Reality Steve

Reader Emails

“Reader Emails,” BIP Episode 6 Thoughts, & DWTS Cast Announced

Photo Credit: ABC

Hi Steve,

When Blake texted and visited 4 other women before the show he wanted a head start over the other guys at Paradise. His left the other guys at a disadvantage when Blake made a point of lighting a fire with Colton’s 3 runner ups. It affected Hannah G’s relationship with Dylan and it could have affected Caelynn’s potential relationships. The fact he wanted to hide it showed he knew it was wrong. I believe Caelynn was mainly hurt because he ignored her when they had had a relationship. He wanted to silence her because he was after Hannah G. and she was hurt. I believe his sharing of the texts was loathsome. He could have just told people what she said if he had to and not shown texts that had stuff in them that didn’t have to do the point she was making.

Comment: I absolutely, positively 1000% disagree with everything you wrote, for reasons I’ve been over numerous times in the past week. I think people know my feelings on this by now. But yeah, totally disagree with all of that.

Hi Steve,

I love all of your spoilers each season, thank you! You are a witty writer, so it is always a great read! I just listened to the podcast with Jennifer Pozner, and it was fascinating to say the least albeit a bit sad to hear.

I wanted to get your take on how you think Dancing with the Stars will address the Demi issue as she is Hannah’s proclaimed “best friend”. I can imagine that they will show her in the audience every chance that they can with her fiancé, and Hannah will thank her best friend for being there for having the courage to make such an important decision on national tv. I don’t care whether she is dating a woman or man, I just don’t like being manipulated as a viewer with her lying and saying nothing was planned. I also was not impressed with how she addressed Tanner, she is very immature and self-centered. I also wasn’t impressed with Hannah, and how she seems to say whatever the Bachelor franchise wants her to say in her response to Tanners comments. I hope that her storyline doesn’t take over DWTS. I’m not sure what you mean by DWTS handling the Hannah/Demi friendship. I don’t think there’s anything they need to handle. Demi will absolutely be in the audience at DWTS. Maybe not every week, but she’ll definitely be there because Demi is friends with her and this builds her brand. And there’s no doubt DWTS will show her there too. And yes, to me, Demi is self-centered, immature, and lost.

I also wondered what you thought of Chris Harrison’s saying that Blake was wrong to release the texts. I agree with you that he felt like he was painted into a corner. Is the Bachelor franchise throwing Blake under the bus for some reason. I thought that he was a favorite? I also found it humorous that Chris Harrison said that they need to figure out who the bachelor is based on who is really looking for love!

Comment: As I wrote last week in “Reader Emails,” go look at Caelynn’s hot seat with Chris Harrison at the “Women Tell All” this season and know that he and the show will always stand behind her. They planted their flag in that sand during that WTA sit down. So of course she does nothing wrong in their eyes. Not surprised in the least bit Chris took her side.

Hey Steve,

I just listened to your podcast with Jennifer and, I’ll be honest, I feel like you have done a really good job over the years of informing me of basically everything she talked about (I’ve been watching the shows since I graduated from college, the first season I watched was DeAnna’s season). Not that I didn’t enjoy listening to her, I absolutely did, she was great. It’s more of a compliment to you. I didn’t feel like there was new information in there that I didn’t know from reading your blog. I take that back. The one thing she taught me was the way that ratings affect how much money an advertiser will have to pay to insert a commercial into the show in question. That was pretty interesting. I do watch Reality TV in that critical way though and it’s 100% because of your blog. I do consider you to be an expert in the field. Before I started reading your blog I didn’t know or even think about stuff like that. I just took what was said at face value. Editing was not something I ever considered. So I guess I’m saying thanks for keeping me informed all these years, it has made my enjoyment of Reality TV different, but definitely better.

Comment: Thanks. I think over the years I’ve given you the surface level things to look for on this show to know how it’s not real. Jennifer just took that the 10th degree and explained stuff in even more detail. I mean, she did research on this for 10 years and wrote a book about it, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about.

And yes, the ratings stuff was very interesting. Because this show has been on the air 17 years and for 38 seasons, it’s not like when ABC is pitching it to their advertisers they’re hoping commercial time is bought. This show is already sold out of its inventory before it even airs. So while the ratings are fun to look at and compare season-to-season, ultimately it doesn’t really matter because as long as advertising is already sold, the ratings won’t affect whether it gets brought back. It’s when those advertisers stop spending money is when they’re in trouble. And I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Hello Steve,

I hope this email finds you. I have to say that I find your recaps really interesting and I tend to agree with most of what you say. The below are just a few questions/thoughts I had and I’d love your answers/opinions.

I have friends of the LGBTQ+ community and they don’t think that the Demi storyline is the best way to have representation. I think a lot of people are realizing that there are similarities between what Jed did and what Demi did and since Tanner called her out on it, it’s becoming more apparent. Of course Demi was more honest and she didn’t wait till she was engaged but she still had gf back home. She’s not nearly as bad as Jed but the double-standard sucks. Also her replies to Tanner were co unclassy and childish and Hannah defending her was so off. Yeah, Demi showed her maturity by her come back to Tanner which had nothing to do with anything regarding the matter Tanner had brought up. So she had to deflect and fire back something so below the belt. It was embarrassing. And Hannah defending Demi, it’s kinda hard to even take that into consideration because Demi is her friend. Of course she’s gonna defend her. Major bias there.

Very off the topic question, but why do you think the bachelor has such a low success rate? I know technically they’re are four couples, but only two bachelors ended up with their final pick and only one is married. The Bachelorette, BIP and even the Australian version of Bachelor and Bachelorette have a much a higher success rate. Why do you think that is? Because I think the Bachelor doesn’t take the process nearly as seriously. They know if it doesn’t work out, they have so many more options once they were just the lead on an 11 week show that was seen by millions.

Tyler was seen out with Gigi again. And I know everyone thinks it’s a fling and in all likelihood it is, but do you think there’s even a slight possibility it ends up being more? Also I heard he was hanging out with Andi Dorfman too, is that true?

Thanks for all you do…

Comment: More? I mean, I’m sure they’ll date publicly for a while then it’ll fizzle. Do I think Gigi Hadid is going to marry Tyler Cameron? No, I don’t. And Andi was only involved because he got her to join a race he did. Don’t think there’s anything happening there romantically.

Hi Steve,

I don’t have a question, just wanted to say I appreciated your podcast with Jennifer Pozner. I would comment on Twitter but I don’t use Twitter.

I know a little about how reality TV works, mostly from your blog, but this was still very educational, especially in terms of the broader social implications and current political trends.

Also I appreciated her comments about hate-watching. One reason I started reading your blog is that it struck me as being in the spirit she talks about, critical of the show but not mean-spirited toward contestants. I’ve never really understood why I watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette, perhaps some of that unconscious nostalgia she mentions, but I agree we can all benefit from watching more critically if we’re going to watch.

Anyway thanks for the show and your willingness to take on more serious topics!

Comment: You’re welcome. Gonna try to do that more in the future. Not necessarily with this show, but just other things in general.

Dear Steve,

So very many thanks for your podcast with Jennifer Pozner. I truly could have listened to her for two more hours. Her explanation of the economic concerns underpinning reality television, especially the Bachelor, was fascinating. And I have already ordered her book. I’d love to know more about her thoughts re media literacy education in America. Having taught students at the undergraduate and graduate level, I’m often alarmed to discover that they accept the written/published word as fact, rather than as opinion, something inflected by a particular perspective. I am American but was educated in Europe and I am continually concerned that students—whether facing a text about art history or, an article in the newspaper, or, frankly, an episode of the Bachelor—cannot, refuse to, interrogate what is in front of their faces, as if it is truth, well, this is alarming. The most empowering choice anyone can make is to question any narrative with which they are presented. Glad you liked Jennifer. Her book is a great read and I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it.

A word on Demi. Is not the difference between her and Jed the fact that production knew her story, endorsed and embraced it prior to filming? That they condoned and supported her decision, and built a story line around it? The difference is not in the facts of the thing, but in its interpretation. Her choices have been valorized. Jed’s have not, were not, nor they should be. That said, her words to Tanner and by extension Jade were unkind and unnecessary. Oh yeah, the storyline is completely different. But I’m just talking about the one fact that both came on the show seriously involved with someone else. So, is it now OK to allow contestants on either show who have been seeing someone back home as long as they announce it at the beginning of the show? That’s the issue I’m talking about.

And…all things considered…what happened to Bachelor in Paradise?. I think it is possible to meet your “person” anywhere—through friends, in class, at a dinner party, at a bar, at the dry cleaners. Bachelor in Paradise used to embrace that idea. Sure, people texted and DMed etc before, sure, but they were often vilified (cf Joe Bailey and Samantha). But nonetheless some people must have walked onto that beach hoping that they might encounter someone who surprised them, hoped that a Tanner and Jade, Carly and Evan, Raven and Adam ending might be possible. And now we are, for the most part, watching the fallout from…drunken hookups by aspirational Instagram influencers bent on shaming one another. I…can’t?

I am this close to quitting the franchise…while I can endorse hope, whether of love or some kind of aspirational behavior modeled to the masses, I can’t think that what we are seeing contains even a seed of that hope.

Meanwhile, the half self-pitying, half self-congratulatory behavior we’ve been seeing the last weeks from Hannah B herself is appalling to me. At exactly her age, I lost my father, a baby though a miscarriage, and a fiancé, and I completed a PhD nonetheless. Why must we congratulate her for her “struggle”? Becca, that I got. She in good faith chose the best for herself in a given moment. But a twenty four year old girl with every advantage in the world, who once chose badly? Who has the support of Bachelor Universe, every financial advantage on her plate? Whining that someone she rejected would rather do something else? No.

Comment: Yeah, unfortunately I couldn’t get on board with Hannah’s IG post about her current “struggle.” While I understand what she was saying and she was probably having a bad day or even a bad week, I’m sorry, that type of “struggle” is gonna fall on deaf ears to a lot of people.

Hi Steve!

Writing to you from the UK where they are only just showing Arie’s season, so I basically have to live any Bachelor nation life through your site. You’re the best!

A couple of random questions-

Why do you think production seem to push certain couples together? Blake and Hannah G had a huge following even before paradise, so surely it would have been in the producers interests to encourage that when it already had a fan base, yet Blake took Tayshia on his first date, probably encouraged by producers? If it was his choice it makes no sense from what he was saying before. Then at the rose ceremony they let Dylan give his rose first, when Blake also wanted to choose Hannah, so if Blake had gone first it might have pushed them together more? Is this all coincidence, I personally doubt it, but wondered what your thoughts on it are? It definitely wasn’t a coincidence they let Dylan choose first. Because absolutely Blake would’ve given his rose to Hannah if he went first.

You suggested Clay as the bachelor and I think he may have a shot now from your post (seeing as you posted your friends opinion of Hannah B and shortly after she got the gig!) but they say Tyler’s recent dating behaviour may take him out of the running, what about Clay? Hear me out- he went out with Angela for 8 (or was it 10) months but admitted he didn’t say he loved her, then with Nicole he says it’s the strongest initial feelings he’s had but according to your spoilers they split after overnights because he won’t commit or say he loves her- would he be a bit of a waste of a bachelor? Yes he’s a nice and respectful guy and would probably end up dating his final choice for a while, but he doesn’t seem ready to commit long term and doesn’t seem ready to love? Clay won’t be Bachelor. I was just saying if you’re gonna say Mike is a candidate, then why wouldn’t one be able to say Clay?

Sorry another one about Clay- I saw on your spoilers that Angela comes in later on this season and she picks Chase a couple of times.. seeing as her and Clay recently broke up before this, was there NO drama between these two with her turning up on the beach? Yes, they have a talk once she arrives on the show and it gets pretty tense. It’s the whole reason she was brought on the show.

I feel sorry for Bibiana, Annaliese, Cam etc who get the pitiful edits (clearly Cam got an overly bad edit that made him look mental!) do you think they are going to keep bringing them back for rejection every year?? In the UK they are quite hot on mental health and reality tv and are starting to try avoid this type of thing. They obviously ask who is interested in who before they cast- can’t they find someone who wants Bibi? I hope some of these people wouldn’t be dumb enough to want to sign up for this again.

Lastly, do you ever think Bachelor will make the giving a rose more like being ‘coupled up’ like love island, so those who have each other’s rose share a bed etc until the next rose ceremony? Certainly makes more drama! Or is Bachelor quite set in its ways now and doesn’t need to change anything when it has such a big fan base.

Oh and who do you think will be the next bachelor??? (Haha just kidding)

Thanks for all you do!

Comment: I don’t see how that would work within the format of this show? Getting a rose means you get to stay at the Bachelors place? But he usually gives 3 roses an episode before the rose ceremony, so how would that work?

With Hannah’s DWTS announcement right around the corner, fans of Kaitlyn Bristowe are out in full force saying things like, “Kaitlyn was robbed.” “Justice for KB.” etc… Am I the only one who thinks Kaitlyn never should have been considered for DWTS after spoiling her own season and breaching her contract? Her fans don’t seem to think this is a big deal and that she was somehow “wronged” by the network. I have worked with a lot of A list celebrities, and this type of thing is pretty serious. If a contract is breached, at minimum they would not be invited back, but they could also lose out on $ depending on the severity. Kaitlyn acts like she was somehow entitled to this, and I just don’t get it.

Comment: I think you would have a point IF Kaitlyn wasn’t set to be on DWTS and Fleiss didn’t pull the plug literally the night before. If Fleiss had said from the beginning he wasn’t allowing Kaitlyn because she screwed up on Snapchat, it’d be a different story. But that’s not what happened. Kaitlyn met with everyone and was set to be cast – until she wasn’t when Fleiss stepped in and killed it.

Hey Steve,

I recently started watching the Australian version of the bachelor. I noticed it was really the only other international version that was active. Anyways they have many differences compared to the U.S version. For example the first impression rose actually means something. Like a key to the bachelors pad or a ticket to their hometown or stealing someone else’s date or planning your own one on one date. They change it each season basically a different twist which is cool to see. Do you feel like if the U.S did something like that it will change the dynamic of the show?
I also feel like in Australia they get to know the lead better and go on more dates because only one person is eliminated each episode. It is not as rushed as others. However, the u.s dates are way better and overall they get to travel more. On the drama side both have a lot of drama. Both versions are great overall. I was wondering if you watch or have watched other versions of the show? If so, what is something that another version has in their show that you wished the U.S would change/do?

Each show is different and that is what I like and what makes it so special. I feel like a few changes could make each show better.

Comment: I’ve never seen any other country’s version of the show, nor do I have any interest in doing so. I think it becomes too gimmicky at this point if they do that in the US version. They’re successful with what they do now. No need to trick it up like that.

Hi Steve,

I’m listening to your podcast from this week & I had to pause at minute 13 to tell you my thoughts. I wholeheartedly agree with you about Demi and I tried making a case against her under her Twitter comments, basically #TeamJed type respectful comment I made and her followers basically murdered me with their words. (insert eye roll). Real shocker to hear that.

Also you were talking about how the cast naturally tends to call, meet up, message, DM, text, etc. and it made me think about Samantha Steffen. Remember how she was crucified for even DMing Joe Bailey? Crazy how times have changed! I think if she came back in these times, she’d be more well received. Just wanted to throw that out there!

Thanks for listening!

Comment: Absolutely. That was like unheard of back then. Now, it’s just par for the course.

I thought your recent podcast was really interesting. A lot of her points I agreed with and wanted to hear more! I loved how in depth it was. Somethings she brought up was a bit merky/uncomfortable when it got political but overall I thought her view point was really interesting. I really liked hearing about details in product placements, producer manipulations, and all the editing. People judge that I watch the show but I really do watch it with a crictical eye – that’s why I like your behind the scenes take and Sharleen’s blog. I get so annoyed when people are naive about the show. I hope you don’t get too much flack for the podcast. Its always interesting to hear other people’s perspective. I’m in marketing and love reality tv so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

Comment: A lot of positive feedback for Jennifer. Even just in these “Reader Emails” there’s been at least four or five positive responses so far. She was really good. Yeah, there were a couple 15-20 minute answers that I’m sure people thought went on too long, but if you actually listened to what she was explaining, it went into great detail that I guarantee most of their audience doesn’t think about when watching.

Hi Steve,

The past couple of years, I have emailed you for draft advice with my NFL pool. While I love football, I am not super up to date with player knowledge, so, here we are again! I could use your advice again for my draft.

-There are 14 players in our league
-Non PPR
-Draft is ‘snake’ style

2 years ago, I had the first pick overall, and picked….. David Johnson. We all know how that worked out.

Last year, it was my turnaround season. I had the 2nd round pick. So, I chose Leveon Bell. Good times.

This year…. I am first – again. So, yeah. Most people would be happy, but I am just feeling jaded about my luck so far! At this point in time, I would just be happy if my first round pick actually plays a game.

My questions to you:

-In your esteemed opinion, who would you take first overall?
-If Patrick Mahomes is still available by the time I get to pick 2 or 3, would you take him? Or would you suggest taking a higher ranked RB/WR/TE if available?
-Thoughts on Josh Gordon?
-Thoughts on Tony Pollard?

Comment: Yikes, you’re snake bitten apparently.

I would go with Saquon Barkley with the first pick. I know you’ve bombed on RB’s the last two years, but hey, this will be your year.

Since you have the first pick in a snake draft, that means you don’t pick again til picks #28 and #29. Unless the other 13 teams in your league are morons, there’s no chance in hell Mahomes drops to #28 or #29. If he’s there, yes, you absolutely take him. But I’d be shocked if he was.

In your league, RB’s and QB’s are probably valued more than WR’s considering it’s non PPR. So I would draft another RB and a QB with your next two picks. Unless there’s a stud receiver on the board, then go that route.

Josh Gordon is a late round pick. Too unreliable. Pollard is a late rounder also. Obviously his value increases if Zeke keeps holding out, but he’s still a flex player at best unless the Cowboys officially name him a starter. It’s a tough call right now.

Colton recently had some complaints that he had to lie about his top picks:

This leaves me with a question. Is it production that choose who goes on both group and one on one dates, and not the lead? Yes.

And does production get involved in eliminations as well, trying to veto eliminations for people who make good TV? They will nudge the lead in certain directions, sure.

And are Bachelor in Paradise contestants supposed to choose one person, the very first day they are there, and not talk to anyone else the whole time. Because they are sure being criticized, as you say, if they consider more than one option.

Comment: No, they’re not. In the audience’s mind they are, but ultimately, the goal is to go out there and explore your options. Problem is, most people know already going in who they want to zone in on because they’ve either conversed or met pre-Paradise.

Hi Steve,

Long time reader, first time emailing in.

So I’ve seen a lot of praise for Derek ever since the season started and even people thinking he may be getting a bachelor edit. Do you think he’s in the running? I was very hopeful the Mike was going to get more of his story, but that hasn’t happened yet. In the running? Sure. He’s the hot name right now. I just don’t see it being him. And I hope people will remember the “Derek for Bachelor” campaign and how much of a fever pitch it was at if/when he doesn’t get the gig.

Also, in regards to production, do they have the same amount of producers in paradise as they have in The Bachelor/ Bachelorette?

Comment: All the main producers are there, but as for if the quantity is the same, that I’m not sure.



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