According to the Chinese zodiac, 2022 is the year of the tiger, but, based on the current trend of penises on TV, it’s looking more like the year of the one-eyed snake. Seriously. If you want to see an on-screen peen, you don’t have to look too hard. Pardon my French, but what’s with all the dicks?
First, there’s Euphoria, everybody’s favorite high school dramedy, which seems to relish its ability to let the dongs out. Season 1 brought us that locker room scene, complete with plenty of dicks flopping about in the background. This year, season 2 (finally) came out, and for anyone hoping for a barrage of male genitalia, you won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of penises—including one seen dangling over an open toilet during a mid-house party dump and another that’s been bloodied and mangled. If you ask me, that’s the most unrealistic part of Euphoria. I went to high school for four years, but I didn’t see nearly as many wieners.
In the recent Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That, two penises were shown in a single episode. That might not seem too shocking for a show about sex, but when you consider that not a single dick made an appearance over the course of Sex and the City’s original six-season run, it kind of is.
Not to be outdone, Hulu’s 2022 series Pam and Tommy featured a talking penis. (You read that right, the cock in question spoke.) And in HBO Max’s new comedy, Minx, the pilot episode alone had a whopping 20 dicks (yes, I counted. For, uh, research.)
Other recent shows with full-frontal men include White Lotus, Sex Education, Scenes from a Marriage, and Sex/Life. While the continued rise of streaming services (which don’t have to cater to FCC regulations) is partially responsible for this sudden influx of dick, it’s not just TV serving up steamy penis scenes. Movies like Don’t Look Up, Nightmare Alley, The Worst Person in the World, and The Power of the Dog had fully nude men on screen. Although both Don’t Look Up and The Power of the Dog had limited theatrical runs before being released on Netflix, the willies weren’t censored for the cinema.
Seeing a dick on the big screen isn’t exactly new; back in 2014, Ben Affleck showed (part) of his peen in Gone Girl, and the internet promptly lost its goddamn mind. It’s worth noting that the film also featured a topless Emily Ratajkowski, but that split-second side shot of Matt Damon’s other half (and his other half) was far more titillating for moviegoers.
Affleck wasn’t the first actor to let his pecker loose for a role (see both Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Hangover), nor was he the first major movie star to whip it out (see Richard Gere in 1980’s American Gigolo.) But it was still a rare enough occurrence that it garnered a mass amount of attention.
Over the last five years, the on-screen peen has steadily increased in popularity. Which begs the real question: why? Are they simply there for shock value? Or are they intended as a way to even the playing field? Is showing a dick on TV a feminist statement of sorts in this post-#MeToo world? What exactly are these penises (talking or otherwise) saying?
Whether or not this advent of mainstream male nudity signals gender equality in Hollywood is beside the point. Because what actually matters is whether or not tit-for-tat is equal. Sadly, the answer is typically no.
For one thing, when men flash their dicks on screen, more often than not, it’s a prosthetic. With the exception of Lily James in Pam and Tommy, this is rarely the case for women. When an actress goes topless in a movie, the audience probably sees her real breasts.
People tend to give one of two arguments as justification for this disparity—that boobs aren’t the equivalent to male genitalia, or that penis size is more personal to men than breast size is to women. Neither is particularly compelling.
Sure, in terms of reproduction and biology, boobs aren’t the same as penises. But considering that the vagina is internal, I’d say breasts are a fair comparison. Not to mention that the list of female actresses who’ve gone full-frontal in a film far outweighs the list of male actors.
As for the argument that it’s more embarrassing for a man to have a small willy than for a woman to have itty bittys, I’m not buying it. Personally, I know plenty of men who are quite proud of their packages, but I have yet to meet a single woman who is genuinely happy with how she looks naked. And besides, why are we so willing to accommodate the possible embarrassment of male actors while dismissing the comfort level of actresses?
Women are expected to bare their real breasts if a script calls for it, whereas if a man goes fully nude on screen, sans prosthesis, he’s lauded for his bravery. Countless articles have already been written about Bradley Cooper’s decision to bare all for his latest endeavor, Nightmare Alley. Oscar Issac and his lack of a prosthetic penis went viral on social media even though his Scenes from a Marriage co-star, Jessica Chastain, appeared nude alongside him. Even the discussion of her nakedness centered more on him, as she’d only agreed to do it if he was also expected to go full-frontal.
Another big difference is how nudity is used. When women are naked on TV, it’s almost always sexualized, intended to arouse (either another character, the audience, or both). A naked penis, on the other hand, isn’t there to turn you on. It’s there to make you laugh or prove a point (like, that the show is progressive and boundary-pushing).
So, while the uptick in on-screen dick is progress, we still have a long way to go before tat is genuinely equal to tit.
Images: Erin Simkin/Hulu; Eddy Chen/HBO; AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX
It’s easy to get bummed about being single when you’re watching most classic sitcoms and popular dramadies. These shows are supposed to be about doctors, or twentysomethings figuring it out, or rich people in New York City. And yet, the central theme to most television is love, love, love! Preferably a love triangle that can keep viewers hooked for at least five seasons or until they hit syndication. The will-they-won’t-they dynamic is great for moving the narrative, but it’s given us all some warped ideas about relationships or longing eternally for someone you can’t quite have. Because we need a good season finale cliffhanger.
It’s time to take a step back and see these TV couples for what they are: toxic as hell. Don’t let NBC or anyone convince you that being single is worse than being in one of these horrible pairings. Instead, sit back, enjoy having a glass of wine alone, and the freedom to binge watch your favorite show without anyone trying to take the remote. Here are some of the most toxic TV relationships to remind single people they’re living the sweet life.
Emily and Gabriel
My favorite hate-watch, Emily In Paris, wants the audience to root for Emily and French chef Gabriel so badly. Sorry, no. Cheating is bad. The girl code exists for a reason. Do not give a girl a nice pan if you’re cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Even if Camille miraculously gives these two her blessing in some future season, it’s pretty hard to build a healthy relationship when you know your boyfriend is the type to sneak around seasoning other people’s iron.
Big and Carrie
This one is maybe too obvious. Carrie and Big eventually came together on a bridge in Paris, got married, and lived a few decades together before “John” got the ax in And Just Like That…, but c’mon. That ending was fan service. The real pinnacle of their relationship was the day Carrie threw a Big Mac at her horrible boyfriend’s head and realized he was never going to change. Because, honey, in real life they never do.
Eve and Villanelle
A serial murderer and a detective make a passionate pairing, especially with actors as compelling as Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. Fans of Killing Eve love watching these two dance around each other, ratcheting up the danger and desire with every episode. Personally, I don’t know if the juice is worth the squeeze here. It’s exciting to be obsessed with someone, but would you want to be worried about them jumping out of your closet with a knife after a long day at the office?
Issa and Nathan
Issa ends up with Lawrence, the man she began Insecure with. There is plenty of debate amongst fans about whether or not this was the right choice, but at least they both showed some growth and character development that would justify their reunification over the series. Part of Issa’s journey included her time with Nathan, the elusive barber who was also a big fav with viewers. Yes, he was hot as hell, and sure, people make mistakes—but if someone ghosts you for months, please know it’s not romance. It’s a cry for help.
Catherine and Peter
This is the rare dysfunctional relationship on TV where the people in it know it’s dysfunctional. Catherine the Great and her husband Peter are often trying to kill one another. Isn’t it nice to not be in an arranged marriage with a deranged king? I’d choose going stag to a holiday party over that anytime.
Kimberly and Nico
The Sex Lives of College Girls is a parade of relationship dysfunction, probably because that is the college experience for most people. But the lies Nico tells Kimberly to make sweet love to her over and over will really make you appreciate the fact that you will never be invited to a frat party again.
Joe and Pretty Much Anybody
If there’s a show out there that will convince you never to date again, it’s You. Sickeningly, Penn Badgley is devastatingly attractive and it’s easy to see how these women get charmed by him… at first. Before long, they’re ignoring their instincts that something is not quite right with old Joe Goldberg, and by then it’s too late. Even if the person you’re dating isn’t a psychopath, we’ve all experienced the ole bait and switch. Never again! Until next season!
Sookie and Bill
True Blood was the classic two-men-love-one-woman show, except the two men were undead. While no one is giving Eric Northman any awards for sanity, Sookie’s first love, Vampire Bill, ends the series on the most deranged note possible, coercing his former girlfriend to put a stake through his heart inside the grave he digs for himself. Is this the ultimate expression of love? Or only something a controlling weirdo would do?
Daphne and Simon
Okay, I know Regé-Jean Page is unbelievably dreamy and that Phoebe Dynevor dated Pete Davidson, so there’s a lot of loyalty to these Bridgerton characters and their (eventual) happy ending. But if you are in a relationship that involves stealing someone’s sperm, it’s not a healthy situation. I don’t care if it’s the imaginary 1800s. Communication comes before cum thievery.
Nate and Maddy and Cassie
Pretty much all of season 2 of Euphoria is about these three having sex, not having sex, finding out about sex, screaming and crying and driving while under the influence. While I would like to kiss all their beautiful faces, you couldn’t pay me enough money to be in a relationship with any one of them. Growing up and getting over histrionic drama totally rocks.
Images: Eddy Chen/HBO; Giphy (10)
When I think of my favorite television shows, most of them consist of over-dramatic, super-produced reality television. However, in the last few years I’ve been yearning for a show that isn’t over-the-top dramatic, something that I can relate to as a young Black person trying to figure this life shit out. ABC’s Abbott Elementary is what I’ve been waiting for. The series stars Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, a passionate, fairly new second-grade teacher who wants the best for her students, and is trying to figure out how she wants to approach her teaching career. Most of us know Brunson from her hilarious skits and her work with Buzzfeed (the iconic “he got money” meme), so of course, I was excited to watch Abbott Elementary. The show is the perfect example of representation done right and how you can have representation for Black people on TV without the exploitation of Black trauma.
I was drawn to Abbott Elementary because I love a good mockumentary. Shows like The Office, Parks and Rec, and Modern Family are my go-to comfort shows, however, I’ve never been able to really relate to any of them. Yes, there are Black characters on all three of those shows, but those characters are usually on the sidelines and aren’t given the proper screentime in order for us to get to know them. On top of that, the dialogue they were given was usually embedded in stereotypes, like Donna from Parks and Rec being the token “sassy Black woman”. Now, one could argue that representation in any capacity should be celebrated and that Black people are not monolithic; therefore, there isn’t any “correct” way to showcase Black people on TV. While there is truth to that, representation goes beyond just putting a Black person in a group of white people—doing that is just performative. It is also not just talent on screen that matters, but off-screen as well. When Black talent does not have anyone that looks like them behind the scenes, their characters and storylines aren’t given the love and attention that they deserve, and I notice one or two things that usually occur. One, either the Black character(s) are only surrounded by white people and are the butt of a lot of cringe race jokes (Stanley from The Office; Angela from Boy Meets World). Or two, the Black talent is forced to become the sounding board for white guilt and is presumed a “history teacher” to their white colleagues (Eboni K. Williams from The Real Housewives of New York City). That’s why watching Abbott Elementary is so refreshing. Not only do we have a predominantly Black cast, but there’s representation across the board, from the hair and makeup team to the production design.
In addition to the representation in front of and behind the camera, Abbott Elementary also does a good job of showcasing Black people on television simply existing. When I say existing, that does not mean that I expect to watch a show with a predominantly Black cast and not address some of the adversities that we as Black people endure; it’s simply not possible. But, I like the fact the show doesn’t feel heavy while still making me feel seen as a Black person. Sometimes, when I see a predominantly Black cast on television or in movies, there’s always a factor of Black trauma that is showcased, which can be incredibly triggering. Obviously, the struggles that we as Black people face solely because of our existence should be talked about, but I don’t want to always have to relive those experiences constantly, especially when I’m chasing some form of escapism. What I appreciate about Abbott Elementary is that it humanizes the Black experience. Brunson’s character, Janine, faces confidence issues, relationship issues, and attempts to connect with some of her co-workers, which at times doesn’t work out. These are things that I have faced before, as have many of my peers. To be able to relate to Brunson’s character has made me realize the importance and impact that representation on television can have, all while still feeling safe in my viewing experience.
Abbott Elementary has everything you could ask for in a sitcom: humor, bubbling romance, and a great chemistry between the cast. There aren’t any characters that feel unnecessary or make you feel uncomfortable, and everyone on the cast contributes to the show’s success. I love that I can relate to this show in a way that isn’t based on Black trauma, but rather, on my experience as a young Black person trying to figure my life out. My hope is that not only will the show continue to be successful, but that it creates an avenue for other Black creators to create original content.
Images: ABC/Gilles Mingasson
The Bachelor is the TV show equivalent of a f*ckboy. Every season I vow to stop dedicating hours of my life to an experience that gives me more aggravation than actual pleasure. But after the final rose, I delude myself into thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’ll be different next time. And as sure as an
unwanted appearance by Ashley I., I’m back. It actually is different this time, but not in the way I was hoping. My issue this season has nothing to do with the fact that Matt is a less-than-compelling lead. After all, this is a show built around mediocre men. The problem is with our villain. Coming off the literal garbage heap of Peter’s season where producers couldn’t even successfully produce a villain, this time they’re overcompensating by force-feeding us Victoria, a contestant so over-the-top, she’s practically a cartoon. Unfortunately, Queen V lacks all of the qualities that make for a truly great Bachelor villain.
She Lacks Complexity
Victoria is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe she’s anything other than a producer plant, sent to stir up drama and provoke the other contestants. This might actually be fine if it all didn’t feel so one-dimensional. Past villains like Corinne Olympios and Demi Burnett were so fun to watch because they had layers. At first glance, both women seemed like they were only there to seduce the lead and piss off the other women in the process. But as we got to know them, each woman gave us a softer side. Corinne had a sweet relationship with her former nanny, Raquel, who was a mother figure to her. Demi opened up about the struggles she faced while her own mother was in prison. Despite their villain-like qualities, each woman was vulnerable, which, despite being a comically overused term on this show, is key to not only winning the lead’s heart, but also being a good villain. Maybe we’ll get to see a different side to Victoria. But for now, waving around a crown and calling every person that you dislike “toxic” for no apparent reason feels more like the kind of shtick that should end in a night one elimination, especially given the targets she chooses. Which brings me to my next point.
She Chooses Unworthy Opponents
Almost immediately, Victoria gets into it with her roommate, Marylynn. She claims Marylynn is “toxic” and “psychologically disturbed”, even going so far as to tell Matt that Marylynn is bullying her. However, we’re given no actual proof of this being the case. On the contrary, Marylynn is sweet, docile, and seems to get along just fine with the other women. She seems genuinely shocked when confronted by Matt about the bullying accusations and tries to respectfully work things out with Victoria. Victoria, on the other hand, refuses to even hear what Marylynn has to say, steamrolling her with the “bully” narrative and finally bringing Marylynn to tears.
Targeting the mild-mannered Marylynn is like trying to kill a fly with an elephant gun. It’s unnecessary and, frankly, difficult to watch. Viewers enjoy a fair fight. Had Victoria been able to successfully spar with someone like Katie, it would’ve been far more impressive and entertaining, but she’s ill-equipped. Instead, she prefers antagonizing contestants who are unable or unwilling to fight back, which is why she then set her sights on Sarah.
Her Toxicity Has Infected The Group
We enjoy villains not only because they’re entertaining and spice things up, but also because they serve as a foil to the hero and ultimately provide a comforting vehicle for “good” to triumph over “evil”. What’s been remarkable about this season thus far is that it’s unclear who the “good guys” actually are. Aside from the real queen Katie, the rest of the contestants went from looking visibly uncomfortable around Victoria to piling onto her takedown of Sarah. As someone who wrote under the pseudonym Betchina George, I can usually appreciate a catty moment when it’s warranted, but things went way too far there. Sure, Sarah was needy, and it was wrong of her to steal the other girls’ time. But for the women to not only sit silently while Victoria mocked Sarah in the midst of her apology, but then gleefully join in on the bullying by threatening to make the rest of Sarah’s time in the house horrible was totally unacceptable, whether they knew about her sick father or not.
Unfortunately, even with Sarah gone, the cattiness continues. Victoria has a new henchwoman in Anna, with the two delighting in the vicious rumor that new girl Brittany is an escort and cackling like Cinderella’s stepsisters after Victoria calls Catalina, who by all accounts has done nothing to Victoria, “the dumbest hoe I’ve ever met”. Not a good look.
Victoria: I’m an empath.
Her Romantic Connection With Matt is Nonexistent
What’s made many past Bachelor villains believable is their connection to the lead. Krystal Nielson stuck around despite being extremely polarizing because it was clear she and Arie had actual chemistry. We even had a villain win an entire season, because Ben Flajnik was unable to hide his erection affection for Courtney Robertson. The same can’t be said for the connection between Matt and Victoria this season. He looks visibly pained calling her name at the rose ceremony week after week, and when they have had one-on-one time, the conversations we’ve seen have been totally superficial. Matt isn’t exactly shy about making out with the contestants he’s into, usually by attempting to engulf their entire face with his mouth. So far, he’s given Victoria the kind of half-hearted hugs I begrudgingly gave to distant relatives as a child.
Actual Footage of Matt and Victoria Interacting:
The chemistry is palpable.
It’s clear that this season is hitting differently when it comes to the usual villain trope. Maybe as we become savvier as reality TV viewers and the fourth wall breaks, it’s harder to suspend our disbelief and easier to spot the producer prompts and manufactured drama we glossed over in previous seasons. Or maybe we’re living in a political climate where we’re tired of the constant negative rhetoric and glorifying those who seem to be mean for its own sake. Whatever the reason, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to root for Victoria and almost all of the other women this season. I want to believe that she’ll surprise us and redeem herself in the coming weeks, but it’s The Bachelor. I’ve been burned before.
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2)
I’ve been a Bachelor fan for over seven years, and while our relationship has always been one-sided — me committing every Monday night to the show and getting nothing but broken engagements in return—I may finally be close to reaching my breaking point. While I’ve been getting older, the contestants have been getting younger. While I’ve become more convinced that no God could possibly allow *gestures broadly at the world* this, the leads have been getting more religious. While I look more and more like my great aunt Connie each day, my jawline receding like Steve Carell’s hair in the early seasons of The Office, the women look more and more like the same impossibly beautiful Instagram model. Hannah B., Hannah G., Hannah Ann — shouldn’t you at least try using a different first name?
I miss the days when contestants would show up to Paradise with new lips, higher and thicker brows, a fresh batch of highlights, and a growing thirst for sponsorships. Back then, we’d at least get a glimpse of their “before”. But now it seems ABC will only cast women who have either completed their transformations or were gifted with unnatural beauty and a 0% body fat at birth. Has someone started a Bachelor franchise farm somewhere where women are bred with the intention of reaching an Emily Ratajkowski level of perfection? Because I spent some time in the world before the pandemic, and I’m pretty confident that the majority of humans don’t look like this . Where are you finding these people????
But it’s not just the entirely unrealistic and arguably destructive beauty standards that have, over the past few years, made it harder and harder for me to relate to the show, to listen to Chris Harrison talk, to believe in love. It’s also that producers appear to be more afraid to show Jewish (and other non-Christian) storylines than I am to talk politics with my conservative aunt on Facebook. Sure, there have been Jewish contestants (Adam Gottschalk, Lacey Mark and Jason Tartick, to name a few), but did you know they were Jewish? And if you did, did you know that while they were on the show or because like me, you have a fun little hobby of googling “is xxx Jewish” every time someone remotely Semitic-looking appears on your television screen?
There are people who aren’t Christian! There are people who aren’t religious! #TheBachelor https://t.co/1gMNMDjfXY
— Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) January 5, 2021
While there are as many Jesus references and cross necklaces as there are “perfect places to fall in love”, you’d be hard-pressed to find any air time spent on a belief other than Christianity. Even last season, when Tayshia broke up with one of her final three over their religious differences, the show didn’t air the discussion about what those differences were. Who am I kidding, we can’t even get them to acknowledge the existence of agnosticism and I’m over here hoping we’ll get a hometown date with a nice Shabbat dinner.
But season after season I keep coming back. If Jesus still loves Hannah B. after she had sex with Pilot Pete four times in a windmill right before dumping him, can’t The Bachelor still love me after I refuse to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior?
It’s not like I’m asking for a Bachelor-like love story for myself. In fact, I turn to the show for reassurance: even ridiculously good-looking people pick the wrong men, even the Tyler C.’s of the world get rejected, even a show about finding love has somehow managed to… barely ever find it. But I am asking to be able to see myself reflected in one of the many Hannahs of the franchise — it’s a very popular Jewish name for God’s (and Jesus’) sake! And fine, maybe they have a binding contract with the Emily Ratajkowski farm and are strictly prohibited from casting an average-looking woman, but the least they could do is cast someone who doesn’t have a Bible verse in their Instagram bio.
The opening scene of Matt James’ season showed some promise : a short brunette strolling up to Matt and introducing him to her vibrator. But I’m afraid the shelf life of its relatability for me lasted about as long as Peter and Hannah Ann’s engagement. Because, before even getting a first impression rose, we got the first group prayer. And as Matt knelt down to pray to “Heavenly Father” on behalf of all of the women, I couldn’t help but
puke wonder—what the f*ck am I still doing watching this show?
Anyway, I’ll be tuning in all season to see if anything changes . Because just like with any
toxic relationship where I feel neglected, taken advantage of, and generally unworthy, I’d rather have that than nothing at all.
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; giphy (3); @BrettSVergara
Well, friends, we did the impossible. After 11 weeks, two Bachelorettes, and one global pandemic, we’ve made it to the finale! Tayshia is down to her final
two three men. As per usual, Chris Harrison is doing the most in his intro voice-over:
Chris Harrison: Will she get engaged to her soulmate, or will she DIE A LONELY OLD SPINSTER?!
Damn, Chris. I know we’re living in the time of COVID, but there are other men on this planet if she decides she’s not into these guys!
We pick up where we left off, with Tayshia having a sidebar with a producer. She’s being filmed behind some blinds after being blindsided by Ben. You gotta love the producers’ commitment to imagery and metaphors on this show. They had to get them where they could, because lord knows Ivan wasn’t going to liken love to his testicles morphing into icicles on his fantasy suite date. Ben is sitting awkwardly on Tayshia’s couch. He says that by looking at Tayshia’s eyes, he sees there’s more under there. Kind of a strange way to point out under-eye bags, but Ben’s never really had a way with words. I guess it beats the alternative I’m used to getting:
Who can relate?
Ben’s talking a lot about his “love” for Tayshia, but isn’t really saying much. When Tayshia pushes back and asks him if he’s always going to run when things get hard, his response is, “I blew it”. Accurate, but not promising! Instead of sticking with her gut and sending him home for a second time, SHE INVITES HIM TO THE ROSE CEREMONY! They then walk out together, hug, and Tayshia initiates a very passionate kiss. Who knew she was a sucker for a moose knuckle?! While I definitely don’t agree with her decision, I can’t wait to see Zac and Ivan’s reactions when Ben rolls up to the rose ceremony.
The Rose Ceremony
Ivan walks into the rose ceremony with the pre-elimination confidence that has become a hallmark of this show. Feeling the pressure from the producers for not delivering the required love similes on the ice bucket date, he offers the consolation prize of saying it feels awesome to be “open” and “vulnerable” (or “vonurble”, as Tayshia would say). Not for long, buddy. Zac says he’s ready for a proposal. Ben walks in with a goofy grin on his face, as if he expects Ivan and Zac will be happy to see him. I think Bennett gave the book about emotional intelligence to the wrong guy.
Ivan & Zac:
Like many people who’ve gotten dumped, Tayshia proceeds to explain Brendan’s absence by saying “it just didn’t work out.” Control that narrative, girl! She’s about to start handing out roses but then stops and asks Ivan if they can go talk. Ivan’s face says he knows what’s coming next. They then have a cryptic talk about religious differences, but give no specifics about said differences. Is Ivan a Scientologist? That’s the only legitimate theory I can come up with for this abrupt dismissal.
All kidding aside, it may be that Ivan is atheist or agnostic. Tayshia has always been open about her devout Christian beliefs, so it’s possible this is the reason she sent Ivan home. It’d be a shame if that were the only reason she eliminated him, but, let’s face it, she’s been favoring Brendan and Zac for weeks. Given the honest conversations Tayshia and Ivan had about race, it seems strange, and frankly frustrating, that ABC isn’t allowing an unfiltered exchange about religion. Then again, this is ABC we’re talking about, so maybe that’s asking for too much. Ivan takes the elimination in stride like the angel he is. Love you, Ivan! See you in Paradise.
Ben Meets The Family
The next day we catch up with Tayshia writing in her
burn book journal. She meets up with her family and I remember how much I enjoyed Tayshia’s dad, Desmond, eviscerating Colton when Tayshia was competing on his season. Like most viewers, Desmond doesn’t have time for BS. Tayshia tells her family that they’ll be meeting Ben, whom she had previously sent home. Desmond is understandably skeptical and wants some answers. This is gonna be good.
Ben meets with Tayshia’s mom, Rosario, first and keeps talking about how he’s never felt this way before, and the way Tayshia makes him feel, yet he can’t seem to identify the feeling(s) in question. Everything he says is surface-level and there’s no real substance to any of it. It seems like Ben is in love with the idea of love, more so than Tayshia specifically. It doesn’t go much better with Desmond.
Desmond: What do you see in Tayshia?
Ben also tells Desmond about how he and Tayshia talked about “showing up” for Tayshia. Does he think that physically coming back after being sent home is what showing up means? She meant showing up for her emotionally, Ben!
Zac Meets The Family
The tone of Zac’s meeting with the family is completely different. Instead of making his answers all about him and his feelings, he expresses his love for Tayshia by showing love to her family. He even seems to win over Desmond, who says he’s going to be tough on Zac. Instead of saying the things he thinks Desmond wants to hear, Zac is honest about his failed marriage and is able to reflect on his past mistakes, even weaving in a reference to the standards Desmond has set and how Zac wants to live up to them.
I gotta give it to Zac; he is incredibly authentic and eloquent. He talks about marriage with Tayshia like it’s a real thing that’s going to happen, not some abstract idea like Ben does when he broaches the subject. Zac is making my job as snarky recapper very difficult, but he totally won me over — until he started pretending he was an authentic New Yorker with that whole pizza charade. Zac, you’re from South Jersey! Rep some hoagies like the Philly boy you are and cool it with the tired NYC cliches.
The next day Tayshia hears a knock at her door. Fearing that Bennett has gone full American Psycho, she reluctantly answers. It turns out to be her dad, which isn’t a much better sign. He tells her that the family doesn’t want her to make the biggest mistake of her life by rushing into another marriage. Tayshia starts to break down recounting how her dad was there for her in the throes of her divorce. It was raw and one of her realest moments thus far. She’s starting to have doubts.
Zac & Tayshia’s Date
On their date, Zac reassures Tayshia that he’s ready to take the next step, but Tayshia seems skeptical. Damn, Desmond really got to her! They find out that their date is to learn a wedding dance routine and Tayshia looks about as excited as Brendan did when he met Neil Lane to try on wedding jewelry. Gotta love karma. She keeps getting in her own head and is struggling to relax into the dance moves. Zac is patient with her and they actually pull off a sweet little routine. I’m honestly impressed they learned that in one lesson. It took me and my husband about two months to put together a solid first dance. Respect.
Later that evening they have a casual night in, and Tayshia is honest about her fears that Zac’s feelings will change. He tells her that he is nine years sober today and that his sobriety allows him to not run away and that he’ll love her no matter what she decides to do with her life. Ok, why am I crying in the club right now? And by “in the club” I mean “on my couch”.
Tayshia seems convinced, and frankly, so am I. It’s one of the most authentic exchanges we’ve ever seen on this show and it’s nice to see a couple talk about real-life issues for a change. “I think she believes in me,” Zac says, and I start to tear up. WTF is happening? Is this show…actually making me feel genuine human emotion?
Me watching this season of The Bachelorette:
Ben & Tayshia’s
When Ben meets up with Tayshia “the next day”, she is wearing the same tragic denim number she was wearing when her dad came to talk to her. So she’s either running out of wardrobe options in quarantine or there’s a bit of a continuity issue here and she went to dump Ben after talking to Desmond. She tells Ben that her heart is with Zac and, as usual, Ben looks like a deer in headlights. He takes it pretty well, albeit with way too many “umm”s, and says he’s happy for her. I do feel bad for Ben. He’s a sweet guy and he deserves to find love, but he needs to work through some of his issues with self-worth before jumping into a serious relationship, let alone a marriage. We’re rooting for you, Ben!
The Big Day
It’s engagement day! Tayshia and Zac are getting ready and Neil Lane is back to shill his gaudy rings. Zac looks handsome in his blue suit. Tayshia meets up with Chris Harrison and the exchange is kind of odd. She says she questions if she’s ever been in love until now and then bursts into tears that don’t really look happy. Even Chris seems confused.
Chris: What is going on?
The proposal set-up is kind of a hot mess. The area rug from the Airstream trailer fantasy suite isn’t helping. Tayshia tells us she feels stressed, overwhelmed, and scared. So basically all of the things one should be feeling right before getting engaged after knowing someone for 30 seconds. She says she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. I’m a little concerned. Is she feeling the pressure of not wanting to disappoint ABC and the fans given the whole Clare debacle?
Things improve when Zac arrives. His engagement speech is really personal and from the heart. It’s undoubtedly the best one I’ve ever heard on this show or The Bachelor. Tayshia starts her speech and after telling Zac that she knows she told him she loved him, takes an extremely long, producer-suggested pause. I admit they got me for a second and I was scared she was bolting. But she continues and tells Zac she wants to jump in fountains all over the world with him
and star in endless FabFitFun endorsement deals together. He gets down on one knee and she says yes! Like the true New Yawkah he is, he yells “TAXI!” and the two ride off Flintstone-style into the desert sunset in a cardboard cab the way god and Chris Harrison intended.
And there we have it! Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the endless hours of our lives ABC takes each year) we have no After the Final Rose to catch up with Tayshia and Zac, but it looks like they’re still going strong. This was an excellent season with some of the most mature and authentic men we’ve ever had. Keep it up, ABC! Thanks for joining me this week, guys, and congratulations to the happy couple!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (6)
When it comes to new TV shows, I feel like I never know what’s happening anymore. It’s hard to keep up with all the streaming services (and actual TV), but now that having a social life is basically a thing of the past, it’s nice to know your options. If you’ve burned through pretty much everything in your Netflix queue and you’re sick of people tell you to watch Game of Thrones (it’s just not meant to be for me), you need some new options ASAP.
Even though production on most TV shows remains shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are slowly starting to resume, and there’s still lots of new stuff coming down the pipeline this summer. Whether you’re in the mood for something dark and dramatic or a little less serious, here are some of the most anticipated TV shows set to premiere this summer.
‘Perry Mason’ – 6/21
If you’re stuck at home with your parents this summer, here’s a good option to watch with your dad. Perry Mason was originally a legal show that ran in the 1950s and 60s, and then they kept making TV movies until the 90s. This past weekend, HBO debuted a new reimagining of the classic character, now played by Matthew Rhys. The new version takes place in Los Angeles during the Great Depression, and it’s full of dark and twisty vibes.
‘Search Party’ – 6/25
After a break of more than two years, Search Party is finally back for season 3, moving from TBS to HBO Max. The new season is both funnier and crazier than ever, with the entire crew swept up in a new trial, this time for murder. There are tons of fun cameos and guest appearances from your favorite comedians, so you’ll probably get through the entire season in one day.
‘I’ll Be Gone In The Dark’ – 6/28
If you haven’t gotten a good true crime fix since Tiger King came out (that was years ago, right?) the wait is finally over. This six-part HBO documentary follows writer Michelle McNamara as she investigates and writes a book about the notorious Golden State Killer. No spoilers, but this story is deeply f*cked up, and the new doc looks creepy in the best way.
‘Say I Do’ – 7/1
Netflix’s brand new show from the creators of Queer Eye features a team of three experts helping couples have the wedding day of their dreams. Judging from the trailer, this is a very similar vibe to Queer Eye, but like, wedding edition. Basically, you’re def going to cry at least once an episode.
‘Say Yes To The Dress’ – 7/11
Honestly, I didn’t even realize this show really had seasons, I thought the episodes just kind of appeared on Hulu. I guess not! The Kleinfeld team is back for another season, which is sure to feature beautiful dresses, nightmare moms, and more than a few mental breakdowns. Can’t wait to watch with my mom.
‘Married at First Sight’
Apparently July is wedding month, and Married at First Sight is returning with a new batch of couples. Season 11 features couples from New Orleans, so I’m sure there will be some interesting personalities. If your dating life is still on hold due to coronavirus, at least you can watch this to make up for it.
‘Brave New World’ – 7/15
NBC’s Peacock streaming service officially launches in July, which means one more set of originals to keep track of. They’re kicking off with a few new shows, but the most intriguing is Brave New World, an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel about ~the future~. According to Deadline, the story “imagines a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family, and history itself,” but I have a feeling the whole “peace and stability” part won’t last.
‘The Alienist: Angel Of Darkness’ – 7/19
Originally a miniseries, The Alienist is back for a second season on TNT. The show, set in turn-of-the-century New York City, follows a criminal psychologist and incorporates real historical figures as he tries to solve a mystery. Dakota Fanning also stars, and season 2 looks like it’s going to be extra mysterious.
‘The Real Housewives Of Potomac’ – 8/2
RHOP is one of Bravo’s most underrated shows, and the ladies of Potomac are FINALLY coming back. Their season premiere was pushed back a few months due to COVID delays, but this is still on track to be one of the most dramatic seasons ever (and I don’t mean that in a bullsh*t Chris Harrison way). The biggest drama this season is most likely Monique and Candiace’s fight that resulted in a legal battle, but we’ll have to watch to get the full story.
‘Selling Sunset’ – 8/7
Everyone has been loving season 2 of the show that’s like The Hills meets Million Dollar Listing, and Netflix isn’t making us wait long for more episodes. Along with releasing season 2 in May, they announced that season 3 is dropping in August. The entire season 2 cast is returning, so I can’t wait to see what happens next in the world of high-stakes real estate drama.
Basically, there’s a lot left to watch this summer, even if you feel like you’re running out of options. Or, you know, you could always just watch Parks & Recreation again from the beginning—no judgment.
Images: Sophy Holland/Bravo; Netflix; Lifetime; HBO, HBO Max, Netflix, TLC, Bravo / YouTube
Ever since Brittany first appeared on season 4 of Vanderpump Rules, she’s been a fan favorite. With her Southern roots and bubbly personality, she’s served as the perfect foil to her now-husband Jax, SUR’s resident sociopath and life-ruiner. Remarkably, up until her text exchange with Katie in this week’s episode, she’s managed to escape the wrath of every female cast member on the show, a near-impossible feat given that these women change alliances more frequently than they change faces. Kristen can barely go an episode without referring to Brittany as “my precious Brittany,” and the rest of the ladies regard her as if she’s the Southern reincarnation of Mother Teresa. It was easy to root for Brittany after Jax’s cheating scandal with Faith. But now, as we watch Brittany misdirect her anger at Katie and Sandoval despite Jax’s increasingly erratic behavior, it’s time we dispose of the narrative that she’s naive and needs our help.
She Moved Cross-Country To Live With Jax After Knowing Him Two Months
Fans of the show remember vividly Brittany’s move from Kentucky to L.A. after meeting Jax in a bar in Las Vegas. “The very first night he met me he told me wanted me to move to L.A. I, of course, didn’t believe it,” Brittany said on E!’s Daily Pop. “Two months later, I moved to L.A.” Brittany has maintained that she did not watch Vanderpump Rules before appearing on the show.
I’m going to have to call B.S. on this. On the one hand, it’s semi-believable, because I’d like to think that no sane woman who’d seen the show would ever agree to move in with a man who can’t get through an episode of said show without lying, cheating, eating pasta drinking excessively, and/or screaming at a friend or co-worker. On the other hand, what reasonably intelligent millennial woman wouldn’t do some healthy online stalking before packing up her belongings and driving across the country to move into a studio apartment with our generation’s Dirty John? She knew what she was getting herself into.
She Actively Tried To Get On The Show
In an interview with Vogue, Brittany said, “I never wanted to be on TV. I never wanted to be an actor or an actress.” Britt, please. Even if we believe that she never watched the show before moving to L.A., her behavior upon arrival is, at best, a bit sketchy. She had barely unpacked her bags before rolling up to SUR in a questionable romper for a job interview with LVP. A couple of things about this don’t add up. First, who would want to work with their boyfriend after already having to spend the rest of their day in a 500-square-foot apartment with him and his creepy foot fetish? This is either the most codependent relationship on TV or she isn’t being 100% transparent about her motivations.
Second, and most importantly, the restaurant in question is the setting for one of the most popular reality shows on television. If she really didn’t want to be on TV, she could’ve applied to one of the other thousands of restaurants in L.A. that doesn’t have a TV crew present for months out of the year. In my light Googling painstaking research for this article, I also came across Brittany’s page on Model Mayhem, which says she’s been a member since August 10, 2010, well before she found herself on our TV screens. In her bio, Brittany says she is looking to “expand my oppurtunities ” and is “willing & ready to travel.”
I can believe that Brittany never sought out to be a professional actress, but for her to imply she didn’t want fame after moving to L.A. to be with a guy she knew for five minutes who just so happens to star on a reality TV show is fake news. One need only look at her Instagram to see that she’s adjusting quite comfortably to a life of paid endorsements and sponsorships. There’s no shame in this at all, but I’d have more respect for her if she were honest about her ambitions. Instead, she acts as if her newfound opportunities just happened with no effort on her part, which is about as believable as her increasingly thick accent that, of late, is reaching Sofia Vergara levels of exaggeration.
She Stayed With Jax After He Humiliated Her On National Television Multiple Times
At the beginning of season 5, Jax announces that he walked in on Brittany and Kristen hooking up. Given Jax’s never-ending trail of lies track record, it’s unclear whether this did, in fact, happen. Both Brittany and Kristen, Jax’s strongest competitor for Most Honest Cast Member, denied it. Whether or not they hooked up is beside the point. What matters is that Jax, Brittany’s then-boyfriend, thought it was appropriate to talk about her sex life on national television without her permission. It’d be one thing if he was genuinely hurt or considered it cheating, but he seemed completely dead inside unbothered by the idea. Instead, he put it out there to the world without the least bit of consideration for Brittany, who comes from a conservative community. If such callous behavior by Jax wasn’t immediate grounds for a breakup, it was at the very least a huge red flag.
Me to Brittany the past four seasons:
Of course, we can’t bring up the topic of humiliation without mentioning the season 6 revelation that Jax cheated on Brittany with co-worker Faith mere feet away from a sleeping 95-year old woman. As if that weren’t horrific enough, we later learned that Faith had secretly recorded a conversation with Jax where he said some seriously f*cked up things about Brittany. This would be the death knell for just about any other relationship, but after about a month of being “broken up,” the two got back together. THEN, Jax pulls the ultimate douche move and breaks up Brittany mere weeks after putting her through hell. It’s no wonder she wanted him to RAWT there, but it’s mind-boggling that she would take him back after this.
Jax Hasn’t Changed And She Still Married Him
From pretty much the moment she arrived in Los Angeles, Brittany has been subjected to some downright awful treatment by Jax. Over the past several seasons he bought her breast implants and demanded she make them bigger than she wanted, criticized her weight multiple times (even going so far as to suggest her weight contributed to his cheating), expected that she make him sandwiches, and gaslit her at every turn. When we dig beneath the surface excitement of the engagement and wedding, their relationship is so dark that it’s often difficult to watch. Brittany is very likely the victim of some emotional abuse by Jax. But after all this time and with the benefit of having his mistakes documented on TV to learn from, his behavior largely remains the same, and is arguably worse.
He dismissed her concerns when they went to therapy, told her own family that he comes first, and this season lied to her face about his trip to the strip club during their joint bachelor/bachelorette trip, where he said on camera that he was going to leave Brittany for one of the strippers. But when anyone so much as hints that Jax is a less than honorable guy, she becomes defensive and/or hysterical and doesn’t want to hear it. This season, she distracted herself with wedding planning, as if a televised ceremony is going to solve all of their relationship issues. I can’t totally blame her; it’s easier to throw yourself into something superficial rather than deal with the darkest recesses of your psyche. And there are many reasons women in emotionally abusive relationships stay, whether it’s diminished self-worth, isolation, or believing that the abuser can change. We’ll probably never know exactly what’s driving Brittany, and she may not even know herself, but after several seasons of watching back her husband’s misdeeds and contending with the opinions of viewers, there’s no doubt that she knew who she was marrying.
I happen to enjoy Brittany on the show and genuinely believe that she’s a nice person in real life. But we’ve got to stop buying into this idea that she’s this babe in the woods who needs our help. It would not only be a mistake, but a severe underestimation to view her this way. She’s an adult woman making a conscious decision to not only continue in an unhealthy relationship, but broadcast it on national television and benefit from it financially. Whether or not it’s the true love remains to be seen. But just in case it’s not, I’ll be here waiting with my popcorn for their future appearance on Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.
Images: Giphy (4)