All is fair in love and war, and in 2021, that basically means that if you break someone’s heart on national television, you’re going to suffer the consequences in the form of losing a huge chunk of your Instagram followers. Just ask Brendan Morais and Pieper James from Bachelor in Paradise.
In case you missed it, shit really hit the fan during week 4 of BiP, where after weeks of promising Natasha that he has not secretly been in a relationship with Pieper, it was revealed that Brendan was—wait for it—in a relationship with Pieper all along. Although he’d been getting to know Natasha, Paradise was buzzing with rumors that he was hiding a relationship out in the real world, where people have responsibilities beyond watching crabs run across the sand while counting down the hours until their return to air conditioning. Even after Natasha confronted Brendan about the Pieper rumors, he did all the schmoozing he could to secure that rose. Initially, this storyline resurfaced “disappointed but not surprised” feelings I haven’t experienced as viscerally since the last time I ate Little Caeser’s Hot and Ready pizza sober. But as soon as I learned that Brendan and Pieper were hemorraging droves of Instagram followers once the episode exposing their plan aired, I felt an emotion that I haven’t had since roughly February 2019. I believe it’s called… joy?
While I personally love to see morally bankrupt people get symbolically slapped in the face by karma under any circumstances, it is particularly satisfying to see Brendan and Pieper get their comeuppance. For starters, this scammy love triangle is exposing the dark underbelly of a narrative that’s often overplayed in the Bachelor franchise. This series loves to sell us stories about women who are convinced that they’re in relationships with dudes who are adamant that it’s really not that deep. It sparks love triangles and dramatic confrontations, and in the end, we usually get a guy who resorts to podcasting when the season is over and a girl who, if she’s lucky, becomes the Bachelorette.
I know that sounds great at face value, but it is actually a pretty shitty job when you think about it. Imagine being gaslit by a MAN on TELEVISION and then having a network be like, “You know what? To make up for it, we’re going to give you access to 30 more men.” It’s like when Missguided sends you a dress made for a toddler, charges you for the return label, and then acts like a discount code for your next purchase will make it all better. What am I supposed to do? Buy another fugly faux leather bodycon?! And risk going through all of this AGAIN?!
Had Brendan and Pieper just gone about their business sucking each other’s faces on daybeds for the remainder of the season, they probably could have had a niceish life together until they inevitably broke up because one wanted to live in Nashville and the other was set on Los Angeles. Sure, they would have been disliked by most, but even Jed Wyatt—the poster child for having a secret girlfriend at home, not to mention a man who appears to have a questionable relationship with his sister—still gets enough #SponCon business to keep the ring lights on. But, no. These two idiots had to go and have a conversation about “taking advantage of what Paradise would promote” for them ON CAMERA. Beyond the fact that they totally exposed themselves as fame-hungry, this conversation makes me wonder what exactly this turtleneck enthusiast and aspiring vlogger are trying to promote. I cannot imagine that the cost of a reputation is worth the affiliate payout of energy drinks and CBD gummies.
One of the most bonkers things about this situation is the sheer number of followers Brendan and Pieper have lost. According to Social Blade, Brendan is down 83.8k and counting since Monday’s episode, and Pieper is almost down 10k since Tuesday. Although we’re really comparing affiliate code apples to “I have a glam squad” oranges here, it’s worth noting that this mass follower exodus is one of the most dramatic instances we’ve seen in recent American reality television history. I mean, Erika Jayne has literally been accused of using stolen money from burn victims, children, and widows to fuel her designer lifestyle… and she has gained 72k followers over the last 30 days as she has simultaneously refused to show any remorse for her actions on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Even the most disgraced members of Bachelor Nation are working overtime to state that Brendan and Pieper can’t sit with them. Victoria Fuller, who modeled for a “White Lives Matter” clothing brand and has a murky legal past, was even like, “This guy sucks.” I really don’t know where these two can go from here. Maybe the publicist who landed Olivia Jade on this season of Dancing with the Stars can lend a hand? Assuming they take on clients with less than 100k followers, that is.
The only question I really have for Pinky and the Brain is… why didn’t you guys just go on literally any other show? Was it absolutely necessary to sign up for one where the entire objective is to find “your person”? (To all the readers… I’m sorry I couldn’t make it through this post without typing those two dreaded words.) Sure, Bachelor in Paradise reaches an insane number of people, but the name of the game is to find a romantic connection AT the beach, not to see how long you can scam a third party into keeping you around until your existing partner shows up. This isn’t even Love Island, where there’s a promise of a cash prize at the end, and calculated game play of this nature is low-key encouraged. Surely, The Circle would have been a better use of your deceitful talents? And if for some reason, that didn’t work out, there’s always Big Brother.
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC