"Don't Believe Chris Harrison For One Second": Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette Episode 6

The former contestant shares her insider’s POV on episode six of ‘The Bachelorette’

Sharleen Joynt

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I don’t get recap episodes. I never have—but especially in the case of last night’s episode of The Bachelorette. First, five episodes is hardly so many hours of television to have lost track of things and need a refresher. At one point last night, we were being recapped an excerpt that was literally shown ONE HOUR prior. This was obviously cheap filler and resembled the type of fare we normally only get on Bachelor in Paradise. Second, you can’t recap without having a different angle. Either give us plenty of deleted scenes or never-before-seen footage (and not as an afterthought, as it was shown last night), or give us new intel or perspectives on existing content. Hearing Hannah re-express the exact same feelings and thought processes about the exact same scenes we’d already seen involving Scott, Cam and Luke was patronizing, to say the least. Give us something—anything—new! If it weren’t for my own recaps, let me tell you, I would have switched over to Shark Tank for the second half or so of last night’s episode and Marcus The Zit would have been the only remotely entertaining thing I’d have missed.

As for last night’s events, I’m mixed. I’ve been a loud and proud Hannah supporter all season, however, her approach last night missed the mark for me. I have no problem with her confronting the men in terms of wanting to set the record straight on what Luke said about whom, but her frustration and eventual anger with them felt misplaced. And don’t believe Chris Harrison for one second: There is this much drama EVERY season. (It’s one of the reasons we keep watching, after all.) The guys’ irritation with Luke may be a different flavour, but it is no more intense than the irritation with Chad on Jojo’s season, Krystal on Arie’s season, Lee on Rachel’s season, Kelsey on Chris’ season, Courtney on Ben Flajnik’s season…. Therefore, for Hannah to get as up in arms as she did about something that is a natural—and from a production standpoint, strategic—aspect to this show is wasted energy on her part. Friction in the house is the goal, dating way back to the casting process, and it’s as engrained a part of this show as helicopter rides and Rose Ceremonies.

Further, let’s not forget that Hannah herself was the first on her season to talk badly about another woman—Caelynn—on Colton’s season. I’m not condemning her for it, as many contestants talk about each other, but it’s a bit hypocritical to reprimand the guys for involving themselves in house drama when she was involved with her own when she was in their position. To her credit, on Colton’s season, she learned her lesson very quickly and was never again heard speaking ill of another woman, but I still think there should be a bit of sensitivity to how producer egging can cause more irritation and obsession than normal. Hannah of all people should recognize the influence of production in the guys’ desire to “warn” her about Luke.

None of this is even taking into consideration the fact that these guys LIVE together. I know they’re “all there for her,” but the reality is they’re spending way more time with each other—and certainly Luke—than with her. It affects the men and their experience there far more than it does Hannah for her to keep him even only an extra week or two. And just as it’s natural that they’re not all going to get along in a situation designed for friction, it’s natural that they’d feel they know Luke better (or at the very least, differently) than she does. Other leads, feeling in the dark about who their contestants really are, have often welcomed dirt about them, just so they feel that have a fuller picture of who they’re dealing with. But Hannah’s anger at the guys’ concerns with Luke felt, to me, increasingly like defensiveness. I understand she felt like her ability to judge her relationships was in question, but the guys’ issue with Luke wasn’t really about her at all. It was about Luke’s history with dishonesty, his tendency to lie to people’s faces. You can be there for your relationship with her and still dislike someone you’re forced to live with.

The biggest issue here is that, after all this, Hannah said she felt like the men didn’t know her at all: “I want to feel like I can share. And I’m not going to unless I feel LED to share. And I haven’t been led to share because I haven’t been asked the questions.” While I LOVE this sentiment and truly believe in it, with all due respect, it is she who has cut short many hours’ worth of Cocktail Parties due to her frustration with only a couple of men. Many Bachelorettes have gotten angry at their men about house drama. (Interestingly, the only Bachelor I recall getting as frustrated was Colton, during Onyeka versus Nicole.) But, they haven’t punished the group as a whole by withdrawing so much time as Hannah has, only to then blame them for not feeling like she knows them well enough—something you can only achieve with time.

I love Hannah as the lead and have been cheering her on every week. But in my humble opinion, if she’s keeping Luke around, she has to realize the ripple effect that will have in the house—not pertaining to her, but just as humans getting along with (or not getting along with) humans. She’s the one focusing on it and causing it to affect her relationships, her time with the men, her season. She herself said last week that she can’t keep making excuses for Luke when she’s not doing that for anybody else. By keeping him for another week, she has made another excuse. But by berating the other men for taking issue with another of his lies, she’s making yet another.

Finally, isn’t it funny how the entire episode revolved around shaming drama that was completely authentic and natural, yet it was directly followed by the fabricated variety: Hannah being “unsure” of whether or not to continue on her journey. Because it seems nowadays that no Bachelor/ette season seems complete without teasers that the lead somehow quits. This was another hypocrisy, to wag a finger at men for their legitimate disharmony with someone with whom they’re forced to live, only to then insult our intelligence by pretending Hannah might actually leave the show. This felt like a tired old trick used five to 10 years ago. We’re past these (unconvincing) shenanigans.

I don’t have frontrunners this week because there was no development with any relationships. (No, not even with Luke.) An incomplete episode begets an incomplete recap!

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