Maybe 'The Bachelorette' Doesn't Need A 'Villain' Anymore
Kevin Feige must be overseeing this season of The Bachelorette. That's the only explanation for how there could be more villains on Katie's journey for love than there are in the entirety of MCU. We're in week 5 of this season, and already we've seen three villains - Cody, Karl, and Thomas - come and go, and the season is setting us up for two more in Hunter and Blake. Their crimes? Hunter got too rowdy and tackle-y during a game of Rowdy Tackle Ball (which you can watch below), and Blake is new. (Shown below that.)
The question is, and I pose this sincerely, why do we need a villain? Why does this silly game show about a woman pretending to find love need to play out like Mortal Kombat - a new bad guy to fight at every rung of the ladder? Seriously, I'm not being rhetorical here. I'm willing to accept that the great sages behind production have concocted the perfect recipe for making this season work, and to even change that alchemy in the slightest could send the sacred timeline hurtling towards chaos. They've been doing this for twenty years, which might as well be eons in TV time, so perhaps they know that watching some lady go bungee jumping with twenty men isn't compelling enough TV without the drama of having someone to talk shit about afterward?
But what if they don't know better? What if the reason The Bachelorette keeps setting up villain after villain with shifty editing and highly contrived premises that they have to coax the rest of the cast into going along with isn't because it works. What if it's just because of inertia? What if The Bachelorette has been doing it this way for so long that they just don't know any other way?
Again, far be it for me to question the masters here. For me, the drama of this show is in the horse race of it. I like to watch the lead make genuine connections with the contestants and make decisions about them based on those connections. At least that's what I think I like about this show. I also think I like Kit Kats for their crunchy wafer, but it's probably because Hershey is pumping it full of nicotine at a molecular level. So I'm willing to believe that the producers know exactly what they're doing here.
Still, it's not without consequence. Forcing five villains into five weeks means you're bound to go for some reaches, and that's what's happened with Hunter and Blake here. This week's episode played up Hunter snorting and smirking as a means to make him look the bad guy in a Bond movie. It turns out he just had Tourettes.
It's unfathomably screwed up to take someone's disability and strip away all context so that you can embarrass them on national television, but that's this franchise for you. And maybe that's part of the alchemy of it too. Maybe the real villain all along is this show, and if that's the case, we've reached a level of meta-narrative far deeper than any cinematic universe can throw at us.
Other takeaways from Week 5:
So far, there's only been one true love connection on this show, and it's been this:
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