I love the light Bachelor in Paradise is shining on the fascinating clique that is the Bachelor alumnae world. Imagine an exclusive club where the members are young, attractive, single—and looking. The cost of membership is steep in that you have little control. After all, it requires undergoing rigorous testing (including but not limited to psychological quizzes, medical tests and background checks—in addition to having “the look” and hopefully, a tragic backstory), being willing to fall off the face of the earth for up to nine weeks (the laser-focused career-driven need not apply), and ultimately being cast on a popular but legendarily cheesy reality dating show. There is no other way to gain access to this club. (Remember the “super fans” on Bachelor Pad? They were picked off one by one to the tune of Rachel infamously declaring: “They didn’t earn their spot. They didn’t get dumped on national television.” Even Lauren, Ashley I.’s stunning sister, seemed out of place in Paradise.)
In this club, most of the rules are unspoken. Your value—otherwise known as your notoriety—hinges on whether or not other people saw your season. The more recently you appeared, the more “relevant” you are. The first toe dip into the waters of communication is usually achieved by following someone else on Twitter, but it is also a concession of sorts; the first move. Do they know who you are? Will they follow you back? If they saw your season—whether or not they liked what they saw of you—they most likely will. If all goes well, you’re now following each other, which means you’ve opened the lines to include direct messaging. But 140 characters is sooo limiting! Will you graduate to chatting on Gmail, becoming Facebook friends, or head straight for the holy grail: exchanging phone numbers and texting?
We can be offended that Joe and Samantha had been messaging, texting and talking for a month prior to coming on this show, but unfortunately we cannot be shocked. If the only thing required to stick around for three weeks on an all-expenses-paid vacation (which will likely gain you more “fame”) is a significant other, what’s shocking is that more people don’t do this. When I was originally courted for BIP last year, the first non-logistics question I was asked by my producer was, “Who are you interested in?” (Hardcore fans might be interested to know my answer was Brooks.) While I personally believe a lot about this show is accidental, there is nothing accidental about the cast. The producers are prepared to do whatever necessary to make sure whomever you’ve had your eye on is also there. The caveat? They’ll intentionally misalign the arrival times, à la Joe and Samantha.
I’m not defending Joe and Samantha. What Joe has done (and what the previews suggest Samantha is about to do) is unethical, no matter how you slice it and regardless of puppet strings. It’s safe to say the two both arrived expecting to find the other sitting pretty and unattached. Joe probably feels he just did what he “needed” to do and evidently considers Juelia nothing more than now-inconvenient collateral. But watching Joe putter around cursing, lying, and horking up loogies… Not only am I incapable of understanding how any woman could be attracted to him—seriously, ugh!—I honestly believe he may be an actual sociopath. There is certainly no conscience inside that dad bod!
Bachelor in Paradise:
Sharleen Joynt on Bachelor in Paradise: Episode 1
Sharleen Joynt on Bachelor in Paradise: Episode 2
Sharleen Joynt on Bachelor in Paradise: Episode 3
Sharleen Joynt on Bachelor in Paradise: Episode 4
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