Just last week I said I felt The Bachelor premiere represented some sort of evolution, as though we’d all grown past a) seeing the women as characters we love to hate, and b) being shown mostly women we might love to hate. I’m not taking that back because I really do think this season’s women are an intelligent, accomplished bunch. However, this episode took a distinct step back for me. I spent the bulk of my The Morning After video discussing Corinne so I’ll resist being redundant, but my issue here is the time focusing on someone like her takes from something meaningful being shown.
Believe it or not, many saps like myself do watch this show for the love stories. Beyond Danielle M’s 1-on-1, we caught glimpses of relationships being developed between Nick and Taylor and Nick and Raven, but then those were both promptly flushed down the toilet by Nick giving that Group Date rose to Corinne. After all, a rose supposedly represents promise and excitement about a person. In fact, the entire premise of this show revolves around the damn flower having some sort of meaning. Thus, giving that aforementioned sense of promise and excitement to a woman who…
a) needlessly strips and has him hold her breasts in front of the other women (my issue is with the parts in italics; if she wants to get frisky, kudos to her for her confidence, but really, there are better times and places)
b) uses no adjectives to describe him or her feelings for him other than “he’s so hot”
c) interrupts several women for additional 1-on-1 time when not everyone has had time (which is just poor sportsmanship)
… is an indisputable slap in the face to every woman who might be taking this even remotely seriously.
It also unfortunately highlights that innate imbalance of power I’ve long been harping about here: in what world would women of Taylor and Raven’s substance stick around after the man they’d invested their time and energy in gave the validation they’d sought to someone like Corinne? In the real world, if they had any sense, they would walk; that man’s actions would have spoken volumes as to what he was looking for. To force these women to swallow their pride this early in the season feels really icky to me. We all know a hefty pride-swallowing is in the cards for any contestant who lasts here (Nick knows this well), but the rationalization is that they swallow their pride because they know and like the Bachelor well enough not to leave—because they’ve had time to get to know and like him. My point is, it is too early to demand this degree of pride-swallowing, and every way you slice it (including speculating that Group Date rose was a producer push), it reflects negatively on Nick.
Look, I get that Nick’s MO is not caring what people think. Even as my friend he says I care too much what people think, and frankly, he might be right. He didn’t care what people thought while on Andi’s season, and still a bit on Kaitlyn’s, and so he might admire Corinne for sharing that trait. But on those seasons, for all his interrupting of other people’s 1-on-1 times, the times he swooped in first for 1-on-1 time, or—the ultimate sin—when he insisted on 1-on-1 time even when he already had a rose, the purpose was because HE LIKED THE GIRL. He didn’t just want time for competition’s sake or to use it to stick his tongue down the Bachelorettes’ throats. He also didn’t do it the first week, before he’d developed strong enough feelings to warrant those strong actions. I always appreciated his brutal not-caring and found it refreshing, his reasons honest. Corinne’s are neither refreshing nor honest.
My frontrunners after this episode are…
1. Danielle M, 31: This date, when it wasn’t being hijacked by Liz’s storyline, was a much-needed respite from an otherwise drama-milking episode. I found her past with her fiancé to be utterly heart-wrenching, yet she told it with such simplicity and quiet strength. Everything about Danielle M screams “quality” and she behaves the way you wish all people would: resilient and positive while remaining unassuming and not at all entitled. She’s also gorgeous to boot.
2. Rachel, 31: It’s not the first time a FIR recipient hasn’t gotten a date Week 1, so I’m not fooled. Rachel isn’t going anywhere for a long time, despite the fact that we saw nothing from or about her this week.
3. Taylor, 23: Taylor is rapidly becoming one of my favourite ladies. I mentioned last week that I love the dichotomy of how sweet she comes off and what a potty mouth she has. Her simple, polite smile while Corinne drunkenly lectured the women, particularly knowing Taylor has a bachelor in psychology and master’s degree in mental-health counseling, was priceless. She’s young but seems so mature, and above all, she and Nick seemed to hit it off.
4. Corinne, 24: I’m going to first look at the positives here. Corinne is beautiful and abundantly confident. Nick gives her plenty of validation: he called her “sexy” and said she was “a big reason why” he had had fun that day. As I said above, I think he recognizes and appreciates how she doesn’t care what the others think. This also brings attention to the fact that Nick is the first-ever lead who was a much-despised villain himself; he may not view Corinne through the same lens that another Bachelor might. (In fact, most Bachelors might be too afraid to fall for a villain to ever keep them around.) Look, I get that every season has a villain and that the show would likely be far less interesting without her. However, my main issue with Corinne is more to do with how early all this is happening; it feels unnatural, like we’ve skipped two episodes’ worth of relationship development between her and Nick, and two episodes’ worth of living, eating, and sleeping in close quarters with the other women.
Tune into The Bachelor Mondays on Omni at 8:00 EST/PST—and catch up on past episodes at www.omnitv.ca/the-bachelor.