Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Men Tell All

Opera singer Sharleen Joynt—fellow Canuck, FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode

THE BACHELORETTE - "The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All" - It's an exciting, unpredictable reunion viewers won't want to miss as the most memorable bachelors from this season - including Ben H., Ben Z., Chris "Cupcake," Ian and Jared -- return to confront each other and Kaitlyn one last time on national television to dish the dirt and tell their side of the story, on "The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All," MONDAY, JULY 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Rick Rowell) CHRIS "CUPCAKE", JOSHUA, JOE, JONATHAN, IAN, TANNER, JJ

Ian got down on his knees: Did you buy it? (Photo: ABC/Rick Rowell) 

Update: Join editors Caitlin Kenny and Jillian Vieira for our Bachelorette finale live tweet tonight at 8 p.m. ET! #FLAREBachParty

Nothing brings me delight quite like Men Tell All. What social experiment would be complete without an “after” episode, where we can see the contestants—who’ve just seen themselves on television—in the now? Will they be loudmouths or shrinking violets? Will they defend their questionable actions, be able to laugh at themselves, or attempt to change the public’s (likely staunch) perception of them?\

In keeping with my tradition of singling out my top three most memorable moments…

3. Nick Viall, Week 4, Their Prior Connection… Oh My!
Are we really still talking about this? A few of the guys couldn’t wait to mention how Kaitlyn, despite letting Nick on the show in Episode 4, said in Week 2 that she “could see her husband in the room”. I’d just like to point out that not only did the men with this gripe—Kupah, Jonathan, Corey—barely get to know Nick (if they met him at all), there is simply no way they ever reached the point to see themselves as the potential “husband in the room” she referenced. (No one-on-one dates for them as far as I can remember.) Interestingly, the men who stuck around the longest—Jared, the Bens—and who were ultimately more “heartbroken” by the experience, were also the ones who supported Kaitlyn’s decision to explore all her options.

Furthermore, after having gone through the experience themselves, they should know to take those stock “husband in the room” lines with a grain of salt. Hasn’t every Bachelor/ette said they could see their husband or wife in the room? It’s recycled television tripe, not to be taken seriously, much less used as an argument in a forced Men Tell All debate.

Clint was a surprise hit for me on this topic. He may have been unapologetic about his “villainous” behaviour, but on the topic of Nick—whom he never even met—he made a damn good point to Josh, with, “Don’t you think that by saying someone else isn’t right for her, that you are valuing your opinion above hers? If you were telling her that your intuition is that this other guy is bad, then you’re saying that you know better than her.”

Kaitlyn knocked this entire segment out of the park. I loved that she put Jonathan in his place for originally voting for Britt yet having the gall to criticize her for letting Nick stay. She finally shut down the peanut gallery with, “You guys, try and date this many people at one time and not make a mistake and have it all televised. I dare you.” Mic drop!

2. Repent! And Thou Shalt Be Saved
Watching Ian watch his own segment was alone almost enough to let him off the hook. As he shook his head to the tune of his own voice saying, “If one of these lames is better than me, then just pick one of the lames”, I felt for him. I know what it’s like to be an introvert in a house full of extroverts; in fact, one of my books of choice to read off on my own during filming was, no joke, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

How would I have felt if, in addition to feeling so foreign, I also felt invisible to the lead? How much of a producer’s peppering would it take before I exploded and took my frustration out on others? (It says something that, based on Ian’s explosive exit, I could even tell who Ian’s producer was.)

With Kaitlyn, he was able to make fun of himself when his leg cramped while kneeling and apologize sincerely. Lo and behold, she accepted! This, to me, is what the Tell All episodes are about. What do you have to say after the fact, away from the cameras and the producers, having watched yourself and gained perspective? Ian made the best of this and did so with grace. He avoided the drama—you never saw his jumping to share his two cents about Kaitlyn letting Nick back on or judging Kaitlyn’s “distasteful” behavior—and used his moment to right his wrongs.

1. If you don’t have something nice to say…
To me, the most bewildering part of this reality television world has always been people’s intense hatred and outspokenness. I completely understand the logic, and dare I say beauty, of differing opinions. The world would be a far more monotone, boring place if we all agreed all the time. But what happened to agreeing to disagree? When did someone else’s actions become your problem? How does an adult woman sleeping with a man she’s dating affect your life negatively? No one’s forcing you to do the same, nor are they forcing you to watch the show in the first place. (And while we’re at it, how does two people of the same gender being in love and wanting to get married affect you? No one is forcing you to live your life any differently. But alas, that is a tangent for another day!)

The reading of the hate tweets was certainly painful, but Kaitlyn took it very well and seemed to see the greater good. One could argue it only gave the haters the attention they seek, but I disagree. It was clear by how the segment was framed that whomever was featured for their nasty words should be ashamed of themselves. I am glad the show took the time to do this, and especially to point out the irony that one of the bullies publicly criticizing Kaitlyn was a mother herself. As Chris Harrison aptly put it, “I will take you as a role model for my kids over anybody who would be a cyber bully and spew that kind of hate.” Amen!

For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays on City.

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