ABC has one of the most interesting, emotionally intelligent bachelors in their 33-season run of The Bachelor / Bachelorette, and they are blowing the season on a melodramatic, sexist edit. The show’s popularity rests on its voyeuristic appeal as viewers tag along on dates and witness first kisses, break-ups, and the rollercoaster decision-making process of choosing who to love. So why for this season are we stuck in the womens’ hotel living room and ITMs, focusing on nannies and bullies and catfights? One viewer’s plea to ABC producers to revive Nick Viall from the cutting room floor.
Given that I write contemporary women’s fiction with a focus on relationships romantic and friendly, it probably comes as no surprise that I am a die-hard fan of The Bachelor franchise. Accordingly, when ESPN & ABC teamed up to launch a football-like fantasy league, my heart leapt . . . especially since this season’s leading man is Nick Viall.
Before the season premiere, the eleven members of my fantasy league — including college friends on opposite coasts, city friends, my lovely literary agent, Jen — debated whether Nick Viall would make for interesting TV, or whether it was too redundant to place him at the helm of yet another season. When one friend who hadn’t closely followed recent seasons asked why Nick had become such a polarizing figure, here was my contribution to the group thread:
To add to what Aleks said, I didn’t watch Andi’s season because I couldn’t stream it in Paris, but Nick got a bad rap for “slut shaming” her in the “Men Tell All” episode, which I think was a really unfair characterization of what he did. Basically, he had been so startled when Andi didn’t choose him, he blurted out, “Why did you sleep with me then???” And Andi retorted that the remark was “below the belt.” But really, I think Nick was just super hurt and stunned. Not an unfair question why she slept with him only to break up with him the next day. . .
Anywho, he then went on Katelyn’s season because they’d met at some Bachelor PR events and hit it off. He had a very strong, early-on connection with her — again went to the final 2, but she chose a jealous loudmouthed jerk named Shawn instead.
Then Nick went on Bachelor in Paradise and continued to just be all-around charming and thoughtful. Not that the competition is so fierce, but I am convinced he is the most emotionally intelligent of the franchise personalities. Every single lady on the island would come to him with her emotional woes, and he was basically the resident therapist and BFF to all.
And now he’s BACK! For round 4! Oy. But still, I find him to be a dreamboat and am convinced we’d be friends IRL.
Granted as “emotional intelligence” since became the buzzword of the Corinne-Taylor showdown, I shudder in hindsight at my use of that descriptor for Nick, but I still firmly believe that Nick’s EQ outnumbers those of fellow franchise contestants. Yet, as the new ABC-ESPN fantasy league has me watching the show more closely than ever before, the very questions they ask underscore how little of Nick & his EQ we are actually getting to see.
This week’s survey asks: “How many times does Nick cry this week?” (Answer Choices: 0, 1, 2, 3). Wanna hear my beef with this and similar questions? So glad you asked!
The show has become a Frankenbite-infused editorial mess lately. Examples abound, but focusing on just this past week, remember
- the sub-plot about Corinne’s love affair with the hotel maid, her stand-in “nanny”? . . . except she clearly never called Lorna her “nanny,” and they dubbed the word in.
- Or, more importantly to the narrative flow, the omission of the stakes of the volleyball competition: the winning team was to be rewarded with a private cocktail party with Nick?
- Or the deletion of the scene when, after the tournament, Nick changed the rules and let winners and losers alike attend the cocktail party . . . and that this action was in fact what spawned the profusion of waterworks?
- Or even the scene when Raven received the group date rose?
I only know the stakes and results of the volleyball competition because I googled “what on earth was going on this week behind the scenes of The Bachelor“. With the abandonment of chronological and/or linear structure, members of my fantasy league were baffled as to why all these women were drunkenly crying on separate sandy plots for no apparent reason. Not that a less-exclusive cocktail party is a “good” reason to cry per se, but come on ABC! Enough of women opining that other contestants aren’t here for the right reasons, and enough of these unexplained, unrelated tears. We are here to witness blossoming romance! Not histrionics that give all women everywhere a bad name.
Now, back to my Fantasy League and its similarly inane and unpredictable questions: How do we know Nick didn’t cry 18 times or just once? The editors are splicing footage in such a way that whether he cried 0, 1, 2, or 3 times, it’s their decision re: how many tears to show. And its editorial decisions that seemingly dictate Fantasy League point accrual at this point, not what actually happened with Nick, or how he acted/reacted, connected/disconnected.
Please let’s focus more on the REAL Nick Viall. Who is he? What are his interests? His hobbies? His fears (apart from his wife not being in this room)? We know from past seasons that he has a sense of humor. Where is it?? (other than those clips with Alexis after the credits when he is generally good spirited and funny) How did he actually react when Jasmine told him in a retaliatory fit that she slept with his friend? (another informative gem I learned from Google, which I wish made it to the final cut) We know Nick has amassed a ton of female friends, as evidenced by his role as island therapist on Bachelor in Paradise. Which of these women has he formed a more supportive, friend-like bond with? Why are we stuck in the womens’ hotel living room and ITMs focusing on nannies and bullies and catfights?
Bachelor Season 21, you are disappointing us so!