It’s officially the Chad Show, and his entire presence defines irony. A grave Chris Harrison emphasizes how seriously the show takes violence, and production installs an actual security guard on the premises. Yet, deep down, you know the actual reason Chad remains on the show has more to do with production and the show itself than it does JoJo seeing him as her potential future husband. The rigamarole of watching the guys express their concerns to the very people keeping the threat a threat had me wincing. But what else are they to do? The more upsetting Chad’s behaviour becomes, the more valuable and indispensable he is. It’s a vicious cycle.
And how about those cliffhanger “To Be Continued” endings? Something about the dramatic previews for the upcoming episode, complete with gasps and screams and bloodied noses and brows, shots of a menacing-looking Chad trudging about, culminating with an orchestrated soundtrack… only to close with the golden The Bachelorette logo and that familiar photo of JoJo looking radiant, smiling with a rose in hand… Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but I’m hung up on how ridiculous that is. As if the in-house drama and our Bachelorette’s quest for love go hand-in-hand and poor JoJo has no choice but to withstand Chad’s antics to make sure—really, really sure—that he isn’t The One.
I see the search for love on this show as the opposite of proving an accused man to be guilty; instead of innocent until proven guilty, none of the men are JoJo’s future husband until proven otherwise (meaning, until there’s one guy she proves unable to live without). All these making-extra-sure, I-need-more-time-to-know, but-what-if excuses are bullcrap. JoJo already knows it’s not Chad. Chad remains because drama equals ratings. So are all these inane muscle-flexing, protein shake-referencing, threat-making, shirt-ripping, door-punching distractions what it takes to keep viewers tuning in? Would we not watch if it really was just JoJo’s journey to find love with two dozen handsome, perfectly nice, drama-free men? Are we not perpetuating the need for this carefully produced and provoked drama by, well, watching?
All that aside, I have to make special mention of how perfectly on point JoJo was this episode. I love her ability to be soft, kind, and considerate while still commanding respect and not taking crap from anyone. The way she put Chad in his place on the Group Date reminded me of Emily Maynard’s epic smackdown of her own villain, Kalon, also on a Group Date. As a viewer it was a rah-rah moment for me in an otherwise frustrating, overly Chad-centric episode, so thank you, JoJo!
My frontrunners are…
1. Jordan, 27: There’s not much to say that I haven’t already said. Jordan isn’t too prominent while being ever-present, his 1-on-1 time with JoJo is always shown, and she was looking pretty cozy with him during the sex comedy show. Jordan has a 1-on-1 coming soon, and it’ll probably be a really good one, possibly once they start traveling.
2. James Taylor, 29: It’s impossible to not adore James Taylor. He has such a great attitude and just puts it all out there, making for great television. Hearing about how he was bullied early on made me warm to him all the more knowing what hardships he overcame. I could really relate to the concept of honing and embracing your individuality and talent as things that make you unique instead of an outcast, something easier said than done. Perhaps my favourite thing about James Taylor is how different he is on this particular franchise. He has frontrunner written all over him but not for the reasons us longtime viewers have come to expect.
3. Chase, 27: Chase strikes me as very different from James Taylor and I’m a fan all the same. There’s a guardedness to Chase that I of course appreciate (since I felt the same way in his position) but he’s quietly making a strong impression. And that yoga kiss—as bizarre as that whole yoga class was—was HOT.
4. Luke, 31: Luke may have been dateless this week, but you didn’t see or hear nearly as much from the other guys in his position. Luke’s not the only one talking about wanting a date in his ITMs, trust me. As with Jordan, I can’t shake the Night One impression and I’m confident Luke will be a serious frontrunner. There’s a 1-on-1 around the corner for him too, I’m sure of it.
For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
And, stay tuned for tonight’s episode—we’ll be live-tweeting, as per usual (follow @FLAREfashion on Twitter) and also publishing Sharleen’s Episode 4 recap tomorrow.
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