Every season, as I recap this show, I manage to start to think that no one watches this show sincerely, that everyone's watching ironically, taking the piss. And then we come to "The Women Tell All," featuring an audience of people who laugh and cry and nod and gasp and look utterly caught up in petty details of these people's lives. And I despair for humanity. But above all else, I blame the show, which as usual for "The Women Tell All" special, manages to mistake "any woman who has been on the show" for "the most memorable women of the season".
Chris Harrison tells us that many of the show's "fans" were "angry" about Brad being given a second chance, but he does not speculate as to the emptiness of these fans' lives that they would actually give a shit one way or the other. It would be unwise of him to do so.
And then Chris takes us to a videotaped interview with Brad, where we revisit such... well, "highlights" isn't exactly the right word... as Chantal slapping Brad after she got out of the limousine. And remember when Brad and Ashley went on that date that was creepy because it was an empty carnival in the darkness on the edge of town? Yeah, that was the very best first date Brad has ever been on he says, presumably of the ones that didn't involve roofies.
And then there's Madison and the fangs. Madison by this point is easily the least insane person who was on the show this season. Well, except for Shawntel, which this show continues to insult by presenting any clips of her working at the funeral home as though she's the goddamn Crypt keeper.
Then Harrison asks about the "most controversial" woman of the show. Harrison says if he's been asked about Michelle a million times, then Brad has been asked about her five million times, even though this interview would have been recorded long before this show even aired and therefore it was a much more beautiful world where no one had even heard of Michelle. "We had some good times, and thanks for talking to us," says Harrison, and then the women in the studio audience clap and look like they're really enjoying themselves, which is completely mystifying. Plenty of clips of audience members saying things to each other, presumably things like "I am genuinely enjoying myself" and "I like to pretend that the women on television are my friends" and "this television show is literally worse than heroin."
I rarely mention commercials in recaps any more, but every time I see this particular one, I imagine the conversation at the ad agency: "What if we imply that the M&M is going to have a large pretzel violently shoved up his ass? THAT ought to get people to buy it."
After that unsettling commercial break, we get a bunch of clips from a party of former bachelors and bachelorettes with Harrison informing everyone that due to popular demand by sadists there will be a Bachelor Pad 2 this summer, which sounds kind of like the threat a supervillain in a James Bond movie would make.
It's always fun to watch the bachelors and bachelorettes who fame forgot get together to party and hook up and trade the names of reliable venereal disease clinics. Then a guy named Craig literally puts his tongue down a woman's mouth. Elsewhere, Ashleigh looks almost exactly like Kyra Sedgwick.
Who's hooking up? Ty and Susie, Erica and Kasey, who I guess has decided to just accept that his name is spelled with a K; otherwise I don't know how he doesn't spend all his time punching himself in the face. I can't tell if these are people I've managed to forget or if I've never known who they were in the first place.
"I don't think I would ever date Kasey, but maybe I would make out with him again," says Erica. Then there's that bachelorette who was kicked off for fucking a producer. Is that the real story? Does it matter? She tells us, "We're all sexual creatures, and you need to let people see you for who you are, and if they like you, great, and if they don't, they don't," she says. That's the kind of thing said only by people who no one likes. And then there's Vienna, who still looks like someone just smacked her upside the head with a two by four.
And then... wait, this is another party? In another city? Don't these people have actual friends? Some idiot says something about Ali and Roberto being so in love that they "literally have this glow." And then someone talks about the Bachelor family, and he can't say it without sounding like they're just weeks away from a series of gruesome, ritualistic murders. "One big bizarre, dysfunctional family," says Harrison, because even he is frightened.
And now let's bring out the women, half of whom wave with both hands. Harrison asks them what their first impressions of Brad were. Ashley H., who has dyed her hair brown and uses it to cover up her vast expanse of forehead, says, "I was fully willing to give him another shot," forgetting that no one actually gave a shit if she was willing to give him another shot.
Harrison says it seems like things got ramped up with the catfighting and the bullshit really quickly, and then Marissa explains why that is, by describing how it's a bunch of people all in the same place and if you don't mesh with someone, there's no place to hide. She seems to forget that she's describing how things are on every season ever, which does nothing to answer Harrison's question as to why things escalated so quickly this season.
So: the parade of clips from the season: Madison's fangs, Michelle's black eye, fake boobs consigned to the dustbin of reality show infamy.
After watching the clips and everybody admirably keeping their dinners down, Lisa talks about how sarcastic Michelle is, and Stacey calls Michelle two-faced, and Marissa says watching the show presented a totally different person from the Michelle she thought she knew, and if that's the way she actually is, then she should just "own it." And then Jackie calls her a "spider" and now Michelle is starting to cry, and Jackie keeps on because I don't know how anyone could watch this season and feel any kind of sympathy for Michelle, and Jackie says the things Michelle said weren't humorous but "fucked up" and some of the women literally gasp at the dropping of the f-bomb, which is hilarious because they went on a show where they compete to be one of a select few women having sex with a relative stranger in the hopes of getting a proposal. "I really did go on this show for the right reasons," says Michelle, which is a sentence that has no meaning to anyone who has never watched The Bachelor and very little to anyone who has.
"I'm so sorry if I made you feel that way, Jackie, that really hurts my feelings," says Michelle, who tries the whole "I think we've all said things that we regret," and the other women are all "nuh-uh" and then Ashley H. tearfully defends Michelle, saying she got to know her and she's a "great friend" and a "great mother," and not everyone is perfect, and anytime Ashley wants to say anything that's not nonsense she should just go ahead and do it. Madison steps in with the only relevant reason, that Michelle was upfront about how she wasn't there to be anyone's friend: she was there for Brad, there to find a husband. And then Michelle says "for the right reasons" again, and Harrison tells us we've only "scratched the surface" and then he threatens to talk with Michelle more when we come back from commercial. Watching this show always makes me feel like I'm being punished for something.
But back from commercial, Harrison says it's time to settle once and for all this "infamous feud" with Raichel and Melissa. And I don't think you can describe a feud as "infamous" when most people have forgotten who was involved just a couple of weeks later. I mean, if you asked me who Raichel and Melissa were, I wouldn't have been able to identify them. Now, if you'd said, "Gwyneth Paltrow as a meth-head" I might have remembered. As for Raichel, you'd have had to describe her as "Hot brunette with massive fake breasts. No, not Chantal" and I still w