Last night, the participants in our fave international winter competition really started to heat things up—and no, we’re not talking about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
In the third instalment of the slope-style search for love that is The Bachelor Winter Games, entire relationships have played out in a matter of days. We’ve seen hookups, breakups, makeups and breakdowns—all the things that we have come to expect from the Bachelor Nation franchise. However, one thing we weren’t ready for was how the show treated contestant Yuki Kimura, and we are not here for it.
Yuki, 21, is from the first season of The Bachelor Japan and quickly won over North American audiences with her upbeat demeanour and surprisingly delicious recipe for scrambled eggs (who knew sugar was the secret ingredient for the best breakfast?). But let’s be clear, unlike the other contestants, Yuki had distinct disadvantages right from the start.
Out of 26 contestants from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, China, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Finland and New Zealand, Yuki was the only contestant from The Bachelor Japan franchise and the sole person on the show who didn’t speak fluent English.
“She’s just so compelling, she’s so sweet, she’s so funny,” host Chris Harrison told E! News. “And she was our biggest challenge because she spoke so little English that we actually had a translator there on set with her because after I explained things, someone had to explain things to her so she understood.”
Yuki clearly made the best of an awkward situation, using gestures and what English she knew to communicate with the other contestants, but on a show where being able to get real *intimate* with people real quick is the name of the game, the language barrier was a serious—and some might say insurmountable—challenge.
— The Bachelor Winter Games (@BachWinterGames) February 14, 2018
My issue is- how will anyone give Yuki a rose? She isn’t able to talk to anyone ergo not able to get to know anyone. Doesn’t seem fair. Can we just see more clips of Yuki from Bachelor Japan? Thanks #BachelorWinterGames #bachelorjapan
— Gina (@ginaginabells) February 14, 2018
So Yuki is absolutely the best but it totally wasn’t fair to throw her in with people who don’t speak the same language. They set her up to fail… #BachelorWinterGames #TheBachelor #TheBachelorWinterGames
— Kaitlin Morehouse (@KaitlinMFlack) February 21, 2018
Even before the Winter Games got underway, some were apprehensive about the idea of the only Japanese contestant being a woman who could not speak English, and the message that could send. “In fact, she speaks just enough English to serve as a kind of Orientalist doll who chirps cute broken phrases when Anglophones pull an invisible string,” wrote Troy Patterson in The New Yorker. “Depicting her in this way, the show sets itself the challenge of skating on thin ice.”
While other contestants were sharing their most personal stories with potential snuggle buddies, Yuki was relegated to cutesy one-liners and portrayed more as a caricature than a serious competitor. Former U.S. Bachelor Ben Higgins developed a close (platonic) relationship with Yuki and seemed to be one of the few on the show who realized that she was at a disadvantage. In the second episode, he gave Yuki his rose noting that of everyone there, she had the hardest “uphill battle.” And as Vulture noted, all the contestants nodded along and applauded as if she was some kind of endearing charity case.
The show’s confusing and unfair treatment of Yuki continued last night. Unable to couple up in the show’s wintery love shack, the unattached participants started dropping like flies. The Bachelor Australia’s Tiffany Scanlon was first to pack her bags, shortly followed by a v. tearful Ben Higgins and Bachelorette Season 9 contestant Michael Garofola (who got like zero air time).
AND HERE’S WHERE THINGS GET REAL STUPID.
After the progressive exodus of the contestants, Chris Harrison took Yuki aside and essentially tells her to gtfo. Like seriously, he was channeling his inner Tina Fey.
OK, it was slightly nicer than that, but not much. Chris tells Yuki that since she’s the only single person left, she needs to leave the chalet. Like, excuse me, but since when does Chris just straight-up kick people off the show for being unattached? Isn’t that the whole point of a Rose Ceremony?
— FLARE (@FLAREfashion) February 21, 2018
— Final Rose (@TheFinalRose) February 21, 2018
So they automatically dismissed Yuki instead of just bringing on someone specifically for her? #BachelorWinterGames
— Jordy (@JordynJorgenson) February 21, 2018
— rachel stults (@rachelstults) February 21, 2018
As if that wasn’t enough, the show sent a weeping Yuki out into the freaking tundra without bags or a coat. Not cool guys.
— FLARE (@FLAREfashion) February 21, 2018
Here’s hoping that watching Yuki trudge out into a blizzard won’t be the last we’ve seen of her and that next time around she *actually* gets a fair shot. She may not have found love on the The Bachelor Winter Games, but she clearly won the hearts of Bachelor Nation.