Last night was the penultimate episode of The Bachelor: the Women Tell All, also known as “let’s put the rejects in a room with Chris and a studio audience and see what happens.” Traditionally there is a lot of crying, demands of closure, and some awkward confrontations. Host Chris Harrison yucks it up with the ladies and nods sympathetically as they snivel about their lost chance at love. And then: tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion of the most dramatic season of The Bachelor yet!
But this season’s Women Tell All was….. Jesus Christ, what a shit show.
Picture this: 25 fucked up, broken women in a room together, dripping with body glitter and tears and barely contained anger. I usually love lady rage, don’t get me wrong, and Kaitlyn’s skillful taking down of Chris for putting her through a rose ceremony before sending her home after telling her he was falling in love with her last week was as classy as it was refreshing. But most of the episode involved women jabbing at each other, leaning forward in their plastic stools to gesticulate and accuse one another of being jealous, insecure, back-stabbing, and phony. Most of them were right in their accusations, as proven by the helpful montages of confessional bitching sessions and snide comments. The camera catches all, and it is unforgiving. Their accuracy didn’t make the women’s comments any less cruel.
Feuds between individual women aren’t uncommon on a show that pits strangers against each other for the love of one man, and there usually is an outlying villain or two who everyone piles on during the Women Tell All. But the level of hurt last night, of cattiness and woman-on-woman crime was pretty horrifying. My live-stream kept cutting out and I’m not going to re-watch all that pain just to catch what I missed. It was the rare episode in which my viewing experience was more guilty than pleasurable—I repeatedly wondered just why I was tuning in.
Britt accused Carly of being insecure and sabotaging her relationship with Chris, leading to her elimination. Jillian got up from her chair to scream at Carly for talking shit about Britt, an attack that Chris Harrison himself had to shut down. Samantha (who?) accused Kelsey of stealing her rose by faking a panic attack as a manipulation tactic. Ashley I. confronted Kelsey for basically calling her human trash, and Kelsey called Ashley I. out on claiming she’d invented her dead husband. Yeah, it got low. Really low.
Look: Britt is an overly emotive and somewhat dim drama queen. Ashley I. is a childish trash princess who makes amazing facial expressions. Kelsey, let’s be real, is the most condescending, manipulative character from the season (and I say character because she wrote her narrative so obviously I wrote a whole post about it). Jillian just needs to sit the fuck down. They all signed up to be on a reality show, and they should know this show is not about friendship. As Carly argued when her on-point schadenfreude at Britt’s downfall came back to bite her in the ass, there’s no reason to confront one another over in-house drama, but there’s also no point pretending all the on-show friendships are real.
But I would have loved, just once, for someone to turn to the camera The Office-style and remind us that this is a heavily edited program meant to antagonize them into fighting. Why cave to that pressure and claw at each other while wearing pretty cocktail dresses? Everyone talks shit, even about their friends. I talk shit all the time, I’m the biggest shit talker there is. We all say things we regret because we’re intimidated, because we’re scared, because we’re in pain. But none of our weak moments get recorded on camera to be broadcast for the entire country. Sometimes we have to let those venting sessions go, those heat of the moment insults loosened by champagne. Tear down the system that holds them accountable for being humans with less-than-perfect human emotions. Don’t tear down each other.
Fight the system, ladies. Punch Chris Harrison in the face. Never do reality television again. It’ll all be okay.
I’m too emotionally scarred by this episode to talk about anything else. Chris is boring, Kaitlyn is probably the new Bachelorette and will crush it, and I need a hug.
Past Bachelorella recaps HERE.