The Feminist Bachelor Recap, Episodes 7, 8 AND 9: The Playboy Triptych


Hi! My name is Lizzy Acker and I am not Marisa Crawford. However, I am a feminist who watches The Bachelor. In fact, I started on this journey because of Marisa, years ago in a romantic land called San Francisco, where we used to watch the show together and drink drinks. Please note that I am absolutely here for the Right Reasons—those reasons being: I am going to tell you what happened on this season’s most commitment-heavy week while Marisa was out of town. I’m going to try to make sense of the madness and magic for you, as Marisa might, were she able.

This week was a two-day, four-hour extravaganza that began with a lot of dimly lit, confessional interviews with Chris Harrison. Especially on Sunday, there was a lot of time to fill, okay? And a lot of summarizing the season for anyone who, you know, decided to just start watching now, halfway through the season (who are you and why why why?).

We begin with a truly not-illuminating and completely boring interview with Kelsey, who the producers have decided will be the Villain no matter what, probably because she doesn’t wear eye makeup? It doesn’t matter. Her fate is sealed as “The Different One” and her cackle and potential husband-murdering isn’t helping. She will come to a reckoning at “The Women Tell All” and be made to atone for her sins (higher education, brown hair, the aforementioned eye makeup).

Then Chris and Chris have a rap sesh which is basically going through and making fun of the Losers at Love. I thought we might get some solid info here on Ashley S.’s mental condition like, what was it? But instead the two Chrises gleefully pick her apart. Not to be content with trashing only one person with potential substance abuse problems, Chris/Chris talked about Drunk Girl Tara’s Night One inability to stand up: “That’s something you don’t want to see when you’re trying to find your wife.” They also show classic twerking footage of Drunk Girl Jordan. I think letting these girls go was a huge mistake for Farmer Chris as they were clearly the only two who could have made it in teeny tiny Arlington and only then because they would have been constantly wasted.

Chris Squared then move on to objectifying Jillian. They don’t explicitly get into what the black bar was covering but they do get into how much Farmer Chris liked whatever it was. “I’m a man after all,” he says, just so we’re all clear.

Next they examine the Girl Whose Husband Killed Himself and it’s a great teaching moment for Bachelor Nation. This girl gets no derision from either Chris and both talk about how deserving she is of love. Remember, friends! If your husband dies tragically and you are sweet and pure, you WILL FIND LOVE. If you are ever drunk or show someone other than your husband your body, you will never, ever find love. Instead well-groomed men will laugh at you on national television.

The interviews touch on some other subjects. Jimmy Kimmel, who is famous I think because he used to have a funny girlfriend? Britt and kissing her. Then Farmer Chris gets in a good giggle at the word sex.

We finish with Farmer Chris and move on to Bachelorette Andi who is being forced to go talk to Chris Harrison about her recently broken-up relationship with A Former Baseball Player. She doesn’t seem super happy to be doing her contractually obligated interview. Imagine if Chris Harrison forced you on TV to go back over your relationship a few days after it ended? I would cry, even if, as in this situation, the breakup is clearly a great thing. Andi’s words, even when she’s talking about the good times with Josh, are pretty heavy. Of the time right after he proposed or whatever she says:  “[We] couldn’t get away from each other.” I think she means they didn’t WANT to be separated at all, but still, that sounds like Chris Harrison was holding them hostage.

Of the reasons behind their breakup, Andi says: “I didn’t feel supported and empowered.” You know what Andi? Good for you! Josh is not worthy of a high-powered District Attorney! Andi cries, though, because she’s not super great at failure and this, she feels, is a failure. But, Chris Harrison tells her: “It’s not a failure on you.” Is Chris implying it’s a failure of “the process”?! Impossible!

Now the interviews and “Chris Tells All” are over so we are back in the standard timeline and Chris is back in Deadwood, staring into a mirror, pensively. At what appears to be an Official Cocktail Party (though everyone is drinking wine), Blonde #4 calls Chris out on their relationship status. Don’t do that! He not-dramatically breaks up with her. I didn’t catch her name. Chris breathes deeply.

Because this is The Most Dramatic Season of The Bachelor Yet, Farmer Chris says to Not-Farmer Chris, “I don’t think I do this!” re: The Rose Ceremony and ALL the ladies get the special Week 8 prize: a trip to the fields of Iowa.

Farmer Chris picks Jade for his first one-on-one in his hometown. Besides the magical bounty of getting to see where she would have to live “forever” if she won the heart of the Farmer, she gets to experience some of Chris’s wordsmithing. “Land is one of my passions,” he says, poetically. “I like owning it, I like working with it. I don’t know why.”

Arlington is like the saddest image of post-recession America ever portrayed on television. It has no functional businesses, just tragic empty storefronts. Is this show really a searing comment on the destruction of small-town America and how we’ve replaced it with kitsch and fantasies like The Bachelor? None of these women will live here, that much is clear, and this is beginning to feel like a failed experiment in domestic mail-order brides.

Finally Chris reveals that the reason the town is so deserted is that everyone is at a football game. Hey Chris, that doesn’t explain the closed business. Those are like permanently shut down. Anyway, they head to Chris’s old high school, watch his team lose at football and roam the halls of the school. Even though Chris doesn’t yet know that Jade is a shameful woman who has posed nude for Playboy, the foreshadowing is apparent: “Jade told me she had a wild side, that’s very important for me to see.” Chris wants a “wild” girl I guess, though not TOO wild. His imagination is pretty limited to this very basic scenario, where they make-out in front of Chris’s old English classroom and Chris the Poet says: “We are not doin’ anything that has to do with English right now. It’s more like French!”

For some unknown reason, Jade and Chris stand in the middle of the football field and the crowd chants for them to kiss, so they do. I guess the whole town has determined that Jade is an acceptable bride. IF ONLY THEY KNEW HER LAST NAME AND HAD ACCESS TO GOOGLE.

Because they too possess the rebel spirit of soft-core porn stars, the girls go to Arlington on their own. They find the town decimated and try to put a positive spin on the situation so they can still feel like they want to win the booby prize of forever in this hellhole. Carly looks in the window of the locked Methodist Church and says: “There was one picture of Jesus on the wall and it was the exact same picture in the exact same frame that my grandparents used to have and I was like ‘whoa.'”

That’s how I used to feel when I saw kitchens with the same linoleum as my grandma’s kitchen. Then I realized everyone had that linoleum. I was eight.

Chris takes lucky Whitney to Des Moines where they visit the ultimate small-town mediocre art gallery and then take pictures of themselves around town (the only way that Chris will keep any of these women is if he lets them live in Des Moines most of the time). Whitney meets Chris’s generic best friends and at this point she is the frontrunner because she’s blonde and isn’t a virgin or former porn star. The highlight of this date is Chris’s insane laugh at the unveiling of a mural of one of their photographs. Chris’s laugh is the star of the show. It’s a mix between a cackle and a giggle and absolutely the only lovable thing about this Bachelor.

Back at the house, Jade’s reveal of her Playboy past to Carly isn’t so bad, actually. The editing of the promos made it seem like Carly fully slut-shamed her, but that wasn’t really the case. Carly is more sympathetic and friendly about her friend’s plight—let’s be honest, Jade’s probably not the only one of us in Bachelor Nation with nudes floating around the web. Hers are just more tasteful (plus she got paid).

After another boring, meaningless group date, Britt breaks a LOT of rules by getting pissed at Chris for not giving her the rose in front of the others. It’s amazing on this show when someone has a seemingly authentic reaction to something, and as annoying and bratty as Britt’s response is, it kind of exactly makes sense. Like what if you and your boyfriend had this super important conversation and then he asked another girl out RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU? Yeah, I’d flip. But on this specific game show, Britt appears confused when she reacts in this way, and also very disrespectful to MY favorite contestant, Kaitlyn the Canadian.

Once again Chris eschews an Official Cocktail Party and in A Shocking Surprise Twist at the Rose Ceremony, Britt tries to talk to Chris, allegedly to tell him she’s leaving but maybe to apologize for being a brat earlier, and Chris doesn’t back down. Mainly it seems like because of the way Britt acted in front of the other girls, Chris decides to send her home. He doesn’t want the kind of wife who would be a jerk to Kaitlyn. I can respect that. Carly, of course, is a bit too gleeful about Britt’s speedy descent but I can respect that too.

Carly then suffers the fate of all Bachelor truth-tellers: she goes home and is cursed to never ever find love that is real.

At this point, the sun sets and rises and it is Monday and Episode 9, “Hometowns.” Becca, the Secret Virgin, is first up and I have to ask: Is she maybe not into dudes? I’d love that twist. Chris quotes Becca’s sister saying: “She’s never really had the urge to be close to a man before.” That seems like a thing to really explore. But they don’t.

Hometowns are really shaping up to be a showdown of slut versus virgin. Farmer Chris, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

At Whitney’s hometown, she is still in my mind a front-runner except for one looming question: Where is Whitney going to practice fertility nursing in Arlington?? She loves her job. In fact, she may be the only contestant that loves her job. Also, for some reason Playboy comes up again. That magazine is getting a lot of free advertising this season. What if Chris finds Jade’s Playboy while giving a sperm sample that he is sooo sure is totally great?? Never mind, he doesn’t actually give a sample. Potential amazing situation, stopped dead in its tracks.

At Jade’s house, it turns out Jade’s dad is a great ally who just wants her to be who she is! He loves her even though she’s a kind-of porn star! What a great dad! Then, Jade reveals to Chris her torrid and “wild” history and they awkwardly experience her tasteful porn together and it’s totally okay! Or at least Chris says it’s totally okay!

Only it’s not. 🙁 At the Rose Ceremony, Chris picks someone else FOR REASONS TOTALLY UNRELATED TO PLAYBOY. Really Chris, are you 100% sure about that or are you right now Googling Jade, looking at her naked, and thinking how she’s not wife material but maybe you could have kept her around until the Fantasy Suite? Anyway, congrats to Jade for not having to spend another second in Iowa and for the contracts she will be getting and the potential future seasons of Bachelor-franchise shows she will be appearing in.

And whoa. That was a LOT of The Bachelor and potentially not as feminist as it should have been! But never fear, Marisa will be back next week! As will roses, champagne, body shame and distressing romantic implications. I’ll be with you in spirit! Au revoir, Bachelor Nation (P.S. that’s French)!

10502392_10103215418926598_5176441737119532779_nLizzy Acker lives in Portland where she tweets professionally about books. You can find her on Twitter here or check out the blog she co-edits called The Tusk, if you like nice things.



Filed under Everything Else, Movies + TV

6 Responses to The Feminist Bachelor Recap, Episodes 7, 8 AND 9: The Playboy Triptych

  1. Thanks for your take! And, I mostly agree…

  2. Reblogged this on The Tusk and commented:

    The Tusk/Weird Sister CROSSOVER EPISODE!

  3. OMG I FINALLY got to watch this fucking MARATHON of Bachelor episodes and to read this amazing post!! Ugh, JADE!!!!!! WHY??? I love her and her Playboy photos so much! 🙁

  4. Thalia

    I was so ready to love this piece, and then the rural-shaming began. I actually live in a town 20 minutes from Arlington, IA, and it’s always so disgusting to see urban-dwellers disdain us so much. I chose to move back to rural Iowa after spending over a decade away living all over the place because I love it here. It is actually possible to love a rural town! Shocker, I know! Apparently Google doesn’t work in oh-so-perfect Portland, so let me tell you some facts about Arlington: the days the Bachelor shot there, the stores were already closed for the day. There are plenty of businesses open in Arlington and a dozen towns a very short drive away that have plenty to do. It’s a farming town. Of course it’s small and spread out. They way overplayed to “poor town with nothing to do” was just for the sake of folks like you who like to stick to their stereotypes of what you like to believe about the Midwest.

    I don’t know why people in cities think it’s so much fun to make fun of and try to shame people who live in rural areas, but it’s gross and not funny or smart or clever.

  5. Dear Lizzy, I just re-read this for fun and it’s my favorite thing ever <3

  6. YOU are my favorite thing ever!

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