When Chris Harrison said this was going to be the most dramatic season yet, many Bach nation fans probably didn’t realize that it was a legit warning…to not watch this season. And TBH, we should have listened to him. Bach nation diehards come into every season of The Bachelor knowing at least three things: there will be tears, there will be backstabbing and there will 100% be booze—and lots of it. And every season, we endure the culmination of all three of these factors—the women get drunk at the cocktail parties, trash talk each other to the Bachelor and then everyone yells at each other and cries about how difficult this “journey” is. We do it, because, like Marie Kondo:
We *all* love this hot mess and guilty pleasure of a franchise.
Except, it’s kind of stopped being fun. In fact, the 24th season of the show–led by pilot and windmill connoisseur Peter Weber—is honestly exhausting to watch. And a large part of that is due to the group of women chosen for his season; because they’re kind of the worst.
After the February 3 episode—which gave Bach nation fans THREE HOURS of non-stop drama that included bickering between the women over how they show emotion and accusations that contestant Kelsey has an alcohol and pill-popping problem—fans took to Twitter to air their grievances with the show and the remaining women on it, calling the women and their behaviour “embarrassing AF.”
— Petty Bachelorette 🌹 (@pettybach) February 4, 2020
Which is honestly a very valid assessment. Throw in the fact that off-screen, contestant Victoria F. has been accused of sleeping with her friends’ (multiple!) husbands *and* was photographed in a shirt emblazoned with “White Lives Matter,” and we’d have to say the answer to whether or not this season’s contestants are the worst ever would be a hella frickin’ yes. Here’s why.
The women are malicious
Along with the show mainstays of booze, glam dresses and tears, it’s a tried and true Bachelor tradition that some of the women will inevitably be kind of petty to each other. Whether it’s continuously cutting off alone time with the Bachelor (*cough* Krystal *cough*), telling the leading man that another woman is too young for marriage (*cough* Tia *cough*) or shoving a pacifier into their mouth on The Women Tell All episode (*cough* Courtney *cough*), shit will inevitably go down between some women. But usually, regardless of what happens in the pressure cooker that is the women’s time in the house, a lot of frenemies end up getting over their beef and hugging it out (à la Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Hannah Brown), because most of their petty issues are just that: petty issues.
But with Peter’s batch of women, something’s just a little bit different. Mainly, a lot of the women are straight-up malicious towards each other.
On my season people tried to say I was mean…. 🤦🏼♀️ I was just annoyed by unnecessary confrontation and drunk. These girls are malicious af #TheBachelor
— Demi Burnett (@demi_burnett) February 4, 2020
And not only is it in what they say to each other, but in their motivations. Sure, in previous seasons past contestants (men and women) have said not-so-flattering things about their competitors, all in the name of making sure that the Bachelor or Bachelorette knows who’s there “for the right reasons,” but in a lot of the confrontations this season, it’s super clear that several of the women involved aren’t just trying to look out for Peter, but actually trying to seriously hurt the person they’re talking about.
Take for instance Alayah. As one of the most controversial contestants this season, she was tossed by Peter in the third episode for causing too much drama amid allegations that she was fake, only to be brought back in the next episode after Peter threw the other women under the bus, basically blaming them for convincing him to send her home. *Eye roll.* Now, fully back in the Bach fold, instead of taking the opportunity to start fresh, Alayah used her one day of internet access outside the mansion to spill secrets about Victoria F. and her previous relationship with musician Chase Rice. ICYMI, in the fourth episode, Victoria F. and Peter went on a date where they danced, canoodled and then interacted with Chase Rice (a.k.a Victoria’s ex), which gave us both this iconic meme:
— Julie (@RantingJulie) January 28, 2020
And possibly the most cringe-worthy quote from Peter:
Peter Weber: “If things keep going like this, we could have Chase Rice sing at our wedding!”
— Lauren Zima (@laurenzima) January 28, 2020
It was hella awks, but in the end Victoria told Peter about her past relationship and it was fine. She decided *not* to tell the other women about it, because it was personal and sorted out between the only people it needed to be sorted out between: she and Peter. Done deal, right? No, not right. Because Alayah came back in to the mansion—having caught up on Reality Steve’s spoilers—and let everyone in the house know about Victoria’s yeehaw agenda. Victoria was, rightfully, pissed; and TBQH, so was I. Dropping the bomb on Victoria F.’s past really served no purpose but to make Victoria look bad and embarrass her in front of the other women; which really she can probably do all on her own. So there’s no need to drag her down for stuff that isn’t even relevant to her relationship with Peter.
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But if we thought Alayah was bad, then Tammy and Kelsey’s interaction this week took it to the next level. Feeling insecure about Pilot Pete dating other women (which, does she know what show this is?), Kelsey of #Champagnegate fame talked with Tammy, who later called the former pretty much a hot mess for being so emotional. Later in the episode, Tammy took it one step further, telling Peter that Kelsey had a mental breakdown after she wasn’t chosen for the episode’s one-on-one date, *then* telling the lead that she’s seen Kelsey drink excessively.
Of course, Peter being Peter, he asks Kelsey about this; who refutes it and then has a yelling match with Tammy over her drinking, leading to this exchange:
“I don’t need to drink myself to death and cry for 4 hours a day” – Tammy
“I did that once” – Kelsey
💀 💀 💀 #TheBachelor
— Chicks in the Office (@ChicksInTheOff) February 4, 2020
You can’t make this stuff up.
Before the rose ceremony, Kelsey again defended herself to Peter, saying that Tammy’s rumours about her drinking had also caused women to comment that she has a “pill-popping” problem, and honestly, when did The Bachelor turn into celebrity intervention?
Kelsey and her clear emotional instability aside, the real issue here seems to be Tammy and all of these back-and-forth rumours. It would be one thing if Tammy’s comments about Kelsey’s alleged drinking stemmed from a place of concern (which at one point Tammy claims they do…K, not buying it), but the way it’s framed is clearly as an attack. When Tammy brings up Kelsey’s drinking in an argument in front of all the girls, it’s clearly done so with the purpose of discrediting her; pulled out when the women are in opposition to each other. When Tammy brings it up to Peter, it’s transparent that her intentions are to make Kelsey look unhinged, which is a particular sort of maliciousness that I don’t think we’re ever seen in the franchise so far. As FLARE’s Sharleen Joynt put it, “we’re not watching season 24, but rather The Bachelor: Mean Girls Edition.”
So in summary:
10 minutes in and I’m reminded that I’ve never loathed a crop of bachelor contestants more
(yes, hi, hello; I came back just to tweet this)
— bekah martinez ♡ (@whats_ur_sign_) February 4, 2020
And everything else is just super out in the open
And, on top of the maliciousness of some of the women to each other; the fact that it’s done so openly and blatantly is, not only surprising, but seriously upsetting. Yes, the premise of having 30+ intelligent women fight over one man is problematic, but a great aspect of The Bachelor has always inevitably been the relationships and friendships between the women. Many of these relationships end up outlasting the romantic ones.
So to see a group of women speak to each other and about each other with so much vitriol—when they should really be supporting each other through a period of time when they’re already being manipulated by producers—is super unsettling. It’s like they’re not even trying to work through their issues, they’re just working to tear each other down.
But the women aren’t entirely to blame
Of course, it’s not fair to put all of the onus on the women contestants. Because the truth is that the leading man is just as much to blame. Not only is he incredibly indecisive; literally crowd-sourcing his feelings with the other women, but he also enables the catty and toxic behaviour between the women, both by goading the women to tell him about each other then calling them out for it publicly, and by rewarding the drama and bad behaviour. (No doubt goaded on by the producers, who, as Joynt points out in her episode 5 recap, are fuelling the drama and not snuffing it out).
— Olivia B (@LivB06) February 4, 2020
We saw that *so* clearly in the most recent episode, when he gave both Kelsey and Tammy roses after they incited, and the latter really led, drama.
— kim (@kimrosa_) February 4, 2020
For a guy who is seemingly so laid back and chill, Peter seems to thrive around drama—or at least loves to surround himself with it. Something contestant Kelley pretty much called him out on this episode, straight up telling him during their one-on-one date that he rewards drama (like, you know: bringing Alayah back after she caused a scene, giving both Tammy and Kelsey roses, that kind of thing). Honestly, Kelley is the only rational one on this show.
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Peter consistently helps put the drama on the front burner by addressing it and dragging it out—a decision that has led to most of this season’s episodes being centred around the drama between the women, with little to no time left for focusing on the women’s individual relationships with Peter.
Which isn’t super helpful for anyone—the women, Peter or viewers at home. Listen, if I wanted to watch a bunch of women tear each other down, I’d watch The Real Housewives franchise, or just log onto Twitter.