The Bachelor’s ‘Mean Girl’ Narratives Are Something Worse Than Boring This Season

Photo: John Medland/ABC

Last night’s episode of The Bachelor opened with a super-cut of all the times this season’s villain, Shanae, was mean to the other ladies. She said things like “These women better watch out” and “He’s mine — sorry but not sorry, bitches” and “Crazy Shanae is gonna come out.” Sigh. Another episode about how these gals just can’t get along? Yes, that is what we got.

From Houston to Toronto, Shanae said rude and vaguely threatening things about the other women, and the other women said rude and vaguely threatening things right back. Usually, by this point in the season, producers have moved on from whatever no-chance, “entertaining” villain character they have created to focus on the Bachelor’s true feelings for the beautiful front-runners. But unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet.

And the worst news of all: By the end of the episode, Shanae was still standing. Next week, she’ll embark on a two-on-one date with Bachelor Clayton and nemesis Genevieve to Niagara Falls. Which means we will have to watch yet another Shanae-dominant episode before this story line gets put to rest. On Valentine’s Day! (Naturally, in the teaser for the episode, Shanae mimes throwing Genevieve overboard and yells, “Hope you can swim, bitch!”)

It’s simply too much. In addition to that super-cut last night, we had to watch a rose ceremony in which Shanae tearfully apologized to the assembled women for being mean and throwing their football trophy in the pond last week. After the women tentatively accepted her apology, Shanae made out with Clayton and bragged to the camera about how she had fooled everyone. “I need an Oscar award for that performance,” she said, smugly. “I never thought I could act before, but I’m fucking good.” Even better than Meryl Streep, apparently, according to her.

Later in the episode, the producers’ focus on Shanae seemed to encourage the other women to be especially rude to her. On a “comedy roast” group date — another somehow real Bachelor trope that needs to be canceled immediately — the ladies told “joke” after “joke” about our sad blonde villain despite the fact that she wasn’t even there. “Let’s roast the bitch,” said Mara, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, to the camera. “Let’s roast the pig in the house.”

Marlena, a 30-year-old former Olympian, described Shenae as “like a herpes outbreak.” “No matter how hard you try to get rid of her,” she said, “she keeps coming back and lasting longer than expected.”

The women were also rude to each other: Mara called Sarah a “desperate bitch”; Sarah called Mara a tequila-soaked cougar; and Marlena told everyone that Hunter has IBS. This kind of display is not good for our national morale.

We ended last night’s episode with Shanae and Genevieve preparing for their trip to the Falls as some of the other ladies sat in their Toronto hotel suite speculating about what might happen on the date. Susie, a 28-year-old wedding videographer, correctly identified how I believe 100 percent of viewers are feeling about this season. “I feel numb,” she said, “because every week I’m like, There’s no way Shanae is staying. There’s no way! And then she does.”

I suspect the producers have relied on Shanae and these “mean girl” narratives past the point of their usefulness because they don’t know what else to do with Clayton, the most boring Bachelor of all time. But based on the teasers for “later this season,” we know Clayton eventually gets up to something — namely, he tells three separate women he’s in love with them. So let’s just skip to that part! Please! I would much rather watch Clayton use absolutely identical terms to share his “feelings” with three different women than hear one more gal call another a “desperate bitch.” I’d even take more of the contestants just sitting around at the Bachelor mansion talking about their hair extensions with no sign of Clayton anywhere. To the producers: Please, let’s move on and not do this again next season. Thank you.

The Bachelor’s ‘Mean Girl’ Narrative Is Boring