Why does the #MenTellAll episode exist? Because they don’t, and it shouldn’t. Is it a lazy vehicle to sell more ad space? Is it to promote “Bachelor in Paradise?” Is it to drum up anticipation for the finale? WELL YOU LISTEN HERE, ABC. I am not even that excited about the decidedly un-epic battle of Josh vs. Nick. Ugh. Nick is just sort of quiet and curly. And Josh is a bottle of Abercrombie cologne COME TO LIFE.
First thing’s first, we are greeted with one of the sole lasting couples in “The Bachelorette” franchise history, Ashley and JP. Ashley is ripe with impending fertility, and Unjustifiably Ubiquitous Chris Harrison is well-pleased. She undergoes a televised ultrasound and IT IS A BOY. Bachelor Nation is overjoyed she will deliver unto them a male heir.
Everything the studio's light touches shall be this baby's kingdom
Before we get to hear the #MenTellNothingReally, we are treated to one more Suave commercial featuring Andi and two former Bachelorettes. LOL NO. I can pretend to believe in truncated love and even legitimate relationships before a camera crew. But there is no way that Andi Dorfman, Shiny Haired Reality TV Star, uses the same shampoo as my dad.
Oh, and here’s a protracted preview of “Bachelor in Paradise,” a schlocky Bachelor spinoff set in the tropics of Mexico. It is an odd name for a show set in a country where over half of all citizens live below the poverty line. Anyway, there’s going to be triangle bikinis and betrayal and Sex on the Beach, in both the literal and alcohol sense.
Andi’s reject pile finally shows up a bit later. They are here to give us more dirt about plotlines that were already laboriously stretched into two-hour time slots in very recent memory. They have scores to settle. They file in and take position for their 20-man Mexican Standoff. Er, sorry, “Paradise Standoff.”
We are re-introduced to castaways, including:
Bradley, the opera singer who once trotted out his stage vibrato at a Boyz II Men concert even though it’s like, be cool, bro. If you sing “I’ll Make Love to You” operatically, music will officially be OVER.
Patrick, the Hot Guy Who Never Said Anything but apparently got a harsher edit than the crucially abdominaled Marcus, the Other Hot Guy Who Never Said Anything.
Marquel, the sartorially superior babe who baked cookies and once delivered a monologue about race that was pretty reflective, for "Bachelor" standards
Andrew, the social media marketer (because, of course) who instigated Marquel’s speech by allegedly making a racist comment about the black contestants. He was also accused of flirting with a waitress on a group date and generally acted like a human version of Randall, the smarmy green antagonist in "Monsters, Inc."
JJ, the “pantstrapraneur,”which Microsoft Word underlined in red and doesn’t even have any suggestions for. He was the unfortunate good sport picked for that weird granny-and-grandpa cosplay date, and maintains what is perhaps the most self-aware Twitter feed in Bachelor Nation History. YOUR LOSS, DORFMAN. Good luck finding someone else with cheekbones you can juice a grapefruit on.
WELCOME BACK, EXPENDABLES!!! Let’s get to it. I’ve got good news, and bad news. The bad news is that I was so bored that I zoned out for the next 80 minutes of the episode. The good news is that absolutely nothing happened that I missed!
Um, a few guys sat down with Chris Harrison in the Average Temperature Seat Hot Seat. Marquel conjures up a few girly squeals from the studio audience, but says his connection with Andi was more of a friendship. “You did get friend-zoned!” Chris Harrison agrees. “THE FRIEND ZONE IS NOT A REAL THING IT’S JUST A CONSTRUCT TO SHAME WOMEN FOR DENYING MEN SEX,” I reply, my outburst muffled by cheesy pretzels.
A friend of mine in DC agreed. “Why is each man basically asked, ‘why didn’t you succeed in winning her?’” She asked on Facebook. “Where is the recognition that the woman has any agency over this process?” To which I replied, BA HAHA HA HAHAHA HA HA HA. She'd gotten down to the show's creepy political core.
At the heart of “The Bachelorette” is a conflict of interest between the woman’s agency and the guys’ will to win. When people meet in real life, they think, “let’s see if we’re right for each other.” On “The Bachelorette,” guys think, “I’m going to make you pick me.” The criteria for reality TV victory are very different than the criteria for dating ethically. The woman is compelled to give every contestant her time and energy, and the guys have every incentive to push her boundaries. It shouldn’t be called “The Bachelorette.” It should be called “25 Bachelors.”
Ladies, rock your son to sleep tonight to an audiobook of “The Collected Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft.” Don’t let him listen to “Opie and Anthony” or watch the ending of “Grease.” Raise him to ask the teacher stuff like “If Edward Rochester has been lying to Jane this whole time, why the hell should we believe what he says about his so-called 'crazy ex'?!?!”
That way, they’ll grow up and go on “The Bachelorette” for the right reasons.