Reality Steve

Reader Emails

“Reader Emails” & US Weekly Doing What They Do Best

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Hi Steve,

I’ve been reading your blog since Jason’s season and for whatever reason, this is what compelled me to write to you for the first time in 10 years: at least two people (a man and a woman) were wearing masks in the audience of the WTA – why? Please tell me they were in the witness protection program or something like that and not because Arie was the “kissing bandit”….

Comment: It’s because it’s a television show and all costumes/signs/gimmicky things are all put there by production beforehand. It was a play on the kissing bandit thing, not witness protection.

Hi Steve,

Long-time reader, like really long-time. Three points, more so than questions, come to mind after reading today’s update:

1) On one hand, I (sort of) understand Arie and Ben saying “I love you” to two people. If they are truly trying to compartmentalize and go with each relationship in the moment, it could happen (also, side note, isn’t is funny how cheaters/f*ck boys seem to be best at compartmentalizing). That said, if they are in that confusing place, perhaps it’s best to keep those feelings to themselves until they’ve sorted it out. Every other prior bachelor has had the sense to use discretion with their final 2-3 and not use those words until the final girl. Exactly my point. Whether you’ve convinced you’re feeling that way or not, expressing it to both of them does way more harm than good. It makes no sense.

2) I do think bringing cameras to the safe house was a producer decision, not an Arie decision (and no, I’m not a fan girl AT ALL). You, yourself, frequently tell us about the ironclad contracts and how production basically owns the contestants. Do you think they would ever let such a prime opportunity slip by? I can see a scenario being something like ” You want to break up with Becca and start dating Lauren? Fine by us, but it all goes on tape.” Is Arie an a**hole for agreeing? Sure thing. Was it his idea? Doubtful. I don’t think he’s a full-on douche so much as a how-do-I-get-out-of-this slippery kind of douche. Is that a compliment to him? He could’ve chosen not to. Just like Jason said he wished he put his foot down, Arie can say the same thing. He could’ve not done it. But he played along. He gets no pity from me on that one. The other thing is, if you knew you were going to do this, how do you not ask to talk/speak with Jason beforehand? He didn’t. That was a huge mistake. Because I guarantee Jason would’ve told him not to do it on camera.

3) Becca’s ex was a total tool. Arie is a total tool. She’s a remarkable woman. I hope her radar gets fixed. She deserves a good guy. We won’t know until we get the full cast for her season. But it obviously worked for her the first time. She fell for Arie. Wasn’t her decision to end it, it was his. So her story is believable for sure. Not to mention, the women in this franchise tend to take their role more seriously than the guys do, as evidence by longer lasting relationships and more marriages.

Thanks for continuing to spoil and make this franchise fun. I’ve only missed Desiree and Juan Pablo’s seasons (by choice). I probably would have skipped most of Arie’s until you gave us the down low–next week’s social media meltdown is going to be epic.

Comment: Yes, it will be. Buckle up.

You and Sharleen are the best of the best ! … Plain and simple … You and Sharleen are the best of the best !

Comment: Sooooooo are you saying we’re the best? Thanks. I agree.

Hey Steve,

I’m literally only writing in hopes that ABC sees this because we *know* their people read your site. Seriously, if Becca is the Bachelorette this franchise becomes even more pointless because at least in previous seasons (ish– let’s realistically go back a few years) they’ve had a lead that the guys would actually want to date!!! (Sheesh!!! Even bring in Kendall, at least she’s spicy and interesting. I’d totally *actually* watch.)

You’re totally right that it is *not* the lead that makes the show, but honestly, I’ve totally stopped watching the actual show because the lead is so boring and/or someone none of the girls/guys would date in real life. Same bs, less interesting cast, different season. (Side note: I will LOL when they finally cast a lead whose job is Personal Trainer).

Comment: You’re saying guys wouldn’t actually want to do date someone like Becca? I couldn’t disagree with you more.

Hi Steve,

Can you try to clear something up about Ben. I had him pegged as a Sean Lowe type. Someone with an actual moral compass. It was strange to see him crying about Lauren on winter games when you stated he’s had a girlfriend for 6mos. Since he’s kept this relationship off of social media, and you have more details than we know, is this more like a friends with benefits thing or an actual committed relationship? They’re dating. Whatever that means to him. Which I believe is different from how other people define it.

Side note: Loved your recap today. I’m literally crying laughing over the fact that Arie spent a year with Sydney and didn’t say “I love you” but blurted it out to two different women he knew for 2 mos. To top that off he’s now been engaged twice in the course of 3 mos. Ridiculous! I’d love to hear an update from Sydney to get her take on this hot mess.

Comment: I mean, Sydney isn’t going to be on the podcast again because there’s no need for it. But we’ve definitely kept in touch and she’s getting a kick out of all of this. She did predict it all, remember?

Thank you for all the great work you do as usual.

1.Do you know (or think) Arie will be getting a spin-off? Chris and Nick V got Dancing with the Stars, and Ben H got the Freeform show? I think you had said earlier Ben H preferred Freeform to Dancing with the Stars. It had seemed like it was par for the course by the time Ben H was Bachelor that he was nearly owed something. With Sean and Chris, it didn’t seem like par for the course, but with Ben H and Nick it did. No. His “spin off” is getting back into racing by gaining sponsors. Ones who’d left him before he became the “Bachelor.”

2. I’m not a fan of Arie by any means, but if one of his goals is to work on his image then rhetorically why would he pull a Mesnick? He must know he’s not gaining any fans in doing that. He should have at least played like Nick V. Unless Becca is that horrible off camera, which I suspect she isn’t since you’re saying she made so many friends. Because I don’t think Arie is the sharpest knife in the drawer and he thinks continuing to lead the life he’s been leading these last five years was gonna somehow work in his favor.

3. Hypothetically if Arie didn’t pull this move, who from this season do you think was most likely to become Bachelorette? Would Lauren have been in the running. Frankly, I think Arie likes Lauren because she seems quiet, agreeable, docile, and obedient. I feel like she would have been the type to be cut very early on Bachelor in Paradise or even on the Bachelor with any other lead. Perhaps it’s the editing, but you also said she didn’t have a lot of friends in the house. I think it would’ve been Tia. Kendall is too quirky to be the lead for this show and Lauren isn’t good TV.

4. If Arie and Lauren do get married, will you include them with Jason and Molly or Sean and Catherine? Because Arie does propose to her on camera and before the finale is aired

Comment: Sure. I have zero concern I’ll ever have to break out my wallet for that.

Did you notice at the WTA, and I played it back 2x so I’m pretty sure I heard it, that he told Jacqueline that it was IMMATURE and brave of her to drop out?!! I think he of course meant “mature” but he clearly said immature. Is he that stupid?! I didn’t hear that and I already deleted the episode.

Did you also notice that Arie wore the same exact shirt at both Kendall and Lauren’s dates? It was a blue short sleeve button down (what my kids refer to as “dad shirts”) with white dots on it. I could not believe he wore the same shirt. He is such a dork, and gets creepier with every episode. I can’t believe these women are so messed up that they find him hot. Gross. Interesting that we never see him with his shirt off. I’d like to thank ABC for that. He took his shirt off once this season. On the group date in Tahoe when they went in the hot tub after the hike.

The next time he says “I love that” I may stick a fork in my eye. (Hey Steve, one of my favorite movie lines ever….”Why is the cork on the fork?” Do you know the movie?)

Comment: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. A very underrated movie.

Hi Steve —

Great job on your last posting. I can’t believe we are going to have to sit through 3 hours of ATFR, but then I guess that’s my stupidity for once again getting caught up in this show. I’m not some young chick. I should know better. I had actually quit watching the last few seasons, just having it on for filler noise when I was reading. Then I thought for sure we’d see a great love story. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

If you have time, just two questions. You had indicated you heard nothing but good things about Becca and I’m glad because I really liked her. Have you heard anything about how Lauren really is and any thoughts on how the producers feel about Arie, i.e. are they now throwing him under the bus. Obviously the ratings will probably go through the roof. I am anxious to see how Becca responds to him and sometimes even Chris Harrison is not a softy, although he is probably being feed what to say through a mike. I think Lauren is little bit more lively than she’s portrayed on camera, but she was not good TV. That’s evident. She’s certainly not a prankster cracking jokes every five seconds making everyone belly laugh. But I think she’s just a normal girl who doesn’t have the personality to fit this show and make entertaining television. Regardless of that, I think her taking Arie back is incredibly stupid and will blow up in her face.

If you don’t have time to respond to me, that’s okay. I really like your spoilers and knowing what’s going on before it happens

I started to email you when you lost your dog and never did. It’s a heart break, but hopefully you’ll get another one someday. They do offer unconditional love.

Keep up the good work.

Comment: Some day. I just don’t know when.

Hi Steve! Big University of Arizona fan here and I was just wondering what your thoughts were on everything going on with Sean Miller and U of A Basketball?

Comment: I don’t think Sean Miller will ever coach U of A again and anyone who thinks players aren’t getting paid under the table in college athletics has their head buried so far in the sand, it cannot be retrieved. You know, kinda like the Arie fans. This scandal is going to change college basketball as we know it, and that’s probably a good thing, because it needed to happen. Unfortunate it’s gonna take a scandal like this to bring change, but hey, at least it’s something. The sport has been corrupt for too long. And not only college basketball which I love to death (hence my annual March Madness trip that begins two weeks from today), but college football as well.

I know this is purely speculation on your part but any guesses on how long Arie and Lauren will last until the inevitable break up? Just asking based on your knowledge on relationships and giving advice as Dr Reality Steve. Love your columns. Nice to read your commentary & just roll over in laughter at the end of a stressful day. Keep doing your great work.

Comment: I honestly don’t think it matters whether they last a month, 6 months, or a year. At that point, it’s just a fun bet between friends. They aren’t getting married because doesn’t have the first clue of how to be in committed relationship with one person.


Totally agree about producer involvement (duh!) in getting Becca’s ex to Peru. But to me he gave off a creepy vibe that made me think something more than just producer manipulation made him show up (Becca immediately refusing to be in room with him and then her later tweet re toxicness of relationship). Just me?

The fact that he supposedly left town during Stanford’s football season (risking losing his job) also makes me think he may have Instagram dreams of his own. #notthereforrightreasons.

Curious, if you knew if the scenes of him with him were shown in chronological order? Seems they were based on him telling Becca he has told “the guy” earlier. The whole scene was bizarre, but yes, I do think he saw Arie first, then went to Becca. I have no idea what that guy was thinking, but I’m pretty sure he went there with assurances (either in his own head or through producers) that the result wouldn’t end up the way it did. Why else would he have gotten on a plane and done that?

If yes, then just a rant re NotPeter crazyfans. It says a lot that he just said “I can’t speak for her”, without some protective “I don’t think you should ambush my girlfriend” or “why don’t you insist that production tell her you’re here and give her choice to see you or not?” Obviously, ambushes are preferred by show (but there has been rule-breaking by Leads before that made dramatic episodes). He didn’t seem to feel the need to do more for 1 of the 2 women he said he was “in love” with at the time. So fake.

Comment: Here’s an instance where I’ll not necessarily defend Arie, but not jump on him for that. He had no idea what was coming. Once that happens and the ex is sitting right in front of you, hindsight is 20/20 and yes, I think he should’ve said something to that effect, but I’m not gonna kill him for not saying it just because he could’ve easily been tongue tied with a wave of emotions at that point. I actually thought he handled that part well. The reason of the season? Not so much.

Hey Steve.

Do Jason and Molly get paid to show up at the ATFR? Since they both seem to mostly stay out of the spotlight and took so much heat for how things went down with the 2 of them, I don’t know why they’d want to remind people of it again without some sort of incentive. Yes.

From the “shade” ABC has been throwing at Arie and his reactions, blaming editing, etc it seems like ABC is not going to try to shield him from the backlash he’s about to get and might even be perpetuating it. Any insight on how/why/when that relationship between the producers and Arie took a nosedive? That I don’t know. Could’ve been when he and Becca twice broke protocol and essentially spoiled their own season back in December, but that’s just a guess.

What is your opinion about the cause for this season having the lowest ratings? Do you think that the #metoo movement has begun to sour viewers on this concept of the show? I know Arie wasn’t a popular choice and had been forgotten about by a lot of people but in the past even seasons with an unpopular lead still seemed to get comparable ratings to other seasons so could it be that the franchise has hit its jump the shark moment? Well, 4 of the 10 episodes that have aired have gone up against college football and the Olympics. That didn’t help. Then one other one was on a Sunday, and the WTA’s ratings were almost 2.5 million behind Monday’s episode. But the biggest reason I believe was they cast someone that their johnny-come-lately fans had no idea about. There was zero momentum and zero excitement heading into this season. It’s not like even on the first episode everyone was excited, tuned in, saw he sucked, then it dropped from there. It started out with 5.5 million viewers on the premiere and never had an episode over 6.5 million viewers. That’s not good. At least for them and the standard they’ve set. You know what the premiere episodes of the previous 4 Bachelor seasons drew?

Juan Pablo: 8.4 million
Chris: 7.7 million
Ben: 7.5 million
Nick: 6.5 million

So yes, the finale and both ATFR’s will draw over 6.5 million (which was Arie’s last episode viewership) and you’ll see the execs tweeting about how great the ratings were. Of course, compared to the rest of the crap season, yeah, they will be. It’s all relative, but they won’t specify that in their tweets. They’ll just say the finale and ATFR were the highest rated episodes of the season. Which they should be EVERY season if your show is worth a damn.

Send all links and emails to: To follow me on Twitter, it’s: Instagram name is “RealitySteve,” join my Reality Steve Facebook Fan Page, or listen to all my podcasts at Apple Podcasts. Talk to you tomorrow.

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  1. rob22

    February 28, 2018 at 8:12 AM

    I thought it was funny that RS thought Tia’s Dad was the most scary. The guy was basically a teddy bear trying to act tough for a minute, probably at the producers behest. I honestly thought the hype about the Dads was a little overblown. They each asked a couple of tough questions, then totally caved to Arie’s BS. The guy is an amazing BS artist. I kinda understand how women are fooled by his act. But when you see him saying essentially the same things to every single parent, you know it’s just a series of lines he’s put together for the occasion. I don’t think I remember a Bachelor doing that in previous seasons. It felt more organic in years past, instead of scripted. And, by scripted, I mean Arie scripted his responses to the various challenges and repeated them three times. He also told every single parent that he was falling for their daughter. That was his way of softening up their parents. If parents feel that someone truly cares about their daughter, they’re immediately going to start feeling better about the guy. Kinda gross when you think about it. Arie is fast becoming the worst Bachelor ever. He’s really challenging JPablo if you ask me.

  2. anita29

    February 28, 2018 at 9:06 AM

    I just read the Us Weekly article and the part that makes me crazy is when Arie says
    “…it’s going to be fun for me to watch back”…WTH!! If the spoilers are correct and
    he really ambushed Becca, he should a least acknowledge that it was painful to watch
    what happened at the end. I really don’t understand this stupid guy.

  3. tinyred500

    February 28, 2018 at 10:26 AM

    The stock lines and phrases are one of the most annoying things about the franchise! IMHO. Even I could rattle them off, I’ve heard them that many times! Argh!! All the leads use them and so do the contestants…that’s why so many peeps think it’s ‘scripted’. The stupid contrived ‘lines’ are just more noticeable this season. It just makes the season sound and look even more ‘produced’. At least neither Becca or Lauren will ask…’when did you know’? That has to be the phoniness question ever, when it’s answered, ‘the night before’! Lol lol SMH! 😀

  4. rob22

    February 28, 2018 at 10:52 AM

    @tinyred: There are stock lines like “I’m falling for you”, “You’re amazing”, etc. There are also Arie lines like when he responds to everything a woman tells him with “I love that”. Arie has added his stock lines into the mix.

  5. rob22

    February 28, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    I’m wondering how this whole thing is going to go down. Obviously the ambush aspect is really horrible. But you know Arie will have his own spin on it. That’s what I was trying to assess during overnights. What is going to cause him to pass over Lauren the first time around that’s going to change. When we had the first switcheroo with Meznick, the spin was that he chose Melissa because she was the safe choice because she better expressed her love for him. But he really wanted Molly the whole time, but was unsure of her love. We’re going to hear some rationalization. Perhaps it will be another version of what Meznick threw out there. I haven’t figured it out yet. But we’ll see.

  6. ctrealitygirl

    February 28, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    I, too, was appalled when I read that Arie had commented that it was going to “fun to watch” the finale. Really?? Then I was even more appalled when I read another online article (from someone who had apparently previewed the footage of the breakup with Becca), that said Arie acted very cold toward Becca when he told her and that he would not even look at her. How the hell is he going to spin that? Steve’s spoiler about the “switcheroo” itself did not bother me, as I truly believed that when Jason did it, he had good intentions, and watching that season I thought Molly was “the one” from the gitgo and was happy that he ultimately ended up with her. And look how well it worked out for them. But Arie going to a safe house to meet Becca, knowing he was going to blindside her with the break-up AND knowing that camera crews were following him to get it all on film, is just plain despicable. Me thinks he’ll be digging a hole/grave right next to Luke!
    With that said, the person I feel sorry for is not Becca but Lauren. Becca is going to be WAY better off as the Bachelorette than ending up with Arie. And Lauren has no idea what’s in store for her. Arie broke her heart once already and as Steve predicts, I’m betting he’ll break up with her again.

  7. tinyred500

    February 28, 2018 at 12:08 PM

    I do agree. It’s just cringe worthy, he’s just made it worse, maybe he’s just got bored with lying they have to do ..!

  8. rob22

    February 28, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    @ctrealitygirl: I agree about Jason & Molly…. however, that’s not how things went down at the time. Jason was called “the most hated man in America”. And they both took a lot of abuse for weeks. Melissa took her sympathy tour to Dancing with the Stars and to a few other media opportunities. That extended the cycle. As bad as it was, social media wasn’t what it is today. It’s going to be WAY worse for Arie and Lauren.

  9. tinyred500

    February 28, 2018 at 12:37 PM

    The whole filming of the break up with Becca is the thing that I find despicable too. No warning it was going to happen, and there she has the cameras in her face. This isn’t great television, this is sad, bad and reprehensible television. A new all time low for the bachelor franchise.

  10. rob22

    February 28, 2018 at 1:36 PM

    My understanding with Jason and Melissa is that they had essentially already broken up by the time ATFR aired. Or, at least Melissa knew the relationship was in bad shape & not going anywhere. So, the two of them were put on set and forced to deal with it. That’s way different, IMO, than having a film crew show up to a safe house visit to film their date & have it (surprise) turn into a dumping. Yeah, this is going to be a s*** show. I’m sure the show is really proud that they’re saving this ratings train wreck. But honestly, if you look at the ratings numbers RS poste, the trend has been down for the last several seasons. I don’t think you can blame it on Arie, I really don’t. Shows get old. People stop watching. And this show is generally pretty predictable & exists on solely on manufactured drama these days. I think it’s more that than who the leads have been.

  11. jlal

    February 28, 2018 at 4:27 PM

    I totally agree about the manufactured drama getting old. Like it way more in the old days before social media took over and they really upped the manufactured drama.

  12. ladyjane747

    February 28, 2018 at 10:13 PM

    Wow! Stassi is gorgeous without the overdone lip filler.

  13. ctrealitygirl

    March 1, 2018 at 9:14 AM

    AND, rob22…when Jason did it, he had not already started dating Molly – rather he asked her out on date on the show. In Arie’s case, not only did he immediately start dating Lauren (even though they had not even gotten to the AFTR yet)…but if Steve is right, he freaking proposed to Lauren already! That, to me, is the lowest of low.

  14. gagrlinpitt

    March 1, 2018 at 9:15 AM

    Any business that has been around for years has had to change with the times.. unfortunately the bachelor has become predictible and boring as of late. Unlesd they change the way they do things they will continue to lose viewers.

    With that being said, I’m with RS on not liking the way he handled things. Unfortunately he’s going to get raked through the coals and I don’t see him gaining any popularity in the racing circuit fromany of this. Him and Lauren will get to deal with the backlash and they can figure things out.. however if they got engaged last week I don’t feel sorry for her at all. I don’t care how in love you might be, he was just engaged to another women six weeks ago. Not to mention I still don’t understand how these women are ok knowing your “man” had sex with the other two ladies on the overnights.. just not ok by me.

  15. ctrealitygirl

    March 1, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    I meant to mention in one of my posts that yesterday I ready an excellent article/recap on Glamour Magazine online about Arie that was as good as any I’ve read by Sharleen Joynt, and that’s saying something because hers are the best. This article was so insightful and described Arie’s behavior to a tee – namely his lack of conversation skills and how he manages to pull the wool over the eyes of so many women and get them to believe he cares about them, when in fact he does not. Google it and read it!

  16. jessie

    March 1, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Someone mentioned Arie challenging JPablo in jerkiness – but I have to say at least JP wasn’t telling these people he loved them and making them think he wanted to marry them. Anyone with a sense god gave a duck would release JP was just getting his jollies – and I say if you know what’s what going in – don’t be mad when you get what’s what! lol

  17. jessie

    March 1, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    realize not release. Opps.

  18. crushonspivey

    March 1, 2018 at 2:09 PM

    I have zero problem with Arie ending it with Becca, if it wasn’t working and he preferred Lauren. Happens all the time in real life, and this show needs more real life in it. What I would have a problem with is if he did dump her on camera with her having no notice of what was going down. That is garbage, and even though the contract they sign for this poopfest probably allowed it, still really poor form.

    As to Mesnick, that dude deserves praise. Yeah what he did back in the day was crazy for this show. But he made the right choice and is on the VERY shortlist of Bachelors now in a successful relationship with a woman from this series. And let’s be very clear on one thing: Arie is no Mesnick. I give Arie and Lauren til the end of their relationship contract. And yes, I think they signed one and get paid for it. Happens all the time. So 6 months. Then done and Arie is back to trolling for young 20s.

  19. tinyred500

    March 1, 2018 at 3:08 PM

    I said on a previous post that the break up should have been done off camera and in private. The fact it’s on camera and with no prior warning is so totally demeaning for Becca. I really don’t see how it can be a positive thing for the franchise overall, it’s a lousy cheap move and it appears to be a desperate bid to save the season.

    However, I don’t think their contracts state they have to stay together for a certain length of time or have paid relationship contracts (like some real celebrities do). Chris Soules barely made it to June with Whitney (one of the shortest relationship in the franchise), and so if Arie does propose to Lauren, I think they’ll be together for as long as it lasts. :/

  20. ladyjane747

    March 3, 2018 at 8:09 AM

    I’m surprised that Sharleen would say those things about Arie given her posts on ATPP. On her own blog, she often comments about Arie’s maturity and how he seems ready to settle down and that she has a mini crush on him and how similar he is to her husband. So, that’s odd. Maybe she finally found out the ending with everyone else, since the ending is now spoiled and splashed all over everything now.

  21. sumguy

    March 5, 2018 at 2:00 PM

    “This has nothing to do with sour grapes”…continues to write an essay about why he has sour grapes. Don’t get me wrong, IMO you have all the reason in the world to have sour grapes. Just don’t say that you don’t have sour grapes, and then write a 4 page essay of why you’re bugged about not getting credibility. Clearly you have sour grapes, and deservedly so.

  22. bonkers

    March 13, 2018 at 3:46 AM

    Have to say I’m a bit confused on why such sour grapes on the US Weekly thing… I wasn’t aware that it was a rule of reporting to have to mention anyone who has reported something previously? As a reader, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any such thing happen in any type of media, be it newspaper, blog or tabloid.

    If you actually are their original source, sure, that makes sense and they should absolutely mention you. However, it doesn’t seem that crazy to me that US Weekly would have its own sources for this type of thing..? And if their actual source is not you, then why would they add a line crediting you for just for doing your job a bit faster than them?

    You say you always give them mention when due, but in your examples you specify giving them credit for things you *weren’t* already aware of.. i.e. didn’t have a previous source for, making them your source. So you should be crediting them, as your source.

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