Categories
Bachelor

Ultimatum or Acceptable Boundary?

Oh my goodness you guys, that Fantasy Suites episode was a whole other level of crazy.  I’m torn on my feelings about it, because I absolutely loved getting to see Madison and Peter truly explore their very real differences in upbringing/choices (this is the drama I find super compelling), but I also HATED how the producers tried to manufacture the drama by forcing the women to stay in a suite together.

THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.  NEVER EVER.  By hometowns, the contestants are normally separated except for rose ceremonies.  I find it truly offensive to both the contestants and to the viewers to have such obviously manufactured drama.  Further, the fantasy suite dates do not film one after another.  There’s a day break between each one to allow the lead to rest (regardless of what happens in the fantasy suites, sleeping is not high on the list of priorities because it’s the first and only off-camera time the couple gets).  This means that Madison, Hannah Ann, and Victoria had to share a suite for a minimum of FIVE DAYS.  But you know what?  Those producers tried and tried to break Madi but for the most part she held her own in all of this.

I’m not terribly interested in the other two relationships right now (sorry), because for me it’s always been about Madi and Peter.  They were the relationship to beat, and I started seeing this slow-moving disaster waiting to happen when Madi shared how religious she was, and that she was looking for a “faith leader” to lead her family.  Is that Peter?  Absolutely not.  And there are times when love just isn’t enough to sustain a couple.  Major divisions on religion, politics, finances, or whether or not to have a child are things that are sometimes external, but are in every way just as important as feelings.  Unless someone in the couple is willing to bend on these (or they are ok to agree to disagree), a couple isn’t likely to last.

So it is with a lot of interest that I’ve been watching this couple.  Not just because they have immediate, easy chemistry, but because they almost seem doomed from the start.  (As an aside, THIS is why I love watching the show.  I am SO tired of the stupid, obviously manufactured drama that is surface level.  I much prefer when we get shown the true issues that many couples face, like, where should we live?  Do both of us want to work outside the home?  How important is religion in our lives?  DID YOU VOTE FOR TRUMP?  More of this, less of champagne-gate.)

While Madi had told Peter before hometowns that her religion was very important to her, she did not disclose the full impact of that on her relationships.  It was clear during the hometown visit that her family was very religious, but they kept speaking in generalities.  No one ever said to Peter that Madi was saving herself for marriage.  When Madi pulled Peter aside, she tried to express this sentiment but still didn’t lay it all out for him:

Madi: I want to be honest about who I am and how I feel.  And if next week you were to sleep with someone else it would be really hard for me to really move forward in this.  And I just feel like I owe it you to be up front with you and honest with you about that.  That is really important to me.

Peter: So what are you saying, if I were to spend the night with someone else, that’s not something you could do?

Madi:  Um, it’s going to be really hard for me if that’s the case but I just…

Peter: So that’s a no?

Madi: I don’t know, I don’t know how to answer that.

Peter: I kind of need to know.  I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me right now.  If you want me to end this all with… what are you asking?

Madi: No, I’m not asking that, I just…

Peter: I feel like it’s not necessarily fair to the relationships I have in there, but I don’t want that to get you down in any way and make you feel like I think any less of what we have.

Madi: I don’t know, I just, I don’t want to tell you yes or no.

Peter: Well I think that’s obviously something I need to know right now.  You’re saying that you wouldn’t be able to keep this going with me if I spent the night with anyone else?  Just so I can be clear.

Madi: In no way do I want to give you an ultimatum or tell you what you can do or can’t do at all, and I hope you know that and I hope you know my heart, but for me actions speak louder than words and I’m just really big on that.

Peter: You know how much you mean to me.

Madi: I know.

Peter: Ok.

Full video of the exchange in the YouTube clip below:

And that’s how it ended!!!  I don’t know how Peter felt in that moment, but I for one was lacking some clarity.  I have no problem with Madison making her boundaries known, but I’m wondering if Peter was missing some context here.  Madi did not say the following, which I think would have firmly taken this out of plausible deniability world for Peter and squarely into dealbreaker territory: I am saving myself for marriage, and having a partner who shares my values is extremely important to me.  I understand that is not your position with respect to past behavior, but the right partner for me would not be sleeping with someone else within a week of proposing to me.

Without explicitly tying it to religion or sexual boundaries, Peter can (perhaps selectively) hear that Madison’s position is about insecurities, or something they can “get past” as a couple.  And Peter’s response to Madison (“I don’t want that to get you down in any way and make you feel like I think any less of what we have”) supports that thought, that he somehow thinks this is about comparing strengths of relationships rather than what Madi fundamentally wants in a partner.

I do think Madi should have been more explicit about how this relates to HER and not just what she wants in a partner, and I do wish she’d brought it up earlier in a context where they could have been alone.  Waiting until after the rose ceremony means they don’t have time or space to truly process this, and doesn’t allow Peter to digest the info and then ask follow-ups.  They have no more time before fantasy suites, so Peter is left to figure it out on his own.

And for whatever reason, he chooses to disregard Madison’s request.  Listen, I’m not the biggest fan of Peter.  I find him to be shockingly entitled, especially considering he was on the other side of this process not too long ago.  He’s almost overwhelmingly brings everything back to him (this is hard for HIM, it’s how HE feels, HE needs to hear validation) without much thought for how it impacts the women he purportedly loves.  So I’m not unbiased here.  But I still found his actions to be questionable.

A few things to note:

Most leads do NOT sleep with every contestant in the fantasy suites.

In the past few seasons (this is based on subsequent interviews), we know the following:

  • Hannah B. slept with Peter and Jed, but not Tyler.
  • Colton slept with no one, and actually sent the other two women home at this point in the process to pursue Cassie.
  • Becca sent one of her three men home before the fantasy suite.
  • Rachel Lindsay said she slept with two out of the three men.
  • Nick Viall only slept with his final choice.

I could go on, but you get the gist.  It is NOT necessary or even the norm for the lead to sleep with all of the remaining contestants during the fantasy suites.

Moreover, most leads know by this point who they are going to pick.

For example:

  • Hannah B. said during After the Final Rose that she’d thought it would be Jed and Tyler surprised her during fantasy suites, but it was too little too late.
  • Colton knew it was going to be Cassie at LEAST by fantasy suites, and sent the other two contestants home at that point.
  • Rachel has said she knew it was Bryan before she even narrowed it down to the four hometown dates.
  • Nick knew he was picking Vanessa at least by fantasy suites.

Most leads know who they’re going to pick, or at least have it narrowed down to two, at least by fantasy suites.  So let’s say Peter was still torn between Madison and Hannah Ann, for example.  Was it REALLY so hard to wait six more days to see which one he wanted to be with?  I think no (but I also think it’s totally bananas to be “torn” about who you are going to propose to days before you actually do it – this show is NOT a recipe for success).

Final thoughts on this: Madison probably shouldn’t be on this show, and as much as I really enjoy watching her, she also shouldn’t be the Bachelorette.  It’s not a good fit with who she is as a person, which is really a compliment if you think about it 🙂  Madison and Peter, as much as they care for each other, are not compatible.  They may have the chemistry and trust and passion, but they are missing some major fundamentals that are hard to get past.  I truly applaud Madison for keeping her cool as much as she did in this scenario.  She’s stuck in a suite with two women dating the man she cares for, and she still refrains from asking them whether they were intimate with Peter.  She does talk about her own expectations (I’m sure with some producer prodding) but I felt like she did better than most in that situation.  And DAMN did she express herself well to Peter during their date.

I’m annoyed with Peter, yet again.  I know Madison could have been clearer, but I also think he knew she was his pick by this point, and decided that he’d just figure it out later and sleep with the other women (knowing he was not going to pick them).  He explicitly says he hopes it’s something they can “get through” together, and that he hates the situation.  DUDE.  The situation exists BECAUSE OF YOU.  This is like The Bachelor tweeting about how awkward it was that the women were all staying together this week:

I’m sorry.  You don’t get to make a cringey face and say it’s awkward when you are the ones who made it so.

Peter really screwed this one up.  We’ll see if Madison stays or leaves but I do think that at least in Peter’s mind, Madi is the one.  I definitely don’t see him getting engaged to Victoria, and I can’t really see it with Hannah Ann either.  This is definitely the most emotion we’ve gotten from him so far, and it seems like it’s the only time he’s been able to slightly step outside of himself to empathize with one of the contestants.  Unfortunately, it’s probably too late.  I have a feeling we’re in for a bit of a bumpy landing (see what I did there) and I don’t have high hopes for the longterm success of Madi and Peter if they do end up together.

And in an unlikely crossover, Bar Stool Sports says it best:

Co-signed.

Categories
Bachelor

Turbulence on the Friendly Skies

Guys, this season is a straight up mess.  They have given us FIVE HOURS of Bachelor content this week, not including the two hours from last week that I still haven’t blogged about, so it’s time to just dive in.  Remember how I said I liked Peter as the lead?  That is no longer the case.  Peter continues to make bad decision after bad decision, in ways that are disrespectful and hurtful to the individuals who have given up tangible things in their lives to participate in this process.  It’s clear Peter is easily manipulated by producers, who are earning their paychecks big time this season.  Let’s break it down.

The Producers

I have never seen such heavy-handed producing on a season.  First we had champagne-gate, which was a product of producers creating two similar looking champagne set-ups and likely leading Hannah Ann to the wrong one, knowing Kelsey would blow a gasket.  Then we had the Chase Rice concert.  This franchise is no stranger to the moderately successful country music singer performance, but we’ve never had a situation where one of the contestants dated* the performer.

That was very obvious producer intervention, along with the choice to show behind-the-scenes footage of both Peter and Victoria F. talking with Chase.

*I use the term date very loosely.  Chase has given several interviews since the show aired and it’s clear that he and Victoria spent exactly one night together in Charlotte, NC.  And because I take this job very seriously, I can share with you that it was August 30, 2019 – a few weeks before the season started filming.

IMG_6188

Producers also very clearly intervened in convincing Peter, somehow, to give Alayah a group date rose for a date she wasn’t even on, which he then quickly took away once the broader group of women pounced on him.  I have to imagine it was producer intervention that prompted Peter to give Kelsey a rose when she visited his room (I don’t recall this EVER happening before), and I’m sure they had their hand in canceling the subsequent cocktail party.  They are all over this season and it’s a little disruptive for the viewer.  I enjoy some lighthearted drama but this is incessant.

Peter

Which brings me to Peter.  We see all this producer-driven drama because Peter LETS THEM DO IT.  Obviously the lead can’t upend the process completely, but I’ve never seen a lead so complacent and easily manipulated.  Is he just not that smart?  I’m starting to feel like he’s missing something.  He seems incapable of independent thought, and maybe this process is just truly messing with him, but he is woefully inconsistent in his treatment of the women.

The Alayah issue is the clearest example.  After hearing one woman express distrust of Alayah, a woman he admittedly really likes, he embarks on a full-on inquisition to get to the bottom of it.  He decides to send her home after much struggle, and then when the producers bring her back he goes through the whole process over again.  And then invites her to stay, and then GIVES HER THE GROUP DATE ROSE!  This is baffling behavior.  The women were already very displeased with the fact they were made to literally tackle each other for time with Peter, only to have to share the after-party between 13 women.  Giving Alayah the group date rose made zero sense.

 

As if that weren’t enough, the next night the drama continues and Peter fully indulges it.  He continues to pull woman after woman aside to discuss, yet again, the Alayah issue.  He does so in the face of obvious distress from the women.  Deandra straight up calls Peter out, saying she had never felt so “under-recognized” by someone and that his actions were a “slap in the face.”  And what does Peter do?  He pulls Victoria P. aside for MORE ALAYAH DISCUSSION.  Does he not even care that he is disrespecting the women who have traveled to freaking Cleveland for him?  He then decides to send Alayah home after all that mess.

I know Peter knows he made a mistake with Alayah, but he continues to make mistakes after that point.  Peter should have known that giving Kelsey a rose while knowing she was the center of drama at the house would cause a stir.  Really bad call if he actually cares about Kelsey’s wellbeing.

I’m starting to think Peter might not just get it?  All leads speak in platitudes but he seems to actually believe it, and he wants the women to buy into it as much as he does.  It’s a bit baffling, because Peter was so recently a contestant on the other side, and should know how frustrating it is when a lead is disrespectful with a contestant’s time.

The Women

God these women are vicious to each other.  We really have seen so little of the female friendship that is usually so strong.  I have whiplash trying to keep it all straight.

Victoria P. and Alayah used to be friends but can’t seem to agree on that point. Kelsey seems ok with Sydney until she’s not.  Tammy is on team Kelsey until she decides Kelsey’s just too much (sidenote, Tammy’s demise has been so sad to watch, I really liked her).  The women liked Tammy until they realized her actions “made Peter” cancel the cocktail party.  Then it’s Tammy vs. Sydney (who, by the way, didn’t look great here either).  Mykenna and Lexi are friends until Mykenna creates a mini-cocktail party before the rose ceremony and Lexi feels slighted.  It’s certainly dramatic, but devoid of the normal undercurrent of female friendship we see.

I think it’s pretty telling seeing who is part of the fray and who is staying out of it (or at least, who producers show as part of the drama).  Madison, Hannah Ann, and Kelley were refreshingly absent from all of it, and it makes me think they go far.

Top 4

  1. Madison.  Still at the top.  We haven’t seen a lot of her, but I think that’s actually a good thing, considering.  Excited for their next one-on-one.madison
  2. Hannah Ann.  She stayed out of the drama.  She had a good one-on-one date.  It looks like she’s friends with Madison.  I’m getting hometown vibes.
  3. Kelley.  My girl Kelley!  I realize that I am predisposed to be on Team Kelley, as we are both female lawyers who live in Chicago, but I really loved her this episode.  She called Peter on his bullshit and she was refreshingly honest about the absurdity of having to prove you’re ready to marry someone who, at the same time, is dating 12 other women.  Not sure if she’ll get to Fantasy Suites but fingers crossed.

Also, am loving Natasha, another personal favorite of mine.

This also sums up how I feel about Peter.  And I’m exhausted from this week.  Hoping things settle down a bit next week.

PS: I am planning a separate post that is a deep dive into Victoria F. TBD.