Reality Steve

Reader Emails

“Reader Emails,” DWTS, IG Updates, & Michelle in Final Week of Filming

Hi Steve,

More of a long-winded thought than a question here. I wanted to share a reflection on why I found the Brendan situation so problematic the other night. Who knows, maybe other people feel the same way.

My reaction to the Brendan situation was similar to the Greg situation, and it boils down to one reason: I find it worrisome, almost dangerous, to play these conversations for a massive audience on national TV without exploring the gravitas and implications of those conversations. Before elaborating, I should clarify that I’m not talking about the “Brendan and Pieper coming to Paradise to continue dating and gain followers” part of the episode, but rather the way Brendan spoke to Natasha.

Brendan’s remarks to Natasha and about Natasha were demeaning (e.g., saying she had no other prospects, that she was annoying him by trying to be in a relationship) and manipulative (i.e., saying she had selective hearing about their prior conversations). Regarding the selective hearing comment, one could argue that perhaps Brendan and Natasha had some conversations off-camera about the nature of what he calls their “friendship.” However, I think we can safely rule out that possibility because when Natasha told Brendan he was lying in the moment, he basically admitted to doing just that. (Why did he backtrack so quickly? No one can be sure, but I suspect he didn’t expect Natasha to stand her ground and call him out, so he panicked.)

In any case, seeing him treat Natasha in such an appalling manner on national TV gives that sort of discourse a very public platform, and I worry about how viewers perceive that–especially since there are no subsequent conversations (in ITMs or even staged group convos) about how treating someone in that way is problematic. Are there men who see their own similar actions as justified? Are there women who think it’s okay to let men treat them that way? I felt similarly about the Greg situation.

The key difference between the portrayal of the Greg and Brendan situations, in my opinion, is that Greg was portrayed as being justified (i.e., in a more neutral-to-positive light) and Brendan was portrayed as a clear villain. But–and here’s the particularly important part, in my opinion–Brendan was portrayed as a villain because of his coming into the process with a relationship (i.e., throwing a wrench into the structure of the show) and not because of the way he treated Natasha in those conversations.

This got way longer than I was intending, but just wanted to share those reflections. Thanks for all that you do!

Comment: Very well put and I appreciate how much thought you put into it. And you’re not wrong. However, this show has been doing this for 42 seasons and now 7 BIP seasons. They don’t care how anyone is portrayed, what hurtful conversations are shown, or any myriad of other problematic things they’ve shown. It’s never changing either, so, while you’re accurate in your assessment, it won’t change anything unfortunately.

Steve, do you think Brendan/Pieper by the end of it realized all that was being recorded and that they would have a lot of backlash? They way they went out front ahead of the episode and posted on Instagram with captions alluding to this makes me think so. But also, don’t you feel like they really don’t care much at all? A day after the episode has aired they haven’t lost *that* many followers, just a small dent. It’s probably because they’re good looking eye candy so most people don’t actually want to unfollow unfortunately. I get this sense by their Instagram captions that they are almost cocky/don’t care, they’re just going to move on and bank on the fact that they’ll still make money off the tens of thousands of followers they still currently have (and will eventually gain more followers again at some point once enough time has passed). Thoughts? Thanks! –

Comment: Brendan’s lost a good amount. Pieper hasn’t. And no, their social media actions the last 48 hrs show they don’t care. Which was my whole message in yesterday’s post. They don’t care about what people are saying, so you shouldn’t care about them. Don’t let them get to you, don’t get worked up over what happened Monday night, and don’t let their post show actions affect you either. Ignore and unfollow. That’s the best thing you can do to show your disdain for how they acted.

RS…Not that I want to defend Demi, but I’m really surprised by how many people are shocked at her behavior this season. Did they watch Colton’s season? Did they watch her last time on Paradise? She’s doing exactly what she did those seasons except turning up the annoying factor 10 x. This is who she is. She thinks she’s better than everyone (even though I think that’s a defense mechanism and she’s majorly insecure), she stirs the pot whenever she can, she’s a total mean girl, and she can’t be trusted with any guy. Nothing I’ve seen this season is anything new to me, yet people seem to be like, “Ugh Demi is so annoying!” Have they never watched her before? Anyways, I can’t wait to hear your response to this.


Comment: I welcome all emails from all people every week on “Reader Emails.” Yours included. Thank you.

Hi Steve!

I was reading your BIP recap column today (it’s Tuesday morning) where you start off by sharing that as far as you know, it is still Greg as Bachelor. Cool. That’s whatever to me. What really grinds my gears stems from some of the things you say after that – specifically how you kind of want Greg to get the role to see how certain other folks in toxic bachelor nation will react. This quote in particular had me feeling all kinds of ways …

“I’ve heard everything all those people have – months ago. Like while Katie’s season was airing. But if I would’ve reported it, those people would’ve came for me. Yet they took it all as 100% fact, showed no proof, showed no evidence, had no one come forward to back up their opinion, yet, spread it all season like it was gospel.”

I know that you try to not let it get to you anymore, but man, I’d have a hard time keeping my shit together if I were in your shoes. These people bring up different women who you’ve reported things on, made comments about, etc. and how wrong it is — and yes, if you leave it at that, I agree. You’ve changed your ways, it’s all good.

What really bothers me is that they have the audacity to report on things about Greg as fact, share no proof, bash him, but that’s okay? Won’t he get the same backlash/hate/bullying thrown at him the way the women that you reported on did back in the day? How is that at all fair?

I don’t have any questions for you this week, just needed to get that off my chest. Hope I’m not the only one who feels that way.

P.S. Giggled at your “single as a pringle” comment in today’s recap. Kudos.

Comment: I do what I do, they do what they do, and I’ll let people make their own judgments from there.

The only thing I’ve said about everything in the aftermath of what happened, and the one thing I’ll continue to say, is the level of hypocrisy I’m seeing is quite comical.

Hi Steve,

With regards to Brendan and Pieper, I agree with you that people need to leave them alone and not call them names. I think it was great retribution seeing them lose all of those followers. I would like to comment that I think they epitomize what bachelor nation has become now. It’s all about the clout and the followers now. I think there are few contestants there for love. Katie had a big tiktok following before she was even on Matt’s season.

Another thing I want to comment on is this, when Greg had his anxiety attack people were quick to call it gaslighting (it wasn’t), and people were rightfully calling out Brendan for his gaslighting yesterday. But I saw very few tweets calling out the Victoria behavior with James and Mari’s behavior with Kenny last week. Why is bachelor nation so quick to call out these men, but lets the behavior of these women slide? Is it because the majoirty of bachelor nation fans are female? For the record, I don’t believe anyone should attack any of the contestants on social media. Just an interesting observation that I have had over the seasons. Women definitely take plenty of heat on this show. Men are much more easily forgiven for, usually, having worse behavior. But maybe the tides are turning. I’ve never seen a male contestant drop so many followers in such a short amount of time.

Next question, do you ever wonder if production is using you to see how an idea would work? Like someone leaks to you that Greg would be bachelor, you throw it out there and they see how it goes with Bachelor Nation? I am also team Greg and can’t wait to see what that one podcast has to say about it, because they are just over the top and fake! No.

And finally, I think it’s awesome that you were the first guest at the Olive Garden in Vegas. I saw an Olive Garden commercial during BiP last week I think, and I was like are they trolling Steve? Haha

Thanks for all your hard work!

Comment: They better not be trolling me. I think I single handedly keep them in business.

Hi Steve,

I am one of your #1 fans since day one you started your blog/recap/spoilers!

Okay, I agree let Pieper and Brendan be…

It did seem like Brendan was more of a gas-lighter in last nights scene with Natasha than Greg and Katie’s fight. I think it was hard for me to hear Brendan tell Natasha that their relationship was always platonic. But he did say it was more, he said that Natasha was one that had his heart, so I can see why Natasha thought she trumped Pieper at the time. I just wish she called him out on that too. He was a total Mind**** to her. (ie:gas-lit her). Interesting that no one is using that term on this situation.

BUT as you said, she handled the whole situation with kid gloves. Could be a set up for our next Bachelorette : ), aka: Natasha.

Comment: He was a total dick to her. There’s no other way around it. He said stuff that made him seem like an inconsiderate, selfish asshole. Period.

The “Bachelorette” doesn’t start filming for the next 6 months. I know everyone’s got a Natasha fire burning right now, but c’mon, that’s a lot of receny bias right there. The next “Bachelor” cast should be announced within the next couple weeks, then it’ll air after the new year and we’ll have a whole new set of girls everyone will be excited and talking about. So while I get Natasha is on people’s minds now, filming isn’t til March of 2022. There will be other candidates that we don’t even know the names of right now. Well, I have a few girls set to be on next season, but who knows how long they’ll last.

Hi Steve –

I think Brendan and Pieper put themselves on the memorable Villains list last night, maybe in the middle to lite villain range (for me, people like Jed and Bentley are higher range villains). Watching Brendan explain to Natasha that he had not actually wasted her time because no one else was interested in her was pretty low though. I had been looking forward to seeing Thomas living rent free in angry Aaron’s head as Thomas took a 2nd woman away from him – maybe that will happen on the Tuesday episode. The ongoing thing that makes me laugh this season – and I don’t mean it to be mean as she is an attractive woman – is how different Maurissa looks in the day versus her dressed up/evening version.

Big Brother – Tiffany planted the seeds for blowing up The Cookout early. Xavier talked about blowing up her game by winning the veto and taking Alyssa off the block. He seems to think this would force her to replace Alyssa with Claire. I don’t see her doing that. I think she would put up Big D or Ky and that X better take himself off to avoid tempting others to take him out. Do you think Tiffany made a tactical error by not following the plan and losing the HOH competition? Well, I would not read the next paragraph if you don’t want to know tonight’s spoiler.

I’ve basically avoided the live feeds all season and stayed away from the recaps of the live feeds on Twitter, but I did come across this week’s POV results and subsequent aftermath. Alyssa won POV, took herself down, and Tiffany replaced her with Claire. Apparently Tiffany spilled to Claire about the cookout and that was her justification for putting her up. Which actually makes sense. The Cookout has basically accomplished their goal now of getting to the final 6. Unless Alyssa wins HOH next week, she’s seemingly gone.

Challenge – Similar to BB, there was a plan and Kyle acted selfishly and lost the trust of his alliance. For most of the episode, people questioned Kyle and Big T’s loyalty to the vet alliance when, in reality, Fessey showed his true colors again. I am hoping Amber’s prior victory was not a fluke and she kicks his butt and sends him home. I listen to the Aneesa and Tori official podcast and was surprised to learn that a good number of vets, including Big Baby Josh, knew in advance what Fessey would do. Other fun facts I learned: 1) Devin was really devastated by Kyle’s actions. 2) Ashley tried to get Hughie to choose Aneesa as his replacement partner, against Aneesa’s wishes. and 3) Tacha was so upset that Tori selected Berna instead of Michelle to go against her in elimination that she has blocked Tori on all social media.

Comment: I haven’t listened to their podcast yet, but I’ve been meaning to. I do listen to Bananas. Good insight, especially the one with Wes.

Hey Steve,

This email relates to Fboy Island. I thought that show was pretty entertaining, and its higher production value is making it more difficult for me to stomach the Bachelorette/BIP. I have to admit I was surprised to see your partnership promoting Fboy Island, mainly because of the involvement of Elan Gale and other former Bachelor producers on that show (I think) and knowing that the Bachelor big-wigs haven’t generally been very friendly to you. I think it was smart of Fboy Island to partner with you because of your readership base, but were you surprised to be working with them knowing who some of the behind-the-scenes people are?

Comment: Again, this has been addressed numerous times. Elan being the EP for that show has absolutely nothing to do with me covering it. The PR team for the show reached out to me on IG. Elan has nothing to do with that. The collab makes total sense. My audience is exactly who they’re after. And I really liked the show. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have done the collab. I’ve only done shows that I watch.

Hi Steve!!

I’ve followed you since the beginning (I was maybe 14 or 15??) and never wrote an email. I know lots have already done so but as a long time fan I want to personally commend you on your growth as a professional and person in general. I know you’ve made a point not to talk about her and feel free to not even post my email, just wanted to give my brief opinion. I think Demi’s edit is terrible this season. As far as the few older cast members on BIP this season– Becca, Kendall, Tia…they all look fine. Demi comes off as washed up and over done. Her story line hasn’t changed and especially after this past year, I’m so over it and her. Don’t worry, I’ll never troll someone on social media or spew hatred. I’m a good human at heart. But alas, I can be petty as hell and right now I couldn’t be happier about how blah Demi looks this season.

Thanks for keeping us entertained over the years!

Comment: Your contribution to this weeks “Reader Emails” is appreciated. You will be receiving your scratch-n-sniff stickers in the mail soon.

Hi Steve. Appreciate your work, more now than ever. Wanted to send you an email several months ago. Honestly, it would have been to challenge you for conduct with HER. At that point, i truly felt like i should wipe your site from my history and never read you content again. Anyway, I am glad I did not, kept silent, and watched as you accepted responsibility and made the necessary changes. Now, watching paradise, I cringe most episodes and want to just hit the mute button. It’s not pleasant to watch, or especially to listen. HER constant NASAL whining and bitchiness should be enough to squash any kind of dreams! Please ABC, get HER off TV permanently. She’s neither entertaining nor funny. The only true entertainment was when Kenny turned HER down on HER purely desperate offer of the boom boom room. Now THAT was funny! Have a good day.

From: Tortured Ears from listening to HER on Paradise

Comment: I appreciate every “Reader Email” that gets sent to me every week. Thanks for the time and effort you put in to yours this week.

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  1. jlal

    September 8, 2021 at 11:13 AM

    Demi just looks pathetic. It is so obvious she is insecure and uses sex, hence the constant asking to go to the boom boom room. She is so shallow, so can’t grasp how a someone would prefer a deeper, mature person over her annoying little girl attention grabbing antics. I almost feel sorry for her, she is so lost.

  2. shenanigans

    September 8, 2021 at 11:27 AM

    I love Steve’s response to any message that even mentions Demi. That’s the way to handle it, Steve. Give them absolutely NOTHING to say. LOL

  3. ctrealitygirl

    September 8, 2021 at 12:25 PM

    I totally agree with everything you said about Demi, jlal. Last night when she wouldn’t leave Kenny alone, even after he made it pretty clear that he wasn’t going to the boom0boom room with her, she came off looking looking very pathetic and needy. When’s she’s being flirty and fun, I can almost see why men are attracted to her, but as the episodes go on, she’s acting more and more like an immature spoiled brat. It really made my day when she got turned down by Kenny. I’m guessing she won’t want to return to Paradise after this season. Her schtick worked in previous years, but her act has gotten old. And I agree with one of the readers who commented that Demi doesn’t even look that good this year. From the moment she walked down the stairs to the beach I thought the same thing. She has a lot of competition in Paradise, a lot of the women are knock-outs.

  4. snowstorms

    September 8, 2021 at 2:19 PM

    All this Demi talk. I feel empathy for the girl. Her Mother was in prison as she grew up & last I heard, she was released when Demi was filming Colton’s Bachelor. If I look @ this and think about how this damaged her psyche growing up, her whole personality adds up. I am willing to bet she has never dealt with it and has never grown up from the time her Mother was incarcerated. Her trying too hard, any attention is better than nothing, etc…

    I always try to think why a person acts the way they do & while I feel for Demi, I hope she does her growing up OFF CAMERA and perhaps come back to the franchise when she has dealt with all of her issues, but I hope she disappears til then – IF she ever DOES grow up.

  5. windsurfer

    September 8, 2021 at 3:40 PM

    I don’t know anything about your “difficulties” with Demi, but I very much regret that you cannot/will not comment on her absolutely atrocious behavior, specifically for the entertainment value your snarky (but accurate) comments would be. I cringe every time she shows up on screen, and of course the more dreadful she is, the more focus they’ll put on her. Last night was actually so far over the top, even for her, that I switched over to the Sox/A’s game, just to not have to watch her. We have a group of people in the office that meet over lunch the day after each show, just to hash over impressions, likes, etc. (we’ve been doing this since the shows began!) and it is unanimous that Demi has to 1) go soon, and 2) never be invited back. The group is very mixed in many other subjects, but regarding Demi there is total agreement. (One woman calls her “Bat wing” for the absurd eyeliner she wears!) As I say, even without any knowledge of the issues you have with Demi, I have no doubt she’s milking it for all it’s worth. Steph calls her Batwing, I call her Batsh*t Crazy.

  6. jlal

    September 8, 2021 at 4:33 PM

    Snowstorms, I had no idea about her background and it is sad. That may explain the any attention is good attention behavior. However, she also has a very toxic mean girl side to her, that nothing justifies. I feel sorry for any woman who so obviously mistakes sexual attention for something deeper. But, she lashes out and spews vile insults to both men and women who don’t play along the way she wants.

  7. wisewords

    September 8, 2021 at 5:00 PM

    Did you notice how after Kenny turned her down, Demi looked like she stopped wearing makeup?

    Also, how Demi was projecting her own motives and feelings on to others? “He’s a 40 year old child.” (Demi is a child.) “She is mean.” (Demi is mean.) etc etc

    What a sad, sad person. Not funny or remotely entertaining. I bet she is a very unhappy person underneath that veneer.

  8. wisewords

    September 8, 2021 at 5:17 PM

    The best consequence for Brandon and Pieper would be for them to be excluded from all future Bachelor Nation activities, including future BIPs if they break up.

  9. trainwrecktv

    September 8, 2021 at 11:22 PM

    I am here to second the email about Maurissa. She completely transforms into a different person with makeup and I’m fascinated. It looks like she adds eyelashes and a hairpiece (it doesn’t look like her hair is actually as long as that ponytail), and maybe does some really artful contouring? I find myself totally distracted with trying to pinpoint how she does it. She is beautiful and obviously has impressive makeup skills.

    It seems funny to me how people get so wound up about timing (like them going after Chris but not Brendan/Pieper) when it is all so manipulated and edited. For all we know, Joe and Riley could have immediately proceeded to take on Brendan and Pieper when they finished with Chris. All this stuff happened so fast and was overlapping. I think it was maybe Maurissa who said something in passing on Tuesday’s episode about being surprised about being so attached to someone after only knowing them for 5 days. Maybe it was Mari? I can’t remember now. It just brought me back to reality that even though we have been watching for weeks and the people keep talking like they have been there for a long time, they really haven’t been there long at this point. Like how Noah and Abigail aren’t an actual long term couple in the traditional sense.

  10. snowstorms

    September 9, 2021 at 12:38 AM

    It doesn’t give her a pass @ ALL!! I can’t believe anyone on BIP would like her. I was even MORE shocked, seeing the positive way the girls treated her when she was comparing herself to Tia & how much “better” she was in comparison. I honestly wouldn’t mind if we never saw her again, but I DO hope she is able to grow up & find unconditional love. She has to learn how to love herself first, and I sadly don’t see that happening any time soon.

  11. dbla31

    September 10, 2021 at 11:07 AM

    Answering the person who asked about Becca’s engagement ring. I just read an interview with her that she did keep it and hasn’t decided what to do with it yet. I don’t find her behavior at all shady. First off, it’s not like Garrett scrimped and saved for a ring. It was a “promotional consideration” item between ABC and Neil Lane. No one loses anything. Why shouldn’t she keep it? Second, she deserved that and more as a prize for being with that boob Garrett for two years!

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