January 28, 2019
So you know how I’ve been consistently late with these entries this season, usually posting sometime on Wednesday instead of Tuesday? Well, believe it or not, last week I really believed I was going to get this entry posted on time. I was absolutely confident that this was the week I wasn’t going to post late.
Hubris is real, y’all.
My thinking was that since my husband was out of town on a business trip, I’d be much less distracted. I’d watch the episode in real time, get it written first thing in the morning, and it would all be tied up by 1 p.m. on Tuesday. That’s correct: my brain just completely erased nearly two decades of experience with what it is like to run a house with two kids and two large dogs (one of whom is selectively incontinent) with my husband out of town, and I actually thought this shit would be easy.
So, for those of you reading this who are not in Houston, on Monday last week there was a terrible incident in which four police officers were shot while trying to serve a warrant to some scumbags. This story required round-the-clock coverage, obviously, and The Bachelor was preempted for a solid hour. This immediately dashed any hopes for a Tuesday post, as I wasn’t going to be able to watch the episode until Tuesday morning, which, I will have you know, I did.
But then all the other bullshit that comes with being a single parent rained down on my life and without getting into too many details that would embarrass or implicate the guilty, let’s just say that as a writer, a part of me actually appreciated the narrative symmetry of the fact that my plan of getting The Bachelor recapped in a timely manner was dashed by incidents that involved the police at both the beginning and the end of the week. No one was arrested, fortunately, but the whole thing certainly put The Bachelor recap at the bottom of my list of crap to get done this week.
And so, without further ado, here is last week’s Bachelor episode which for your not-so-trusty blogger was a Goddamned emotional rollercoaster.
We begin at the McMansion with the 15 remaining women, but we don’t stay there long as Chris Harrison arrives and announces they have an hour to pack: they’re headed to Singapore. Personally, before allowing them on the airplane, I would have made the ladies go on a group date where the challenge was to name what continent Singapore was on. And anyone who could point to it on a map automatically wins a date rose.
But instead, they just let all of them fly around the world, while babbling about how excited they are to go someplace they’d never heard of before and I have it in my notes that one woman says something about Colton never having left the United States before? Did that happen? BECAUSE HE SPENT LIKE 19 WEEKS IN MEXICO DITHERING OVER WHETHER HE LIKED LIKED TIA AND WE ALL SAW IT WITH OUR EYEBALLS.
~goes back to watch the episode On Demand — which you can’t fast-forward, by the way — to confirm what was said because I love you that much~
Alright, she said that he’s never left “North America” which, 1. is really splitting hairs considering he went to the Bahamas on The Bachelorette and to Mexico for Paradise and 2. is obviously something the producers prompted her to say because there’s no way she just knew that.
But whatever, they load up the dummies onto a 17 hour flight to Singapore where Colton is, biding his time buying crap in the markets and thoughtfully staring off into the middle distance. Upon arriving at their hotel, the women are greeting with the first date card: “Piggyback Ride: Let’s fall in love. Colton.”
Colton then records another of these dumb videos where he explains that he feels that he can be “himself” around Piggyback Ride, but that he hopes they “don’t die.” So obviously they are going to throw them off something tall as some sort of misguided “bonding” adventure. Poor Piggyback Ride, though, she is pretty sure the “fall” in the card refers to a waterfall which is just some straight-up wishful thinking.
Instead of splashing around in a waterfall (of which there are no natural ones that I could find evidence of in Singapore), in fact, they go to a bungee platform that stands some 50 meters (164 feet) over the beach which absolutely no thank you please. I have said this one thousand times before, I will say it as many times as it takes: ain’t no waxed dummy worth flinging yourself off of, well, anything, with nothing but a stretchy cord attached to your ankles. You can do better, Piggyback Ride, and it won’t involve taking your life in your hands.
But she jumps because of course she jumps, but not without a lot of “ZOMG WE ARE SO NERVOUS” crap beforehand. They then picnic on the beach and kiss and blah.
That night at dinner, Piggyback Ride reveals to Colton that she is divorced. As a good Christian woman, she married her first (and only boyfriend) only to discover that he didn’t really want to be married, which is what happens when you marry your first and only boyfriend before you graduate college. That’s just science. Colton is all, “Hey man, I don’t judge, my parents are divorced, I get it.” And then he calls her smile “sexy” which is just weird. Anyway, he offers her the date rose, of course, because, what, he’s going to send home the divorcee who agreed to bungee jump with him when she could have been like, “FUCK THIS, NO SIR, I AM A DAMN PRIZE AND DO NOT HAVE TO RISK MY LIFE FOR THE LIKES OF YOUR DUMBASS.” Come on.
Back at the hotel, there is still a great deal of consternation about the pageant girls’ continuing feud as it is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. So when the group date card arrives and lists everyone but Miss North Carolina, thus indicating that she will have the final one-on-one date of the week, it’s not just Miss Alabama who is irritated as it strongly suggests that this fight between them is Still A Thing. The women suggest that it’s Colton who is making it Still A Thing when it is obviously the producers who are making this Still A Thing, but that’s because they have to.
“Empty Gift Box, Carp, Never Been Kissed, Carrot Top, Fashion Police, Miami Mami, Red Flag, V-Card, Butterflies, Cougar Den, Peach, Another NBA Dancer and Miss Alabama: Let’s get a taste of Singapore.”
The next day, Colton meets the women at a market while narrating a whole thing about how difficult it is going to be to go on a date with THIRTEEN women and try to find moments with each them privately.
Cue Red Flag:
And in fact, Red Flag spends the entire day doing her damndest to monopolize Colton’s attention.
The group shops for tchotchkes and visits a leech therapist and they squeal and screech and they visit a fortune-teller who regrets to inform Colton that he and Butterflies were siblings in a past life.
Then they sit down to a meal of “exotic” street food. And here is where I take a long cleansing breath and attempt to find my zen place which I am fairly certain I misplaced in this past week/month/three years.
So, the women are brought out a smorgasbord of “weird” food that they are challenged to eat: bullfrog, pig’s feet, eel. “PIG’S FEET? EWWWWWW!” one woman shrieks while another wonders if she’s going to die if she eats it. Miss Alabama pats herself on the back for eating a fried eyeball, and treats it as though it took as much courage as Piggyback Ride throwing herself off of a 200 foot platform.
And this right here, this is the problem with this entire date, that the show itself is treating this traditional Asian food as if it is dirty or gross and not just that these Americans are unfamiliar with it. This is not just lazy, it’s ignorant and racist and disrespectful to this host country that is famous for its cuisine.
Story time: my first college roommate was a woman from Singapore, coincidentally enough, and I remember once she was eating something (not Asian or even “exotic”) that I thought was gross, and I rudely said as much. She called me out on it, and that’s when I learned the valuable — and at 18, long overdue — lesson of not “yucking someone’s yum.” Because it’s hurtful and snotty and completely unnecessary.
So I’m not mad at any of the women. They are just twenty-something dummies who have never been to an authentic Asian restaurant much less been to Asia. They just don’t know any better because they didn’t have my roommate in their lives to teach them that yucking someone’s yum is tacky. No, I’m squarely pissed off at the producers because yucking someone’s yum WAS THE ENTIRE POINT OF THIS EXERCISE.
And what makes this particularly galling is that one of the producers, Elan Gale, returned to Singapore about a month after this was filmed and posted a wonderful Twitter thread celebrating all of the amazing food he ate there. Tell me this doesn’t make you hungry and start searching how much flights to Singapore cost:
WHY COULDN’T Y’ALL JUST TAKE THE LADIES TO THAT DUMPLING PLACE OR THAT NOODLE PLACE OR THAT CRAB PLACE? IS IT BECAUSE YOU WOULDN’T GET ANY FOOTAGE OF WOMEN GAGGING AND SQUIRMING AND GENERALLY BEING ASSHOLES?
And in conclusion, my verdict is that everyone involved, the producers, Colton, all of the women, all of them are sentenced to read Edward Said’s Orientalism. Case dismissed.
That evening at the cocktail party, Miss Alabama is the first to take Colton aside to talk. There, she expresses her concern that what Miss North Carolina said to him about her might color his feelings towards her, but that her character is “noble”
NO MATTER WHAT THAT BITCH MIGHT HAVE SAID. Colton assures her that everything is fine between them and she declares that she’s falling in love with him in an interview.
Colton also talks to Butterflies about how weird it was to learn they are siblings. Still gross.
Red Flag takes Colton aside and reveals that her mother was just released from federal prison while she’s been taping this nonsense. Red Flag insists that she loves her mother no matter what, and Colton applauds her for taking a negative situation and turning it into a positive one. I’m not exactly sure what that positive situation is that he’s talking about, but sure. Red Flag is brave, I guess, for admitting she has a felonious parent.
While all of this is happening, Peach is having a MELTDOWN about not getting any time with Colton, but she’s also not doing anything to fix the situation? It sure seems like she’s waiting around for him to come talk to her, but that’s not how it works? I don’t think? I mean, I honestly don’t know, it could be possible that he engages the women, but the way the show is edited, it sure seems like the women are the ones who approach him for conversations. THE POINT IS, Peach is being a whiny ninny about the whole thing and Red Flag as much as tells her that. You want to talk to Colton? GO TALK TO COLTON.
When Peach does not get up off the couch and go talk to Colton, Red Flag is like, “You know what? Fine. I’mma gonna go talk to him AGAIN,” and does so. When Peach realizes that this is what has happened, she finally gets off her duff and marches upstairs … to confront Red Flag. Red Flag is like, “Yeah, I talked to him a second time, but only after I spent half an hour encouraging you to go talk to him.” In response, Peach asks Red Flag, “how old are you again?” before accusing her of being immature.
Note: Red Flag and Peach are both 23.
And then Colton gives Red Flag the group date rose because she had the winning sob story of the night.
The next day is Miss North Carolina’s big one-on-one date, and it begins with a hotel concierge? I don’t actually know what his job title is, but a hotel employee wearing quite the dapper uniform complete with top hat, delivers the date card. “Miss North Carolina: I’ve been waiting for this special day for so long. Meet me downstairs. Colton.”
After she leaves, the other women speculate on what the date will be and decide it involves some sort of pampering. “WHAT IF HE BUYS HER SHOES AND A DRESS?” Miss Alabama worries.
About that, funny story.
Miss North Carolina meets Colton downstairs where they get into a chauffeured Bentley and are driven to a shopping mall. There, they shop and shop and shop and “Colton” buys her pretty much everything she tries on. It’s the Pretty Woman date that the producers dust off every so often, particularly when they want to make all the women hate a particular contestant. (It’s also gross and paternalistic and it makes me mad as a woman but I don’t have all the energy to get into that right now.)
But it’s not enough to just send the contestant on the Pretty Woman date, she then has to flaunt the fact that she’s been on the Pretty Woman date in front of the other women otherwise what is even the point? Thusly, Miss North Carolina returns to the hotel with 47 shopping bags and the women are simultaneously, “ZOMG I HATE YOU SO MUCH,” and “SHOW ME EVERYTHING HE BOUGHT YOU SO THAT I CAN HATE YOU EVEN MORE.”
Butterflies, for one, is reduced to sobbing in an interview that she is SO HAPPY FOR MISS NORTH CAROLINA, IT’S JUST THAT IT SUCKS.
That evening, Colton and Miss North Carolina go to dinner, or “dinner” as the case actually is, and here’s the part where we have to lower the lights and cut the dumb plinky guitar music because shit gets real.
After the requisite “I had such a great time today” pleasantries, Miss North Carolina tells Colton that she needs to talk to him about something that happened to her that has created difficulties in her relationships in the past. She then goes on to tell him about how four years earlier, as a sophomore in college, she and two of her girlfriends were roofied, raped and otherwise sexually humiliated. She reveals that she doesn’t remember much about the assault, just waking up the next morning and having a vision of a man in her bed. Later she learned that while she was passed out, another man lifted her dress and took pictures of her that he posted on Snapchat. She went to the police the next day and to a hospital where seeking a rape kit, she was turned away. She went to a second hospital, but because of the amount of time that had passed, the results were inconclusive. Only one of the men were ultimately expelled, but the rest, including her assaulter, got away with it.
Miss North Carolina speaks very honestly about the trauma she was left with: she barely left her house for the year following the attack and even having a man brush against her would trigger her. She also talks about the shame and guilt she felt, explaining that she didn’t tell her mother until a year later. The next day, her mother was in the dean’s office with an attorney fighting on her behalf. Miss North Carolina notes that the experience shaped her as a person, made her stronger, and insists that she will never let it diminish who she is as a person.
Colton, to his tremendous credit, takes this all in, and assures her that she is safe with him. He reminds her (and us) that in the past he was in a relationship with someone who had been sexually abused, and that it was one of the most difficult things he had been through: to look in her eyes and know she was in pain and could do nothing about it. He notes that he knows his struggle doesn’t compare to hers, but Miss North Carolina, she gets it: her assault effected every person in her family and in her life.
Miss North Carolina adds that she feels like she’s been to Hell and back, but that it made her stronger, she was able to take a piece of herself back, and declares that she is stronger than she ever imagined. And she is, truly.
Having torn the producers a new asshole for their racist bullshit on the group date, let me now praise them for how they handled this conversation. The show allowed Miss North Carolina to tell her story uninterrupted, and very lightly produced — there was no swelling music, there were no obvious cuts to make it more dramatic or emotional. It felt honest, it felt sincere, and it was powerful. They had the confidence to allow her story to stand on its own and it was a gut punch. I knew before the season began that she was a sexual assault survivor, but to hear the details of what happened to her … I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me cry, a first for this very dumb show. So, thank you, The Bachelor producers, for treating Miss North Carolina’s heartbreaking story with the sensitivity and respect it deserved. It meant a lot for so many of us during this emotionally raw cultural moment.
If you are a victim of sexual violence, first know you’re not alone. Hearing this story can bring up your own pain. If you need to speak to someone, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.4673 or visit rainn.org.
Finally, the rose ceremony cocktail party. While Colton is off making out with Empty Gift Box in his hotel room, or whatever, Miss North Carolina asks to speak to Miss Alabama to chat. There, the women agree that while they will never be best friends, they can put aside the nonsense and not attack one another. It’s hard enough to be a woman in this world, they don’t need to make it tougher for each other, right? RIGHT. And then they apologize to one other and that is how this became Not A Thing Anymore.
However, a feud that is Definitely Still A Thing — the one between Red Flag and Peach — is just getting started. Concerned that Peach is on the warpath and going to talk some shit about her, Red Flag takes Colton aside first, where she tells him that Peach “attacked” her and that she is “the cancer of the house.”
Peach interrupts them, and explains to Colton that she was upset on the group date that she didn’t have a chance to talk to him, and that Red Flag talked to him twice. AND THEN he goes and gives Red Flag the date rose? Colton is like, “yeah, yeah, whatever. So, she just called you the ‘cancer of the house.’ Great talk! Bye!”
Peach returns to the other women and demands that they take a quick poll: “RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU THINK I AM THE ‘CANCER OF THE HOUSE.'”
And with that, it’s time to get rid of some of these dummies:
Rose #1: Empty Gift Box
Rose #2: Never Been Kissed
Rose #3: Carp
Rose #4: Miss Alabama
Rose #5: V-Card
Rose #6: Cougar Den
Rose #7: Another NBA Dancer
Rose #8: Butterflies
Rose #9: Miami
Rose #10: Carrot Top
And thus in a stunningly Machiavellian twist, Red Flag manages to vanquish both of her enemies in one fell swoop: Peach and Fashion Police.
Goodbye, Peach. Maybe if you’d taken some initiative with Colton and not sat around waiting for him to do all the heavy lifting, this would have turned out differently. And goodbye, Fashion Police. I am very disappointed you never wore on the show your daring business lady on top/bicycle messenger on bottom outfit that you chose for your bio picture. Maybe had you made it another week?
But both of you should go home taking solace in knowing that it’s surely only a matter of time that Red Flag will receive her own comeuppance. The villain never wins (except for that one time when she totally did).
Here are the ladies who were eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:
Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Colton:
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m.