffy angel without wings. But he’s acting like his leaving The Bachelorette early is on par with the sacrifice Harry Potter’s parents made to shield him from Lord Voldemort. Honestly, I just feel like he’s already done the damage to his child’s psyche. What’s the harm in staying a little longer? At least he’ll have a fun story for his future therapist!
Katie takes the news HARD. Her reaction feels a little over dramatic for someone she was probably going to dump later that day anyway. Be honest, Katie, are you really that upset over Michael leaving? I mean, yes he’s cute and sweet and has the soul of a Christmas elf but were you actually attracted to this guy? He’s just so… soft. He looks like the kind of guy whose idea of foreplay involves softly crying to Hallmark movies.
Also, if they really wanted to, they could have worked this out. If she actually saw herself ending up with Michael, as she so tearfully proclaimed to him, then her reaction wouldn’t be “I need to let you go” it would be “that’s fine, go home and I’ll dump everyone else and meet up with you.” If there’s anything I’ve learned living in this post-Claire Bachelorette universe, it’s that there’s no rules on this franchise.
Later, during the Tell All, we get to catch up with Michael and Katie. They both seem at peace with their decisions and Katie even says she has “no regrets” about her journey. If I were her, I’d be a little regretful. Especially when Michael walked out on that stage and his stylist had taken him from daddy to zaddyyyy. Damn, he looked good. I always thought he had the sex appeal of fuzzy socks, but that grown-in beard is making me rethink my entire worldview.
In fact, I’m just gonna leave this here:
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Cat People, Am I Right?
Perhaps Michael had to sacrifice himself so that out of his ashes a phoenix could rise. And by “phoenix” I mean a grown man with a fondness for kitten costumes. As is typical for the Tell All specials, the host picks various men from the season to humiliate just a little bit extra. Their sacrificial lamb this evening? Connor. Seems like low hanging fruit to me, but by all means, carry on with your carnage, ABC.
Tayshia and Kaitlyn ask Connor to join them in the hot seat, and they proceed to replay his trauma from the season like it’s a submission from America’s Funniest Home Videos. Was it really necessary that they re-air that footage of Katie calling him a shitty kisser? Kaitlyn’s like “is that the usual feedback you get from women after being intimate with them?” Kaitlyn!! Jesus Christ. I didn’t know that in addition to drinking wine and podcasting, your hobbies also include emotionally castrating men for the fun of it! Noted.
Connor tells us that after filming ended, he reached out to a few of his exes to ask if he was a truly “trash kisser.” A TRASH KISSER. ABC, you are going to hell for this.
Connor must look so pathetic that it upends the natural order of the universe, because all of a sudden, something happens the likes of which I have never seen on this franchise: a balcony monster gets her moment in the sun. First of all, I wasn’t aware that audience members were allowed to do anything other than laugh, cry, or cringe dramatically. In fact, I’m pretty sure ABC places some sort of witch’s curse upon them that binds them to those automatic settings, lest they act on their own free will and go off script. And yet, somehow, a random audience hoe has managed to break free from the mystical energy constraining her to her seat. Not only does she have the audacity to interrupt Connor’s interview, but then she demands a kiss from. AND HE ACTUALLY DOES IT!!
And it doesn’t stop at one kiss! They’re going to town on each other while the rest of the men openly gawk at them from behind. What am I watching here? This isn’t a foam party in Miami! This is a Tell All, goddamn it. Have some respect!
I’ll tell you one thing, this would not have happened on Chris Harrison’s watch. When he was running the show, he barely acknowledged the feral crowd that made up the live audience at these things. Meanwhile, Tayshia and Kaitlyn are all but handing out condoms on stage. Ladies! Save that for the commercial breaks!
Less Romance More Bromance
The majority of The Men Tell All focused on the men who were “here for the wrong reasons,” but even that half-hearted attempt at manifesting hostile energy didn’t take. Despite ABC’s best intentions, these guys seem to genuinely care for one another. Yes, there were the Aarons and the Tres and the Karls of the group, the guys who spent the majority of this season acting out a Scooby-Doo plot line instead of focusing on building relationships. But there were also guys like Greg, who would openly weep when Michael talked about his dead wife, and guys like Andrew who ignored the drama entirely and focused on Katie.
That bromance energy carried on into the Tell All special. There were minimal squabbles, and Thomas, the main source of their anger, didn’t even show up until the last ten minutes of the special, when he literally phoned it in via Zoom. Later, when Aaron and Tre started ripping into Hunter, Connor—Connor!!—stood up for him. I guess that little kitty grew some claws after all. Meow.
Look, was this an absolute waste of 120 minutes of my life? You bet. But I will begrudgingly admit that this is actually a good group of guys who deserve nice things. *waits to be struck by lightning* I can’t wait to see how ABC decimates those tenuous relationships in Paradise!
And that’s a wrap for this episode! Seriously. That’s it. Until next week!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (1); @bitchelorette_ / Instagram (1); ABC (1)
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, the Hyatt was starting to feel less like a nurturing environment for everlasting love and more like the location of sinister otherworldly energy. In the span of 120 minutes (100 of which were devoted to Blake’s masturbatory habits—absolutely sinister, I say!!) Katie narrowed down her husband pool from 12 to seven. It was absolute carnage. The last time I saw this much careless disregard for human feeling, I was sifting through my Hinge DMs. Truly chilling.
First, Katie took out Connor the math teacher/SoulCycle instructor/man-who-is-far-too-comfortable-making-out-with-whiskers-drawn-on-his-face like it was nothing. Did we love Connor? Absolutely not. His signature look involved shirts unbuttoned to his navel, like a guy who has the personality of a Carnival cruise. But the man was precious in the way that you sometimes sympathize with the kid who eats his erasers in the back of the class. It’s just sad. And then! While Connor’s car is still idling in the Hyatt’s driveway, Katie has the audacity to dance on his still-fresh grave by dry humping Blake in a hallway corridor.
Next on her kill list? The Gossip Girls. Any guy who participated in or was the subject of a house rumor got the axe. It’s like Katie performed a full-on exorcism, but instead of purging the house of antichrists, she purged the house of a bunch of dudes with finstas. My girl.
The Battle Of The One-On-Ones
Which brings us to the present. Going into this week, the question on everyone’s mind is who will make it to Hometowns. I have my suspicions about who will or will not be bringing Katie
home to a Hyatt conference room to meet their families, but first, let’s take a look at the remaining men:
⭐︎ Mike P – 30, a virgin, hopes Jesus will still save those who read erotica
⭐︎ Brendan – Canadian, firefighter, no other distinguishing qualities
⭐︎ Andrew – professional football player, casually the reason I trust men again
⭐︎ Blake – three-time Bachelorette contestant, big horse-girl energy
⭐︎ Michael – widower, single father, humanity’s single shining example of decency
⭐︎ Greg – a kid from New Jersey
Out of the guys she has left, two of them—the fire fighter and the virgin—haven’t had one-on-one dates with Katie yet. Lucky for them, there are exactly two of those date cards up for grabs this week. Unlucky for them, ABC doesn’t operate in happy endings (unless they can orchestrate one through strategic sound bites in the Fantasy Suites). No, Katie gives out her coveted one-on-one dates to Greg and Mike P.
How does Brendan take the news, you may ask? Not well, bitch! He gets sent home mere minutes after the date cards are read, and in doing so the natural order to this world gets restored.
First up is Greg’s date and it’s all very fine. Katie shows up in a shirt that feels less like a fashion statement and more like a punishment for a high school girl who broke dress code and showed too much collarbone.
Skinny jeans and side part. Come for me Gen Z. #TheBachelorette pic.twitter.com/QubCrFomdB
— Katie Thurston (@katiethurston) July 20, 2021
Greg spends the majority of the date trying to prove he has substance. Why? I’m not sure. I guess Michael’s got the sad dad thing going for him and I’m still personally recovering from Andrew’s traumatic experience with biracial dating. I suppose Greg wants to prove he still has mettle. I mean, sure, he did bond with Katie early on over the tragic loss of their fathers but, like, that was week two! Since then he’s been letting his Devon Sawa haircut and Resting Sad Face do all the legwork for him. Surely there’s more to the story of Greg?
GREG: I’ve had a life-long battle with insecurity because one time in middle school I went through puberty.
Look, buddy, I’m not trying to discredit your trauma or anything, but until you’ve been the first girl in your fifth grade class to develop boobs and had to make the harrowing decision of whether to wear a training bra (only sluts wear bras before sixth grade—it was written on the bathroom stall and everything!!) or not wear a training bra (the school called my parents, it was a thing)—I don’t want to hear about your middle school drama!
Despite Greg’s questionable woes as a middle schooler, Katie seems to dig it and ends up giving him the first confirmed spot in the Hometowns line-up. Mike P’s date, on the other hand, doesn’t go as smoothly.
Things start off well enough. Katie tells Mike she never saw herself dating a virgin, but now that she’s met him she wants to reconsider. Before Katie is able to even finish that thought, she encounters something straight out of my nightmares: a cuddling community. See, this is the part of the episode where I’m convinced that Hyatt Regency sits upon a hellmouth of demonic energy. What sick mind devised this?
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You can tell Mike agrees with me. He’s looking at this woman with her PhD in cuddles like this is the satanic temptations his pastor warned him about before coming on this show. He seems half tempted to throw his Bible at her and make a run for it.
Cuddle Queen Jean (yes, that’s her title, and yes, part of me died just typing that out) senses their awkwardness and reluctance to engage in non-sexual holds and encourages them to open up to one another. Mike is a little… too honest with Katie. Off screen in an interview, he tells production that spooning Katie reminds him of things he used to do with his mother.
And it’s not just one line! If he’d only said it offhandedly once, I may have forgiven him, but the rest of the date he spends constantly comparing Katie to his mother. At one point he even whispers it directly into her ear as he caresses her forearm. Katie’s like, “lol!” and then looks directly at the cameras and says “that’s a lot” which has to be her safe word.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really understand the whole wait-until-marriage thing. It’s something I’ve joked about all season and have constantly ridiculed Mike P about in my recaps because I’m a garbage human. But Mike does seem really sweet and he’s been a great sport during every sex-crazed challenge the producers have thrown his way. I still don’t think he’ll go any farther on this franchise, but at least he’s given me something to eviscerate in my group chat. Thank you for your service.
And it looks like my feelings are spot-on! I’m not sure if it was all the mommy foreplay or that uncalled for whispering, but Katie sends Mike packing before the dinner portion of the date. She gives him the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and says that they simply aren’t there yet for her to invite him to Hometowns. But I think we can all agree that if he’d kept the Norman Bates/Mommy Dearest vibes to a minimum, he might have at least made it to the next rose ceremony.
My BFA Is Shaking
The group date this week is art themed, and when I say my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was shaking… I guess instead of having the contestants travel abroad to deeply offend other cultures, the producers thought it would be funny to just debase culture in general.
Case in point: The guys are tasked with creating an abstract portrait of Katie. The examples given to them are various artist interpretations of self-portraits, the majority of which have sexual undertones: up-close shots of flowers in bloom, the center of a dripping fruit, you get the gist. The men, theoretically still refraining from self-love, almost immediately blow their loads as if this is the most pornographic thing they’ve ever seen.
I’m almost positive the date was crafted entirely for Blake. If you’ll recall, the last time he was on The Bachelorette he went on a similarly themed date where his “self-expression” involved sculpting a giant penis that had to be completely censored on screen. Let’s see if Blake’s shown any, erm, growth since last season…
BLAKE: I’m trying to make my canvas full of feelings and emotions
At least that’s the gist of Blake’s artistic expression. Naturally, his painting is so censored all we get is the frame and Blake explaining that “not a lot of species can do” the specific sexual act he drew. At least he’s on brand!
Justice For Andrew
Perhaps the wildest moment from this week was not when Mike P, clad in cult white, gamely whispered “mother” in Katie’s ear, but when Katie let Andrew go during the rose ceremony. I was, and absolutely still am, floored by that decision.
Going into the rose ceremony, Katie had two roses left to give out and three guys on the chopping block: Justin, Andrew, and Blake. (Greg had already scored the one-on-one rose while Michael picked up the group date rose). I assumed Blake would get a rose because Katie seems to have a soft spot for guys who challenge my sanity. Justin seemed like the natural next option to be cut from the competition. I still know nothing about Justin except that his facial expressions will be the sole reason people buy the newest version of What Do You Meme?. I was shocked when instead Katie cut Andrew. Andrew!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN?? I would never eliminate that man. If forced to choose between him and Greg, I would marry them both and move to Utah.
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Katie, you FOOL!!!
What makes this goodbye all the more painful is that it’s dragged out. Katie sends Andrew home at the rose ceremony, but in the last 20 minutes of the episode they reconnect the following day. Andrew shows up at her door wanting to get more closure. They talk and he leaves her a cutesy little letter that says “if you ever change your mind… I’ll be here.” IF YOU EVER CHANGE YOUR MIND, I’LL BE HERE! Be! still! my! heart!
Katie immediately goes chasing down the stairs after him—she’s really making the camera crew earn their bonus check this year—and straddles him in the Hyatt’s lobby. She’s, like, aggressively making out with him in a way that makes me question if she gets off to gifs of The Notebook in her downtime. She even invites him back on the show despite her producer vigorously making the cut sign in the background. But Andrew turns her down. That’s right: Andrew. turns. her. down. Why must you waste my time like this, ABC? WHY?
Whatever, all I know is Andrew is single now. So, if you need me I’m just going to finish this box of wine and make magic happen in his DMs. See you hoes next week!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); Betches (1); @katiethurston /Twitter (1); @andrewzspencer /Instagram (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Some of you informed me that you did not actually watch last week’s episode, as it aired the day after July 4th and you were instead
otherwise engaged still in your star-spangled bikini, cursing White Claw’s good name. To that I say:
I guess some of us take our patriotic duties a little more seriously than others, mmkay?
Moving on. We’re now midway into Katie’s season, and I have to ask myself: what’s next? Usually this is the point where ABC would haul the contestants off to some remote corner of the world to watch them deeply offend another culture or, at the very least, behave in ways that lands them on TSAs no fly list (see: Connor in that cat suit). But alas, we live in a broken world where to travel in anything less than a hazmat suit would require production to shut down for a small amount of time—and we certainly can’t have that! Can you imagine the anarchy it would cause if mid-season they gave these guys a smidgen of their independence back? That’s the first rule of a hostage situation!
So, with travel out of the question, how is ABC going to keep up momentum? Oh, what’s that you say? They’re going to put the men through a no masturbation challenge for absolutely no reason at all? Damn, they must be hard up for content. (I know, I hate myself for that one too).
Katie tells Tayshia and Kaitlyn that a little birdie told her that the men can’t stop diddling themselves between rose ceremonies. I’m sorry, but who is this little birdie?? I’m less alarmed that the men are jerking off (seriously, what did she expect? She left them alone with nothing to talk about but manscaping and pumping iron—of course they’re horny!) and more concerned that there’s a Peeping Tom in their midst. Chris Harrison, be honest, was it you? Are you the “little birdie”?
CHRIS HARRISON AND HIS PUBLICIST, TWO MILES OUTSIDE THE HYATT:
Katie says she wants to make the men’s experience ~harder~ on the show. And then she snickers into her hands like the 14-year-old boy she actually is. She would like for the men to hold off on masturbating for the foreseeable future. Why? Lol you don’t need reasons on this show! Katie dubs the challenge: WOWO (Week Off Whacking Off) but The Horny Games feels like a missed opportunity on ABC’s part. For shame.
When Katie gives the guys their challenge they act like she just asked them to give up air for a week. The Virgin is like, “I’ve been doing this for years!” and it’s like, you said you were celibate, not clinically insane! You’re telling me you’ve never touched your peen before? I’m genuinely worried for his mental health. Then there’s Greg who looks like he’s wondering if wet dreams count as self-care. That’s a question only you can answer for yourself, buddy!
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Connor’s reaction is perhaps the most outrageous. He’s like, “no more feeding the wild stallion.” FEEDING THE WILD STALLION. Okay, my libido just shriveled up and died. Can you imagine if that was your math teacher talking about the torment of not being able to “get jiggy” with himself on national television? I would have to transfer schools.
The men spend the rest of the episode policing each other’s showers and jumping out from around corners yelling “gotcha!” if a guy spends more than 90 seconds unsupervised. What’s worse is that during the group date, the men feel obligated to give Katie a status update on their progress.
THE MEN: I haven’t touched myself, I swear!!
ALSO THE MEN:
Look, you don’t get a gold star for keeping your hands to yourself for 24 hours! Do you even understand the meaning of self-restraint?
The drama comes to a head (again, I hate myself for these puns) when Blake sneaks into Katie’s hotel room at the end of the episode. He spent the group date telling Katie about his extensive masturbation habits (he uses his right hand on Saturdays, but his left hand on Sundays!), and Katie almost seemed enamored with this declaration. He’s like, “I’m just really built up.” Would you like a medal for your sacrifice, sir? You’ve been on this show for five days. Please.
After his makeout session with Katie he says he’s ready for his “happy ending” and then the cameras promptly pan to sprinklers going off on the front lawn. So, yeah. That happened. Excuse me while I go bleach my eyeballs and pray that a sinkhole opens up beneath my feet lest I be subjected to any more of this travesty. Mom? Can you pick me up? I hate it here.
Hunter Gets Roasted
Aside from Katie’s gag order on masturbation, the other drama in the house this week revolves around Hunter daring to breathe air in the same space as the other contestants. Apparently the guys don’t like Hunter because he *checks notes* has watched this show before? Sorry, didn’t realize there was a kill order out there for any person with working eyes and ears. My bad!
As if sensing things might be amiss, Katie uses the group date to get to the bottom of things. She introduces them to drag queen royalty and then announces that they must participate in a roast. She and the queens will judge their ability to creatively fillet the characters of the other men in the room.
So, let me get this straight. Katie wants to put a bunch of men, who haven’t orgasmed in days, into one room and then expects them to be able to string together sentences… humorously? Look, these guys have questionable communication skills on good days. Brendan doesn’t even look like he could type an email before his morning ritual of pre-workout and jerking one out to his reflection. It seems like she’s asking a lot of them…
As I suspected, the roast is abominable. They’re not so much roasting each other as they are giving each other what my boss likes to call “compliment sandwiches.” So, it’s not “I hate you because you’re fat” it’s “you’re fat because I hate you.” See the difference?
Also, as someone who takes great pains in roasting these people every Monday, I’m disappointed. Where are the jokes! Michael looks like every word out of his mouth is about to be an apology. Meanwhile, Greg has the audacity to read a poem straight from his dream journal. I’ve attended middle school sleepovers that are more vicious than this roasting.
GREG: To the guys in this house: you’re more beautiful than Cinderella, you smell like pine needles, and your face is like sunshine.
Hunter is the only one who gets consistent insults lobbed his way, but even those are subpar at best. Later, during drinks, the guys individually voice their complaints about Hunter to Katie. Aaron’s like, “I want to protect you” which would mean a lot more if the guy this was coming from didn’t have a whole-ass burn book devoted to the guys in this house. Despite the men’s reservations about Hunter, he manages to make it through the group date relatively unscathed.
Katie Takes Out The Trash
This week was a doozy in terms of eliminations. We started out with 11 contestants, but by the end of the episode Katie had whittled her count down to six. Aside from the group date, there were two one-on-one dates this week: Justin and Connor. Justin managed to snag a rose after their date but if you’re looking for more details than that, I can’t help you. The only notes I wrote down about their date was “Justin is cute but he looks like a cartoon character” and “I would make a deal with a bridge troll to never have to sit through one of these fake wedding dates ever again.”
Like, why do they do this to the contestants? This feels like they’re asking for a witch’s curse to be placed on their love lives. You can’t just don a wedding gown and write fake wedding vows and not expect a supernatural being that looks suspiciously like an Olsen twin to curse your happiness until the end of your days! So, yeah. Justin gets a rose… but at what cost??
But while sparks flew during Justin’s date, the only thing flammable about Connor’s date was my cheeks listening to every cringeworthy thing he said. They go on a double date with Kaitlyn and her fiancé, Jason, where they engage in typical couple-y activities. I guess Katie wanted to see if under all of that cat makeup and troublesome ukulele playing, there was a guy who was less embarrassing to be seen in public with. It’s a fair concern. Honestly, the more screen time Connor gets, the more I feel like it’s probable he gets bullied by the kids at his school. He’s giving me serious Summer Heights High Mr. G vibes.
The resemblance! is! uncanny!
And sure enough, after one kiss with Connor, Katie is reevaluating her feelings for him. She shows up to his hotel room crying and he’s like, “it’s okay, I know where this is going, just breathe.” I KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING, JUST BREATHE. Ooof I felt that in the depths of my cold, dead heart. I know I give this guy a lot of sh*t but even for me this feels like an especially harsh dumping.
Katie even says kissing him is like kissing her cousin (I paraphrase). She’s like, “I know I can be honest with you, which is why I’m telling you that it’s not you, it’s your kissing.” Wowwwww. Like did she really have to go there? Couldn’t she have just left it at “there’s no spark”?? You know he’s about to go home and never a kiss another human being for the rest of his natural born life.
But that’s not even the worst part of this dumping! The worst part is they make Connor walk of shame back to the men. Normally, a producer or ABC’s least favorite intern, will quietly pick up their suitcases so the men aren’t humiliated for a second time. Not so for Connor. They can’t even let him have the last shred of his dignity.
To be fair though, the guys are acting more hysterical about saying goodbye to him than Katie was. Let’s hope these tears are over friendship and not because they guys are worried that with their teacher/SoulCycle instructor gone they wont have a physical outlet to get rid of their energy and are panicked about accidentally masturbating all over the place. I can picture it now: the entire resort just covered in seminal fluid as the manager of the Hyatt weeps quietly in the corner.
At least SOMEONE thought he was a good kisser 😘 #thebachelorette #BachelorNation pic.twitter.com/57Cn7M4cuy
— Adrian Funtimes (@AdrianFunTimes) July 13, 2021
And the carnage doesn’t end with Connor. No, it’s a blood bath this evening. During the rose ceremony, Katie lets go of four more guys. She takes the men’s advice and dismisses Hunter from the house… but also sends all his haters packing too. Tre, Aaron, and Box Guy all get sent home, which leaves Michael, The Virgin, Greg, Andrew, Justin, and Brendan (the Canadian firefighter with not one distinguishable quality to his name) to duke it out for Hometown spots next week. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4); @adrianfuntimes /Twitter (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1)
Hello, Bachelor fam, and welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Yes, it’s the day after July 4th and, yes, ABC had the audacity to air a new episode while their audience is violently hungover. It’s fine. I’m only having to pause the episode every three seconds to pray for death and chug my Gatorade. IT’S FINE.
What Do We Really Know About Blake?
Going into this week, Blake’s sudden entrance into the house is still a massive storyline. If you’ll recall, Blake scored the final rose at last week’s rose ceremony despite the fact that 1) he was not present at the actual rose ceremony, and 2) he received his rose whilst wearing nothing but a retainer and his underoos, like a seventh grade boy before he crank calls his math teacher. To each their own, Katie, I suppose.
Katie is worried that the men won’t take the news well and goes to host Kaitlyn for advice. Kaitlyn had a similar experience during her own season of The Bachelorette when she severed the Bachelor Mansion’s magical wards and let an evil spirit slither into the house in the form of Nick Viall. They both shrug and laugh like, what’s the worst that could happen lol? And I think they’re forgetting what a scourge on this earth Nick’s time on the franchise was. Do we not remember how ABC held us hostage while Nick terrorized our television screens for four different seasons of this godforsaken franchise? I still have nightmares about him licking his lips in those chunky knit turtlenecks. That’s the worst that could happen!!
Katie decides that the best way to deliver the news is gently, with great care and respect for all the parties involved. So, she gives Blake gets the first one-on-one date of the week and tells the guys not to worry, there’s just some “great chemistry there” that she wants to explore. Katie! Talk about shooting a man’s horse! Look, I’m not going to tell you how to do your job, but this crowd that looks like at minimum they each drink 12 scoops of pre-workout a day. Their nerves are so frayed they’d jump that lamp if Katie expressed too much interest in it.
On that note, Katie takes Blake for a romantic horseback ride. It’s all fine and good but I literally cannot stop thinking about Blake’s job description. His bio reads “wildlife advocate” which is a vague and meaningless title that at the very least suggests he’s an animal person, AND YET, this big wilderness guy cannot get that damn horse to heel to him for him. He’s like, “how do I make it go??” How do you make it go? What are you, a 16-year-old girl crying through her dad’s lesson on driving stick shift? I thought this was your profession! Horses are like, the most domesticated wildlife out there! He looks about as comfortable with the wildlife as I do trying to fill out a W2 form.
I was so disturbed at how bad he is with animals that I even looked him up on Instagram to see if I could glean some more details on his job title and, let me tell you, it’s suspect at best. There are several selfies of him posing with various wild animals but all the images look cropped and are mostly up-close shots. What are we cropping out, Blake? It makes me wonder that if the full frame of these photos would reveal that he’s actually handling these animals under the supervision of a petting zoo. Like, are you a wildlife advocate or do you just occasionally donate money to your local humane society? What is the truth? And what else have you been lying about, Blake? If that’s even your real name!
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You be the judge…
I’ve been struggling to understand Katie’s immediate connection with Blake. As I’ve said before, Blake just doesn’t do it for me. And by “do it for me” I mean every time he speaks, my libido physically shrivels up and dies. But they do seem very into each other. Conversation flows between the two of them in a way that’s sort of unnatural for a first date. At dinner he asks Katie about her journey to sex positivity, and I think I get his appeal even more. Once again, Katie rehashes her traumatic nonconsensual sexual experience and Blake handles it well. I’m sure he wasn’t at all expecting her to launch into that kind of deeply personal territory, but he just goes with it in a way that feels genuine and supportive.
And it works! By the end of the date they’re making out on an abandoned dance floor while a band, that looks like they would pull a Jennifer’s Body and sacrifice a high school cheerleader for this not to be the make-or-break moment of their career, strums along in the background. All is right in The Bachelorette universe.
A Brief Break In Your Programming To Gush About Andrew S
Andrew S gets the other one-on-one date of the week, and I could not be more pleased. I’ll admit, when Andrew first graced our television screens and his immediate play to enter the house was to lie his ass off to Katie with that fake English accent, I was almost certain I would hate everything about this guy. But week after week he continues to impress me. When the Thomas situation last week had the rest of the guys in the house acting less like romantic, supportive partners and more like angry TV dads in a sitcom about teenage daughters dating, Andrew was the only one to suggest that Katie is a grown-ass woman who can make her own decisions about the men she chooses to spend her time with. We love to see it. He’s just consistently non-dramatic and it’s refreshing to say the least.
Also, that smile:
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That being said, their date is trash. I’m not sure who planned this excursion (and I’m using that term loosely here) but Andrew deserved so much better. While Blake got a scenic horseback ride and a romantic picnic, Andrew is tasked with answering riddles hanging from a tree like he’s an extra in Pocahontas and this is Mother freaking Willow. Twinkle lights don’t make this a romantic date, ABC!
At least Andrew is a good sport about all of this. He answers all of the tree’s riddles, even the ones that force him to pretend he finds Katie’s dance moves sexy. They both seem to think they have a lot in common, even if the only thing they’ve agreed upon thus far is that they don’t hate Sundays and both like brunch. Can you imagine if one of them admitted that they hated brunch? How un-American.
ANDREW: I’m so glad we’re doing this, I’m finding out we both have so much in common!
WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON:
Honestly, I’ve made a relationship work off of less.
During the dinner/drinks portion of the evening, their connection seems to deepen even more. Andrew opens up about his strained relationship with his dad and his past struggles in interracial relationships. When he talked about how his ex was hesitant to have children with him because she wasn’t sure she wanted mixed children, my heart actually broke for him. Okay, Andrew is my favorite. I don’t even want him for Katie, I want him for me. Andrew, if you’re reading this, I am reading every single one of my DMs and would answer literally anything you sent me even if it’s only emojis.
There’s No Crying In Bash Ball
Shortly after Katie announces Blake’s arrival in the house, she decides to test the tenuous grasp the men have over their own emotions by hosting a group date disguised as an athletic thunderdome. Smart. Clearly, she’s choosing not to pick up on any of the palpable hostility in the house. Katie, is it really in your best interest to throw a bunch of guys whose diets consist of red meat and protein powder into a televised Greek gladiator games? Hmm? Think about it.
Of course, ABC can’t come right out and call it that. No, this is Bash Ball, a totally-not-made-up game that appears to be a distorted version of both rugby and basketball that has two main purposes: to humiliate and to maim. The humiliation aspect comes when the men are forced to don wrestling uniforms with shocking hem lengths and Katie’s name all but bedazzled on their asses. I’ve seen less revealing workout sets in the clearance section of a Bebe. Michael in particular looks scandalized at how he’s going to explain to his young children that daddy showing his nipples on live television is somehow a noble quest for love. Good luck with that, buddy.
Then there’s the intent to maim. Every season ABC awards the most bloodthirsty of producers for coming up with some demented sports situation that results in bodily harm and outs at least five of the contestants as sociopathic. This season is no different. Perhaps no one has revealed their true self more than Hunter. The bloodlust radiating off of him on this field right now is absolutely astonishing. He looks like the type who psyched himself up in the locker room by pounding raw eggs and and violently masturbating to Braveheart.
HUNTER PREPPING FOR THIS GROUP DATE:
And what do you know? Hunter is the first to draw blood on the field when he tackles the sh*t out of Virgin Mike and practically bathes in his blood, he’s so high off the carnage. This results in the rest of the men losing all semblance of self-control and launching into uncoordinated attacks all over the damn field. At one point Single Dad Michael gets injured. It’s a harrowing moment in which a man who survived the death of his spouse is curled in the fetal position, shaking uncontrollably and looking like he might vomit into the grass, as production has the audacity to zoom in on his ass to emphasize the bedazzled hearts on his uniform. Jesus Christ, ABC. Show some respect!
It turns out Michael is fine—he’s not hurt, he’s just above the age of 26! But Katie still calls off the game and invites everyone to the cocktail portion of the date. While the rest of the guys look humbled by their behavior on the field, especially after Michael reveals that today is his dead wife’s birthday and instead of grieving privately, production has gussied him up in a slutty wrestler’s costume and then let loose a hoard of men on him who suffer from anger management issues. Greg is openly sobbing by the time Michael is done speaking. Meanwhile, Hunter is manically rubbing his hands together and is like, “yeah today was fun wasn’t it?”
What’s crazy is how Katie doesn’t see any of this. Though he comes off as overly aggressive and cocky towards the men, he uses the opposite strategy with Katie. Sure, he’s the same guy who got a hard-on from watching a single father practically dislocate his shoulder, but look Katie, he has pictures of his kids! Damn. He knows how to play the game, I’ll give him that.
Tensions in the house remain heightened between Hunter and the rest of the men during the rose ceremony. Even though Hunter snagged himself a rose at the group date (seriously, how did that happen?), he still wants more alone time with Katie. He doesn’t give a sh*t about the men in the house who don’t have a rose. He’s William F*cking Wallace and he’ll do what he wants.
Cut to James, aka Box Guy, looking less than thrilled. Honestly, I can’t take this dude seriously either. He’s decked in all black, from his turtleneck to his skin-tight pants, with only a tiny chain necklace to break up his outfit. I’m shrieking. He looks like a Rocky and Bullwinkle villain.
I mean… the similarities are uncanny.
All of this tension and drama ultimately leads to nothing. The episode ends with a regular ole rose ceremony. Boooo. Here’s who moves on to next week: Blake, Hunter, and Andrew S., Greg, Aaron, Michael, Connor the Cat Man, James/Box Guy, Justin, Mike, Brendan, and Tre. Until next week, pals!
Images: Giphy (3); @andrewzspencer /Instagram (1); @blakemoynes /Instagram (1)