Does anyone else need to lie down? Because I am exhausted. I need to take about a gallon of CBD, slap on no fewer than seven IcyHot patches, and just relax. I wish I had the stamina I did in my younger years, but if I even think about a motel pillow or the complete racial undoing of a reality dating franchise, I have to take an Epsom salt bath. There has been so much Bachelor content, controversy, and unmitigated chaos in the last two weeks that I can barely keep up anymore. Is this season of The Bachelor a 2003 film starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, because this shit is coming at me too fast and too furious. So here we are, in a season that feels like it’s been going on forever and is inescapable, at The Women Tell All special, and IT’S NOT HELPING.
From the disclaimer at the beginning that this was filmed February 4, 2020, so the amorphous, spectral apparition may have temporarily had human form, to Matt James’s new beard, to the women insisting that the true feminist act is not tattling on their toxic behavior, to three possible Bachelorette edits (maybe four?!?!), this Women Tell All was a wild ride and I would like to get off already.
Let’s get to it.
Among many things that need to be brought to our attention right away, there were so many dates we didn’t see. When Chris Harrison started up the montage of dates they didn’t air to distract from the fact that none of these women like or respect each other, I was like, “They made them grope around a box of bugs? What is this television program?” Matt sat down with JoJo and Tayshia and did a bootleg Hot Ones episode outside the Fat Bird resort, and unless I entered some sort of pocket dimension, we saw none of it. It just goes to show that the editing and storytelling decisions this season favored drama and pettiness over literally everything else. I don’t know if I wanted to watch Chelsea and Abigail pet a bunch of roaches looking for a diamond ring, but boy, would I have loved some context about what the fuck I’m looking at.
After the opening montage where we’re reminded that everyone is attracted to Matt James and Sarah was a whole thing that happened, it’s time to stumble through some of the conflicts. MJ and Jessenia! MJ says she was just attempting to inject some humor into the house and Jessenia maintains that she had to act based on what she saw MJ do and not her intentions, which is fair! Somehow, Mari has elected herself as the secondary interviewer and says, “You can say a lot of things about MJ but you can’t say she’s fake.” No one said she was fake, Jessenia said she was encouraging the alienation of the new women. MJ also says she’s not going to tear anybody down, except when she calls the new women JV compared to the original ladies who are “varsity.”
Then the conversation shifts to Victoria being “unwelcoming” of the new women and again, some of the women try to paint Victoria as just a misunderstood jokester. Ah yes, that classic comedy routine where you constantly call other women sluts and hos on national television! Ryan says she’s tired of being called a “ho” on television just because she’s a dancer. She also says dancers bring emotion and entertainment and … sure … yeah. Victoria just says, “Well, are you, like, super sensitive though? Because people are being really mean to me online and I just laugh that off.” Yes, those are completely equivalent experiences, being teased for your bra strap showing ALL THE TIME and being called a slut behind your back.
Honestly, I wish we didn’t have to address Victoria. It’s very clear what she’s doing. Instead of owning up to the harm she caused other people or even flat-out denying what she did or said, she’s making it about why the other women can’t handle what she’s dishing out. They’re too sensitive, they can’t laugh it off, they’re carrying their anger for too long, why are they even talking about that right now. Because it’s the reunion special! We’re here to talk about the season and make our last play at becoming the Bachelorette. Victoria claims that she’s been called horrible things and she’s been able to brush it off, so the other women shouldn’t hold Victoria accountable.
Katie jumps in to say she couldn’t just let Victoria and others bash people in the house and it also hurts to watch someone call her “disgusting” over and over again. She goes about a step too far, though, when she says maybe it’s karma that everyone is realizing that being part of a mean-girl crew in the house isn’t exactly going to win them fans on social media. Chelsea says, “Hold up … just one second.” She doesn’t appreciate the hate they’ve been receiving being called “karma.” I’m sure the POC contestants are receiving a very particular kind of online backlash for just existing, and that should be put into a different category from people teasing Victoria about her wonky eye. But … Chelsea doesn’t seem to be doing that. She starts this line of questioning where Katie is the real bad guy because she told Matt about the problems in the house. After all, what is feminism but letting women torture each other without consequences?
Mari says that Katie was the harshest on Sarah and then once she got to know Sarah and heard her side of the story, she was able to approach Sarah with more and better empathy! That’s called BEING FAKE, KATIE. There is absolutely no desire by any of the women who were instigating the name-calling and bullying to own up to the fact that yes, they did fuck up. They can and should admit that now and any attempt to cast Katie as the villain is trying to avoid responsibility under the guise of faux feminism. I’d call it “white feminism,” but the crew of mean girls is too diverse.
Up next is Brittany in the hot seat. It’s absolutely messed up that they made her watch a montage of Anna calling her an escort. Brittany talks about the depression she went through after the season where she was avoiding her friends and family. Brittany says that her life is forever changed because when you Google her, “Brittany Bachelor accusations escort” are the first 20 results. She says that while Anna offered an anemic apology, she could have reached out in person. She says that no occupation is less deserving of love than another; there’s nothing wrong with being a sex worker, only how our society treats them. Anna basically is like, “Oh my God! My bad! This all sucks! I can’t believe I did that,” when Anna’s whole vibe is “spread rumors about half of her sorority.”
Now it’s time for our parade of Bachelorette hopefuls. Katie, Abigail, Serena P., and Pieper all get their turn in the hot seat. Katie’s montage starts with her waving a vibrator and ends with her feeling blindsided, asking why she’s single at 30 but learning to accept herself. Abigail talks about being let down by Matt not giving her enough time to further their connection. She also talks about how she doesn’t exactly fit in with the “capital-D Deaf community” because she doesn’t sign. I know it’s not the show’s responsibility to tell her story but man, what a fucking waste. If someone had explained to Matt how this was supposed to work and didn’t let him string her along, she might have gotten an early one-on-one date to talk about her life. She says she’s glad she was shown in a romantic light because disabilities aren’t always portrayed in that way. Pieper says she let herself feel all of her emotions toward Matt so being blindsided by him made her shut down, but she’s ready to grow and never settle again. Serena P. still cares about Matt but didn’t want to realize that she kept him from exploring another relationship that might be more right for him. Her mom knew Serena wasn’t happy, and thank God for perceptive moms and sisters.
It’s time for Matt and his new beard to sit down and face the women. Chris Harrison asks why he decided to grow the beard and Matt says he feels wiser. He also says he likes to put a little baby powder in his beard and look in the mirror and imagine what he’d look like as a grandpa! Matt spends most of his time reassuring the (white) women who behaved badly that they actually have really good hearts and he likes them. He can’t judge anyone because he’s never been a contestant on the show before so who knows what anyone would do in that situation?! I dunno, man. I’m sure being on the show is really stressful, and I’m sure whatever kind of Christanity makes you lead an unprompted prayer in a room full of strangers teaches you not to judge, but you can judge someone who calls someone a whore as an insult, at least a little bit. Being in a stressful new environment is not an excuse or mitigating factor for violating basic human laws of decency.
Victoria takes the whole thing a step further and starts crying as she thanks Matt for believing in her and explains how her exit was so dramatic because she was going through layers of pain. Matt says he knows her heart and he wishes he could have done more for her and their relationship. Bitch, what? It’s very annoying, knowing what we know about how this season unfolded, to see white women cast as gentle, misunderstood gentlewomen who get to act badly but then shed a tear and be redeemed by the first Black Bachelor. I’m surprised Matt didn’t put on an old floppy hat, pick up a stick and bindle, whistle a jaunty tune, and disappear into smoke now that his mission is complete.
It’s time for the women who were sent home by Matt to grill him. Katie, Pieper, and Abigail all have the same question: “How did I get blindsided?” They all got blindsided because Matt tends to treat any and every romantic partner the exact same, so they had no way to know if Matt just liked them or liked-them-liked-them. He’s also able to say how each of them either taught him something or helped lead the group in some way. That’s just what every woman wants to hear after a breakup: “You were a valuable member of the team.”
It’s time for the final bit of fun when we watch a montage of Matt kissing with his eyes open. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? He didn’t know that you were supposed to kiss with your eyes closed!?!?! Nope. This is too far. This is entirely too weird. He says he’s either trying to peep at the women because his eyesight is bad so that’s the only time he can get a good look at them, or no one ever told him he shouldn’t do that. It’s one or the other, Matt. You either made the choice to do it or no one told you can’t do that. No one has told you that you can’t do that? Have you never made out with someone? Have you never been kissing a woman and she screamed directly into your mouth when she realized you were staring up her nose? Please, remove all footage of this man kissing for the rest of the season. A couple women said they tried to correct the behavior and he doesn’t do it all the time, so he knows he should feel shame for his transgressions. He’s such a terrible kisser and gets a boner watching a hot lady get out of a hot tub. Has anyone checked if this is a Big situation?
We end with some classic bloopers and Chris Harrison can’t wait to have a studio audience again. You might be waiting awhile, Chris …
See you all for fantasy suites!
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