‘The Bachelorette’: Hunting for a new villain

The Bachelorette
July 5, 2021

The morning after Half-Witted Villain’s ignominious departure, the remaining men are in good spirits. And why not? All the trouble makers have been exorcised from the house, there are no more distractions, it should just be smooth sailing and good vibes. Just going on dates and cuddle time on the couch from here on out.

The problem is, this is a reality show, so there is no such thing as “smooth sailing” ever. And to that end, Tayshia arrives with news for the men: a new guy wants to join the cast and after meeting with him, Katie has agreed to give him a chance. And without further ado, meet Grizzly Adams!


THE BACHELORETTE – ABC’s “The Bachelorette” stars Blake Moynes. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

Understandably, the men are not amused at this development, and they are even less amused when he receives the week’s first one-on-one date: “Grizzly: Let’s make up for lost time. Love, Katie.”

Katie arrives to pick Grizzly Adams up for their date, and when she asks how everyone is doing, she receives deafening silence in response. Q asks Katie how she knows Grizzly Adams, and she explains that he did reach out to her after The Bachelor but it wasn’t something either of them further pursued. That said, she has chemistry with him and she is going to explore every possibility.

Katie and Grizzly head out on their date which is just a horseback ride, a picnic, and a quite literal roll in the hay. One thing we learn about Grizzly Adams is that even though he’s a wildlife manager and spends around a month a year in Africa, he has a childhood fear of horses. And I guarantee you that is EXACTLY why they are on this date. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU PEOPLE TO LIE ON THE APPLICATION ABOUT YOUR BIGGEST FEARS? When The Bachelor producers ask you “What is your greatest fear?” you write in “cupcakes” or “spa days” or “five-star resorts.” This is not hard.

That evening at dinner, Grizzly Adams asks Katie what made her so sex-positive and open about sex, and Katie tells him the same story she shared with the other men about her sexual assault, and how she had to learn to take her power back. And I am glad she feels comfortable discussing such a difficult subject and I guess I’m glad Grizzly was curious about her and how she was shaped as a person.

But. 1. It shouldn’t be so remarkable that an adult woman is sex-positive to begin with and 2. and I don’t mean this to be a dig at Katie, but what, exactly, makes her the poster child for sex-positivity? Because she arrived on Matt James’ first night waving a dildo around? Don’t get me wrong, I like Katie and think that it’s far FAR healthier to have a woman on the show who is unapologetic about having sex and having a past, but making a joke with a dildo one time should not be held up as some sort of standard for what it means to be sex-positive, and it demonstrates just exactly how reactionary and patriarchal this show is that it is. (Also, for what it is worth, both Kaitlyn and Hannah Brown were demonstrably sex-positive during their seasons, too, and nobody gave them prizes for it.)

Anyway. Katie gives Grizzly the date rose and then they go listen to some musician who will be playing one of the smaller stages at Stagecoach in 2022.

Back at the “house,” the group date card arrives: “Cold Fish; Cousin Greg; Q; Aggro; The New Virgin; Michael Bluth; Andrew the Lawyer; The Math Major; Great Face; Oh Canada; Cat Man; Ball Pit; and Cold Fish: Love is a battlefield. ♥ Katie.” Which means Accent Guy gets the second one-on-one date. Let’s hope he can get through the whole thing without trying to LARP Bridgerton.

The next day the men arrive at a field that is marked by big red flags because the producers are a lot of things, but subtle ain’t one of them.

The official symbol of ‘The Bachelorette’

When the men arrive, Katie introduces them to the two “athletic legends” who will be joining them on the date: All-4-Wells and that Franco guy who sadly is not wearing his bug shorts and ascot on this date. Boo. 

These two in their polyester coach’s shorts and whistles explain that the men are going to play some made-up game called “The Bash Ball Battle” that is described as “rugby + basketball while wearing wrestling unitards for no good reason other than it’s funny.”

The most homoerotic show on television, change my mind.


And because The Bachelorette abhors a villain vacuum, Cold Fish decides now is the time to take that particular crown from the deposed Half-Witted Villain. As soon as he puts on his little unitard, Cold Fish turns into a complete ‘roided out aggressive freak, who tackles a little too hard and a little too enthusiastically.

The other men take this as their cue to GO HARD, and eventually, poor Michael “Dad Bod” Bluth is tackled, and HARD, by Great Face, knocking the wind out of him. As Michael Bluth is examined by the EMTs and ABC’s lawyers, Great Face notes in an interview that he feels terrible about it, he’s not out here trying to hurt anyone. Cold Fish, on the other hand …

Once it’s determined that Michael Bluth is, in fact, OK, Katie ends the game and announces that both teams will join her for the cocktail party instead of just the winners as originally planned.

At the cocktail party, she takes the injured Michael Bluth aside first, presents to him an ice pack, and worries over him. He notes that it’s been a crazy couple of days and that in fact, yesterday was his wife’s birthday, which turned out to be a lonely but thoughtful day. He wants to kiss Katie, but, alas, it’s hard for him to move on account of the beating he took on the field for her earlier.

Cat Man, who appears to have tragically lost all of the buttons on all of his shirts, plays a song for Katie on his ukelele which makes her cry.

Cold Fish shows her pictures of his kids and suggests that he’s ready to introduce her to them, and she genuinely seems taken with “Cold Fish, The Dad.”


Meanwhile, Michael Bluth tells the other men about his story, that he lost his wife and the woman he had been with for 16 years, and how it was her birthday the day before and now everyone is literally sobbing.


Cousin Greg takes Michael Bluth’s comments about how finite time is to heart, and in his alone time with Katie, after she tells him that he has “resting sad face” and that he “looks like a puppy dog” — BITCH, MICHAEL BLUTH IS IN THE NEXT ROOM TEARING EVERYONE’S HEARTS OUT OF THEIR CHESTS; OF COURSE HE HAS “RESTING SAD FACE” — he promises that he is going to stick this out with her, no matter how hard it is, AND IT IS HARD BECAUSE THE OTHER CONTESTANTS ARE OUT THERE MESSING WITH EVERYONE’S EMOTIONS AND SHIT. Katie notes that one of her biggest fears is one of the contestants wanting to leave, and he promises her that he won’t.

And when it is all said and done, Katie offers Cold Fish the date rose because the producers need a new villain in the house, dammit.

Back at the house, Accent Guy receives his date card: “Accent Guy: Let’s find our way to love. Love, Katie.”

Accent Guy, bless his heart, is up at 7:30 in the a.m. for a date that does not begin until that night.

Katie eventually arrives wearing a Catwoman costume for some reason, hands him a small lantern, and leads him out into the woods. They eventually arrive at a clearing where she flips on a bunch of string lights. There, amongst the string lights are a bunch of envelopes dangling from the trees, inside of which are silly corporate ice-breakers, like “show your signature dance moves” and “imitate a sound of an animal in the wild.”

They then move into a different clearing where a bunch of ceramic hearts are strung which contain more serious questions like “what did you learn from your parents’ relationship?” They then progress into a sea of balloons that have things like “tell me a secret” written on them.

I’ve seen worse dates, honestly. At least it gets them talking to each other and taking an interest in one another as real people and not some sort of weird platonic ideal onto which they can project whatever they want.

That night at dinner, Accent Guy opens up a little more about his past, explaining that his father was incarcerated when he was young and he turned to football to provide some stability in his life. But it also would bum him out because he didn’t have a father there like his fellow players to offer his support and love. And that’s why he’s so determined to be a good husband and father one day.

He then tells Katie that there’s another thorny topic that he needs to address: namely, the fact that he is a Black man and if they were to get married and have children, those kids would be interracial. He had previously been in a serious relationship where she couldn’t handle the idea of being a mother to interracial kids and potentially having people question if she were really their mother. He was prepared to propose to this woman but this, ultimately, was a stumbling block in their relationship.

Katie assures Accent Guy that this will not be a problem for her: that she will be a momma bear for their hypothetical children, she will love them no matter what they look like (which is kinda how motherhood works — or is supposed to work) and she is confident that Accent Guy will be the best husband and father one day.

It’s a genuinely wonderful, important, and honest conversation that America — and specifically “Bachelor Nation” — REALLY NEEDS TO HEAR RIGHT ABOUT NOW. I’m not suggesting that The Bachelor has resolved all of their MANY MANY race issues, and the hard work they need to do is over now; not by a long shot. But I applaud them for including conversations like this, and the ones Tayshia had on her season about Black Lives Matter, because that’s the only way some fans of this show are going to hear them discussed, and discussed by Black people themselves instead of through a white perspective.

That bit of very important business taken care of, they then retreat to a well-earned hot tub dip and she offers him the rose. Obviously.

Finally, it’s cocktail party time. Katie arrives and gives Great Face the first one-on-one time. There, they play a game that seems straight from Watch What Happens Live! in which she has to choose between things like letting Great Face join her co-ed volleyball team, or deciding which she would give up for a year: sex or music. It’s cute! He’s cute!

Meanwhile, Cold Fish is out here in an interview mocking the other men for worrying about getting a rose that night, while he’s worried about Big Stuff like hometowns and fantasy suites. And yet, all that said, this asshole, who already has a rose, grabs Katie and takes her outside for some stargazing and strawberries. Aggro and James-in-a-Box, who happen to be outside to watch this unfold, are not amused, and James-in-a-Box takes it upon himself to interrupt Cold Fish’s attempt to monopolize her time.

Cold Fish sends him away initially, but James-in-a-Box returns moments later, “ruining [his] night” according to Cold Fish, WHO, AGAIN, ALREADY HAS A ROSE.

James-in-a-Box uses his time to tell her his feelings for her are growing. Which, I mean, OK, but first of all, that’s hardly an original thing to say, but second of all, if his feelings for her weren’t growing after being with her for a month, he should probably see himself out, right?

Meanwhile, Cold Fish rejoins the men and is all petulant about not getting his time with Katie, while Ball Pit, Aggro, and James-in-a-Box are like, “GIRL, YOU HAVE A ROSE. WE DON’T KNOW IF WE’RE GOING HOME TONIGHT OR NOT AND YOU COME HERE COMPLAINING AT US?” Cold Fish tries to say that he’s “competing for the same love [they] are” but it is not well-received.

Cold Fish:


Rose #1: Cousin Greg
Rose #2: Aggro
Rose #3: Michael Bluth
Rose #4: Cat Man
Rose #5: James-in-a-Box
Rose #6: Great Face
Rose #7: The New Virgin
Rose #8: Oh Canada
Rose #9: Ball Pit

Which means the men who must buzz off are:

Andrew the Lawyer; The Math Major, and Q which is hardly surprising as they have collectively said about 15 words in the past five episodes.

But we’re not done yet because after Katie says her goodbyes, Aggro tries to start a toast, saying that it’s hard to put into words … when Cold Fish jumps in and interrupts Aggro to say that it was an intense and bittersweet day, but that in the end, it’s all worth it. Which is a jerk move! … Unless it didn’t happen that way at all.

Here’s what I’m going to say about this: don’t believe everything that you see. I’m not defending Cold Fish: I strongly dislike his simian face and his whole “short guy who doesn’t take no for an answer” vibe.

BUT. The producers are clearly desperate for a new villain, and it is entirely possible that Aggro actually finished his toast but that they cut it off and edited it in such a way to make it look like Cold Fish interrupted him. It’s called “Frankenbiting” and it is incredibly common on reality shows looking to craft a narrative with clear “good guys” and “bad guys.”

I will also point out that it wasn’t Cold Fish who tackled Michael Bluth during the game — it was Great Face. But the way the show has all the men talk about how aggressive Cold Fish was being during the game and how his behavior “changed the tone” would somehow lead you to believe that he was responsible for Michael Bluth getting hurt. But he didn’t touch Michael Bluth — they were on the same team, in fact. But you make it seem like he’s the bad guy in the game and you make it sound like he’s rudely interrupting people, and you combine it with his genuinely being an inconsiderate jackass at the cocktail party … and you’ve got yourself a shiny new villain for the audience to hate.

All I’m saying is take it all with a grain of salt.


The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Katie:

The Men Who Are Going to Soon Be Dumped by Katie:

The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Mondays at 7/8 p.m.

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