Last night, The Bachelorette, men “told all”. I know I’ve complained ad nauseam about how awful this season has been, but last night proved it for me. Some of the contestants came back and instead of being the caricatures that they were while vying for Kaitlyn’s love, they were down-to-earth, sweet, generous and extremely likable. Jared even shaved his gross spotty beard. If they had been allowed to show some actual gumption and passion on the show (outside of the slurping that Nick does), I may have actually been interested in watching a few of them fall for Kaitlyn. As it stands, the show did a good job of making them all seem bland and mechanical until tonight.
I wish I could say that we got closure on everything, but despite spending way too much time talking about Clint and JJ’s bromance and messing with Clint’s straight persona we never did find out if Clint and JJ were able to repair their relationship after JJ threw him under the bus and asked him to apologize for wasting Kaitlyn’s time. The guys were still pretty distrustful of Clint and JJ tried to convince everyone that they just didn’t understand his brand of humor, but in the end, they both continued to look like idiots and I am still left wondering if Clint ever forgave JJ. Also, no one called Clint out on the fact that he stated point blank that he wasn’t into Kaitlyn despite JJ claiming that a lot of their hot tub time was spent waxing poetic about her. Other unanswered questions: What brought on Kupah’s meltdown? If JJ is a former investment banker, WTF does he do now? How long did Joshua walk around with the messed up haircut Kaitlyn gave him? How are Tony and his “eye of the child, heart of a warrior, [and] spirit of a gypsy”?
Despite all of these unanswered questions, we did get an (overly dramatic) apology from Ian about his exit, saw Ben Z. in all his beautiful glory, heard some practical, reasoned arguments about the whole Nick fiasco and heard some of the hateful comments that Kaitlyn has received over the course of the season.
First let’s talk about Ian. I think it’s clear, both from his exit and this apology, that Ian was heavily influenced by the producers to go out in a blaze of glory. The men were all, rightfully, offended by the fact that Ian had kept to himself throughout his experience on the show and refused to get to know them, but still had the gall to judge them as being “lames”. They were also pretty offended on Kaitlyn’s behalf – though Corey (WHO?) agreed with Ian’s assessment of her as being shallow and just on the show to make out with a bunch of dudes. Ian literally got down on his knees in front of the guys (and again later, in front of Kaitlyn) to apologize. It was weird. He apologized for calling Kaitlyn shallow and for implying that she was “loose” for all the world – including her mother (which he seemed to feel worst about) – to hear. The whole thing was spectacularly awkward, but everyone seemed satisfied.
Kupah was the first person to bring up the Nick situation which was a little strange considering that he wasn’t even there when Nick was brought in. He felt that it was clear that Kaitlyn and Nick had a relationship before the show started and it was dishonest of her to tell the guys that she could “see her husband in the room” when toasting to them if she had feelings for someone not on the show. Most of the guys actually stood up for Kaitlyn in this situation, saying that they’d rather have Nick on the show so she could work through any feelings she might have for him than go through the whole ordeal only to have her wondering “what if” when it was all over. That doesn’t mean that they were happy about it.
But what they were really unhappy about was the fact that Kaitlyn kept bringing it up and turning all of the dates into a defense of Nick and bringing him on the show, which they felt wasted their time and made it harder for her to move forward with other relationships. Tanner (who said like 2 words when he was actually on the show but was sort of holding court for most of the “Men Tell All”) also said that her giddiness about Nick and her obvious connection with him was also hard to see as someone who had been trying to get closer to her. These are reasonable responses to have. Too bad no one mentioned the fact that Kaitlyn is the one who kept bringing up Nick and how awkward it was to have him on the show while actually on the show.
After reliving Ben Z., JJ, Ben H. and Jared’s love stories with Kaitlyn, the girl herself finally came out and sat in the hot seat. I don’t want to praise the show for not actually calling Kaitlyn a slut because they danced around it pretty hard, but I do think that they tried to come to her defense and stand up to the online bullying she has had to endure. To Kaitlyn’s credit, she showed no shame or regret, only sadness about the reactions she got. Chris Harrison read some of the hate mail she received aloud and it was truly horrific. The fact that we live in a society where individuals, STRANGERS, think it’s ok to threaten and intimidate a woman based on her independent choices is really really sad to me. I’m sure we only got to hear the tip of the iceberg and the audience, including all of the guys, were truly appalled. Ben Z., being the beautiful snowflake that he is, led the guys in a standing ovation for her. Vulture’s Bachelorette recapper, Ali Barthwell, beat me to the punch when she wrote:
While, visually, it’s a bit much, I think every woman should have the opportunity to get a standing ovation while wearing a sequined dress (I could do without the mesh cut-outs, but that’s her style) and a full face of professionally applied makeup. Being a woman in the world means you deserve a goddamn medal for bravery, and if we can’t get that through the House or the Senate, we’ll settle for a standing ovation. The waitress who gets called “honey” by a table full of old lecherous businessmen: standing ovation at the end of her shift. The woman just trying to online-date who gets videos of guys jerking off to her profile picture: standing ovation when she closes the tab and opens up Ann Taylor Loft’s website because they are having a sale. Any and all women who choose to wear any item of clothing outside because it will be commented on by some weirdo on your way to work: standing ovation.
If you’re a woman and you haven’t tied a man’s hands together using your tampon strings and set the building containing him on fire, you deserve a standing ovation.
Kaitlyn spoke to some of the guys and answered some direct questions as well. One of the big ones was when Ben H. asked why she told Shawn about her night with Nick but didn’t tell him even when they got down to the Fantasy Suite. She seemed to try to work around her answer a little but after being called out on it she basically admitted that her relationship with Shawn was more important to her at that point.
I liked Kaitlyn more during this episode than the rest of the season put together. There was no hysterics, no melodramatic crying, the guys seemed to truly like her for actual, real reasons and not just because she’s hot, she stood up for herself in the face of pretty extreme hatred and never lost an ounce of her humor. In general, everyone seemed more likable. It made me sad that we weren’t shown that show – the one with the reasonable people going through an intense situation together.
I hope that the franchise learns a few lessons from this season (which has been one of the worst ever): #1 Not every episode needs or warrants a cliffhanger ending. #2 It’s much more fun to watch reasonable people reacting to extraordinary situations in a normal way than watching nutbags losing their shit because someone isn’t playing by the “rules”. #3 It’s important to keep the Bachelor/Bachelorette likable to the audience. #4 Ben Z. is too beautiful for this world and should be treated as such.