Reality Steve

Reader Emails

Your Biggest “Reader Emails” of the Season

Photo Credit: ABC

Not sure what someone put in the water this week, but, we have over 70 emails to cover today. A lot of questions about JoJo’s ethnicity, more “Bachelorette” opinions, and a whole plethora of other things. I can’t remember the last time we had 70 emails in a column. Been a couple years I think. But that’s good. The more the merrier. Just took me a little longer than normal. Not to mention, there were a few repetitive ones that I had to delete. Obviously with all these emails coming in from last Wednesday through last night, you’re going to get people asking the same question at some point. It’s inevitable. I try to limit the repetitive ones as much as I can, but, sometimes people bring up the same question but have a different opinion on it, so I’ll leave that in. All depends. You’ll see today. I think the most repetitive one centered around JoJo being just as “diverse” a candidate for “Bachelorette” as Caila because she’s half Persian. Fair enough, but I still think there’s a difference. By the way, we’re at 7 “Dr. Reality Steve” questions right now, so if any of you have one, get it in. I want to reach at least 10. If we reach it, free cupcakes for everyone!

Nell Kalter has your RHOBH recap for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. She’ll appreciate it. And by the way, Nell has informed me she’s currently on a “Friday Night Lights” binge, thanks to my recommendation. I should run for office with how many people take my endorsements to heart. You’re welcome everyone.

Molly Hawkey’s “Bachelor” journey continued this week. Ben met her family. I think. See for yourself.

Lets just get right to it. A giant batch of “Reader Emails” up in your grill…


I’m not gonna ask you the dreaded question you’re gonna get so much within the next few weeks about if Lauren and Ben are together…I was just wondering if you had any insight on to how they are handling the tabloid stories about Ben choosing another woman. Or do you have any insight into where JoJo’s head is at now that she lost Ben?

Comment: Well, they’re still together and engaged so they must not care too much about the stories.

As for JoJo? She’s doing just fine.


My condolences on Maddie. You gave her a great life and she gave you one.

On the comment about a diverse bachelorette…couldn’t Jojo and Caila be possibilities since Jojo listed her mom as being Persian and obviously Caila is part Filipino? I know you addressed Caila’s background already. This question seemingly has been asked a lot this week. If ABC chooses to go with JoJo, and tries to shove down our throats her being ½ Persian as “Hey, it’s our first non-white Bachelorette!” that’ll be laughable.

I appreciate you pointing out the power of editing. I have come to recognize how an ITM leading to a scene can foreshadow what will happen and often it is the opposite of what the girl is hoping/ believing. Emily’s ITM before her date was classic. She was gushing and it was painfully obvious things were going to go south for her.

Thank you for telling us abut Unreal. I am anxiously awaiting season 2.

1. Are the producers really rewarded when their girl / guy goes far? Not necessarily rewarded monetarily, but there are perks given from what I’ve heard.

2. Does each producer have assigned contestants each season ? Throughout the course of the season, any producer can do your ITM’s, but once you only get down to a few contestants, it gets pretty limited.

Good day! So because we’re celebrating Bachelor at 20 I have some things I want to ask you for a long time since you’ve seen this show for years now and you surely have some favorites. Who are your favorite: Bachelor, bachelorette, villain, season, and couple (married or not)?

Comment: I’ll go with Brad 1.0 as my favorite “Bachelor” season. Either Ashley or Ali’s as my favorite “Bachelorette” season. Favorite villain? Tough one. That’s between Wes and Courtney. And favorite couple would probably be Ashley & JP.

What do you make of the Peyton Manning sexual harassment allegations? I think his legacy is taking a massive hit right now. Stuff that has been rumored about for years behind-the-scenes about him is slowly starting to leak, and that’s that basically the “aw golly shucks” guy you see portrayed on TV is not the type of guy he really is. And it goes further than this case from 20 years ago.

I realize it’s still early, but who from this season do you think will end up on Paradise? Do you think Becca would go on Paradise if ABC doesn’t make her the Bachelorette? Since Chris Soules loves getting his face in front of a camera, do you think he could possibly go on it? Becca? No. I think your locks from this season are the twins, Leah, Lace, and Lauren H. I’d expect also that Jen, possibly Mandi, Jami, JoJo will definitely be considered.

Have you listened to any of the Huffington Post’s “Here To Make Friends” Bachelor podcast? They’ve had some contestants on, including JJ and Nick. Some interesting stuff and they don’t hold back. Nick is really into JoJo and says that Joe Bailey is a whacko. JJ said he had zero interest in Kaitlyn and when he got eliminated, he was laughing and giving Joe a “thumbs up” for getting the 2-on-1 rose, and then was told by production to look sad and walk around, when he really didn’t give a sh*t. They also hinted at contestants that they think are phony (Becca was one of them). Good stuff.

Comment: Haven’t listened to it. Well Nick making it obvious publicly he’s into JoJo isn’t surprising and only gives away the fact he’s been talking to her behind the scenes, so of course he’s gonna say that. He wants in her pants. As for JJ, that doesn’t surprise me.

Hi Steve,

I hope you’re doing well.

I know I’m late for readers questions but this one just came to me..I was on twitter and saw that someone asked Melissa Rycroft why she didn’t attend Jade & Tanner’s wedding and she responded with “I wasn’t invited…”

I always figured it was her who cut ties with the Bachelor franchise after her stint as co-host on Bachelor Pad; but now I’m curious if you know anything about that? Nope.

Or do they just value Jason & Molly more so choose to not invite Melissa to things? (still my favorite season ever, which is the only reason I still care)

Comment: Well judging by the number of appearances, they certainly value Jason & Molly more than Melissa. Has Melissa done anything with this show since co-hosting “Bachelor Pad 1?” If she did, I can’t remember. Seems to me it’s more the other way around that Melissa has kinda distanced herself from the show. Her answer of “I wasn’t invited…” seems a bit odd, considering if she WAS invited, I highly doubt she’d go. For what? She knows none of these people really.

I follow many past contestants on Instagram and it seems like they don’t work!!! How are they making money? Andi, Cassie F, Kelly Travesty, JJ Lane, Jade and Tanner… are they all making money right now?

Comment: Well saying “all” is a bit much. Plenty of them do go back to their original jobs. But yes, some can and do make money off social media and use that as their sole income. It pays well if you have enough followers, people click, people purchase, etc. However, the problem is that I don’t think these contestants have any sort of long term plan and they all they think they’re gonna be the next social media maven, when they’re not. Why? Because once the next season of contestants roll in and start doing the same thing, then it becomes a saturated market. With so many of them doing it now, it’ll only last a certain amount of time before they realize they can’t live of their “Bachelor/ette/Paradise” appearances.

What about this scenario:

At ATFR, Harrison says the America voiced their opinion and they want JoJo as the next Bachelorette. He says we spoke to JoJo, but she said she could not move forward with that decision until she had closure with Ben. So, we had to take an unprecedented step. We set up a meeting with JoJo and Ben before ATFR (in secret, but filmed). They show the audience the tape of their meeting where, lo and behold, JoJo gets closure. Cut to the video package of JoJo wandering sadly down a beach….or whatever, struggling to decide whether her heart is ready to let go and move on.

Cut to Harrison announcing that JoJo is here and she is going to tell America her decision. Happy JoJo walks out and says she is ready to be the next Bachelorette.

Comment: Sounds great on paper and I agree to the extent that the only way they could possibly pull it off is if they did do a pre-taped segment with JoJo and Ben. However, I see two problems:

1. They’ve had viable “Bachelorette” candidates finish in the #2 position before and have never gone out of their way to pre-tape their meeting, so why do I think they’d do it just for JoJo?

2. I think the constant “I was in love with 2 women” promotion they’ve been selling so hard for the past few weeks is something that I think the audience wants to see play out live on the ATFR, not already taped, JoJo is over it, got her closure, and had already signed her paperwork to be the next “Bachelorette” before the ATFR even airs. Kinda takes the wind out of their sails.

Ok… I am wondering why you haven’t written about who was on the phone call that Ben made during the Final Rose? I listened to it from the video clip that ABC aired (and I knew it sounded like Becca), I then played another video clip of Becca talking……….total match! He called Becca!!!!!!! Can you please find out the scoop? Did he call Becca to get a hold of JOJO????

Comment: It’s not Becca!!!!!! And I talked about it the very next day after it aired!!!!! It’s probably his mother and I guarantee it’ll be completely irrelevant and not important to the finale!!!!!

Former Colorado contestant died: Hi Steve-

I saw you wrote about a contestant passing away in your column today and I wanted to let you know that there was another one recently that really didn’t get any acknowledgement from the “Bachelor family” other than from Trista Sutter. Cathy Grimes was killed in an avalanche in January while skiing in Jackson Hole, WY. She was on the very first bachelor season and made it to top 8. She was a friend and very special to all that knew her. There was a clip of her dancing on the anniversary special but nothing mentioned about her passing. It would be great if you could let your readers know that her family has set up a memorial fund in her honor:

Trista tweeted this out a few days ago, it would be great if you could do the same.

Comment: Thank you for that. Definitely worth noting. I’m sure most people don’t remember who she was, but that doesn’t make it any less important. And I thought that was a touching tribute ABC did for Lex last night to acknowledge her tragic passing. Oh wait, they did nothing. Never mind.

Love your commentary. I’m wondering, would you ever do a behind-the-scenes reality show about the process involved in writing your blog/spoilers? (I’m thinking along the lines of Flipping Out w/ Jeff Lewis).

I DO know that most of what we see on these shows is fake, and I’m betting you would never go for it (I wouldn’t). So, if not, then what about a documentary crew following you for a season?

Just curious. I would watch it.

Keep up the good work.

Comment: Funny you ask this. About three weeks ago, a production company in Dallas approached me and I had a meeting with them where they were interested in doing a reality show about me. I met them at their studios, and within 5 minutes of asking me what my life was like and what my daily routine was, they realized they had no show about my life. Hey, even I could’ve told them that before the meeting, but you never know, so I went and met with them anyway.

I think they thought that I was personally out hiding in bushes with binoculars spying on this show, or traveling to where the show was filming and that’s how I got my info. Little did they realize I’m pretty much home all day and all my info comes via computer or phone. So yeah, that wouldn’t make the most riveting television. Not to mention I can’t imagine any scenario where I would do reality TV.

Hey Steve!

I’m genuinely trying to understand how Caila could be a serious contender for the next bachelorette. She’s fresh out of college and you’re going to tell me she’s ready to settle down? And if I am to believe the tidbits that you spoiled about her back before the show aired, I’d say the only reason she didn’t get a villain edit is because the producers already had more than enough to work with on that front (Olivia, Lace, Leah). Thoughts? I don’t think it matters if she’s ready or not. You think ALL previous 11 “Bachelorettes” were absolutely ready to get married? I certainly don’t. All Caila would have to do is say how much she loves love, how she feels ready, how this experience works, and how she didn’t think she was ready before but now after Ben, she’s open to anything the show has to offer. You know, basically the same song and dance that EVERY “Bachelorette” says. I think because Caila is Little Miss Happy Happy Joy Joy 24/7, they’ll play right into that. She’ll do exactly what they want her to do. Will some people find it phony and not like her? Of course. But no “Bachelorette” is universally liked by everyone, so it doesn’t matter.

Production has made a huge effort to portray her as the bubbly, sexy, emotional woman – bachelorette traits. But to me something seems off. She’s trying too hard for the cameras. Everything she says sounds fake and embellished, like she practiced exactly what to say and how to say it. Do you think that your spoilers (you described her as “weird” and “always on for the cameras”) have skewed my perception of the girl? I don’t think so. I think what I was told before the season you can definitely see in her actions on camera.

Not trying to be a negative nancy. I’m from Boston and really want to like Caila, but I can’t shake the feeling that she is phony with a capital P. If ABC wants a young pretty thing who will probably break up with her s/o 6 months after the finale, go for it. I just don’t see how any good comes from that decision.
I’m real interested in how the WTA goes for Caila. In your opinion, is the gig hers to lose? Do the show producers even care about the probability of the lead actually staying with their final pick or are they only interested in making good tv?

Love your spoilers and columns, keep it up!

Comment: She’s obviously a strong candidate having finished in the important #3 position. But does production really care if the lead gets married? They say they do, but they could not care less. It’s a TV show.

Hi Steve!

I’ve been watching the show/reading your site since Andi’s season, but it’s really been since Katelyn’s season that I’ve tried to keep up with all of your posts. I’m so sorry if you’ve answered this question a thousand times but I don’t thinkkkk I’ve seen you address it since I’ve been reading. Either way you’re pretty nice about answering the same question over and over again. And by nice I mean you sometimes respond in a bitchy way, and if that’s how you react to my email I’ll be honored.

SO in regards to the bachelorette, you’ve made it pretty clear that the season follows the same formula in choosing the woman and that it’s always either finalist 4 or 3. So why was Emily Maynard made bachelorette when she “won” her season? From my Wikipedia research it seems like Ashley came from Brad’s season, Ben F came from Ashley’s season, and then it was Emily’s season. So they didn’t choose anyone from Ben’s season I guess, do you know why? How did they introduce Emily as the new bachelorette on that after the rose special? Like “oh remember her?” I get why they chose Emily, she’s very cookie-cutter beautiful and she had a single mom story line and all that, I’m just wondering why they strayed from the formula that one time. I suppose I could go look in your archives but asking you is easier! Thank you much =)

Comment: You’re right, they didn’t choose anyone from Ben’s season as the “Bachelorette.” But that’s when they announced Emily. Actually, they announced Emily as the “Bachelorette” in I believe January while Ben’s season was still airing. On the ATFR they brought her out to talk about the gig, but it had been known for over a month it’d be her.

Why did they stray from taking someone from a previous season? I think they always loved Emily’s story, and since they never had a single mom before as the lead, to them she was worth being the first one.

Hi Steve!

Hope this week is getting better for you (pretty sure I just emailed you a question about the next Bachelorette but I cleaned out my inbox and now don’t know if I sent one this week or not) Anyways, okay

1) if they wanted Jojo that bad would they risk switching up scheduling to get her? Wouldn’t that ‘tip us off’ bc you know they pretty much just act like you literally aren’t on this earth. They totally threaten the girls against you right? Even thought 100% of them have your site bookmarked. But I just wonder if they would risk it. Definitely addressed this in last Tuesday’s column about everything it would entail in regards to filming of having to announce JoJo as “Bachelorette” on the ATFR. Could it be done? Sure. But we haven’t seen it since they’ve gone to this shooting schedule for the last 6 seasons so I don’t know why they would now.

2) Calia, I spelling it wrong 40% of the time, I just can’t seem to get it to stick, don’t try hard. But to sum her up- she is a let down. What do you think? I feel since her second 1-on-1 date, she has been auditioning for the bachelorette. And I know they said the next one ‘won’t be white’ but could they acutely backtrack and pick a white girl? Jojo out on Twitter this week she is 1/2 Persian btw. I definitely see Caila as someone who loves the cameras and is aware they are around at all times on this show. She knows when to turn it on and off.

3) When it gets to the final 6ish, so they get in mind who the want as the next bachelorette? Bc I would think they would wanna see who Viewers like more As much as they claim they do, they really don’t care what the viewers think, because you can take any faction of viewers to support your choice of the “Bachelorette.” They will choose who they choose, and then inevitably say, “We listened to our fans…” Really? Because yeah, there will always be fans that support their choice. What they’ll never talk about is the amount of fans that don’t like the choice.

4) So now that Lauren and Ben are together, do you think this FALLING IN LOVE WITH TWO GIRLS thing is gonna push them apart? I wonder who it’s gonna go for them. All the girls are friends on social media..but I never see Lauren and Jojo interact.

Comment: Who knows. I can’t predict the future of these two. However, I do know that only 1 guy out of 19 married the final girl that he chose in the end. Those aren’t great odds last time I checked. Only time will tell if Ben and Lauren become another statistic.

Hi Steve my name is ______ I think the bachelor this week so sucks and I think it’s all fake and I think he’s gay let’s ask the question

Comment: Sure.

Hi Steve,

My condolences on Maddy.

I’m writing to you about Jake’s season. Yes, I know it was FOREVER ago, but I suppose the Bachelor 20 clip of him and the passing of a contestant from that season has made me think about it again. You’ve said before that producers always know ahead of time who is going to be in the final four. Was Vienna one of their final four predictions, or was it a huge surprise that she not only made it that far, but also “won”? There seemed to be such a nice selection of women that seasons too – Tenley, Gia, Ali, etc. That was all bizarre. I don’t remember. All I do know is that the night of Jake’s premiere, I knew no spoilers at all. Then that night, I was given information that spoiled the final four breakdown and who he was engaged to, and I posted it the next day. It ended up being right.

And a question about our current season… Ben has been vocal about the importance of his Christianity. Do you know if religion is also important to Lauren and if they share the same faith? I can’t imagine him falling for someone who didn’t share his beliefs and values (which is why the rumors of a relationship between him and Tenley made sense), but they haven’t addressed it on the show, nor does Lauren seem vocal about her faith on social media.

Thanks for all you do, Steve! Cheers to 5 more years!

Comment: I don’t follow her on social media, but I have occasionally checked in to her accounts and I believe I’ve seen scriptures and stuff like that. Granted, that could mean absolutely nothing because some people that quote scripture on social media are disgusting human beings, but hey, for what it’s worth, she has been known to post things like that.

Someone wrote in your reader emails:

Hi Steve,

Just wondering if anyone hooked up after Jade and Tanner’s wedding? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear something about Chris Soules. He seems to be really loving the “bachelor” life these days.

Comment: I haven’t heard either way

*** Just wanted to let you know that I was listening to Jenny McCarthys radio show on Sirius and Ashley I. was on it and said, Chris Soules hooked up with her sister at the wedding! She said Chris was the most fun shes ever seen him. She also said that she and Jared hook up every few weeks and she went back to his hotel room after the wedding to cry. I had to get out of my car after that but im sure she dished some more.

Comment: I didn’t hear Ashley’s interview with Jenny but if you say that’s what she said then I believe you. We saw a pretty drunk Chris at that wedding so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he hooked up with Ashley’s sister Lauren. She’s making quite a name for herself in the “Bachelor” franchise. Admits on Paradise she was essentially banging a married man, then started dating Joe Bailey after the show, now hooked up with Chris. Uh huh. Draw your own conclusions.

Hi Steve,

Regarding the producers looking for a diverse Bachelorette next season, everyone is talking about Jubilee or Caila but I have to throw out there that JoJo is “just as diverse” as Caila. JoJo is half Persian / half Caucasian while Caila is half Filipino / half Caucasian.

JoJo’s bio on ABC even says:

My mom is Persian, and my Dad was born and raised in Tennessee. I’m proud of my mother’s background despite what social opinions are. It’s important for me to stand up to people stereotyping Iranians.

Understand this doesn’t fix the shooting schedule issue, but wanted to throw it out there as a way for producers to keep JoJo as an option. Again, if ABC is gonna use JoJo being ½ Persian as their example of a “diverse” lead, that might be the most laughable thing the network has ever done.

On a separate note, it looks like Amanda and Lauren B. are attached at the hip – they are always sitting by each other, sharing the same room, doing ITMs while watching each other (in the out take from last week), etc. Wondering if Ben kept Amanda there so Lauren could have a friend but didn’t take her to the fantasy suite as that would probably make things awkward. Believe Courtney said in her book that Ben kept her buddy around a long time just so Courtney could have someone in the house to hang out with. Just a hypothesis.

Comment: And not to mention they hang out all the time post show, as evidenced by Lauren’s drunken Friday night this past weekend.

Hi Steve,

Even though Caila and I graduated from the same college in the same year (and had quite a few mutual friends), I have to say I’m hoping Jojo is the next Bachelorette. As far as ways they could make that happen, do you think it’s possible that she has a last minute change of heart like Andi did, but instead right before decision day? That’s really the only way I could see it happening. They are both equally diverse, though Caila obviously looks more non-white than Jojo. Regardless, we all know it doesn’t really matter who the lead is. People will still watch and people will still complain no matter what.

I think it’s pretty funny that Jojo’s brother is seen confronting Ben for “brainwashing” the girls when her other brother was on a reality show where he dated a bunch of women too. I doubt he gave him crap for leading them on.

One of your reader emails mentioned that they didn’t think Caila was hot enough to be the Bachelorette. What I can say about that is I remember when we were graduating that she was on quite a few guys Senior Five lists. Basically, we have a tradition where seniors name the five people they want to hook up with before graduating and post them anonymously (or not) on a page we create. For a graduating class of over 2000 students, her name was on there quite a bit. I tried going back and looking for it but they probably take them down after a few years. Probably the same people who all voted for her to win 5 Senior awards in the yearbook when no other girl’s name was mentioned more than twice.

I can’t remember if anyone has ever asked this but I’ve always wondered, what type of people do you get the most spoilers from. By that I mean what’s their relationship with the contestants? Family, friends, acquaintances, random strangers who overhear or see things? I’ll understand if you feel that would be ratting people out but I was just curious. If I told people some of the sources of some of my spoilers over the years, you’d be amazed. Hell, I’m still amazed at some of them.

Last thing, totally unrelated to the Bachelor. I hope you don’t mind me talking about Maddie a bit. I’m sure the feelings are still very raw. I remember when we had to make that tough decision to put down our dog a few years ago and none of us could even comprehend getting another dog. Everyone was saying getting another one would help with the healing. To us, it just felt like cheating, dishonoring his memory. As if just getting another dog would suddenly replace him. It was two years before we really felt ready to get another one and I think that time made all the difference. I’m sure whenever you decide to adopt again, that dog will be incredibly grateful, but above all, you have to be ready and that’s not something that should be rushed. She will be missed by all.

Sorry for the long email, thanks for everything you do!

Comment: It still sucks and I still can’t believe she’s gone. I still have hard days when I think of her. I’m not even close to being of the mindset right now to get another dog. Maybe that time will come. Maybe it won’t. But right now, definitely not.

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  1. kimmyfromdablock

    February 24, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    Can’t risk reading much further than middle of page 1 since the site keeps sending me to an ‘update your flash player’ phony site. Not fun.

  2. rob22

    February 24, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Kimmy: consider yourself lucky. There are a million emails that are very repetitive and very boring. Many are illiterate & ridiculous. I made it about a page and a half. I think a “best of” format would be better. Just cut and pasting your in box with some snarky comments added and posting it all in blog format is not terribly interesting. Definitely the Reader Emails are not my thing.

  3. locondcoco

    February 24, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    I’m sorry, if we’re going to assume what the producers said about the next Bachelorette being “non-white” to be true, then both Caila and JoJo don’t qualify. Non-white. NON-WHITE. Both are half white, which to me, still makes them white. If they had said, “ethnic”, “minority”, then fine.

    Or maybe I’m just being real nit picky.

  4. vessel

    February 24, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Why does Steve dismiss the possibility of Amanda’s ex being on a future season? Ryan McDill was Nikki’s ex and they cast him. Hmmm, maybe I’ll ask tomorrow night @ the video chat.

  5. cjscjs711

    February 24, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    Speed read, people!

    Contrary to one email, I don’t see that this show has any semblance to a Stockholm Syndrome.

    The Stockholm Syndrome is where hostages begin to empathize and side with their captors. You probably mean the Stanford Prison Experiment in which students, as part of a study, were randomly assigned roles as either prisoner or guard. After being treated as such, they each became their roles, exactly as expected.

    Kelsey from Chris’s season agreed. As a writer herself, Kelsey probably got close to the producers and they led her on and on, and rewarded her, the further she walked down the ‘crazy’ path. -As these producers are accustomed to doing! On Sunday, giving her the Most Hated title I thought was wrong. Maybe most hated among contestants, or most hated by the franchise after Kelsey talked about suing them – but did viewers really HATE Kelsey? Personally, I loved the Badlands scene. Unforgetable!

  6. angelfish

    February 25, 2016 at 5:38 AM

    Seriously, cjscjs711. I actually skip down to Steve’s response and read it first. His answer determines whether I even read the letter. Too many people just want to state their opinion and get it validated by Steve. Boring!

    And always remember that Google is your friend.

    The only person Paul Lee, formerly from ABC, called “Non-white” was Juan Pablo. He never used the term “Non-white” about any potential Bachelorette. Dozens of articles that all have the same info. He said they were “tweaking” and used the word “diverse”. People need to actually READ what it says, not what they want it to say.

    Putting Amanda’s ex on this next run of the Bachelorette would have him going for either Caila or JoJo. I can’t see either one letting him stay, out of loyalty to Amanda. He’s her EX for a reason.

  7. product19

    February 25, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Re: Jojo as “diverse”

    So race is a tricky concept, but let’s seriously consider whether Jojo or someone like her has or could potentially face any negative discrimination in her life. She has, in my opinion, conventional European American features. She is not Muslim. So there are two ways that she is not going to be discriminated against. But she is from Iran. Is she a dual citizen? Because there is reason for concerns about discrimination based on recent legislation (see: I bet there is a small potential for her to get discriminated, but I don’t see it coming from her appearance or her class, and let’s be honest, that is an enormous inescapable part of life and, thus, discrimination.

    Caila is Asian American (which is actually a very diverse “group”) and upper class. [Note that the whole mixed race thing is sort of a privilege that was not part of the US context until recently, and it doesn’t always have bearing on everyday experiences of racism. For African Americans, the “one drop rule” was the norm in this country for many, many years. It still informs how people judge each other because of that history and our focus on appearances as a basis of race (see the whole topic of “passing”). Latinos and Asian Americans might also find this in their lived experiences that being “half” doesn’t prevent people from judging/stereotyping/discriminating]. In my opinion, she does look Asian. So maybe she has faced discrimination. Even the “model minority” stereotype has negative consequences.

    That’s what I think. You have to be nuanced about race and see what is in people’s lived experiences as well as structurally (that’s how we can see things like income gap between men and women). As for this show deviating from its norm by having Caila as bachelorette, well… let’s just say that it’s hard to see this show as doing anything other than banking on reinforcing extremely harmful stereotypes. Their “inclusion” of people of color usually just reinforces the norm.

    By the way, tone down the body shaming there Steve!

  8. jessicat

    February 25, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    For the person who asked about Steve’s post about the girl who sat beside Caila at the auditions:

  9. dreamteamer

    February 25, 2016 at 5:41 PM

    I used to work on Survivor so want to chime in on that email. Producer manipulation is always going to be a part of reality tv to some extent because they know what’s going on with all of the contestants and alliances and their job is to tell a good story. But the most they can really do is ask specific questions in ITMs that will possibly lead the contestants to talk about whatever they want them to talk about, or question whoever they want to cast doubt on. But at the end of the day the contestants themselves vote each other out, so they ultimately still have some control of the storyline. This isn’t the case with pretty much all other reality shows because they’re so much more subjective and therefore producers can easily have a say. Ben may know who he wants in the end, but if they ask him to keep someone around because they’re good drama (ahemOlivia) he’s not going to say no. This is why I still believe Survivor is the best reality show and has the most integrity of all other shows I’ve watched.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Survivor has 3-10 cameras rolling for like 20 hours a day. Back when I worked on the show the statistic I was given was for every 44 minute episode they have at least 100 hours of footage. That is A LOT of tape for editors to work with. So while on set and filming the producers can somewhat indirectly affect the show and what contestants say and believe based on the questions they ask, most of the magic happens back in LA in the editing room.

    It’s funny because to this day people still ask me if it’s real. Yes, it’s real. I’ve worked on other shows and there’s a really good reason it’s still hanging on 32 seasons later. One show I worked on as a Cast Handler had me loading up the losing contestant’s belongings in the airport van hours before the judging session even began. That just doesn’t happen on Survivor.

    People (including me) hate watch The Bachelor because it’s so fake and dumb that it’s endlessly entertaining. I don’t know anybody who hate watches Survivor. IMO that’s because it maintains its integrity and doesn’t take its viewers for fools.

  10. angelfish

    February 26, 2016 at 6:35 AM

    Thanks Dreamteamer, for the inside info. It’s always great to have input from somebody who’s actually been a part of these productions.
    I would imagine “The Amazing Race” is also a pretty legit show in terms of fair competition between the contestants, because as with “Survivor”, it’s as much a physical competition as an emotional competition. Producers can screw with somebody’s mind or perception of events, but they can’t screw with who wins a foot race or an obstacle course.

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