Every season we expect two worthy ladies for the titles of “The Crazy” (usually crazy as a consequence of her insecurity) and “The Bitch” (usually bitchy as a consequence of her insecurity). In a time when this show is at the height of its popularity—and notoriety—all new contestants have seen it before and understand the sway a bad edit can have. Therefore, it amazes me that after 20 seasons, the powers that be still manage to find such perfect candidates to play these two roles.
I speculate The Crazy must be the easier one to find. Being a contestant on The Bachelor—the show where the first step in the casting process is to eliminate more than half of the applicants based on looks alone (according to what a producer once told me)—is already incredibly intimidating. Add a stint as an ugly duckling to your past, a rocky dating history and an insular environment where validation comes only in the form of whatever attention you can get from one guy, and it’s not so difficult to see how one can unravel. This episode only made me feel bad for Lace. I couldn’t hate her or even mock her; I could only pity her (probably no better in her eyes, unfortunately). She lacks the self-awareness to keep the unravelling under wraps and to stop referring to herself as “crazy” (or “not crazy,” for that matter). I wonder if she even recognizes herself as she watches this season unfold. I suspect she doesn’t.
The Bitch must be harder to find. The perfect girl for this role has to be a strong enough contender to get the Bachelor’s attention early and keep it. The most famous ones to come to mind are obviously Courtney Robertson, Tierra LiCausi and Nikki Ferrell. They’re the frontrunners you love to hate because they talk shit about the other women yet keep getting roses. (As if the two are mutually exclusive.) But here’s the rub: no one is innately a bitch. We all have bitchy moments, myself included, but no one is a mean person through and through. Those women have friends in real life, and they had friends in the house as well; you just didn’t hear about them. When I met Courtney for the first time I was struck at how kind she was. She was quieter than most Bachelor girls, but more curious as well. The Bitch is often something of an introvert (have you read Courtney’s book yet?) and has a hard time in large groups, ostracizing her from the bulk of the mini society within the mansion.
That’s why I credit producers for creating The Bitch. Don’t get me wrong, Olivia said all the questionable things she was shown saying. (When she said them or in what context, we’ll never know, however.) It’s clear in the coming weeks that she’ll likely say more, and she will have to endure months of criticism and hate she gets for it. But who got her to say them? A producer not dissimilar to Rachel from UnReal, that’s who.
My frontrunners this week are…
1. Jojo, 24: Despite her questionable geography knowledge (which I totally relate to!), Jojo is killing it. She’s a frontrunner without having too much of a target on her back—did the other girls even find out about her makeout with Ben?—and just seems like a voice of reason much of the time. (Case in point, her exasperation when LB mentioned Lace was hogging Ben for the second time in one evening.) Oh, and Ben could. not. wait. to get her alone on the helipad. Jojo goes far!
2. Lauren B., 25: Lauren B. is sailing under the radar but is a clear frontrunner in my eyes. Her time with Ben is always shown, which is telling, and it’s common for a major frontrunner to not go on a date the first week. (Ahem, Whitney last season.) What I like about Lauren B. and Ben together is there’s a sense of equality, as is so rare on this show. You don’t get the sense that she is over the moon at just the chance to talk to him. She gives him as much encouragement as he gives her, which I LOVE.
3. Caila, 24: Caila got a killer one-on-one last night. It reminded me of Kaitlyn’s Costco outing with Chris last season; a less extravagant but comedic date with a celebrity cameo. I like Caila a lot—she’s pretty and sweet and entirely agreeable… There’s nothing not to like, really, though I confess I have my reservations after her date. I just feel like after so many seasons of this show, it’s a bit clichéd to be so over-the-top “falling in love” after the first date. Like, either she’s not entirely keeping her wits about her, or she’s hamming it up for the cameras. Is my skepticism showing? Yep. But I’ve been in her shoes (there is indeed heavy producer pressure to emote and say key phrases like, “I can see myself falling in love with [insert Bachelor’s name here]”) and fallen in love in real life… aaaand I still feel this way.
4. Olivia, 23: Olivia gets bumped down a bit by her edit—she just seems less likely to “win” because of it—though I still think she’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The fact that Ben gave her the group date rose right after the First Impression Rose is HUGE, regardless of whether or not that choice was a producer push meant to stir the pot. As with Caila, I wish Olivia had resisted the pressure to say she saw her future husband when she met Ben, whether or not it was true. I also wish she’d resisted the urge (and possibly the nudge) to snatch time with Ben on the night of the Rose Ceremony when she already had a rose, but I digress. This is why they—you know who “they” are!—get paid the big bucks.
For more on this season of The Bachelor from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Omni 2.
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