This Season of The Bachelor Just Feels … Yucky
Like most people, I have a complicated, love-hate relationship with The Bachelor.
I’m already a slut for reality TV, and everyone can appreciate a little silliness and escapism, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
But it’s getting harder and harder to reconcile the long-running series’ problematic nature with my own moral compass. I don’t know if I’m capable of separating the art (Chris Harrison) from the artist (Mike Fleiss) anymore.
From taking a staggering 18 years and 24 seasons to cast the first Black bachelor to botching sexual misconduct scandals, it’s no secret that the show has been, at times, wildly problematic. And while they’ve assured us for years they’ll do better, and introduced bachelor Matt James, who is Black, this season, the franchise continues to stumble and mishandle serious issues.
If you haven’t watched this season, I’ll try to break it down as best I can.
Contestant Victoria Larson became the instant villain. Dubbing herself “Queen Victoria” while sporting a crown on the first night, the 28-year-old “entrepreneur” came in guns blazing, spending more time antagonizing her fellow contestants than fostering any sort of meaningful relationship with Matt. (Spoiler alert: She doesn’t win.)
When she isn’t relentlessly bullying the other women, she’s calling them “disgusting” and “hoes” in her confessionals. She specifically appears to target women of color on the show, gaslighting them, and getting them sent home by lying about them to Matt. She’s apparently a Trump supporter, and got arrested for shoplifting makeup from a Publix in 2012.
The Bachelor's Victoria Larson Says She Felt 'Liberated' When Her Mugshot Resurfaced https://t.co/Rex58HF5Ov— People (@people) January 26, 2021
Off-camera behavior aside, it’s almost like Larson studied the classic Bachelor villain archetype—specifically the personality and mannerisms of Corinne Olympios, without even an eighth of the charm—and shoving every single stereotype into her on-camera persona, insisting on playing it up to an insufferable degree every moment she’s in front of the camera.
It was too much, with many people even going so far as accusing her of being a producer plant. (I’m not going to go that far, personally.) And although Larson got eliminated on this week’s episode—to near universal appraise across Bachelor Nation—the season already feels like a wash because we spent so much time focusing on an utterly mean, unfunny joy vampire.
What was it all for? What kind of show does The Bachelor want to be? Because it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s here for the right reasons anymore.
And that’s not all: Other contestants have found themselves in hot water too, including Anna Redman, 24, who—now infamously—spread unfounded and untrue rumors that fellow contestant Brittany Galvin, 23, was an escort, after claiming she’d heard about her prior to filming. The conversations surrounding sex work that followed were cringey and shame-y, and Galvin cried on camera multiple times, worrying that her life would be ruined when the show aired. It was heartbreaking to watch. (To his credit, James eliminated Redman the moment he found out, thanks to the show’s resident voice of reason and the singular bright spot of the season, fan favorite Katie Thurston, 30.)
Frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell is dealing with her own accusations of racism, too.
If The Bachelor is trying to become slowly unwatchable, it’s certainly succeeding.
Hailey Bieber, You Kind Of Need to Address Your Racist Past
If you want us to move on from it, that is! Hello?! We’re not just going to ignore it! We’re not just going to shut up about the fact that you’ve said the n-word on-camera and tweeted things about “smacking someone back to their country”! Especially when you start suing Black-owned outlets for exposing the receipts surrounding your racist past. It’s like the Streisand Effect, but instead of eyeballs and attention, everyone’s just getting angrier.
not hailey bieber threatening to sue a black owned media outlet for $10k after they brought up her racist past 😭 pic.twitter.com/4s8VzJpKY1— alex (@worshipaIex) February 1, 2021
Like I always say: Own it, apologize, and let’s go from there. Actions speak louder than words, show us you can do better, et cetera, et cetera. But we can’t even begin the celebrity forgiveness process if the celebrity in question pretends nothing is up (and has their Instagram comments perpetually turned off, to boot).
You can’t launch a skincare line and ask for our money if you won’t even listen to us, Mrs. Biebs.
exposing Hailey Bieber for racism; a thread ☠️— Xo-Sel-❗️ Refugee children are still in cages❗️ (@Fetish_SGXO) August 8, 2020
Chrissy Teigen Needs to Log Off
Let’s get this out of the way: I’m a known Chrissy Teigen critic, and I also have enormous empathy for the fact that she recently lost a baby and is also newly sober. Both these things can be true at the same time.
That said, empathy is a two-way street. And Twitter users weren’t feeling that the love was going both ways yesterday when Teigen hopped on Twitter to flex to her followers that she accidentally paid $13,000 for a bottle of wine.
accidentally getting charged $13,000 would be life ruining for basically every person i know and its just a quirky anecdote to you lol https://t.co/4Z2lE1wPTM— lego killer moth (@legokillermoth) February 3, 2021
While this anecdote may have gotten some eye rolls and “Oh, Chrissys” pre-COVID, she definitely felt the wrath of the angry, unemployed, and broke masses suffering during a global pandemic. After becoming somewhat of a “main character” on Twitter—a fate she said was her “worst nightmare”—she continued to sort of double down and tweet her way through it while getting simultaneously dunked on by large accounts, small accounts, leftist accounts, and conservative accounts alike. My issue is: No one is forcing Chrissy to tweet.
is chrissy teigen really tryna get sympathy on Twitter??? this is the website where if u have “RIP dad” in ur bio ppl will say they’re glad he’s dead if u disagree with them over bts’ new single c’mon lol— first-mate prance (@bocxtop) February 3, 2021
I wish she would log off. Rich people don’t need this godforsaken hellsite—literally, you will be so much happier without it, and you’re very lucky you don’t depend on a toxic social media platform for your livelihood. (Ahem.)
Just put the phone down queen <3 https://t.co/1KmCIKhFap— president bo theldlerwheel (@TheldlerWheel) February 3, 2021