This week, I’m taking a break from writing your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap in favor of providing you with a rare glimpse into my ABC burn book. That’s right, ABC, welcome to your tape. Now, you might be thinking to yourself: “but Ryanne, aren’t all your recaps just entries from a burn book?” Lol, you’re cute. Usually (for legal purposes) I try to contain my wrath as (legally) it’s a personal growth goal of mine to be less of a garbage monster and more of an emotionally functioning human being. But ABC, you have BURNED ME FOR THE LAST TIME. All bets are off now!
Here I was thinking this week we’d get to see
a Hometown date Katie test out her dick jokes on unsuspecting family members in the Hyatt’s best conference room. BUT NO. Instead, we are gifted with about 25 minutes of usable, interesting footage and the rest of the time we’re forced to endure The Men Tell All. Here’s the thing about these “tell alls”: they tell nothing. It’s not like I was expecting Tayshia and Kaitlyn to spill state secrets or anything, but MY GOD the most interesting thing to happen this evening involved an audience member going rogue. Where was the drama? The intrigue? The big reveals? If I wanted to watch a bunch of straight dudes compliment each other, I’d go hang out around a beer pong table at a frat party. But I digress. Let’s dive into it.
ABC Goes In For The Kill Shot
Before we jump into the Men Tell All, ABC gives us one final twist in the Hometowns line-up. For weeks now, Michael A. has been winning over Katie—and casually all of America—with his blushing, sad dad act. Even if he didn’t have the background story of a Nicholas Sparks character, there’s just something about his affable personality that feels genuine in ways we definitely don’t often see on this show. Naturally, ABC’s first instinct is to obliterate that goodness.
The episode opens with a conflicted Michael. He tells us that being so far away from his son has really been weighing on him emotionally. The producers, like the dementors they truly are, arrange for Michael to FaceTime his kid. Don’t be fooled for one second into thinking they did this out of the goodness of their hearts. No, this FaceTime was a strategic maneuver designed to inflict maximum pain.
Case in point: Michael tells his son that he loves him and misses him and the kid shrieks “daddy left because he doesn’t want to see me” and then rushes off camera. DADDY LEFT BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME. Are you kidding me with this, ABC?! While you’re at it, why don’t you take him out back and shoot him? It would finish the job and be kinder than putting him through this!
MICHAEL: *wavers emotionally*
Michael ends up self-eliminating almost immediately after that call. He tells Katie that he can’t focus on Hometowns and their relationship when he’s this worried about his son. Look, guys, I love Michael. I do. He’s a scruffy angel without wings. But he’s acting like his leaving The Bachelorette early is on par with the sacrifice Harry Potter’s parents made to shield him from Lord Voldemort. Honestly, I just feel like he’s already done the damage to his child’s psyche. What’s the harm in staying a little longer? At least he’ll have a fun story for his future therapist!
Katie takes the news HARD. Her reaction feels a little over dramatic for someone she was probably going to dump later that day anyway. Be honest, Katie, are you really that upset over Michael leaving? I mean, yes he’s cute and sweet and has the soul of a Christmas elf but were you actually attracted to this guy? He’s just so… soft. He looks like the kind of guy whose idea of foreplay involves softly crying to Hallmark movies.
Also, if they really wanted to, they could have worked this out. If she actually saw herself ending up with Michael, as she so tearfully proclaimed to him, then her reaction wouldn’t be “I need to let you go” it would be “that’s fine, go home and I’ll dump everyone else and meet up with you.” If there’s anything I’ve learned living in this post-Claire Bachelorette universe, it’s that there’s no rules on this franchise.
Later, during the Tell All, we get to catch up with Michael and Katie. They both seem at peace with their decisions and Katie even says she has “no regrets” about her journey. If I were her, I’d be a little regretful. Especially when Michael walked out on that stage and his stylist had taken him from daddy to zaddyyyy. Damn, he looked good. I always thought he had the sex appeal of fuzzy socks, but that grown-in beard is making me rethink my entire worldview.
In fact, I’m just gonna leave this here:
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Cat People, Am I Right?
Perhaps Michael had to sacrifice himself so that out of his ashes a phoenix could rise. And by “phoenix” I mean a grown man with a fondness for kitten costumes. As is typical for the Tell All specials, the host picks various men from the season to humiliate just a little bit extra. Their sacrificial lamb this evening? Connor. Seems like low hanging fruit to me, but by all means, carry on with your carnage, ABC.
Tayshia and Kaitlyn ask Connor to join them in the hot seat, and they proceed to replay his trauma from the season like it’s a submission from America’s Funniest Home Videos. Was it really necessary that they re-air that footage of Katie calling him a shitty kisser? Kaitlyn’s like “is that the usual feedback you get from women after being intimate with them?” Kaitlyn!! Jesus Christ. I didn’t know that in addition to drinking wine and podcasting, your hobbies also include emotionally castrating men for the fun of it! Noted.
Connor tells us that after filming ended, he reached out to a few of his exes to ask if he was a truly “trash kisser.” A TRASH KISSER. ABC, you are going to hell for this.
Connor must look so pathetic that it upends the natural order of the universe, because all of a sudden, something happens the likes of which I have never seen on this franchise: a balcony monster gets her moment in the sun. First of all, I wasn’t aware that audience members were allowed to do anything other than laugh, cry, or cringe dramatically. In fact, I’m pretty sure ABC places some sort of witch’s curse upon them that binds them to those automatic settings, lest they act on their own free will and go off script. And yet, somehow, a random audience hoe has managed to break free from the mystical energy constraining her to her seat. Not only does she have the audacity to interrupt Connor’s interview, but then she demands a kiss from. AND HE ACTUALLY DOES IT!!
And it doesn’t stop at one kiss! They’re going to town on each other while the rest of the men openly gawk at them from behind. What am I watching here? This isn’t a foam party in Miami! This is a Tell All, goddamn it. Have some respect!
I’ll tell you one thing, this would not have happened on Chris Harrison’s watch. When he was running the show, he barely acknowledged the feral crowd that made up the live audience at these things. Meanwhile, Tayshia and Kaitlyn are all but handing out condoms on stage. Ladies! Save that for the commercial breaks!
Less Romance More Bromance
The majority of The Men Tell All focused on the men who were “here for the wrong reasons,” but even that half-hearted attempt at manifesting hostile energy didn’t take. Despite ABC’s best intentions, these guys seem to genuinely care for one another. Yes, there were the Aarons and the Tres and the Karls of the group, the guys who spent the majority of this season acting out a Scooby-Doo plot line instead of focusing on building relationships. But there were also guys like Greg, who would openly weep when Michael talked about his dead wife, and guys like Andrew who ignored the drama entirely and focused on Katie.
That bromance energy carried on into the Tell All special. There were minimal squabbles, and Thomas, the main source of their anger, didn’t even show up until the last ten minutes of the special, when he literally phoned it in via Zoom. Later, when Aaron and Tre started ripping into Hunter, Connor—Connor!!—stood up for him. I guess that little kitty grew some claws after all. Meow.
Look, was this an absolute waste of 120 minutes of my life? You bet. But I will begrudgingly admit that this is actually a good group of guys who deserve nice things. *waits to be struck by lightning* I can’t wait to see how ABC decimates those tenuous relationships in Paradise!
And that’s a wrap for this episode! Seriously. That’s it. Until next week!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (1); @bitchelorette_ / Instagram (1); ABC (1)