I want to start by saying that there were a lot of things wrong with last night’s special two hour episode of The Bachelorette. I’ve written 20 some-odd recaps about this show before and I’ve seen everything. Alcohol. Sex scandals. Sexism. Racism. Violence. I’ve been a loyal fan through it all, frequently commenting that I never felt the show was particularly worse than the world around us is about any of these controversial issues. The world is sexist. The world is racist. The world is violent. But last night’s episode pushed me a little over the edge, and, even though I’ve written a complete recap about the episode, this is the blog post I’d rather you read.
For those of you who don’t watch, I normally would say, “Why don’t you?” But for last night’s episode, I’ll give you a pass. Last night’s episode was garbage. Absolute garbage.
I’ve watched enough reality television (and UnReal), to know that producers and show runners on these shows spin and twist everything to create drama. I expect them to. That’s why we watch. But last night’s episode of The Bachelorette was worse than what I’ve come to expect from producers.
There’s a contestant– I should say there was a contestant– on The Bachelorette this season who from the get-go was going to cause drama. For those of you following this season, or for those of you who watch the late night talk show guys, you’ll have heard all about Chad. I wrote a lot about him in my post yesterday. He is angry, aggressive, violent and the type of guy (from what I’ve seen) that I wouldn’t want to come within one hundred feet of me. He was a focal point of last night’s episode.
Episode after episode, he unravelled slowly. He punched a wall in one episode and threatened people on the show in the next. In a matter of minutes he could go from aggressive and mean to suspiciously calm. He had no effective way of communicating with the other people on the show and had no communication skills at all really. His way of communicating had little to do with listening or speaking and everything to do with anger and aggression.
As I watched last night, I kept waiting for the moment when he would cross whatever line the producers and creators of this show had set out. Would it be when he first threatened someone? Would it be when he first hit someone? Would it be when one, two, three, four other people on this show spoke up? How far would the show runners let him go? I kept waiting for the moment when someone would stand up and say, “This is enough. The people on this show feel unsafe and his presence on this show isn’t helping him or anyone else.” I waited for that moment. But it never came.
No one did anything. At all.
Watching last night’s episode, I didn’t want to write about what was going on. I sat with my head in my hands, so frustrated, waiting for someone to do something. But no one did. During last night’s episode there were moments when I wished I never watched this show.
I was embarrassed I watched this show and not for the normal reasons- the fact that most seasons end with a divorce; the fact that it’s reality television. It was more than that. I was embarrassed because this show last night condoned violence, threat-making and the use of muscles instead of brains to solve problems, as long as they brought in ratings and viewership. Leaving Chad on this show wasn’t helping anyone. It wasn’t helping you, me, JoJo, the boys on that show or even Chad. It especially wasn’t helping Chad. And why do it? To get you, and me, and your coworker to watch this show. This show which at it’s best is comical, and at its worst is just idiotic.
Knowing that someone is a real and present danger to the people around him and not doing anything? That’s just plain stupid. And, if I knew that’s what I would be watching last night, I wouldn’t have turned my TV on at all.