Sharleen Joynt on Bachelor in Paradise: Episode 7

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise

Sharleen Joynt Bachelor in Paradise recap

Special guests Janner booked two tickets to Paradise last night (Photo: courtesy ABC)

As you know, these aren’t usually chronological, scene-by-scene recaps of the episodes; they’re more my most pressing thoughts on major (sometimes minor!) plot points or people. However, I know it can be frustrating as I might not touch on the subject that spoke to YOU. There have been so many fantastic, well thought-out comments, emails, and tweets about things I haven’t mentioned (for lack of word count, not for not having noticed, I assure you!). Thus, I thought I’d dedicate this “recap” to addressing those…

Editing: To Blame or Not To Blame?
I’ve had a lot of people ask about how “real” things are on Paradise and how much of a role editing really plays. Of course, this is coming from someone who has never actually been, but I’ve spoken to enough folks who have so I think I have a decent idea. I’ve said before that on The Bachelor, you know when cameras are around. If you’re mic’d, there are cameras in the house, whether obvious or lurking. But this isn’t all day long, and there are breaks when you’re de-mic’d and set free. In Paradise, the cameras are 24//7 and in many cases, hidden. Think about how much more raw material there is there.

I’ve often blamed editing when defending “villains” of seasons of Bachelor/ette past. If you’ve got friction in the house surrounding one person, whether or not said person is actually villainous, he/she can easily be painted the villain. Nick and Olivia (both whom I defended on their respective seasons) are great examples; a person who rubs people the wrong way (in a setting designed to have people rubbed the wrong way) and a person who actively bullies or shit-talks others (think Chad) are very different things. Neither Nick or Olivia ever did the latter. But on Bachelor/ette, there is an arc, a long-term story, and a long-term story needs a long-term antagonist.

As for Paradise, each episode has its own mini-arc. New faces every week mean automatic drama, so there’s less need to force a square peg into a round hole and create a villain where there isn’t one. And that 24/7 footage means people aren’t as in control over being “on,” resulting in a more authentic representation of them as people. I guess my point is, I don’t think we can blame editing very much on this show.

Caila’s Indecisiveness When Brett Asked Her Out
Okay, so maybe Caila flip-flopped a few too many times when making the decision whether or not to go on Brett’s date, but all I saw was a person who was torn between people-pleasing and satiating her own curiosity. After all, with these episodes being so drawn out it’s easy to forget that Caila had only been there for a mere three days. Yes, Jared had given her his rose (day 2 for Caila), but since when does one rose in Paradise make a couple exclusive? (I realize Ashley I complicates this terribly but I don’t want to spend any more time discussing that.) And remember that 99.9 percent of the time is spent bumming around the resort; people want to get out and DO things. I could totally see myself doing what Caila did; not wanting to hurt the very person who just gave me a rose, but not wanting to limit my options and experiences either.

Izzy’s Wandering Eye
Since yesterday’s recap I’ve had a few people tell me that I “was way” off on the topic of Izzy, and that “there will always be hotter people.” While of course I agree that there will technically always be people more attractive than your partner, that wasn’t exactly my point. Yesterday I said that just because Izzy and Vinny were cast to be there the first week doesn’t make them right for each other. Now imagine a scenario where everyone, Brett included, was there the first week. After interacting with every guy naturally, it’s very possible Izzy ultimately might have still been drawn to Vinny. Or who knows, maybe she would have ended up with Brett or somebody else. But my point is she would have chosen that person, not by default, not because of a lack of selection, but because they had something unique and special. FOMO is not to be underestimated. This wasn’t about looks; it was about the unknown, which depending on your personality type, can haunt you if never explored.

Side note: Vinny was dignified perfection both in his exit and on After Paradise. He was well-spoken, sensitive yet not weak, and just such a class act. I wish him all the best. He surely deserves it.

All the Caila Impressions = Racism?
This is such a delicate topic and I think long and hard before I use the R word. Many of you were enraged when Michelle Collins, on last week’s After Paradise, said she found Caila “fake,” described her as an “anime character,” and proceeded to do an impression of Caila with an extreme, squinty-eyed smile. In her ITMs, Ashley I has done countless impressions of Caila smiling, all along the same vein as Michelle Collins’. “She smiles when you don’t have to smile,” she argued.

I’ve been told many times that I look like an anime character. I’m never quite sure what to say to that as I’m not sure whether it’s a compliment or not. Plus it’s hard to imagine that being said if I weren’t half Asian. Now, if that “compliment” came with an over-the-top squinty-eyed impression of my smile—which, for the record, is indeed more squinty-eyed than your average Caucasian woman’s smile, BECAUSE I’M HALF ASIAN—I don’t know how cool with it I’d be. But do I think Michelle Collins and Ashley I are being racist when they do those impressions? Nope. In fact, I doubt it’s even occurred to them. Do I think they’re being insensitive? Perhaps a little, yes. If they find Caila “fake” and have beef with her behaviour, they should use specific examples. Like, give an example of when Caila smiled when it wasn’t appropriate to be smiling, not just an impression of her smiling. After all, perhaps that’s just how her smile is.

As an aside, while I admit I sometimes found Caila a bit too perfect on Ben’s season, on Paradise I find her perfectly reasonable, especially considering the Ashley I thundercloud criticizing her every move and constantly taunting her. If anything, on the whole, she’s quite reserved. And for the record, I can’t imagine a less pleasant date activity than a booze cruise. 🙂

When I was quite young, around nine or 10, I used to compete in local singing competitions. One of the categories was musical theatre, and after performing “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music with hand puppets (yes, this actually happened, and there’s a video somewhere in the depths of my parents’ house to prove it), one adjudicator told me something I would never forget: that she couldn’t tell what I expressions I was making because my eyes were smaller, and that when performing on a stage I would have to work harder than most people to get those emotions across. I’m sure she never meant that derogatorily—to some degree, because of my chosen profession, she had a point—but comparing me to “most people” was totally unnecessary and insensitive. She could have easily told me that I just needed to work on being more expressive, sans the comparison. I will always wonder if she would have said that at all if I were 100 percent Asian, or if somehow being half made it more kosher. Similarly, I wonder if Caila were 100 percent Filipino and not half, if Michelle Collins and Ashley I would so freely hyper-squint when imitating her smiles. Perhaps there would be more censoring, more consideration.

For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.

Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays on City.