Deep in the editing bay at ABC, an editor sits in front of three monitors, sweat pouring down his face. It’s not just adding up, he thinks as he takes a long drag off a cigarette. His hand is shaking so much that the ash is falling onto the keyboard.
“I told you to keep my editing bay clean,” he hears a voice behind him. He’s so startled he drops his cigarette in his lap and the butt singes his Old Navy Relaxed Slim chinos. “I thought I told you to get your shit together,” the voice says again. He spins around and sees her. The ABC executive. She’s eating an In-N-Out burger while wearing a white suit. Her suit is spotless.
“Uh, ma’am. I was just going to come find you. We’re — um — having a problem with the episode.”
“What problem could there be?”
“There’s just … nothing there. He’s just so boring. I don’t think anyone will care. There’s only so much footage we have that isn’t just the women screeching at each other or Arie attempting to emote. Not even the footage with John Cena added anything. We can’t say ‘needle dick’ on the air. We just can’t …”
The ABC executive licks her fingers and walks up to the editor. She wipes her fingers on his shoulder. Her lipstick is perfect and blood red and she opens her lips to speak:
“Add another montage.”
So passed another “Women Tell All” special.
Host Chris introduces the special by telling us that this is a controversial season. In what universe? Did they forget they cast an actual racist? Host Chris introduces all the women and I guarantee they threw in bitches I’ve never seen before. There are also a few women who are ready to get a dramatic clip for their reel. Caroline, I’m looking at you.
The first issue to be dealt with is the issue of “glam-shaming.” Listening to Marikh try to explain why she’s been shamed and held down because of her devotion to her beauty made me feel like I was some conservative baby-boomer. “Back in my day, we weren’t ‘glam-shamed.’ We pulled ourselves up by our flat irons and didn’t complain when our Sephora Beauty Insider points expired.” People who like to look glamorous aren’t a marginalized group, so you can’t shame them. In fact, people who like to look glamorous are probably given more benefits in society. Basically, this is a pretty girl complaining that no one likes her because she’s too pretty. My fat ass does not have time for this drama. Next!
Tia and Bekah M. have a moment to air out what happened between them on their three-on-one date. Apparently, Bekah had all kinds of doubts and Tia was just making a mental list of everything she said and was ready to deploy it against her to Arie. Then Bekah fires back, “You say I don’t have relationship experience? Well, I’ve been in love and you’ve only been with assholes and I didn’t come at you.” This group of women manages to be simultaneously mind-numbingly dull but also full of exquisite shade. Tia insists that she shouldn’t have to apologize for how she treated Bekah because she felt it was right in her heart. Just because you believe in the bitchy thing you did doesn’t make it not bitchy.
It’s time for Krystal’s turn in the hot seat. When it’s time for the montage about her rampage through the house, you can see Krystal’s eyeballs vibrating to keep the rage and chaos from escaping to the outside. There is blood gathering in the corners of her mouth to keep her smile stretched across her face. None of the women are having any of Krystal’s flimsy excuses for her behavior, but the real star of the segment is the clip when Krsytal calls Arie “Needle Dick.”
It was bleeped it out, though, so you had to use a few context clues to figure out exactly what she said. It all came together when Leslie Mann said she wanted to ask Krystal about the “needle comment” and after years of watching reality TV shows, I’ve perfected the art of deciphering the words behind the bleeps. Krystal called the Bachelor “needle dick.” That is amazing. Also, it appears that Krystal called the women some other word that’s worse than “bitches” because they bleeped that too. I’ll let you figure out what that one is.
Krystal tries to say that everyone’s crime of “mocking her” is worse than calling any of them desperate. Watching Krystal try to maintain her baby-perfect voice and her Instagram-perfect persona while trying to shut down the other ladytestants is some “trying to keep the Hulk inside” shit. The sun is getting real low, Krystal. And then Bibiana asks the question we all are wondering at home: “Did you see his dick?”
Seinne says that Krystal called them all desperate and Krystal says, “I saw all these girls running up to him and taking turns kissing him.” Bitch, what do you think you were doing this entire time? She also claims she lost her voice before filming and it took the entire seven weeks of filming to feel better. Krystal wraps up her segment by bringing up her homeless little brother and starts to cry. I know this means a lot to her, but boy is it strategic to bring up her brother at the end of her segment to bring back a little bit of sympathy. Weaponized White Woman Tears. Bottle it and spray it at the edge of your property to keep deer and other woodland creatures away.
Seinne gets a little montage and a sit-down with Chris that is her Bachelorette audition package, but we all know they already did one Black Bachelorette this decade.
It’s Bekah M.’s time in the hot seat. She calls out the fact that other women on the show are just a year or two older than she is and they never received the same scrutiny. Then we get to see Chris Harrison do his best impression of Sarah Koenig and do Serial Season 3: Marijuana Farm. The story is, after the filming was completed, Bekah wanted to get away for a couple weeks, so she headed to the mountains with her friends. Her mom freaked out when she didn’t hear from her for two weeks and called the police. That’s another way to tell that Bekah is really 22: The older you are, the less you have to talk to your parents. It’s one of the trade-offs for perfect skin.
Tia gets time in the hot seat and it’s all a set-up for Arie’s entrance. Tia convinced herself that because she opened up to Arie and told him, “I love you,” he had to pick her. Wouldn’t he want a sure thing? Tia, men don’t think like that. Men don’t like “a sure thing.” That’s never been on the checklist for a wife. Men like to think they wore a woman down and convinced her to fall in love with him. Just watch any episode of Say Yes to the Dress. Every single episode is just a woman saying, “I didn’t really like him when I first met him, but he wore me down! We’re having a spring wedding!”
Arie comes out and sure enough, he isn’t able to give a satisfying answer to Tia because he can’t explain why he kept Kendall around. They have nothing in common. She’s way smarter than he is and she isn’t ready to get married but “he’s a little further along in his feelings.” Arie loves to be around an emotionally withholding blonde.
Then comes the most unsettling moment of the entire episode. Caroline (WHO?) decides to call Arie out for some yet-unaired indiscretion. She tells him, “You’re here trying to find a wife. I know what you did. I don’t know how you could do that and I really don’t understand, but I really hope you find what you’re looking for.”
Every single part of this is amazing.
“You’re here trying to find a wife.” All of the women in your final three are at least nine years younger than you.
“I know what you did.” If you want to strike fear in someone’s heart, just lean in and whisper, “I know what you did.”
“I don’t know how you could do that and I really don’t understand.” That’s the classy way to say “You sick fuck.”
“I hope you find what you’re looking for.” And that’s the classy way to say, “I hope you die alone.”
Arie can only respond with, “That’ll play out.” Not that Caroline doesn’t understand or that she doesn’t have the full story or that he had to follow his heart. Just, “You’ll see.” If ABC knew what they were doing, they would explore this even more and tease the hell out of it. This is your lede, ABC. Don’t bury the lede and don’t let Caroline just throw it out there.
The last hot-seat interaction is when Krystal sits down with Arie to try to clean up her image. She says that their last interaction was very cold and he says, “It was pretty appropriate.” Krystal keeps trying to pin all of her actions on her being hurt and Arie just says, “This is The Bachelor.” Krystal says that she’s sorry for all the “needle dick” comments and Host Chris says, “He doesn’t know about the needle dick comment.” IMAGINE TELLING ON YOURSELF IN THAT MOMENT! I know now that there’s only one play for Krystal to go: The Real Housewives Franchise. That was a Porsha move. Someone get Krystal a fruit to hold in her hand.
The credits roll over a montage of Arie eating, and he’s one of those assholes who says “mmm” after every bite. It’s such a small moment, but it really does tell you everything you need to know about Arie.