Last night’s episode was tough to watch. It was tough as a former contestant. It was tough as a friend of both Kaitlyn’s and Nick’s. It was tough as a human and as a woman who has made her own mistakes.
What I’d love is for every person watching this show to open their minds a bit more. I know all too well that many folks hate-watch The Bachelor/ette. (My favourite example of irony is when someone excitedly recognizes me but is then quick to tell me, “I don’t really watch that show, though.”) I suppose they want to feel superior to those they deem to be crazy, fame-seeking trainwrecks. (Or to be able to say, as Amy Schumer put it, “I’m fine.”) But there has to be more to it than that; everyone watching this show can’t be so mean-spirited. No, we watch reality television because of the fact that the characters are not actors and their gruesome tears are authentic. There’s a plethora of excellent non-reality television shows out there, after all. We continue to watch because it’s simultaneously painful and compelling to see a fellow human—no different than you or I—endure an emotional roller coaster and unravel before our very eyes.
So, as a former contestant, I implore you, the viewer, to think outside the box. How much producer involvement was there? How many marionette strings were pulled? Ask yourself: With no private time with the opposite sex, and not being permitted to seek out distraction, how long before you would get—in the sage words of Ryan McDill—“horned up”? How many whiskeys would need to be all-too-conveniently placed in your hand before you made a decision you might not have made sober? (And, side note: since you know you removed your mics once behind closed doors, did they use booms or hidden microphones to record you?)
As a friend of Nick’s, I ask you to ask yourself: how many times would you need to be prompted to recap your date before you finally let slip certain buzz words—even abstract ones such as “intimate” and “personal”—the producers were seeking? Would you lose your patience if you tried to remain private but were forced to rehash? How would you feel if you slipped up once, nearly a year ago, and millions of people decided you were forever a person of poor character and trustworthiness because of it?
As a friend of Kaitlyn’s, I ask you to ask yourself: if you believe you would make different choices in her shoes, does it make it alright to condemn her for hers? Again, we watch because these people are indeed real people, so would it not stand to reason that if you were to actively comment, tweet, and communicate your most negative thoughts her way, that she could read and be very hurt by them? Would you have the stomach to say those same words to your worst enemy’s face? Is Kaitlyn any different as a leading lady than she was as a contestant, when you liked her and were rooting for her?
As a fellow human being, have you ever lived in the moment and done something you wanted to do, without properly assessing the consequences? Would guilt be punishment enough, or do you think you might have benefited from the judgement of strangers? At what point does opining become cruelty? At what point, considering the self-reflection I hope some of these questions inspire, does it become hypocrisy?
My frontrunners this week are…
Nick, 34: All that sexual chemistry aside, Nick was there for Kaitlyn in more ways than one this week. It may have bothered the guys that he was the one to comfort Kaitlyn after Ian’s (truly despicable) tirade, but you didn’t see her turning him away. Their one-on-one date was effortless and they just seem to understand each other in more ways than one.
Shawn, 28: I really like Shawn. He has a quiet command to him that I think women are very drawn to. However, it’s tough to go through the process if you’re a particularly jealous person, which Shawn seems to be. That said, his emotional breakdown showed vulnerability (always a good thing on this show) and I do get the sense that it comes from a place of feeling like he has something very special with Kaitlyn, not from a place of just wanting to win.
Jared, 26: You guys, Kaitlyn chose Jared to dance with while The Cranberries performed. He must be doing something right.
Ben Z., 26: I confess Ben Z. is on this list more out of my tradition of having four frontrunners than anything else. I like Ben Z. but their connection doesn’t come close to rivaling the top three. (But really, does anyone think it’s not going to come down to Nick or Shawn? Didn’t think so.)
For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays on City.
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode One
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode Two
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode Three
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode Four
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode Five
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode Six
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