The Bachelor Season 19: The Women Tell All Reaction
I know there's a lot of judgement associated with those who watch this show, and trust me, I get it. But that hasn't stopped me from tuning in since I marathoned Sean Lowe's season a couple years back, and last night's episode Women Tell All was so high-strung and anger-inducing that I feel compelled to react. As for the franchise itself, I actually don't care much for the romance aspect, which is unarguably hammy and unrealistic. What I enjoy is the fashion and the house drama, which can impart some valuable lessons on how you should and should not behave in society. This season was probably the best yet for this sort of learning, and here's a summary of my key takeaways for each woman:
Britt: This was a good showing for Britt, and made me go from completely suspecting her authenticity to honestly sympathizing with her. I still think she was faking at least some of her reactions around Chris (her high-pitched squealing on the hot air balloon date after crying over her fear of heights is too ridiculous to overlook), but I don't doubt that the two had a connection and that Carly was unnecessarily vindictive to her. Jillian's solid defense of her as "pure and kind" was very compelling, and also not too surprising considering how touchy-feely they were with each other in the house.
As others have mentioned, Britt's main problem is that she doesn't seem to have a filter between her brain and her mouth. Obviously you should never say things like "I could never live here" out loud when around the other girls. She could also tone it down on the physical displays of excitement, which are the main reasons why she comes across as fake. I think it's likely she ramped those up in front of the camera and hopefully isn't like that in real life, but who knows. Lessons: Everything you say out loud influences other peoples' perception of you. And as they say, perception is reality.
Carly: I personally relate the most to Carly, and for that reason can at least understand the vindictive girl-dissing streak she was on for this whole show. There's nothing more irritating than seeing a seemingly perfect girl (that you have to live with!) canoodling with the guy of your dreams, and for that I can at least get where she's coming from. The problem was she took it too far and lost control of her own emotions and tact along the way.
She's a naturally passive-aggressive individual, which I don't mean as an insult but as a fact that she should become aware of and work to mitigate. She probably treated her one-on-one sessions with the camera as a place to vent her frustrations, perhaps not expecting they'd feature so heavily in the episodes. I only wish she hadn't tried to sit so high on her horse during The Women Tell All, which only made her seem pretentious and more in the fault. Lesson learned: there really is very little to gain from insulting someone else behind their back. Know when things should be said aloud and when they should be kept inside, and if it needs to be said, try to at least confront someone directly.
Kelsey: I actually came away from this feeling really sorry for this poor woman. No one, absolutely no one, deserves to be subjected to the amount of girl-ganging and purely cruel insults that she was. It was clear that she was trying to at least make amends, and while you can argue on whether she truly meant her apologies, the fact that she was making this effort on national television should be enough in and of itself. The reaction she got for this attempt, which included eye rolls, head shakes, and further insults on her dead husband, is just tragic.
Here's my take on the "amazing story" debacle. I think Kelsey plain and simply misspoke. I don't in any way believe she meant to connect the adjective "amazing" with her husband's death, and I believe her when she explains it was meant to describe her strength in coming out of the experience. Yeah, it was a terrible choice of words that a self-pronounced smart woman probably shouldn't have let slip in front of the camera, but I don't think for a second that she could possibly be happy that her husband passed, as other cruel internet folks have insinuated. Yes, she's said some snobbish things (though I've heard much worse from contestants), and yes she has this rehearsed air when she talks (again, I'm not sure that's something she can entirely control - I know some people that just speak like that), but again, absolutely nothing warrants the way she was treated. Lessons: Don't say big words just because you can, don't dramatize your own issues, and again be aware of how people perceive the things you say.
Ashley I: The discussion on Kelsey unfortunately brings me to Ashley I, who was pretty much the opposite of Britt on this confessional and wound up really lowering my regard for her in this hour. Up until this episode, Ashley was probably my favorite bachelorette and would have been my top choice for The Bachelorette, assuming I had a choice. She was hilarious, open, vulnerable and refreshingly upfront about all her thoughts (virgin-dwelling aside).
But now I'm left wondering if Whitney's description of her during Santa Fe as a "mean girl" wasn't apt. She was the epitome of cruel, small-minded, and malicious, as she rolled her eyes at Kelsey's apology, then tried to defend her accusation of the fake husband issue by arguing "everyone else thinks so." Wow, talk about just mean. Similarly, I hadn't put much credit on the other contestants' comments that she was immature, but now I see that was true as well. Ashley, you may have been a fan favorite but that doesn't give you leeway to behave like a spoiled princess. Lessons learned: Don't overthink things and keep discussing one issue (ahem virginity) with everyone, especially when it's clear people are sick of hearing about it. And always take the path of the mature lady when the opportunity calls for it.
Kaitlyn: It's so obvious that she's going to be the next Bachelorette that it's hardly even worth saying. But much like the choice of Andi for the last season, I'm personally a bit ambivalent and not completely won over. I never really liked Andi and felt like she was always putting on a bit of an act (I think it was most obvious in her unfortunate final confrontation with Eric, which felt a bit 'the lady doth protest too much'), something I think has played true as we've seen her attempts to become an entertainer full-time rather than continuing her law career. I get this same self-advancing, spotlight-seeking vibe from Kaitlyn, which makes some sense as a dance instructor probably isn't a super lucrative career in and of itself.
Yes, Kaitlyn's gorgeous (that Bali breakup shot of her face was breathtaking), she's also relatively funnier than the other contestants, and yes she fortunately was able to stay out of any drama in the house (probably because she could appropriately keep her mouth shut), but I just find her such a conventional choice. I personally would have preferred Britt or Jade (or Ashley I up until this episode) because they just seem more genuine to me. My impression is that Kaitlyn is much more politically savvy and guarded than she appears. She may throw out jokes and curses and laughs, but that doesn't mean she doesn't realize what she's supposed to say and how she's meant to behave on TV. She played a good game and now gets to reap the rewards, so I suppose that's fair. And kudos to her for calling Chris out on putting her through the fantasy suite and rose ceremony when he had a decision made (which I believe is the case). Lessons: Stay out of any catfights, don't say things if instead you can make a facial expression of your thoughts, and a sense of humor is always charming.
Chris: It wouldn't be complete without putting in a few thoughts on The Bachelor himself. I was actually quite happy with his participation at the start of the season, but several of the things he's done throughout the season have dampened his appeal for me. The first and biggest breach was that Big and Rich date when he somehow thought it was okay to leave all the other women hanging while he and Britt sneak out. I read his blog post about it, and rather than expressing remorse he goes to say he wished Britt hadn't told the woman about the concert in order to spare them further pain. WTF? He realizes this is a broadcast TV show and that at some point those women will find out right? And somehow it's better to find out by watching the TV than through someone telling you to your face? Why didn't you just send them home in the first place? What a freaking coward.
My general impression is that he also uses the excuse of touchy-feeliness to try to explain away his horndog tendencies. Nothing was clearer than with the overnight dates, when by that point it was obvious that Whitney was the final choice for him, yet rather than sparing the other ladies of the fantasy suite he proceeds to excitedly bring them all over (as Kaitlyn later mentions, why didn't he choose to part with her before this as Andi did him? My thought - because he wanted to have some sexy times.) Let's not even bring up the kissing. I'm not saying this as a prude, but more because he seems to have completely mentally justified his actions. Anyways, in his defense this may have been the first time in his life to have had access to such beautiful women, and perhaps it's fair to take full advantage of the situation. I could just do with less of him putting on an act about how gentlemanly he supposedly is.
Other thoughts on this episode: I'm a bit annoyed at that Trina girl, who I don't even remember being in the show (because she left so early) yet who tried multiple times to get the spotlight by speaking up on things she knew nothing about. I mean, she got as much in as Jillian, but the latter was so much more interesting and was actually involved in this process. Case in point is when Trina tries to embed herself into the Britt discussion by commenting "I wasn't on the show for long but from watching the show..." why did that even make it past the final edit? Waste of airtime. I'm also upset that we didn't get more Jillian time. As a quick add, Jillian also managed to raise my opinion of her in this episode, by stalwartly defending both Britt and Kelsey in a logical and compelling way. Final lesson here is it never hurts to speak up for others when there's just cause.
Finale thoughts: I think we all know Whitney will win, and honestly I'm happy for them both. I think they make a great pair both personality and looks-wise. Unlike many of the other contestants, Whitney is clearly mature enough for the settled-down Chris. I also wish all the other contestants all the best, and hope they're able to remove themselves from the drama of this show in their real lives.