When this season of The Bachelorette began, I stated my one wish: that Hannah would, to quote myself, “[say] “f*ck it” when the format of the show no longer [suited] her.” This week, Hannah did say f*ck it, and decided she’s taking four men to fantasy suites. And I. was. ELATED. (If sad for every other Bachelorette that came before.) Ultimately, I question the idea that you can meet someone on a reality show far less than the idea that you fall in and out of love on cue, perfectly timed to a series of rose ceremonies. So, Hannah refusing to eliminate someone—and putting her own timetable on these relationships—convinced me that she’s a) not faking it, and b) learning from past Bachelorette mistakes.
All too often on The Bachelorette (Bachelor too, but less emotional), we see the lead send home someone promising, and be absolutely shattered by it after. When it came down to it, they tell the camera between sobs, there was that little tiny bit less with the person who left than the ones who stayed. But imagine this: if these leads weren’t being rigorously told that they needed to send someone home on a schedule every week, how many of those relationships might have gone on longer? Is there a chance that previous leads would have made different choices, if their third or fourth runner-up had been given a little more time? How many people sent home contestants because they could genuinely say there was less promise there—and how many because they felt they had no choice?
RIP, my sweet Peter.
I know, I know: it’s a reality dating show, and frankly, one that would be dull as hell without mandated, recurring eliminations. But the show works so hard to convince viewers their contestants have found real, lasting love (hello, TV spots of still-together couples at every feasible opportunity). And the fact is, these relationships are most convincing when they don’t follow an ABC-scripted timetable. I believed Hannah’s interest in Luke P. and Jed, only because she was ignoring such glaring red flags from both—but it wasn’t until she refused to send anyone home that I thought she might be seriously interested in Tyler and Peter too.
What Hannah did wasn’t particularly polite. If I were Jed or Luke, I would be steaming; Tyler or Peter, lightly annoyed. But more people should be insanely, ragingly rude in their turn as the Bachelorette. These women have (supposedly) put their lives on hold to accomplish one goal: so why the f*ck would now be a time to worry about manners, or hurting someone’s feelings? Arie and Colton certainly didn’t share those concerns, and if you’re curious how that worked out, I’d be happy to direct you to baby Luyendyk’s Instagram. Yes, Colton and Arie made a complete hash of things, and Hannah’s handled herself far better, but the concept is the same.
Remember when Colton tried to make Tayshia and Hannah G. make him feel better for dumping them? Yeah, Hannah’s not doing that.
If you’re here for one of the most important missions of your life—if you’re really, truly taking this seriously—why would you accept for a single second that you “have to” send someone home before you’re ready? Or keep anyone around a second longer than you’re interested in seeing them? I fail to believe that Hannah is the first Bachelorette who wanted to keep someone longer. But she’s the first Bachelorette to do it, and that’s a win if I’ve ever seen one.
I hope Hannah finds the love of her life on this show, I really do (not Jed). But more than that, I hope she comes out with zero regrets about how she handled the process—a claim I worry too few previous Bachelorettes can make. The way Hannah handled herself this past week convinced me that, pending secret ex-girlfriends she had no way of knowing about, she made the best possible choices she could this season. And if I see another Bachelorette go through a season pretending her emotions are perfectly in line with ABC’s plan every week, I’ll f*cking riot.