‘The Bachelorette’: The Fantasy Sweats

The Bachelorette
August 2, 2021

Welcome to Hometowns Week, when the four remaining contestants bring The Bachelorette to their hometowns to meet their families. Except there are only three contestants left, no one is leaving New Mexico, and one of the dude’s families just flat-out refuses to play along.

It’s been a … season.

First up: Grizzly Adams. The producers apparently saved all their Canada Day Party City decorations from Queen’s Gambit’s hometown date with Matt James, and drove it to New Mexico, where they threw it into a conference room and called it a day. As for Grizzly himself, he leans into the whole Canada stereotype thing, forcing Katie to do shots of maple syrup with him, and revealing that he keeps a bottle of maple syrup by the bed.

True story: when I was in Vancouver several years ago, I saw a man leave the grocery store with a brown paper bag. He pulled out a single bottle of maple syrup and proceeded to sip from it as he waited for the light to change. It was the single most Canadian thing that I have ever seen.

They sort of play darts; Katie rides a mechanical bull that is a moose because Canada; and they play a little street hockey while Grizzly Adams talks about how their relationship is growing “exponentially.” HEY. HOW ABOUT WE NOT TALK ABOUT “EXPONENTIAL GROWTH” IN THE MIDDLE OF A VIRAL PANDEMIC.

Unbeknownst to Katie and Grizzly, the producers thought it would be hilarious to have the couple play their game of street hockey directly under Cousin Greg’s balcony, and this insecure idiot goes out and watches them, sending himself into a jealousy spiral.

And to be fair to the producers, it was pretty hilarious. The problem is, this would never have happened on a real hometown except in the completely improbable situation in which two men were from the same city and one of them either stalked the production or happened to stumble upon them. This has never happened, of course, and honestly, the producers should have made a better effort to prevent it from happening here, she wrote as if The Bachelor producers have some sort of ethical code they go by.

That evening, Katie meets Momma Adams and Sister Adams, who pepper them with questions about their chemistry, when Katie knew she wanted to pursue Grizzly, and whether or not their connection is just physical.

Momma Adams takes Katie aside for a chat and tells her that she can see that her son is smitten with her, but she knows there are still other guys in the running, so how does Katie feel about her son? Katie assures Momma Adams that they are both happy with where their relationship is at, but that they have not yet told each other that they love one another. For Katie, she just doesn’t feel it’s right to tell someone she is in love with them while she’s dating multiple people. This of course not only just makes sense, but also maintains tension for the remaining episodes of the season.

Meanwhile, Sister Adams grills Grizzly and is like, “First you were IN LOVE with Clare. Then you were SO IN LOVE with Tayshia. So what makes this situation different, other than the fact that Katie hasn’t dumped you yet?” She then wonders if they’ve told each other they love one another yet, and Grizzly is like “Didn’t you just give me a bunch of shit for saying I was in love too quickly with two other women? I wanted to wait until I saw her with you guys. Also, I’m totally going to tell Katie that I love her, the time just has to be right.”

As for Grizzly and Momma Grizzly, she’s like, “You need to tell her you love her before one of these other guys do, you big dummy,” before telling him how proud she is of him for going on “this journey.” And let’s just pause here. I think it’s fine for families to tell their loved ones that they will support them if they decide to marry (or at least become engaged to) some TV stranger, but acting like going on one of these dating shows is something to be actively proud of is A BIT MUCH.

Anyway, the night ends without Grizzly telling her that he’s in love with her. And that’s fine! He’s only known her for like three weeks! It’s not unreasonable, people!

Great Face is up next, but his parents will not be attending because they are on the same page with this nonsense that I am: do what you wanna do, honey, but don’t drag my ass into it. I will say, the parents give conflicting messaging by saying they think it’s too soon for their son to get engaged to some stranger they haven’t met, but who they refuse to meet, and then add the caveat that they “trust his judgment.”

The point is, two of Great Face’s friends will be playing the role of Mom and Dad, which is fine, he’s not the frontrunner anyway.

Great Face and Katie spend the day in “Baltimore,” and by “Baltimore” I mean they take some selfies in front of a sign that says “Baltimore”; take a carriage ride around in the desert; talk about ranch vs. blue cheese; and eat some crabs. There is nary a single John Waters nor Divine reference made and I demand a recount.

Great Face also breaks the news that his parents will not be there, which Katie describes as “disappointing” and hurtful, which I suppose I understand, but also … who cares?

That evening, Katie meets Tommy and Herb, Great Face’s two best friends for well over 12 years, and who he insists probably know him better in some ways than his parents. When Katie meets them, she informs them that Great Face was her first kiss on the first night and that they just had an instant connection. Great Face adds that as his friends know, he’s a picky guy who has a list of what he’s looking for in a partner and that Katie not only checked off everything on that list, she’s adding to it.

Katie then talks with one of Great Face’s friends — honestly, I didn’t write down which one and I don’t care enough to go back and figure it out — and he asks why Great Face stood out to her. Katie tells him they just have chemistry, and he’s a great kisser (~cough~ unlike some ukelele enthusiasts ~cough~) and they just have fun together. Friend asks if they have told one another that they are in love yet, and she explains her “I Am Not Telling Anyone I Am In Love Until the Very End” policy, which he seems to accept. Friend declares her to be a “fun, nice girl.”

Friend then talks with Great Face and is like, “So you haven’t told this girl you love her yet?” Great Face insists there’s time, and Friend is like, “THERE ARE TWO WEEKS.”

Great Face insists that he’s following his heart and that just in this short period of time his “feelings have grown exponentially.”


When Great Face walks Katie outside, he explains that he tends to put up guards to protect himself, but that he needs her to know that he’s falling in love with her. He then puts her in the car to go back to her suite and realizes with what can only be barely contained dread, that he is very close to being engaged to this woman.

The final date belongs to Cousin Greg, who says something interesting: he notes that he saw Katie with Grizzly Adams “yesterday,” which means that the producers aired the dates out of order for some reason. I am guessing the dates actually went Great Face, then Grizzly Adams, and then Cousin Greg, because if the dates went Grizzly Adams, then Cousin Greg, then Great Face, considering what happens in this episode, that would be … weird.

ANYWAY. THE POINT IS: he saw Katie having a good time with a different man and now he’s all in his head about it despite the fact that this is the entire premise of the show. Katie arrives for her date in New Jersey where they ride a tandem bike and eat pork rolls and Italian water (wooder) ice. My Philadelphian husband strongly approves of the Jerseyness of this date, by the way.

They then play some basketball together because he used to play basketball with his dad, and that’s how these two bonded: over dead fathers. Oh, and then he has the producers wheel the rain machine back out again because why the hell not.

I should also pause here to note that we are only at about the one-hour mark of the episode so you JUST KNOW shit’s about to go down.

Right. So. That evening Katie is introduced to Cousin Greg’s mom, his brother, and his best friend, but not his two sisters because they are back home watching this with Great Face’s parents. Mom brought a bunch of pictures of the family and video messages from the two missing sisters telling Cousin Greg that they love him and are proud of him (again, FOR WHAT, EXACTLY?) and he starts weeping because Cousin Greg is a crier.

Cousin Greg and his brother are the first to chat — and, wait … you mean to tell me the guy who looks NOTHING AT ALL like Cousin Greg is his brother and the guy who looks JUST LIKE COUSIN GREG is his friend? I REJECT THIS.


Anyway, Cousin Greg chats with his Katie where she reveals that she and Cousin Greg bonded over the whole dead dad thing, and Brother is like, “Hold up, excuse me, what? He talked to you about that? He hasn’t talked to ME about that! You might be the first person he’s talked to about our father since he died so … that’s something.” He asks her if she can see herself marrying his brother, and she’s like “yep!” and Brother is sold.

Meanwhile, Cousin Greg visits with his NotBrother, and tells him that this is the most he’s ever felt for a girl. Cousin Greg tells him that he’s told her that he’s falling in love with her, but she hasn’t said it back yet. Still, they have talked about the future, and she’s agreed to move out to New York City, so that’s something!

Katie chats with Mom, and tells her that what really stood out to her about Cousin Greg was that he was so honest and nervous when she met him the first time — she appreciated that he was comfortable enough to be uncomfortable with her. The word you are looking for, Katie, is “vulnerable.”

Mom asks Katie how she feels about him, and Katie tells her that while she’s not going to use the word “frontrunner” he will be around next week.

Katie also gives Mom the “I Am Not Going to Throw the L Word Around Until I Am Proposed to” speech, but Mom seems a little wary, concerned her baby boy will get his heart hurt. Katie is like, “Yeah, I mean, there’s a chance!” which is not the most reassuring thing to say.

Cousin Greg then chats with Mom and tells her that he’s really in love with Katie, that she has filled up the piece of himself that has been empty since his dad died, which IS TOO MUCH TO PUT ON ONE PERSON. GO TO THERAPY. He admits that he is dying to hear her tell him that she loves him too, and that he is not going to propose without her saying it, but he does believe they will be engaged in the end.

Cousin Greg then sits Katie down and tells her that he lost a major piece of himself when his dad died, and he hasn’t been this happy in a very long time. He is not falling in love with her, he tells her, he is in love with her, because she makes him the happiest he’s ever been. He adds that he has never been this vulnerable with anyone, and that he isn’t going to have any regrets: he’s not going to get down on one knee twice — this is it, this is the one time.


Cousin Greg, frustrated with Katie’s silence in the face of his big declaration, is like “… and?”

And Katie replies, “I just love looking at you.”

As Cousin Greg’s face begins to fall, Katie realizes that “I love looking at you” is not the expression of love that he was looking for, and she begins telling him that she told his family he’d be here next week, and that she believes in their connection. She admits it’s going to be hard, but that in the end, it will be worth it. She all but tells him he’s the winner. But it’s not enough for Cousin Greg, who shuts down and begins responding to everything she says with toddler-esque monosyllabic grunts.

Katie — and really anyone who has ever had any form of human interaction — can tell that Cousin Greg is pissed, and asks him why he’s so unhappy, but he’s too petulant to answer her like an adult, and is all “WHY DO YOU THINK I’M UNHAPPY? WHAT ABOUT ANY OF THIS SUCKS, DO YOU SUPPOSE?” Katie again insists that she gets it, that this whole process is hard, what with the other guys still here and the hometowns and the all of it, but they are so close to the end! He just has to hang in there!


They go out to the car, stopping in a hallway where it’s more difficult for the camera to get to them, and there Cousin Greg further melts down, reminding her that introducing her to his family is a huge deal, and that he poured his heart out to her only to get an, “I love looking at you,” in return. Katie insists he just needs to trust her, but he responds by telling her he’s “losing [his] mind.” Cousin Greg adds that he never felt like she was holding anything back from him until tonight, and she’s like, “WELL WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW, COUSIN GREG?” But he responds incredulously, spitting her words back at her, shocked that she’s not getting it: “What do I need to know?” Katie again reminds him that this isn’t designed to be easy and that she feels like he’s giving up on them, and he’s like “yeah, yeah, let’s get you into the car.”

And as she drives back to her suite, Katie is like, “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED, Y’ALL?”

The next morning (OR IS IT?) Cousin Greg is still in a mood, and he whines to Grizzly Adams about how he just doesn’t know how Katie is doing this or what she’s really thinking.

He then explains in an interview that he’s in love with Katie, but something isn’t right, she clearly doesn’t feel the same about him, I guess because she didn’t want to violate her own rule to not tell any of the remaining men she is in love with them while she is still dating the other two? Why is this so hard to understand?


So Cousin Greg goes to her suite to make her feel worse about not giving him the ago-soothing he was looking for try to figure out what, exactly, went so wrong the night before (OR WHENEVER). He and Katie have a seat, and Katie admits she’s terrified because she doesn’t know what he’s about to say. Cousin Greg explains that he was upset because he had just told his family that she was the one, and then he comes to her and tells her that he is in love with her, and he feels like she just dismissed it, that it was like talking to a stranger.

Katie is like, “OH! I SEE WHAT THIS IS! You expected me to say ‘I love you, too’ and I didn’t. I definitely should have been clearer with you that I’m saving those words until the very end. It doesn’t feel right to tell someone that I love them while there are other men here. So sorry for the mix-up.”

Cousin Greg, realizing that this is a reasonable position on her part, suddenly tries to claim that it’s not that he wanted her to tell him he loved him, it was that her response felt “empty.” Katie’s like, “OK, sorry I didn’t respond the way you wanted me to, there was a lot of emotion that night, and I was trying to listen more than talk.”

Cousin Greg can’t accept this, either, because if he does, it makes him look like the idiot baby that he is so he triples down on the fact that she gave him a surface-level response to his declaration of love (which to be fair, it kinda was), and Katie protests that she told his mother that he was receiving a rose that week! This only pisses Cousin Greg off even more: “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ROSE,” he insists. “THIS IS REAL LIFE.”

OK, but is it?

Cousin Greg then bitches at her for saying that she felt like he was giving up on them when HE FOUGHT SO HARD FOR THEIR RELATIONSHIP (until he didn’t). Cousin Greg then declares he’s reached his breaking point: he gave her “everything” but he’s done. It was never about a “rose” and he never asked for her to confess her love for him. He told her she filled a hole in his heart and she didn’t acknowledge it.

As Cousin Greg marvels that he told his family he was going to marry her and now he’s feeling like he’s done, Katie is baffled: HOW CAN ONE NIGHT RUIN EVERYTHING? Cousin Greg insists that she “shifted” that night, and she’s like, “AGAIN, I’M SORRY I DIDN’T RESPOND THE WAY YOU WANTED ME TO, BUT YOU’VE BEEN MY NUMBER ONE SINCE THE BEGINNING.” This is just more “show” talk for Cousin Greg, who complains that he wants something “real” and that she’s too much in the Bachelorette mindset. “What does the rose even mean?” Cousin Greg demands to know. “That we move on to the Fantasy Suite and I make love to you and then what?”

Well … yes? That’s how this show … works? And then Katie will decide between the two final men and she gets engaged? Has he not ever seen this show before? It feels like he’s never seen this show before.

Katie, despondent now, wishes that she could go back to that moment and give him the response that he needed, that he’s her number one, but he’s like, “I don’t think you are getting what I’m saying. I’M NOT A NUMBER. This makes me sick!” And with that, Cousin Greg storms off, with Katie chasing behind.

Katie eventually catches up to him outside, where he is dramatically pouting in a chair. There, she crouches beside him, apologizing, trying to soothe his bruised feelings, and insisting that she doesn’t know what to say. She promises that she’s telling him everything and laments that he still doesn’t believe her, and adds that she sees that she’s losing him, and she’s losing her mind.

Cousin Greg, still convinced of his righteousness, and still swinging that gaslight of his, tells her that he deserved more than she gave him, and he’s not happy anymore. He’s done. And with that, he stomps off, again, leaving Katie inconsolable, and yelling that she is DONE WITH THIS FUCKING BULLSHIT. With that, she hurries back to her suite and locks herself in the bathroom.

Kaitlyn is eventually sent in to try to talk Katie down off the ledge through the bathroom door.

Kaitlyn insists that she gets it, she’s been there: she once cried into her salad that she was done and wanted to go home. Katie begins to open up a little, telling her that Cousin Greg feels like she didn’t hear him when he told her he loved her, and now he doesn’t believe anything she says. Kaitlyn asks if Katie wants to bring him back, but Katie acknowledges — correctly, I’m sure — that there’s no way to convince him to come back. She then allows Kaitlyn to join her in the bathroom.

On the other side of the bathroom door, Katie tells Kaitlyn that this feels like the biggest heartbreak of her life, that it was all for nothing. And then in an interview, Katie says that she falling in love with Cousin Greg, it’s all been so hard up to this point, and so to have him leave, it’s “soul-crushing.”

Back in the bathroom, Kaitlyn asks her what she wants to do now, and Katie replies, “I want someone to book my flight home.”

And then, these asshole producers, they end the episode with a montage of Katie and Cousin Greg’s “relationship” as if it didn’t end in an explosion of miscommunication, insolence and gaslighting of their own fucking design.

ALRIGHT. Before we move on to the finale, which at three hours presumably does not consist of Katie taking an Uber to the Albuquerque International Sunport, let’s talk about what the fuck just happened here. Because while I agree with most people that Cousin Greg is the bad actor here (pun absolutely intended), it’s also more complicated than, “Cousin Greg came on the show to advance his acting career, got further along than he wanted, and fabricated a reason to break up with Katie to get himself out of having to propose.”

Here’s what: I genuinely believe that Cousin Greg was Katie’s final choice (I additionally believe Michael Bluth was number two), and when Cousin Greg made his big, emotional declaration of love, Katie kind of went into a quiet emotional state so as to not reveal her feelings and possibly ruin the narrative of the show. Is this something the producers encouraged her (and all Bachelors and Bachelorettes) to do? I don’t know, but I do know that if the Bachelor/Bachelorette plays their cards as close to the chest as possible, it allows the producers to create more tension for their narrative entering into the finale.

However! Contrary to what he claims later, Cousin Greg clearly fully expected Katie to return his feelings and tell him that she loved him, too. When she didn’t, his little baby ego, which was already wounded by seeing her enjoy time with another man, shattered into a million pieces. What if he wasn’t her first choice? What if she really did have feelings for someone else?

And, as he himself pointed out, Fantasy Suites were next, and he was going to have to sit in the knowledge that when she wasn’t with him, she was with someone else — sleeping with someone else. What if he didn’t measure up, literally or figuratively? And I think this is what really lay at the root of his complaining that she wasn’t being “real” and was too much in the “show” mindset — that she wasn’t willing to declare her love for him right then and there and walk away from the remaining trappings of the series: the Fantasy Suites, the final dates, the proposals; that she was choosing to continue to play by the rules of the show rather than protect him from the knowledge that she had feelings for, and would be sleeping with, other men.

And so, he was hurt, angry, and needed to lash out so as to salvage some sense of self: she changed; she was being fake; she was more concerned about the show than “real life”; she lied to him all along, and he would rather walk off the show than face the possibility of being dumped on national television.

Look, I think don’t think this is entirely one-sided: Katie certainly could have been more receptive and empathetic when he expressed his feelings for her. (Though I truly think nothing would have satisfied him less than an “I am in love with you, too.”) But ultimately, Cousin Greg volunteered to be on a show in which he would not be the person in control, and when it became obvious to him that he might actually be vulnerable, he burned it all down, rather than be burned himself.

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Katie (or who left her):

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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