Thanks for all you do! And thank you for the serious topics you’ve shed light on through your interviews such as sexual assault, abuse, and addiction. You’re doing a lot of meaningful work!
I know your opinion on Demi and how the concept of her girlfriend joining the show is ridiculous as it was pre-planned. I agree— it was extremely planned out and the acting on last night’s episode to hide that fact was definitely not the best. I’m also aware of the double standard and know this situation would never be allowed if a guy brought on his girlfriend. Lastly, I know Kristian isn’t Demi’s first girlfriend which proves some of the storyline isn’t truthful/is stretched for dramatic effect. However, I’m thankful we got to see this storyline.
I’m a 26 year old woman and I’m gay. When I was 11 years old, I realized I didn’t like guys the same way straight girls do and it took me 10 years to finally figure out and come to terms with my sexuality. I’ve dealt with depression and at my worst times, suicidal thoughts, as a large percentage of people in the LGBTQ+ community have. We live in such a heteronormative world where those who are queer can feel like outcasts when they don’t know their sexuality or do not fit into this straight narrative. I have specific memories of watching the Bachelorette when I was younger and personally feeling so ashamed because I knew I could never like a guy in the way the Bachelorette could. When you feel this sense of shame, you try to repress these feelings which prevents yourself from connecting with others who may feel the same, putting yourself in an extremely dark and lonely place. So, seeing a non-straight relationship on tv provides a small but crucial source of hope and connection within this isolated space. I’m happy we got to see Demi’s feelings of confusion and questioning surrounding sexuality, as this topic has been needed throughout the past 20 years of straight relationships on this show.
Although I’m not fully out yet to all of my friends/family, seeing glimpses of queer representation within the media and throughout my life has continuously helped along the way. I can only imagine how seeing this storyline several years ago would’ve positively impacted my journey to self-acceptance and I’m sure it’s helping many other people come to terms with themselves, or allowing themselves to begin this process. I know when talking about sensitive topics, you say that if it helps at least one person, it’s worth it. Demi’s story has been worth it. Despite the clear pre-planning and producer involvement for this storyline, it’s important that these types of conversations are beginning to seep into discussion surrounding this franchise.
Thanks so much!
Comment: I hear what you’re saying. And I’m glad at least something positive can come out of it. But I think we’re talking about two different things. At no point have I ever said that the actual relationship, or seeing a same sex couple on this show was a bad thing. My whole argument has been around the TV/production side of it and I think it becomes a little more real if it happened organically.
We all know reality TV isn’t real, and yes the end result of Demi and Kristian being together has had a positive impact with you. But to me, being presented the way that it has, and having to listen to Demi lie through her teeth in every interview she’s done since last week, really takes away from that impact it should have.
I’m late for Reader Emails this week (since I’m reading the column now) but the question about Blake and Jen hanging out in Nashville had me thinking about the rumors recently that Jen and Shawn B. have been hanging out. Have you heard anything about that? I’d actually love them together.
Comment: I know they know each other and hang out, but I haven’t heard anything romantically happening between them.
Hi Reality Steve. Love reading your spoilers and recaps.
This last BIP episode threw me. I was grateful Demi received clarity when her girlfriend came on the show. However, why would they stay on the show? Like I feel in all years past if that happened to anyone they would have said “very glad you have clarity and wish you all the best” and then sent them on their way back home.
Comment: I think that’s what most people are asking. I know a lot are saying it because Kristian isn’t Bachelor Nation, but I do agree that there really are no rules when it comes to this show. They allowed Ashley I’s sister on one season and just made a rule that if one of them got a rose, then the other one did. But Kristian being allowed to stay really only makes sense when you look at it through the lens of they knew she and Demi were going to leave Mexico together. That was the plan before bringing her down. Yeah, I think once she arrived and Demi got her “clarity,” they should’ve just left and we got an update on their relationship at the reunion. But ABC wouldn’t have been able to promote and exploit a same sex couple as much as they will these next 3 weeks if they did that.
I completely agree with your perspective, and that of a lot of readers I’ve seen sending in emails, about the Demi situation being forced/ pre-planned/ an exception to normal standards.
I noticed a few reader emails this past week had the suggestion of bringing bisexual contestants on to the Bachelor/ Bachelorette and then putting them on BIP as a way to promote the LGBTQ+ community. But those emails also usually included complaints that the show “would never do that.” What about Jaimi from Nick’s season? She came out as bisexual to Nick on a group date and then was also cast on BIP. Nick made a joke in the moment asking if he had to worry about her stealing any of the other female contestants.
Just a reminder that Demi isn’t the first bisexual person to be out on the shows. Very supportive of them doing it more like they did with Jaimi in a natural/ non pre-planned storyline that still gives visibility to non-hetero sexual orientations.
If they had multiple contestants (I’m guessing would need at least 3 or 4 to have any shot of them actually being interested in someone rather than forced) like that who were then cast on BIP, they’d have the potential for a real BIP same-sex relationship between two people Bachelor Nation knows and still be within the structure the show has created. I’m honestly surprised that since this Demi storyline was so pre-planned, that they didn’t bring Jaimi on for a single episode to add even more layers to the plot.
Comment: While yes, Jaimi was the first bisexual contestant that we knew of and it was discussed on the show, Jaimi didn’t last long enough, or ever enter into anything with a woman, hence the reason most people forgot. Was she the first? Yes. Did she have the impact Demi’s having? Not even close.
Tanner and others have said that the “plan” was known prior to filming. Given how much Bachelor Nation talks and texts with each other, it seems likely that a few of the people at Paradise knew about the “plan” prior to hitting the beach. It also seems likely that if even one of the participants knew about the “plan” going in, everybody, including Derek, would have known about the plan by the end of the first day. They have nothing to do but drink, talk and, in JPJ’s case, sleep all day. Am I missing something?
Comment: Plenty of people out there knew the plan, knew Demi and Kristian were dating pre-show, and had even met Kristian before going down there. Will they ever admit it publicly? No. And that’s why this storyline fizzles to me. You have people acting and straight up lying out there to protect a story unfortunately. Loses its luster if you ask me.
As for Derek, I find it awfully hard to believe he didn’t know anything whatsoever. I just don’t buy it. Sorry. And I’m the guy who’s been saying since I first reported this story back in June when people then were asking me if Derek knew or was in on it, I was saying that’s not what I was hearing. Now? I don’t buy it. There are A LOT of questions I have regarding Derek’s role in all this. Problem is, he’ll never admit to knowing anything because that completely destroys his edit and all the love after he got after last week’s episode basically becomes fraudulent. So I guess I’ll just continue to believe what I believe based on things I’ve heard, things specifically I know Derek said, and that’ll be that.
Watching the Kristian and Demi storyline play out on screen is refreshing for many of us in the LGBTQ community, even if it’s a disingenuous pre planned event to a large extent
As messed up and selfish as it is to drag Derek in to the situation and have him hurt as collateral damage, which I think was really unecessary, the silver lining of having two women fall in love on such a mainstream show is still a positive thing in the bigger picture of it all, even if it’s over produced and twisted into a convenient narrative I’m still grateful that people get to see that kind of connection from an emotional not just physical perspective because any love story between same sex couples getting air time is still progress
And even with the pre planned superficial set up, or the lack of maturity or character, it’s still an extremely hard thing for anyone to open up about their sexuality let alone in such a public way, so that took courage no matter what people say
My question is: how much do you think Kristian knew about Derek before she arrived? It seems like production kept her in the dark about the Derek part of the story and maybe she was just told everything else. That way they get a genuinely hurt reaction from both Derek and Kristian for their storyline perhaps, if each of them only know half the story? She didn’t seem to have any heads up about Derek, and if that’s the case it’s mean but also not surprising that producers would pull shit like that to get a more interesting reaction for tv. I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about this. So many.
I think also that Demi, being young and selfish, while I think she sincerely does have strong feelings for Kristian and that she didn’t think that her “finding herself” would hurt two other people so much, was really naiive and self focused about it all, and that’s not a surprise but I hope she becomes more self aware as she grows up. So many people, especially her age use “finding themself” or “focusing on me” as a scape goat for selfish choices, instead of self care or growth being seen as something that can be done without other people getting used or tried on like shoes
Obviously her deception about the earlier girlfriend, and making this seem like a spontaneous new development in her life that is just coincidentally unfolding during her time in Mexico in front of millions… fake. Shows poor character and a hunger for attention. Didn’t need to be lied about like it was her first time loving a woman. Could have told the full story and still made a positive impact
Still… like I said the one silver lining is that same sex love is finally getting normalised on the screen more and more these days, even through train wreck and dumpster fire narratives.
Comment: You seem to be in the same boat as the first email today. Same sex love is finally getting some major play on a show that’s been on the air 17 years and 38 seasons. And another 10 seasons if you count all their summer shows and the one season of “Winter Games.” But there’s still so many things wrong with how they went about doing it that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Hey Steve, i’m getting an early start on next weeks reader emails.
Firstly, I will say watching BIP this season, the producers must be incredibly thankful for Caelynn starting the Blake fiasco. I know Blake made bad decisions sleeping with K and C back to back, but if it weren’t for Caelynn making sure everyone knew about, none of the contestants or viewers probably would have cared about his sexual history. It’s clear Caelynn went on the show hoping everyone would find out about their hookup and wanted the attention from Blake. In the back of her mind she was hoping Blake might actually like her and want to pursue things but at the time wanted to play it off and act like they should keep their hookup a secret to be a “cool girl”. Not that I would be able to handle myself in that kind of environment at 23 years old either. From the second Caelynn stepped on the beach, she had an agenda. People seem to be overlooking that major fact.
Onto my main question, I know you don’t watch BB (possibly this season for Holly), but i’m curious about your thoughts on the backlash they get for their contestants being controversial/racist. It’s clear that a lot of their recent seasons in particular are getting a lot of backlash for contestants saying nasty/inappropriate/racist things on their live feeds, so much so that Julie Chen has questioned some of the contestants about it when they’re evicted. Do you think this is a result of bad casting? I’m sure any reality show would have the same problem if they also had live feeds, but even without it the contestants seem more unlikeable compared to on other shows. The casting Director (Robyn Kass) gets an incredible amount of hate and people calling for her to be fired because of the seemingly terrible contestants they’ve had. Do you think this is fair? Should they attempt to find someone that can do a better job at finding contestants who are not going to slip up and say something racist on their live feeds? I myself don’t think they have nearly as many memorable/likable contestants as the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise does.
Comment: I don’t know enough about past BB contestants and their behavior since is the first season I’ve ever watched. However, I know just by reading headlines and seeing things over the years, it’s definitely been prevalent. Not that I want to defend their casting, but, during that process, how are they supposed to know someone is racist? I mean, outside of blatant social media posts, which I don’t think any of these prior contestants had (or maybe they did), I don’t know how they could vet that out beforehand.
Now, once they are on the show, and something racist comes flying out of their mouth, then maybe THAT should be dealt with better than it has been. I know with Jack this season, they pulled him aside and told him what they heard, but ultimately he stayed in the game. Maybe they just make a rule that anything racist immediately gets you booted.
I’ve been following your site since almost the beginning, but first time on writing. This situation with Demi/her girlfriend/BIP is laughable and you have hit every nail on the head about it.
It is NOT an LGBTQ issue. It has everything to do with production trying to milk a current “hot” issue for what it’s worth. If, say, Derek (or any other guy) had a girlfriend back home but was conflicted about his feelings for Demi, no way the show allows the GF to join Paradise.
Honestly, if this was, again say, Derek, who had a BOYFRIEND back home and was conflicted about his feelings for Demi, there is no way his boyfriend would have been allowed on the show.
Also, while I’m writing for the first (and hopefully last) time, I’m a huge 90210 fan & would like to know your favorite/least favorite storylines and characters on the show.
“Bark” to Luka!!
Comment: Yes, that’s the main issue. They bent over backwards for Demi just so they could push this story. Let the story play out organically. It’s laughable that she’s still trying to pretend she wasn’t pre-planning this. Makes her look worse. And not only the pre-planning, but just like you said, she was seeing someone (fairly seriously) pre-show and was allowed to come on. So now anyone who comes on any of these shows technically should be allowed to, right? Demi did.
Jason and Jennie getting back together I’m all for. And the David and Donna stuff. I’m really liking the show and I’m glad they’re doing it this way.
First time commenter. My two cents about the Demi/Kristian storyline is strictly that it is mind-boggling how the network (and Hannah) expect us to think this situation is different from hers. I get that it is not the same as Jed having a girlfriend and only coming clean once he was engaged, but it is EXACTLY the same as the Scott Anderson situation on day one of her season.
Here’s what you had to say then:
-Scotty my man, you might wanna line up your stories before you go on the show and have all your alibis set. Man what a shit show that was. The first thing when confronted was him saying, “I don’t have a girlfriend.” Which then morphed into, “Yeah, I dated this girl.” And then it was, “Yeah, she messaged me on Monday.” And then it ends with, “Yes, I was dating a girl up until Monday…” So not only does this ball sack get caught with his pants down, instead of coming clean and owning it, he DOUBLES DOWN with the ol’ “well I could also say you were just with Colton a few months ago. That’s basically the same thing.” Might seriously be the worst argument I’ve ever heard in the history of this show. I hope they put him on Paradise and he goes down there with a girlfriend at home – again. Would be comical.
SHE HAD A GIRLFRIEND BACK HOME! And she is wasting everyone’s time who is participating unless she announces it to EVERYONE WHO IS GIVING OUT ROSES BEFOREHAND.
Comment: You’re preaching to the choir. Sets a bad precedent as well. Because now anyone who comes on the show even though they have a boyfriend/girlfriend back home, can say they’re coming on just to get clarity and we technically can’t argue it.
I am officially leaving Bachelor Nation after a decade of watching it with my family. Same sex relationships are not what we tune in to see. I don’t judge them, but I don’t want to see it, nor do I want my kids passing through the living room to see me watching two women making out on the screen. I’m done. And I am sad. I LOVED these shows. We can agree to disagree but for me persoanaly, I am very uncomfortable watching it, and if ABC wants to air it, so be it. There are over two hundred other channels on my TV to choose from.
Comment: You don’t judge them, yet you are admittedly uncomfortable watching it and don’t want your kids exposed to seeing it. Sounds like you’re absolutely judging them.
First off – thanks for doing what you do. I don’t typically do spoilers but I love that you dig into the underbelly of this show. Due to one of your older blog articles where you mentioned Jennifer Pozner and her book, I had actually JUST finished ‘Reality Bites’ by Jennifer Pozner a few days before you posted your podcast with her. Since it was written so long ago, it was great to hear what she thinks now in 2019.
I started critically watching this show a few years ago, learning about frankenbiting and other producer manipulations. The book, and your podcast, will make a vast difference to me in how I watch and digest this show. You asked yourself if your podcast would make a difference to your listeners and I wanted to answer with a STRONG YES. I have been watching since Trista’s season. I now question everything. To be honest, after your podcast, I’m not even sure if I can continue watching. The “fluffy fun” show – BIP – is not very fun this season and watching Hannah’s season was downright painful. I enjoy the community (your podcasts, friends and coworkers that watch) much more than the actual show. I enjoy talking about the producer manipulations similar to how Jennifer talks about as the “games” to help you find the tropes.
Your podcast, and her book, also helped show me how much other shows have quietly infiltrated my thoughts as well and to question TV much much more. I just wanted to let you know.
Additionally – I was wondering if you have ever watched any of the Bachelors in other countries? I have watched all of the seasons of Bach/ette including BIP in Australia. I find this show much better than the US. The shows have edited and manipulated their people more in each season as it has gone along (becoming more like the US version), but a lot of the things that we question in the US version, are better in Australia, in my opinion. Australia had same sex couples interest in the past two seasons of BIP. They also seek accomplished men and women for the Bachelor/ette. The current Bachelor is an astrophysicist and they don’t typically cast from a previous season, they find someone outside of the previous seasons. Also, as Pozner pointed out, these would be women as the Bachelorette that were not humiliated with a past dumping on TV. One was a famous actress (Sophie Monk), although she was clearly on the show for her career. But so are the men usually. They have a 50% success rate or something like that. Much better than US. Some of the differences may be cultural. It could be that reality TV is different there, I don’t know. I would love to see some critical articles that compare the show in the context of the two cultures. (I watched all these shows while I was studying for a huge certification exam and had the time).
Thanks Steve! All the best!
Comment: No, have never watched the other countries versions. This show, my column, my podcast, and the numerous other TV shows in my DVR on a weekly basis keep me too busy to watch another country’s version of this show. That ain’t gonna happen.