History Repeats Itself

It’s clear that JoJo and Jordan have chemistry.  Unless something disrupts their love story (ahem, like a cheating allegation), these two seem to be on the path to the final rose ceremony.  I’m worried about JoJo, though.  Despite allegedly learning so much from her time with Ben Higgins, the former Bachelor who showed her what she was worth, she seems to be picking men just like Chad.  Chad the ex-boyfriend, not Chad the ex-contestant.

Let’s dig a little into what JoJo has said about ex-Chad.  During the last season, JoJo told Ben that there was another person in her ex’s life, alluding to cheating.  On her date with Jordan, JoJo explained that with ex-Chad, there were “high highs” and “low lows,” and that her insecurity was “insane.”  You don’t have to extrapolate too far to understand that JoJo had some trust issues with ex-Chad, likely involving cheating.

And here’s where Jordan comes in.  Jordan has seemed fine so far.  Even with his prestigious family connections, he hasn’t come across as too cocky and he hasn’t come across as someone who’s in it for fame.  Except for the hair.

jordan hair.png

But that’s not what other people saying.  On the show, we’re treated to some commentary from the men.  When Jordan got the 1-on-1 date card, it was silent.  Wells said that he was upset it wasn’t him, and that Jordan is “playing the game to get a stamp on his passport.”  I’ve never heard that one before, but I can imagine what Wells is getting at.  Derek says he’s not going to stereotype football players, but if there’s one person on the show he would question, it would be Jordan.  A bunch of voiceovers follow, saying that people don’t trust Jordan and that he’s not there for the right reasons.

But even if you put what Jordan’s competitors say about him aside, JoJo herself questions Jordan.  She tells Jordan that she met one of Jordan’s “on-again, off-again” girlfriends, who told her that Jordan was not “the best boyfriend.”

jordan sip

Jordan taking a sip to stall the conversation, classic move.

Once confronted with this, Jordan stalled, said he didn’t know what to say, and then blamed it on sports.  He said that he was going through a lot trying to be the best at sports, and that he took it out on people.  This girlfriend was “along for the rollercoaster” when Jordan was “at his best and worst.”  Notice how he mirrors what JoJo had previously told him about her relationship with ex-Chad, with highs and lows.  Interestingly enough, Jordan says there was no physical cheating.  That’s not what his ex-girlfriend says:

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EDIT – The Pitch Perfect reference was about his cameo in the movie, NOT cheating.  He cheated with someone else.  Thanks Laura for the correction!

Listen.  I like Jordan, mostly.  I think he adds something to the show beyond Villain-Lite.  But regardless of whether these allegations are true or not, Jordan’s reaction the next plot point – the tabloid fiasco – was extremely manipulative.

Somewhere in Uruguay (perhaps in a producer’s bag??), Vinny got his hands on a “gossip rag” that had an interview with ex-Chad.  Chad said that he and JoJo rekindled their romance when JoJo was home after Ben’s season.  Whatever, no big deal, except the producers obviously gave this magazine to the contestants, and then confronted JoJo about it, and made her go talk to the guys.

why

My thoughts exactly, JoJo.

JoJo goes to see the guys, who, by the way, are not at all surprised to see her, which just shows more producer involvement, and explains her case to them.  Through her tears, she tells them that the allegations were untrue, and explains more about her relationship with ex-Chad, which sounds like a nightmare.

Jordan’s first reaction to JoJo’s story was to conflate the conversation they had during their 1-on-1 with JoJo’s situation.  In Jordan’s mind, being accused of cheating is the same as having a vindictive ex take you down in a magazine for a bit of money.  Jordan actually says that the two of them had just gone through a similar conversation about an ex spreading lies that aren’t true.  No, Jordan, they are not the same.  JoJo is the victim, and you are the alleged perpetrator, and your ex told JoJo in private, and honestly, it rings true.

I hope for JoJo’s sake it’s not, but by aligning himself with JoJo against the exes who want to take them down, Jordan has placed himself in a position to easily deflect anything anyone says about him, and has already shown his ability to manipulate facts to make it seem like he and JoJo are both dealing with the same thing.  This will make it even harder for JoJo to piece the truth together, even when faced with facts.

I’m sure this story isn’t over.

On a lighter note, this week we lost a true character – Damn Daniel.  In honor of Daniel, here are a few of my favorites:

daniel eating

Daniel eating during one of the Chad altercations.

canadian

When Daniel was the most Canadian.

personality

When Daniel got down on himself after he didn’t get a rose.

Maybe we’ll see you in Paradise?

paradise

As always, my frontrunners:

  1. Jordan.  Enough said.
  2. Luke.  They’re cute together.
  3. Robby.  Maybe I see it?
  4. Chase.  Yet again he managed to get cute alone time with props, clearly given to him by producers.  He’s not going anywhere yet.
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What Makes a Winner

I have a theory about what makes a Bachelor or Bachelorette winner.

For women, I think the strongest contestants have the following characteristics:  long hair, petite, professional but non-threatening job, 26-28, and in terms of geography, from the coasts (but not New York), or from a larger midwest city.

I’ve been operating under these assumptions for years, and it has been purely anecdotal, so I decided to put these theories to the test and do a review of past Bachelor winners (Bachelorette winners to follow in a separate post).  I limited it to 2010 forward, because this show has been on forever and no one has time for that.

Bachelor 14 – Jake Pavelka

I hate to start with Jake Pavelka because he might be my least favorite bachelor of all time, but I made the rules so here we go.  At the time of his season, Jake was a 32-year old pilot from Dallas, Texas.  He picked the villain of his season, Vienna Girardi.

vienna

When I searched for Vienna’s job, her “nose job” was the top hit

 Vienna was from Sanford, FL, was only 24 when she won, and had no discernible job or career.  She was an ex-Hooters waitress.  Vienna does not fit into my theory, besides the fact that she had long hair and was petite.  Because it’s my theory and I want to be right, I’m going to go to the runner-up for this season, Tenley Molzhan.  Everyone wanted Jake to pick Tenley, and it’s easy to see why:

tenley_molzahnTenley, aka Disney Princess

Tenley was a more respectable 26, from California, and worked as a dancer.  But not a dancer for Hooters, a dancer for Disney.  She also moonlighted as a literal Disney Princess at Disneyland.  Basically, Jake picked wrong, but spared Tenley from having to put up with him, so win for Tenley!

Bachelor 15 – Brad Womack (second time)

Brad Womack is next on the list.  He is the only bachelor who has had the opportunity to do it twice, after picking no one in his first season.  Brad was 38 at the time of filming, and was a bar owner from Austin, Texas.  Brad picked the adorable Emily Maynard:

Emily-maynard-1

Doesn’t she look the part?

Emily was a single mother with a tragic backstory.  She was 25, lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and worked as a Children’s Hospital Event Planner.  She is also tiny, and has long hair.  Check, check, check.

Bachelor 16 – Ben Flajnik

Ben came next.  He hailed from San Francisco and was a 28-year old winemaker.  He picked his season’s villain as well – Courtney Robertson.

courtney

Courtney, our first brunette!

Courtney basically fit the part.  She was the right age, right look, was a model, and lived in Santa Monica, California.  She was a bit taller than my theory would allow for, but she was also a model, so I call that even.  Check.

Bachelor 17 – Sean Lowe

Sean was a 28-year old insurance salesman, ALSO from Texas.  Lots of Texas guys.  He picked that season’s dark horse, Catherine Giudici.  Catherine came from Seattle, Washington (coast), was a graphic designer (professional job but no grad school required), had lovely long hair, and was also quite petite.  But, plot twist, she is half Filipino!

catherine

Long hair don’t care

Fun fact: Catherine and Sean are also the only successful couple that will be featured today.

Bachelor 18 – Juan Pablo Galavis

Ugh, Juan Pablo.  My second least favorite bachelor.  Juan Pablo was a 32-year old former professional soccer player from Miami, Florida.  He was basically the worst.  He picked Nikki Ferrell, a 26-year old (check), pediatric nurse (check), from Kansas City, Missouri (check).

nikki-ferrell-the-bachelor-pinterest

Long hair, check.

Theory still in tact, even though that relationship crashed and burned.

Bachelor 19 – Chris Soules

I also did not love this season.  This was a bad stretch.  Chris was a 33-year old farmer from Arlington, Iowa.  He picked Whitney Bischoff, a 29-year old fertility nurse from Chicago, Illinois.

whitney

Look at those barrel curls

She’s a year older than my theory would allow, but she fills the rest of the criteria.  These ladies are starting to look the same to me.

Bachelor 20 – Ben Higgins

Ben was a 26-year old software salesman from Denver, Colorado.  He was a great bachelor.  Thank you, Ben, for saving us.

Ben picked 25-year old Lauren Bushnell, a flight attendant from Los Angeles, California (originally from Portland, OR).

lauren bushnell

Another blonde!

I think my theory is mostly in tact.  Once you put these women next to each other, you can start to see the trends.  So many petite, blonde women!  So much mermaid hair!

It’s interesting to put this information together and see what it means for what makes the quintessential wife.  These women all have jobs that are professional (besides Vienna), but not threatening.  Many of them work in supportive types of jobs, like nursing, charity, or part of other aspects of the service industry.  However, there aren’t any teachers on this list.  There aren’t many southern women, and there are no women from small southern towns.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are no winners from New York.  Or Boston, or Washington D.C.

What does this say about what makes the perfect partner, at least for this show?  It may be too small of a sample size, but I’ll put my money on the petite blonde contestant with long hair, who works in an industry that is professional but does not require graduate school, and is flexible in terms of geography (not a lawyer, for example).  I also always pick the contestants who come from the following cities: Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Atlanta – and also Los Angeles after I weed out the ones in the entertainment industry.

Breakdown of the men to follow – let’s see if my theories hold true there!

Evolution of Evan

This season so far has been a petri dish for masculinity and all the forms it can take.  I have never seen a season so focused on what it means to be a man, what strength is, and how a man should interact with a woman.  Or a girl, as Chad loves to say.

Evan, the erectile dysfunction expert, is an interesting case study in what happens when someone is exposed to a house full of men, with no distractions.

Evan starts like this:

evan squatting

But views his housemates doing this:

chad and daniel

Nice form, Daniel.

At the beginning of this episode, Chad refuses to even engage with Evan.  When the group date card comes and Chad makes comments about how he does not want to go on a date with 12 other guys,  Evan speaks up and is immediately shot down.  Juxtapose Chad’s reaction to Evan with his confrontation of Jordan.  Chad views Jordan as a threat, or at least a worthy opponent, but Evan does not even register to Chad.

Evan decides to make a stand and call Chad out during the group date, leading to altercation #1.  Watch Evan slide past Chad:

shirt pull

I think Chad might have a point here.  Evan does seem to elbow Chad.  Does that justify Chad’s subsequent actions?  Absolutely not.  But it’s important to this plot point.  Evan succeeds in getting on Chad’s radar after his public accusation that Chad takes steroids, leading to altercation #2:

fight

Let’s skip to the after party.  As part of Evan’s evolution, he tells JoJo that “a big part of this process for me is realizing I haven’t been as strong as I should be,” leading him to give JoJo an ultimatum – it’s either Evan or Chad.  Evan returns to the group and tells them that he has been “stronger tonight than I’ve ever been.”  In Evan’s mind, his lesson is that he has not been strong enough and that he needs to take a stand with JoJo in order to have that strength.

In this battle, Evan gets the rose, and Chad gets embarrassed.  Evan wins, but it’s unfortunate that he feels he should even be playing the same game as Chad.

daddy gif

As a gender studies major, I took a class called “The Masculine Mystique.”  It was one of my favorite classes – not just for the alliterative title, but because it was one of the few gender studies classes with a healthy number of male students.  Masculinity studies is one of the potentially lesser known strands of gender studies, and it is easy to dismiss the idea by falling into rhetoric about privilege.  But it is impossible to unpack societal norms about gender without discussing how those issues affect men.

I don’t know Chad, and I don’t know his background.  It seems like he’s going through a lot, and I don’t doubt that some of his actions are producer-driven.  For example, in the previews for next week, Chad reappears at the house after he’s been kicked off the show.  This has never happened before, and could not have happened without producer assistance.  But notwithstanding those external factors, it is clear that Chad has internalized certain ideals about men that are damaging.  He is unable to engage in conflict without resorting to violence.  When faced with a conflict, his response is: “If I can’t lift weights I’m going to murder someone.”  He cannot comprehend that someone “like JoJo” would want someone like Evan, who is the ice cream to Chad’s steak.  Chad doesn’t know anything about JoJo besides what she looks like, and from that he has determined what she wants and needs, which is a huge issue.  It turns out that Chad isn’t even Chad’s real name.  His name is Brian.  Brian has morphed into Chad, who is a case study in how strict constructs of masculinity can have a damaging effect on our boys and men.  And it’s catching, and it caught Evan.

Small shout out to Derek here.  Derek was the only man in the house who was able to have a clear, firm conversation with Chad without resorting to posturing, threats, and similar forms of peacocking.

And with that, we say goodbye to Chad.

Behind the drama, we see a few relationships developing.  My list for the week:

  1. Jordan.  Although Jordan and JoJo have not yet had a one-on-one, they already act like they are in a relationship.  There’s an ease, and a corresponding insecurity on the part of JoJo about Jordan’s feelings, that make me think he will go far, if not all the way.
  2. Luke.  I loved their date.  My notes for Luke just say “gentleman.”  He’s relaxed, he seems secure in himself, and he seems sweet.  JoJo is in to him.
  3. Chase.  They had a weird date, but made the best of it.  I don’t see this relationship on the same level as Jordan and Luke at this point, but there’s potential.

Why Smart Women Like The Bachelor

Otherwise known as, My Manifesto.  Or maybe, “My Justification.”

My relationship with this show has been an evolution.  It started as a show I would watch with friends.  It was our time every Monday, and it made me feel like the weekend wasn’t over.  We would paint our nails, we would make fun of the contestants, and we would bond over white wine.

What started as irony eventually shifted into a genuine enjoyment of the show.  It was one thing to watch with a group every week, but I had a harder time defending my Monday night habit when I was watching alone.  I’ve been watching this show for almost a decade at this point, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I unabashedly love it.  Which begs the question – why?

There are a lot of reasons to hate this show.  Although it is “reality” television, it’s manipulated by producers.  It plays into the arguably regressive ideals that one true love exists (if you’re heterosexual) and the ideal ending results in engagement, and then marriage.  And although I’m sure the contestants discuss topics like religion, politics, and where they want to live after the “journey” ends, the viewers see none of that.

There are also a lot of reasons to love the show.  It still is a treat on Mondays when the weekend is over and you’re facing down another work week.  It’s escapism at its finest, with a built in community on Twitter, Snapchat, and the multitude of blogs (ahem). But so are a lot of reality television shows, and those don’t have the same crazy following in the form of #BachelorNation.  And I can’t imagine that we are all fooled by the show and just want to see true love unfold before our eyes.  That might be a part of it, but I refuse to believe that’s all of it.

I have spent some time thinking about this.  Why does this show appeal to doctors, lawyers, consultants, and other professional, well-educated women, who “know better?”  Why do I continue to ask my coworkers, in a quiet voice that will not carry, whether they too watch the Bachelor – to see if we’re all part of the club?

I propose that this show operates as a meeting ground for viewers across the country, even the world, to enter into a microcosm of so many issues facing society and be able to discuss those issues without making it personal.  This show allows us to address racism, sexism, and heteronormativity in a safe space.  For example, instead of me approaching a conversation about microaggressions between individuals of the same race, I can ask my peers to weigh in on Amber and Jamie’s attempted take down of Jubilee last season, and what that means for the three women of color in the house at the time.  Instead of providing general commentary on toxic masculinity, I can find common ground in Chad’s bold statements that he knows what JoJo needs in a lifelong partner while having only known her for a week.

The show provides a nonthreatening starting point, and the viewers can make it into whatever they want.  You want escapism on a Monday?  Done.  You want an excuse to drink wine and tweet about the ridiculous escapades of the contestants?  Go for it.  But if you’re looking for it, this show can provide something more.  Even viewers who aren’t seeking out discourse on that week’s entertainment can jump into the fray.  You don’t need a PhD to know that some of the things that happen on the show are messed up.

There is a growing community of individuals who are using the show as a basis for engaging in broader discussions about the issues within the show.  Every week I have the pleasure of reading Sharleen Joynt’s recaps on her blog, All The Pretty Pandas, and listening to Emma Gray and Claire Fallon dissect the show in their Huffington Post podcast, “Here to Make Friends.”  These women are taking the show to the next level, and that’s what I hope to do with this blog.

So that’s why I keep coming back to this show, even when they refuse to pick someone of color to lead the show.  Even when they turn the arguably feminist Bachelorette on its head by having two Bachelorettes last season, with the men having the power to choose.  Even when they objectify men and women alike.  Because I think it’s a great opportunity to take this discourse to another level.

…Or maybe I’m just in it for the wine.

See you on Monday.