Just as you shouldn’t take more ibuprofen per day than directed to avoid harming your liver, watching The Bachelorette more than once per week can cause brain damage. Nevertheless, here we are again for Men Tell All, the scintillating annual catalog of this season’s cast’s resentments, accusations, and petty grievances. It’s kind of like Ted Cruz at the RNC, only with much better-looking speakers.
Without a doubt, Chad will be the star of the show, reviving his trademarked Incredulous Hulk character. With all the recent mass shootings, police brutality, and Donald Trump press conferences, though, he’ll hardly register on the hateful violence scale. What’s more fun, if you find insipid narcissism amusing, will be the deleted scenes of people spilling drinks, accidentally uttering profanity, and falling over furniture. It’s sort of an America’s Funniest Home Videos without the babies.
As we try to recall most of these bozos, we’ll also see who has since shaved his beard, de-pompadoured his hair, or traded in his tinted contacts for a pair of Warby Parker eyeglass frames. Maybe there will even be a manbun in the crowd!
We open the show with crew members screaming at the audience and dragging gear around. Then a sleek black car pulls up outside, out of which boots emerge and crunch malevolently along the gravel. The camera lens lifts and we see Chad sinisterly (I don’t think that’s a word) open the door of his trailer. And so it begins.
“Like you’ve never seen before!” Chris cries, apparently forgetting the last eight years of this show. Luke and Chad are there, he also points out, although why wouldn’t they be. But first all about JoJo: She’s narrowed it down to two men who are “total opposites.” What? I can tell all four of Dolly’s cloned sheep apart more easily than those two.
Next they fill some minutes with footage from this season’s Bachelor in Paradise, with all the expected crying, fights, muscles, and booze. The blond twins will be there, along with Nick and Jubilee. Dr. Bob Hartley couldn’t ask for a needier therapy group.
James S., Ali, Christian, Derek, Nick, Grant, James F., Daniel, Jonathan, Vinny, Evan, Wells, James T., Alex, Chase, Luke, and a couple of others I missed are all present. Chris brings up the first night of the show, when they each met JoJo for the first time, although most likely many of the men met her in their minds with a bottle of lotion in hand. We revisit the JoJo’s first bikini appearance, the burning limo, the football game, shows of machismo, competitive sniping, and other scenes that, like Supertrain, we hoped never to have to view again in our lifetimes.
Everyone claps as we finish watching Alex telling the camera that Derek is a little bitch. Back on the set, Derek explains that they are two very different people, like Putin and Kim Jong-Un. Chris looks bored as Wells psychoanalyzes Alex. Luke, also a former member of the military, defends Alex’s tendency to be ragey and out of control, which is common after one has served in Iraq. That seems more how you would feel when you come home to find the GOP is in charge of veterans affairs.
The men engage for some time in incomprehensible bickering and accusations over I don’t know what, like on Hannity when he has more than two guests. Then they prepare for the approach of Chad, clad in black and radiating menace like an outlaw in a B-movie Western. Chris introduces him as Monty Hall would introduce a person dressed as a Klan member.
He tells Chad his appearance was probably the most controversial ever. The guy he said that to last season just revised his resume. Then it’s time to get a snack while they replay scenes we just saw a few weeks ago. Then again, it’s still as funny now that Chad threatened to cut off everyone’s arms and legs. He’s an ambitious lunatic.
Everyone claps at Chad’s continual sociopathic behavior. Chad hated how gossipy and dishonest the guys were. He gets bleeped a lot as he claims he has dirt on everyone. What could be worse than being on The Bachelorette? Nick B. rises and rips off his jacket in a fit of disgust. He calls Chad a vain something or other, then approaches the sofa threateningly, or as threateningly as you can when wearing a crocodile belt. They verbally spar until Nick returns to his seat, having successfully captured a substantive clip for his IMDB profile.
Chad is really into his role. He insults people, suggests they’re scared of him, and claims he’s better than everyone else. It’s a good representation of this election season. Similarly, the other guys don’t make a strong enough case for why they’re superior to him, and then there’s the low-energy one who just seems dissociated from what’s going on. Chad has dated a number of the guys’ ex-girlfriends, which is weird. Is the reality show world that small? Or do they have some kind of membership club the rest of us don’t qualify for?
Now we must review Shirt-Tearinggate in slo-mo, and more than once, for forensic analysis. Was Evan pushing Chad or not? If so, was that justification for tearing his shirt? The Warren Commission should be reconvened to put this issue to rest.
The accusations against Chad continue, and are slightly less compelling than watching C-SPAN coverage of testimony on zoning regulations. Wells declares that America loves to forgive and watch redemptive stories. That’s not America, Wells, that’s reality show producers.
Luke’s rejection was possibly the most shocking in Bachelorette history, Chris claims next, then calls him up to review his public humiliation in detail. What emotion was going through Luke’s mind when JoJo dumped him? Probably not anything he’d like to recall, particularly while people are tweeting about it.
Luke calls himself a hopeless romantic, which is why he got himself cast on a TV show to find love with a person he had seen make out several times with another guy. JoJo taught him to love again, he insists, and open up his heart in a way he hadn’t for a long time, especially since he missed the auditions for Season 11. Chris thanks the veteran for his service to the show and to the country, then asks where he goes from here, after the unemployment office. Luke knows the right person is out there for him, possibly in the third row center.
Now it’s Chase’s turn to marinate in the shame of being rejected in favor of two other guys. We just saw these recap clips LAST NIGHT, show. It’s like how my elderly aunt will ask “So how’s your brother in Albany?” three times in the same conversation. Also, it must be weird to watch yourself kissing someone in close-up HD.
“What happened?” asks Chris in dismay. “Were you blindsided?” That’s pretty much the only way it could happen. If they showed him the production notes, Chase’s acting might be even more wooden than a detergent ad. Chase wonders: Why would JoJo bring him to a fancy suite, let him tell her he loved her, then send him home? Women have been wondering that since the 60’s, pal.
Now JoJo comes out in a Jezebel-red dress. It’s all very emotional, Chris explains, as if she hadn’t been there. He asks how her Ben experience prepared her, although clearly it was more of a handicap. In fact, JoJo had no prior experience breaking up with anyone, and suddenly she was doing it every week! Once you learn, it’s just like riding a bicycle with a beard.
Luke is first to ask WTF happened between them. Her answer is the first of several more to come that are little better than the chattering of monkeys. Chase joins her on the sofa next. He thanks her for getting him over some hurdles, but he wants to know why she “gave” him the Fantasy Suite if she didn’t love him. So “Fantasy Suite” is a euphemism for blow job? She found clarity at the wrong time, she explains, which is similar to finding love on a two-way street.
James Taylor tells her she has everything, which is why it wasn’t weird to date her on TV along with several other people he lived with. Chad chastises her for listening to the other guys about him, then recounts how Robby dumped his ex to go on the show, and Jordan’s famous brother hates him. Then he wishes her luck. JoJo eye-rolls at him. She’s already decided an estranged brother is preferable to an ex who might still be in the picture.
Nick says she looks great and he’s glad to see her. Alex can’t deal with instant rejection, so. . .ah. . . something about opening up being huge for him, or maybe a huge opening is an up for him. He seems satisfied with whatever the hell she replies. Derek wants to know if she would change her use of the word “reassurance” about him, since it caused such problems when he got a rose. It was not a “pity rose,” she declares decisively. the rest of us know it was just a pathetic gesture. Vinny never had a one-on-one, which he regrets. Then his mom, who looks like a goth Mama Cass, stands up in the audience and insists he’s a great guy. That should work well for him.
Time for the blooper reel. There are a lot of bugs invading, disinterested animals, and a unicorn who motorboats JoJo. “It was an amazing journey,” JoJo informs us. Awesome. I would rather be watching Bill Clinton speak at the DNC.
Next week is the big moment we’ve all been waiting for, like we wait for our time of the month so the PMS will be over: The end of JoJo’s amazing journey, when she chooses between Jordan and Robby in Thailand. How will she decide? Which man will she choose? Can she be sure she chose wisely? JoJo’s mom’s face, however, is the most shocking part.