Another televised wedding in the books! The romantic in me shamelessly loves these—it really is neat to have watched two people meet, date and ultimately tie the knot a year later. As a viewer, you feel like a voyeur of sorts, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish my own love story had been captured on camera to some degree, to watch back and self-indulgently enjoy on occasion. Something about Chris and Krystal’s story is particularly satisfying; it combines the magic of a televised love story with an added layer of redemption for both parties, both the villains on their respective Bachelor/Bachelorette seasons. Watching two people inspire each other to be better, not only for each other but for themselves, is as feel-good as a trashy summer reality show about beautiful people dating each other gets. I love it when successful, happy couples force me off my snarky soapbox!
On the polar opposite end of the Bachelor in Paradise spectrum, we had John Paul Jones, who appears to be unraveling at an alarming rate. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me that a guy who is usually so happy-go-lucky, goofy, and comedian-esque would have a dark side. (The world’s funniest people often do.) I would almost—almost—feel bad for him if it felt like his actions were the regrettable side effects of a filming-related mental breakdown. After all, we saw him bawling his eyes out—a very strange and disproportionate overreaction to still wanting to date Tayshia. Further, remember how exhausted he often described being. (Trust me, given how dramatically things unfolded, I doubt that exhaustion was an accident.) Unfortunately, towards the tail end of the episode, JPJ appeared to feel little remorse for his series of reprehensible actions, nipping any potential sympathy I might’ve had for the guy in the bud.
First, I don’t care how little you know the bride and groom—a wedding is simply not the place to confront another person, much less in heated fashion. John Paul Jones’s actions wouldn’t have been appropriate at the wedding of his worst frenemy. Perhaps I have renewed appreciation for how disrespectful his behaviour was after having organized and executed my own wedding and I now fully understand the many months worth of planning involved. JPJ made a day that is not remotely about him, well, about him, and he did so in the worst way because he brought such negativity with him (it’s not like he drew attention by tearing up the dance floor). It’s because of this strange timing and behaviour that I strongly suspect a producer was buzzing in JPJ’s ear like a mosquito. Either the guy has zero sense of when and where to have a “conversation” or there was a professional enabler pushing him over the edge. I have no doubt he discussed at length in his ITMs the distrust he felt for Derek, and that became an opportunity that was seized. (Funny how this show is all about finding and celebrating love, yet you’d be hard pressed to find a televised Paradise wedding—the consummate celebration of love—that doesn’t accentuate drama.)
Second, I’m seriously questioning how in touch with reality John Paul Jones is. His disbelief that Derek wouldn’t know he was interested in Tayshia felt like it belonged in a different storyline. Had he forgotten that he had JUST gone on two dates, back to back, with women not named Tayshia? Had he not given his rose to Haley (and, as an aside, smeared sunscreen all over her rear)? His seeing-red reaction to Derek pursuing Tayshia showed not only an unhealthy possessiveness—under the guise of “protection”—of a woman he was not even dating, but also highlighted his severe issues with confrontation and conflict resolution.
That might be what bothered me the most, the fact that John Paul Jones wouldn’t hear out his opponent. Many people described feeling triggered by Luke P’s behaviour on Hannah’s season. Well, I found John Paul Jones’s arguing style triggering. I. CANNOT. STAND. when people interrupt for the sake of interrupting, talking over you and, as Derek put it, “bulldozing” you. Bombarding someone without fact-checking and without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves is so uncivilized. What is even the point the confrontation if not to attempt to solve an issue? It’s bitching for the sake of bitching. People like JPJ force you to stoop to their level, to raise your voice and to become defensive, when really, there is no winning. As Derek attempted to say his piece, JPJ accused him of possessing the ability to “talk his way” out of anything. This struck me as rich coming from a guy who claimed Derek was routinely “insulting his intelligence”—if JPJ is so smart as not to have his intelligence insulted, why would he be concerned about Derek defending himself? In general, watching John Paul Jones raise his voice and hurl unfounded accusations at someone who’s been the picture of decency all season was downright unbearable. His “nope,” “nope,” “nope” whenever Derek tried to answer JPJ’s own questions… just typing about it after the fact makes my blood boil! Based on this exchange, it’s laughable to imagine this man would be ready to commit to a lifelong partnership with someone.
Lastly, let’s unpack the actual claims. John Paul Jones accused Derek of inviting him onto his podcast, something I’m still scratching my head over, trying to understand where the insult or “wrong reasons” lie. Derek’s reasoning was, of course, correct: alums of this show DO get to cool things afterwards (I sure as hell never would’ve had the opportunity to go to a NYFW fashion show before!)—hosting and appearing on podcasts included. John Paul Jones also accused Derek of being there only for “fame.” Yet, if he’d ever observed Derek’s on- and off-screen behaviour, from how he carried himself on his previous seasons to the fact that he maintains his finance job (he didn’t eschew his career in favour of becoming an influencer), he’d see Derek is easily one of the least fame hungry contestants in Bachelor Nation. You could argue JPJ’s cartwheeling and hair-flipping antics read far more screen-time (and therefore “fame”) hungry. Finally, the claim that I found the richest of all: that Derek “takes advantage” of women by sleeping with his followers. This REALLY gets to me on two levels: First, I’d estimate that 95% or so of this show’s audience is female, making most of any Bachelor alum’s followings predominantly female. Is John Paul Jones really trying to claim that, if (and when) a female follower recognized him and if he found her intriguing, he wouldn’t pursue things or allow her to pursue him? What single man would do that? I couldn’t stand JPJ’s faux, convenient holier-than-thou stance on this subject. Next, as Derek’s personal friend and someone who regularly does go out with the guy, I assure you he is nothing short of gracious with all fans and treats every person with the utmost kindness and respect. What makes Derek so special is not because he acts like a good guy, but because he really IS that good a guy. Hence why it pisses me off so much to watch someone who clearly doesn’t know him slander his character on national television, yet not allow him to defend himself.
The cherry on top is that while John Paul Jones viciously attacked Derek for every BS reason in the book, the real source of his anger was plain old jealousy. Derek unknowingly pursued (and was pursued) by the wrong woman; he stumbled upon a hidden mine. JPJ had no issue with anything expressed by Derek until Derek pursued Tayshia. And then in response, JPJ showed an alarming lack of maturity in handling basic feelings of jealousy, while on a dating show essentially designed to create and exacerbate jealousy at all turns. Jealousy is an ugly monster and can cause even the goofiest, most lovable heroes to fall from grace. The least those former heroes can do is identify that emotion, face it and not make it someone else’s problem.