The Bachelor bears a number of startling similarities to the Coronavirus (bet you weren’t expecting that one!) They both got fairly slow starts this winter, but by the time they’re all said and done, expect 80% of the US population to be affected by their residual consequences; both the Coronavirus response and The Bachelor are skippered by wildly incompetent men who seem to make decisions at every opportunity that compound and confuse the downward spiral of chaos; and both the Coronavirus and The Bachelor have sent shockwaves through the liquor industry with 38% of Americans saying that they will no longer buy Corona as well as Kelsey’s champagne disaster sending Moet & Chandon futures into freefall. I certainly hope that the Purell was free-flowing at the Women Tell All last night because all that mudslinging is going to require some serious hand-washing!
Before we get to the female battle royale, we were treated to a rose ceremony that had been slowly building to a crescendo for an entire week. The stage was set with Hannah Ann and Victoria F waiting patiently for their knight in shining armor to come and bestow upon them a rose; unfortunately Peter had other ideas. Just as Penelope gazed out to sea waiting for the return of her fair Odysseus from the Trojan War, Peter too was staring off into the distance waiting for Madison to return from her own war with her conscience. Penelope was famed for her fidelity, something that cannot be said for Peter, and as a result the returning Madison did not look best pleased to see her expectant lover. The three women on the stage together was quite a sight. Madison had a look on her face like she had just been forced to eat 17 raw lemons, Hannah Ann looked as nervous as if she had been sent to the principal’s office and was about to be disciplined for passing notes about the boys in her pre-calc class who had cooties, and Victoria F, sporting her Jesus necklace, just looked happy to be there. (Quick reminder Victoria that the 7 deadly sins are those transgressions that are fatal to spiritual progress, not a bucket, or to-do list.)
Hannah Ann received the first rose and continues her surge towards the finish line AS I PREDICTED before we embarked upon this journey together. Madison unsurprisingly was offered the final rose, which she reluctantly accepted after telling Chris “I was falling in love with him, and then last night happened and now I don’t really know.” South Central Wisconsinites, New York Knick’s fans and Federalist Paper aficionados are all disgusted right now at the shame that this Bachelor contestant brought to the name Madison in her spineless submission to the false promises of Peter. Perhaps she was disgusted with her decision as well, but she certainly appears to be putting the invert in invertebrate as she backtracks on her previously held personal expectations for Peter. Madison sent us into the Women Tell All by toasting: “Here’s to seeing if love can conquer all.” The game of Bachelor gives its toughest battles to its strongest soldiers – can’t wait to see how this one shakes out.
I often wonder how Chris Harrison managed to sweet talk his way into a job that pays him $60,000 an episode to give terrible relationship advice to contestants and show up at the end to deliver a couple of roses. (For a full sabermetrics breakdown of his salary, here is an excellent article that goes into exhaustive detail.) Then we get to the Women Tell All episode, and we are reminded time and time again that he earns every single cent. Chris has the unique ability to ask all of the cringeworthy, sordid, and flat-out blunt questions that we’re all thinking, but wouldn’t ever dare to actually ask. This instalment of the Women Tell All was no exception.
It’s difficult to recap this episode without using a lot of quotations but I will try and keep them to a minimum and stick to the sharp, cutting analysis that is pretty much never a feature of this blog. I think it’s safe to say that none of the girls will ever have a future in political panel punditry, although some of the conversations had sparks flying that were comparable to a Trump vs. Science argument about the cancer-causing capabilities of wind turbines! The questions to the girls began more generally. They were asked to comment on the Madison ultimatum situation amongst other events in the most recent episodes. We were then treated to some season highlights with the cameras trained on the girls in studio as they were forced to relive some of their most unflattering moments. Things only started to get heated as the Tammy-Mykenna feud was subjected to a jet fuel injection. “She takes so much joy in bringing people down, and I have no time in my heart for people like that” was Mykenna’s go to refrain, alongside multiple declarations about her strength and self-confidence. If Mykenna is such a strong woman, her strength is most definitely not derived from the motivational life quotes that she tosses out left and right. They seem to come from such reliable sources as fortune cookies and sorority girl positivity murals. Shit really started to pop off when the Alayah Victoria P controversy bubbled to the surface once again. To be honest, I was expecting more from this exchange, however, to the detriment of the drama, Chris was about as effective a moderator as OJ Simpson would be a used glove salesman and everyone was screaming over each other so not much was discernible.
I think my favorite part of the Women Tell All were the not-so-subtle jabs that the girls were levelling at one another throughout. Some highlights:
Tammy and Kelsey: Tammy said that “from a medical standpoint” she was concerned that Kelsey was displaying alcoholic tendencies. Kelsey responded with “you’re a dermatologist.” Startlingly similar to poor Stu from The Hangover who is derided constantly for being a dentist, not a doctor.
Victoria P and (insert name here): Victoria claimed “I totally agree with you that I am weird” when confronted about concealing her prior relationship with Alayah. Some random girl who I didn’t recognize came from the top rope and says “you were the fakest person in the house.”
Kelsey to Sydney: “I didn’t call you stupid; I only called you a dramatic fucking bitch.” Tough to sugarcoat this one. I think I would prefer to be called stupid. She followed this up with a: “we’re good now girl?”
Mykenna to someone who went home on night one: “You went home on night one.” Scoreboard.
Tammy to Mykenna: “All you do is dance like a buffoon in front of the camera” – “you would always spread your legs whenever the cameras were around.” This is good content from Tammy.
Chris spent the majority of his interview with Kelsey asking her rhetorical questions like: “You seemed confident you were gonna get a rose?” and then following them up with real knife-twisters such as: “What do you miss about him?” Not much else to report here, however the Victoria F interview was a completely different story. Her highlight reel brought back so many visceral memories for me as someone who has ebbed and flowed between feeling sorry for and incredibly frustrated by Peter. “I’m frustrated with myself because I didn’t realize how much he cared for me” – step aside Benedict Cumberbatch, the next season of Sherlock will feature Victoria F uncovering the reasons why Peter didn’t want to spend the rest of his life being demeaned, belittled and tortured by unreturned acts of affection. Victoria is a savvy operator and can clearly sense when she is getting backed into a corner. In what can only be described as a generational genetic mutation, her fight or flight instincts seem to have been supplanted by the crying instinct. She denied being a home-wrecker and was treated to a standing ovation by Sydney, Kelsey and Lexi. Maybe they’re trying to generate some goodwill with her so they don’t get their husband’s stolen from them in the future?
Chris continually referred to Peter as “America’s favorite pilot.” I think Chesley Sullenberger, Honda, auto, and the biro pen company would all beg to differ as far as that is concerned. I will get into my full debrief on Peter once the season is over, but he seems confused, uncertain, and altogether beaten down by this entire process. America’s fifth favorite pilot did have the best blooper moment of the season if that is any consolation. The old pissed-your-pants-so-accidentally-spill-champagne-on-them-to-conceal-it is a club I didn’t think Peter had in his bag. 12% of the time that one works every time!
Obviously the segment about online harassment was a major feature of the episode as well. I hope it goes without saying that everything I have ever written in this blog is in response to an on-screen character taken entirely at face value. Even Victoria F deserves love in her life and should never be subjected to death threats, online harassment or whatever else these losers are doing. There. I said it. I actually don’t hate Victoria F (that much). In all seriousness, this was a very powerful and necessary moment in the season and one that I hope is impactful moving forward because no one should be subjected to the hateful words that were read and the many more that were not. 🙂