The Bachelor? More Like America's Next Top Bully

The Bachelor? More Like America's Next Top Bully
Screenshot:ABC/The Bachelor (Fair Use)

For a season of The Bachelor that was so hyped—one with the franchise’s first-ever Black lead, a ridiculously handsome man Bachelor Nation was so stoked to meet—it’s been pretty wack so far, right? Viewers hardly know Matt James. All of the episodes have been overwhelmed with petty drama inside the house, as it is normally, but the fairytale formula is starting to reveal its faults: No one seems real, the villains are cartoonish, and it’s hard to tell who is actually invested in this process. Victoria Larson, as The New York Post so eloquently put it, has been occupying too much screen time with her piss-poor Regina George cosplay. In fact, if Monday night’s episode had a theme, I’d label it “childish bullying.”

First, when five new contestants entered the Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania (no Bachelor mansion during covid-19), Victoria greeted Miss Puerto Rico Universe Catalina Morales Gómez by ripping a tiara off her head and placing it on her own, then a coffee table—like a game of keep-away that’s made sadder when the perpetrator is in their late 20s.

Then another OG contestant, Anna Redman, told the rest of the women that she knows one of the new ladies, Brittany Galvin, because they’re both from Chicago. She labeled her “sketchy,” spreading rumors that she’s heard she “sucks.” Once Brittany interrupted Anna’s time with Matt at an after-party, the gloves came off, and Anna’s predilection for gossip became slut-shame-y, lest you forget how antiquated this whole show format is! “Being from Chicago, where she is, I’d heard rumors, and people have gone out of their way to tell me, ‘Oh my god, watch out for this girl,’” Anna told the vicious Victoria. “That she is entertaining men for money. No one’s sending my profile, being like, ‘Watch out for this girl.’” In a later interview, Anna clarified her comments to ABC producers, saying, “There is a rumor, because she knows all the rich men in Chicago, that Brittany may be an escort. She may be having a transactional relationship with wealthy men.”

Like… what? Why would she need to “watch out” for another woman, whether she is a sex worker or not? How does that affect her life in any way? At any rate, Victoria had already labeled Brittany a “slore” (“slut” + “whore,” cute) long before she had access to this gossip, so it was immediately clear where the conflict was heading: Anna confronted Brittany in front of all the other girls about being an escort, which Brittany quickly denied, nearly in tears because she realized she’s now going to have to spend her time on this show disproving the rumors. As long as producers show Victoria and Anna lounging, labeling Brittany a “whore” like it’s high school in 2006, the gossip will continue.

The episode ended with a tease: Katie Thurston, who just last week was super pissed at Sarah Trott for interrupting her time with Matt, played “devil’s advocate” and decided to approach The Bachelor to “address some of the bullying that’s kind of been happening in the house.” “The house just needs to be better,” she explained to Matt, “And there’s some pretty bad rumors that are starting about the new girls that literally could ruin their lives. Not even exaggerating.”

Until next week, I guess.

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