Here is an unfortunate truth about reality TV, one that we all already know deep in our hearts but that we generally try to ignore because it would take away the fun of the thing, which is being judgmental and self-righteous and thinking things like, Yes, this person onscreen may be far richer and hotter than me, but I would have handled that producer-generated conflict with far more grace and aplomb. The truth is this: Emotionally mature people simply don’t make for great TV. Reality TV thrives on miscommunication, short tempers, and people blowing things out of proportion. Tayshia, our perfect, shining, solid-gold ray of sunshine, is thoughtful, patient, and communicative. She knows what she wants, and if she doesn’t, she gives herself time to figure it out. She doesn’t let conflict and resentment simmer. All of this makes for a sophisticated, self-actualized person, but it doesn’t make for a very exciting dating show.
Basically, what I’m saying is that last night’s episode was boring. A quick rundown: In order to fend off the simmering tension between Harvard guy Bennett and formerly mustachioed Noah, who have been sniping at each other constantly for the past couple of episodes, Tayshia sat them both down to talk and decided to send Bennett home for being condescending. Then, at the end of the episode, gasp, Bennett reappeared at her suite at the La Quinta Resort & Club and told her he loves her, and Tayshia said she needed a night to think about whether she was going to let him back on the show. Tayshia made out with some guys and sent some other guys home. There were a few moments of emotional intensity that stood out: Ben told Tayshia he had survived two suicide attempts before, and Riley told her that he had his name legally changed after his relationship deteriorated with his father. Tayshia, of course, handled both of these revelations with kindness and grace.
My favorite part of the episode was when Tayshia had all the guys take a lie-detector test, and Zac revealed he had cheated before, which made Tayshia nervous, but when she asked him about it, he said that it was in sixth grade and that he had French-kissed a girl at a Bowl-O-Rama while he was dating another girl, Ellie. Scandal! Anyway it was a really long two hours.
So that brings us all up to speed. But one question has loomed large over these past couple of episodes: Where is the Emperor of the Bachelor Nation, Chris Harrison? The show’s longtime host explained last week that he wouldn’t be around for the next few episodes because he’d be taking his son to college, so former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher would be taking over his hosting duties for a while. And while JoJo has been doing great, I did miss Chris, so, during last night’s really boring cocktail party, I scrolled through his Instagram instead. Here he is, during his break from the show, dropping his son off at college at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
Next week is a two-night Bachelorette affair: On Monday, it’s “Men Tell All,” and on Tuesday, we find out which guys get to do hometowns. How will hometowns work during COVID? Have their families also been quarantining at the La Quinta Resort & Club? Will watching next week’s episodes feel less like watching paint dry for two hours? We’ll see!