People either love this bloated, spilled tea, 2-hour shit show or they don’t even watch. I tend to love it because:
- I am an addict
- It’s an opportunity to catch brief glimpses of real human interactions amongst a group of people who have undergone some strange shit together.
Rather than recapping the entire thing, I want to focus on one particular portion of the show. I don’t give a flying fuck about bronzed Blake E. and Whaboom’s fraught relationship -although if you want to see an ORIGINAL SONG that Whaboom PERFORMED LIVE but didn’t make it to the final cut, it’s out there. I will not dignify that shit with a link, but trust me, it’s hard to miss out there whilst walking through the internet. I also don’t give a fuck about DeMario and Lexi, or Rachel and Dean reconnecting after she admitted she was falling for him and then kicked his ass to the curb four days later. I only give a fuck about Diggy, Josiah, Kenny, Will, and Anthony schooling the shit out of Lee and white people everywhere about what it actually means to be racist. Oh shit, and I also definitely give a fuck about Kenny and his daughter together on TV.
It felt very good to see Lee scared shitless in the hot seat for most of this episode. Kenny kicks off the Lee segment by noting that he didn’t feel Lee’s cruel actions were motivated by racism, but rather by deep insecurity of being around some dope ass dudes that Lee, quite frankly, had no chance of competing with. At one point Kenny says that he even felt a sense of mutual respect and camaraderie with Lee, but once they got to Hilton Head it all went to shit. Before Lee really gets an earful, we have the chance to witness a surprise visit from Mackenzie, Kenny’s daughter. When dad and daughter are brought together on stage it is nothing but beautiful, family love. Even though we had only heard about Mackenzie this season, it was very clear based on Kenny’s conversations about her that these two have a special, close relationship. Both of them were tearing up on stage. I am LIVID that we didn’t get to see the guys’ reactions when they saw their boy, Kenny, with his little girl. I love and respect that Kenny is comfortable enough to be vulnerable and own it. He’s not a weak man. He is a loving father. Chris Harrison ends the Mackenzie and Kenny interview by gifting them tickets to Disney for Kenny’s birthday. It’s better than cheese pasta, but it’s a sorry fucking reparation for roping Kenny into the racist agenda this season. I’m not impressed, ABC. Not. Impressed.
Of course Lee’s tweets are brought up on the big screen, and Chris Harrison tells the audience that he is so uncomfortable even reading them out loud. Are you, though? Listen, I know that Chris isn’t the man behind the curtain. He’s a damn puppet on Bachelor strings, but Christ, Chris. You’ve been in the game for so damn long, could you not have pushed back on any of this? Don’t play us like these tweets just surprised all of ABC after Lee was cast on the show. IT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Lee tries to defend himself by saying that he has a lot to learn, he is facetious, and he makes inappropriate jokes when he’s uncomfortable. PAGING DONALD TRUMP. IS THIS YOUR BASTARD CHILD? Big ups to the dudes who were like yo, if you didn’t get caught saying this shit, would you even be sorry? For real though. Lee also reassures the audience that he “doesn’t like racism.” That makes two of us, Lee! DeMario offers a history lesson so that Lee can wrap his head around the fundamental differences between the NAACP and the KKK. Kenny reminds him that as a man he should be able to take accountability for his words and actions. Josiah takes a seat with Lee on the couch opposite Chris Harrison and asks Lee how the hell he could say some racist ass shit on twitter and then throw his hat in the ring to be a show to date a Black woman? Lee is quite literally shaking in his boots.
Finally we get to the real crux of this mess. The Oscar goes to tall, strapping, 26-year old Anthony of the Rodeo Drive 1:1 date who stands up and schools the absolute shit out of Lee for not acknowledging the invisible racism that is engraved in his mind and motivates his actions and words. Anthony is like I need you to own what you’re allegedly sorry for. Lee has been doing the old political verbal tango as he dances around his admission of racist wrongdoings. Good old pot-stirring Iggy is finally just like, man, what are you sorry for and why are you sorry? Jesus Christ. After a few deep breaths, Lee strings together some sort of garbage sentence about wanting to learn, wanting to be a better friend, calling the tweet racist and denouncing it. It only took a small army of woke Black men to hold his hand and walk him through that. Once again, Black people are forced to take the high road and do the heavy lifting for white people who refuse to acknowledge their inherent racism. It’s not all said and done because Lee barely uttered an apology. He’s not all better now. It’s just the beginning of what could be a really powerful journey to undo that prewired garbage white people are born with.
It is no fucking fun admitting when you fucked up. It is also scary as hell to call yourself a racist. The patience that the men of color on this season have had with the antics and the games and the exploitation is worthy of purple hearts. There’s a lot of ignorance out there. A lot. But what is far worse than lack of education and understanding is the lack of self-awareness to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. I am white, and I have SO SO SO SO SO much to learn. I have even learned so much through this stupid fucking show about just how important it is to not only listen, but to first give Black people the space/opportunity to share and educate those of us who know jack shit about what it means to be Black.
Duh this whole thing ends with bloopers and that is always going to be fun for me. Highlights are:
- Rachel yawning mid convo with Adam as he is telling her about her own upbringing. Fascinating!
- Josiah going HAM on the buffet in Norway, sucking down oysters and skewered snacks.
- Dean spitting out gum and sticking it behind his ear in the confession cam, and then promptly removing it from behind his ear, putting it back in his mouth and swallowing it. Lit.
- The men cruising around in golf carts, waving at an older white woman on the green, and then taking a sharp turn and toppling out of the golf cart. Ouch.
Sit down, be humble,