What’s Really Wrong With This Season’s ‘Bachelor’ Villain

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.
America:

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)

It’s Hard Being An Average-Looking Jewish Fan Of ‘The Bachelor’

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

The Best ‘Bachelorette’ Recap You’ll Ever Read: Be Still, My Cold, Dead Heart

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.

Ben:

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:

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.

No one:
Zac:

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

Tayshia and Zac Finale

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 Date Breakup

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?
Tayshia:

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)

10 TV Shows Premiering This Summer To Give You An Excuse To Stay Home

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’

Married at First Sight Taylor Brandon

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

Brittany Doesn’t Need Our Sympathy On ‘Vanderpump Rules’

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)

Scheana Deserves Better Than Her Treatment On ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Living in quarantine during coronavirus has us doing things we never thought we would: justifying our cleanest pair of joggers as formalwear, going without showering for days on end, and, god help us, confronting the horror that is our front-facing camera for the sake of human interaction. It’s hard not to feel like we’re living in the Upside Down. Watching this season of Vanderpump Rules is no exception. After years of happily laughing at Scheana’s scheananigans (sorry, had to), something shifted this season. Once hilarious, the constant jabs at her now just feel cruel. I never thought this would happen, but Scheana needs a champion, and I volunteer as tribute.

The Show Wouldn’t Exist Without Her

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge our herstory. Had Scheana not had an ill-advised affair with Brandi Glanville’s ex-husband, we’d lack the crucial link that allowed Vanderpump Rules to spin off seamlessly from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Most people would be reluctant to openly own their role as mistress in an extramarital affair on national television. Scheana not only did this, but she took the heat (being called a “homewrecker” by Stassi seemingly every episode of season 1) and humiliation (never forget her gray tooth) with grace. She’s been carrying the show on her back ever since and has given us some of the most memorable storylines. Who can forget her quinceañera wedding featuring the iconic crop top wedding dress? Or her proclamation that Rob can hang a TV on the wall in under seven minutes? She’s also the only main cast member regularly interacting with the new sentient globs of hair gel cast members. She does all of this without complaint and laughs right along with us at her cringiest moments.

She’s Getting A Misogynistic Edit

Speaking of cringe, the editors have been portraying Scheana as f*ckboy man-hungry for several seasons since her divorce. And for a while it was pretty on point and funny, mostly because the editors were using Scheana’s own words to troll her. This season, new cast members like Max and Brett are piling on, and it’s no longer fun. It’s one thing to string together a masterful, symphonic compilation of the 97 times Scheana uttered the word “Rob” in season 6. But to allow two indistinguishable greaseballs who just arrived on the scene and have zero credibility to openly disrespect her on camera and call her “boy crazy” and “middle-aged” is a bridge too far. Off camera, Lisa has joined in and called her “desperate”, and an episode of Watch What Happens Live featured a “Desperate-O-Meter” to measure this alongside various clips of Scheana interacting with men. Meanwhile, Max goes from banging Scheana to Dayna to Vegas Baby Scheana in a matter of weeks and is now being inexplicably included in scenes with main cast members. It be ya own editors, which brings me to my next point.

She’s Being Portrayed As One-Dimensional

No one is denying that Scheana enjoys male attention and is clearly looking for a serious relationship, despite her claims otherwise. But that’s just one part of her and, unfortunately, it’s the only side of her the editors are allowing us to see. Throughout this season she’s brought up her egg freezing process and subsequent surgery, yet it’s constantly being minimized and reduced to a punchline. Her fellow castmates either barely acknowledge or ignore the subject when she brings it up. I can’t say I’m totally shocked, as self-involvement seems to be a prerequisite for getting cast on this show, but why aren’t the editors exploring this storyline a bit further? It’s incredibly relevant and relatable, as more and more women are delaying starting a family. And let’s not pretend we don’t have room for it in this trash heap of a season. If there’s airtime for LVP to hide her bra in Schwartz’s luggage, a funeral for a lizard who died by negligent homicide, and 12 episodes dedicated to Jax and Brittany’s Kentucky Fried Wedding, we could’ve delved into Scheana’s fertility journey a bit more. Then again, letting viewers see her as a complex woman balancing her dating life with her desire to one day have a family wouldn’t fit the narrative of Scheana as desperate psycho.

I love a good troll as much as the next Bravo fan, but Scheana’s treatment of late goes far beyond the fun shade we enjoy as viewers of Vanderpump Rules. It’s also tired at this point. She’s been the punching bag on this show for far too long, and it’s time we give her the respect she deserves. A couple of seasons ago I could have never imagined coming to Scheana’s defense, but hashtag it’s all happening.

Images: DFree / Shutterstock.com; Tenor (3)

The 7 Worst Random Characters On ‘Gossip Girl’

One of the things I love most about Gossip Girl is the slew of random characters whose sole purpose is to keep the plot interesting by shaking things up for our favorite four Upper East Siders and two annoying Brooklynites who endlessly complain about their unfortunate financial lot in life from their gigantic loft in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods. I digress. Anyway, as with any television show, each season introduces a few new characters, some of whom are truly perfect temporary additions to the cast, like Fleur Delacour Eva Coupeau, and others are less than perfect, like most of the writers’ choices. 

I’m a loyal GG lover, so I typically hold back when it comes to some of the laughable wardrobe choices, but as I rewatch this scripted trash for the ninth time, I can’t bite my tongue about the most egregious part of this show: the randos. Without further ado, I give you the worst and/or most annoying random characters who we all love to hate. Enjoy.

Juliet Sharp

For those of you who forgot who she is, allow me to remind you. She’s the sister of the boarding school teacher-turned-convicted-felon with whom Serena allegedly had an affair when she was 15 and he was…older than 15. Mhmm, makes sense. Anyway, if I had to pick the worst thing about Juliet, it would have to be the way she dresses. Literally, all of her outfits are different yet heinous versions of the same business-professional dress with a cropped blazer over it. Like???? When I was in college, I literally wore jeans and sweaters every goddamn day.

Aside from her sartorial errors. her character is also incredibly creepy. I’m pretty sure the most disturbing exchange in this entire series is one that took place between Juliet and her brother during a prison visit when she says, “Keep your focus on not getting raped or killed” to which he responds, “It’s a minimum security prison” and she counters with, “And you’re hot” and then they seductively hold hands across the table and exchange minxy smiles. I think it’s totally okay to say he’s handsome or attractive because, criminal or not, he is both of those things, but hot? That’s your BROTHER. Why don’t you go take a cold shower, sis! Also, her whole purpose on this show is to, like, physically injure Serena and get her expelled from college, which is pretty shameful. Even Georgina would disapprove of this. 

Damien Dalgaard 

Damien has a lot of unfortunate qualities that earned him a spot on this list, but the one thing I truly couldn’t stand was how condescending he was to Jenny while they were dating. When they were about to have sex, she was really nervous because she was a virgin and he was like, “I get it. I’m older than you and when I date someone, sex is a a big part of the relationship. You’re a young, innocent girl, so I get that you’re nervous.” He was in Serena’s class at boarding school, which would make him no more than two years older than Jenny, so I’m confused as to why he’s talking to her like a World War II veteran who’s seen more than she ever will. 

Acting like a cultured citizen of the world was like, his whole persona, which I just found incredibly annoying because he was literally 18 at the time, so no one’s buying it, sweetie. 

Lady Catherine

This is another character whose circumstances really confused me. My knowledge of British monarchy is based solely on The Crown, so forgive me if I’m wrong, but if Catherine were a “lady,” that would mean she’s married to a duke, which we’ve been told she is. So if that’s the case, why would they be summering in the Hamptons and living in a townhouse in Manhattan the rest of the time? Don’t they have royal duties in England to carry out? Don’t forget, this was pre-Meghan Markle. 

The second, and slightly bigger, issue with this lady is that she has a title of nobility and yet she’s paying an underage American kid to bang her against her dryer every few days. Two felonies for the price of one! How did this affair even work? Would she text him on her burner cell and be like, “Hey, when you’re done with algebra, can you come over?” Let us not forget, she was also f*cking her stepson. Safe to say, this woman needs therapy. 

Vanessa Abrams

I know she’s not technically considered random since she’s in every season, but she’s not part of the main six, so to me, she’s a random. Sorry (not really) to all of the Vanessa die-hards, but she plainly sucks. She’s one of those people who feels way too comfortable around people she just met and, maybe it’s just me because I still don’t feel comfortable around people I’ve known my whole life, but that’s not a likable quality. Second, I didn’t like how she was always at private events for schools she didn’t attend! Like, she was at literally every dance, party, and study session of the Constance girls and then at the Columbia alumni events. Seriously, she doesn’t even go here!

Ivy Dickens

Okay, to set the record straight, I hated the fake Charlie Rhodes (Ivy Dickens), but lived for the real Lola Rhodes. I know this isn’t a character flaw, but there was something about her voice that made it really hard to get on board with anything she was talking about, and her pretending to have a mental illness to explain her behavior wasn’t cool. 

I know she was an actress being paid by the real Lola Rhodes’ mom to pretend to be her (happens all the time), but couldn’t Ivy have just, like, gotten another acting job that didn’t involve fraud? I can’t imagine being so desperate for a job that I’d hear Carol’s pitch and think it was a good idea. 

Tripp Vanderbilt

Sorry, but Tripp and his waspy-ass name was a giant p*ssy. Like, literally everything about him was so pathetic and sad—especially when he crashed his car and put Serena in the driver’s seat to make it seem like it was her fault. Why do all of these people in positions of power take no more than two seconds to consider whether or not they want to commit a crime? I take more time deciding between two identical pale pink nail polishes than Tripp did to pin a car crash on his mistress. I also feel like Nate’s fancy politico cousin should have been 10 times hotter than Tripp, who looks like he calls his mom four times a day. I definitely wouldn’t have voted for him. 

Aaron Rose

Hands down Serena’s least likable boy toy. His skinny scarves and confusing haircut were enough for me to decide he sucks, but then he opened his mouth and…it didn’t help his cause. Like Damien with Jenny, Aaron acts like Serena is just a young and stupid child who doesn’t understand the complexities of adulthood, which is hilarious to me because Blake Lively was 22 playing a 17-year-old, but whatever. Anyway, even if that is the case, you are fully aware that she’s in high school, so stop acting like her being young is a flaw you have to get past! He should be more concerned with the statutory rape he’s committing. 

Also, his whole “I date multiple women at once” thing is just gross. I understand that you can’t expect monogamy after knowing each other for approximately five minutes, but Aaron, you don’t need to constantly remind her that you’re f*cking 10 other women at the moment. All in all, he was not hot enough to act that smug and condescending, and I was truly elated when Serena told us Dan that she left in him in Argentina. 

And there you have it, the worst random characters in Gossip Girl! Did I leave any out? Let me know who you hated the most in the comments! Until next time, Upper East Siders. XOXO, Gossip Girl.

Images: Giphy (8)

Is This The Worst Season Of ‘The Bachelor’ Yet?

It’s safe to say that few of us had high hopes for this season of The Bachelor. I know I certainly didn’t. With Peter the Pilot in the cockpit, we knew we were in for a nosedive, but it isn’t happening in the way we’d expected. Season 24 (lord help us) has actually been anything but boring, but that’s precisely the problem. For the first time, drama has gone from being an entertaining but ultimately short-lived element of the show, to the foundation upon which our current Bachelor is building just about all of his relationships. As viewers, we’re expected to invest in a lead whose baffling choices leave him with zero credibility, and women with questionable motives. I’ve been wondering for a while now why The Bachelor sucks so much this season, and I think I’ve narrowed it down to a few reasons.

Peter Gravitates Toward Emotionally Unstable Women

Even Stevie Wonder could see that Peter has an unhealthy fixation on emotionally unstable women. Between glorifying the telenovelas he watched with his grandma as a kid and idolizing a mother who we see in previews sobbing over a mystery woman she barely knows, our Petey never had a chance. It’s no wonder he felt compelled to try and win the heart of Hannah B. who, though endearing, isn’t exactly the poster child for emotional maturity. After rejecting him not once, but twice, she hijacks the first night and a group date and ends up crying in Peter’s lap in a puddle of her own mascara. Instead of immediately recoiling letting her down gently, Peter is apparently aroused and offers to light his season on fire by giving her a spot in the house. We all have our kinks!

Things don’t improve after Hannah B. leaves, however. Soon thereafter we were treated to a multi-episode arc centering around whether or not Hannah Ann stole Kelsey’s champagne. Though Kelsey grew on me over time, her behavior during the whole finasco was nothing short of batsh*t. Normally at the point Champagne-Gate happened, getting wasted, starting petty drama, and not being able to play well with others is grounds for elimination. Not so for our Pedro. Later, when Tammy suggests to Peter that Kelsey is emotionally unstable, Kelsey attempts to set the record straight by… showing up unannounced to Peter’s room and crying. For this, she gets a rose.

Even the Alayah storyline gave us a glimpse into Peter’s psyche. Though we now know that Sydney is an unreliable narrator, we did see that Alayah was rubbing several women in the house the wrong way and shaping up to be this season’s villain. Unless you’re Courtney Robertson, that kind of edit gets you sent home. Instead, Peter tries to bring her back after eliminating her and has even said recently that drama amongst the women “showed that this was working” and “f all the women were just getting along super well, they probably wouldn’t have been super into me.” Putting aside the blatant misogyny inherent in that statement, I’m pretty sure even with all the fighting, they’re still not that into you, buddy. You can go change your forehead bandage now.

Peter Mistakes Composure For A Lack Of Connection

Kelley was arguably a frontrunner early in the season, having banged met Peter before filming began after a chance meeting at a hotel. Peter seemed genuinely excited about her for weeks until their bizarre one-on-one date where he questioned her intentions for reasons that weren’t immediately clear. When Kelley rightly counters that he rewards drama, and on another date has the audacity to suggest that a relationship can be both good and easy, Peter regards her with a suspicion he normally reserves for women over 30.

Even when Peter’s instincts are right, he falls victim to poor judgment. Toward the end of a one-on-one date, Peter seems to pick up on his lack of connection with Hannah Ann, who’s clearly on the show to advance her middling modeling career. He almost sends her home, even going so far as to dramatically walk away from the dinner table. As if sensing that crocodile tears are his Viagra, she goes after him and pushes a few out in a last-ditch effort to secure her FabFitFun sponsorship spot in the final four. She gets the rose and, poof, suddenly all reservations about her seem to disappear.

Peter Ignores Clear Red Flags

At this point in the season, the final four should be comprised of four women who, if not actually there for the right reasons, are at least trying to convince us otherwise. This time, with the exception of maybe Madison, we have finalists who would’ve been eliminated weeks ago: Hannah Ann, who’s there to broaden her opportunities and clearly not ready for marriage; Kelsey, the hot mess who overindulged early on and struggles to keep it together; and Victoria F., who hasn’t come close to opening up and being vulnerable, qualities that are practically prerequisites for making it to hometowns. Instead, she’s shady, evasive when asked probing questions, won’t look Peter in the eye, and cries when put on the spot. In other words, marriage material. As if that weren’t alarming enough, she deflects when Peter asks pointed questions about her shady past and gaslights him. Apparently this is Peter’s idea of foreplay, because she gets a rose without even introducing him to her family on her hometown date! Meanwhile Kelley is kicked off for daring to refer to the experience as “fun” and Kelsey is eliminated for daring to be clear about being in love with him.

Me watching Peter give Victoria F. the rose:

Even if we don’t buy into the format of The Bachelor as a realistic way of finding everlasting love, at the very least, we want to be able to root for the Bachelor and the woman he chooses in the end. Unfortunately, the elevation of drama this season, and Peter’s flagrant revelry in it, has made this extremely difficult, if not impossible. As a card-carrying messy b*tch who lives for drama, it pains me to say that there can, in fact, be too much of a good thing. Peter’s false and immature belief that love must be difficult colors his decision-making throughout this season, to the detriment of not only the two women who aren’t there to expand their brand, but also to us viewers. Just when we thought The Bachelor couldn’t get more ridiculous, our trusty pilot flies in and makes it a full-on farce.

Images: ABC/Francisco Roman; Giphy (4)