The Bachelor: The Women Tell Off (Everybody)

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The "Women Tell All" episode! Who doesn't love this opportunity to see 20 odd women take to the stage and shout over each other under the scattershot mediation of ABC's signature eunuch, Chris Harrison? Except for this season's installment, due to the unprecedented level of aggression toward Courtney, the show brought her out after having the girls work themselves up into a fit of sh*t-talking and teeth-sucking. It was a tactic that completely destroyed the thin veneer of respectability The Bachelor tries to paint the show with and exposed the "Women Tell All" episode as the fancily dressed Jenny Jones Show it truly is. Seriously, when they marched Courtney out and sat her down to face a Greek chorus of bitter haters, I half expected a Rude Jude to appear on her shoulder and start throwing down snaps.

No one escaped this fracas without making themselves look bad. After the women scrambled to justify how bitchy they'd been to Chantal and explained why they couldn't be expected to befriend her during her short stay on the show, they turned around and condemned Courtney for acting the same way toward them. We had just seen footage of the girls saying really horrible things about Chantal's looks and job, and then all their complaints centered on how inhuman Courtney was for airing her opinions in her talking-head segments.

And while, like Nicki, I don't believe Courtney is really sorry for hurting these girls, I don't think she really has anything to be sorry for.

Maybe it's because snark is a part of my job description, but I don’t understand how these women can enter the arena of a reality show about competitive dating and then be shocked when someone judges them based on their appearance. Also, Courtney's comments weren’t half as mean-spirited as the vitriol poured on her last night. She's a little defensive and introverted, but there was a lot of humor in her descriptions of her cliquey ersatz sorority, and a lot of what she said was not so insulting as insightful. Blakeley, what IS a VIP cocktail waitress, and is it not roughly analogous to stripping? Aren't these ladies for the most part pretty vanilla? Would you describe any of the contenders as more of a woman than a girl?

Thank God for Casey, and women like her who have some sense of solidarity and fairness. What an effing sister soldier sitting there, just defending Courtney without knowing her girl was even on the show. It takes a lot of strength to stand up for someone in that kind of forum, and it made me like her just that much more. Ben apologized for the way he dismissed Casey from the show, I guess he thought she had been sexing it on the sly or something? Her exit was bizarre: Chris Harrison accused her of still having feelings for an ex-boyfriend and she burst out crying and they got her out of there. That was it. There hadn’t been any weird calls, no promises to get back together with him, no emotional cheating, Harrison just thought she wasn’t completely in love with Ben. (Meanwhile, Bentley told Harrison and the cameras that he wasn’t attracted to Ashley on a daily basis during the The Bachelorette and they fought to keep him on the show and might be bringing him back next season.)

Anyway, Casey was killing it last night, looking absolutely gorgeous and holding her own. Let me amend my statement: Out of this insane evening, Casey emerged not just without egg on her face, but as kind of a hero.

She’s the only one, though.

The episode started with a series of high-pitched shrieks from tiny blonde Miss Palisades, Samantha, who appeared to have come with the single intent of screeching at the rest of the ladies that they are all "SUCH GREAT FRIENDS." Grandma-girl Brittany eventually told her to shut up in a moment that brought prolonged clapping from the audience and even Pimp Harrison himself. Like, that was the opening gambit. Seriously Jenny Jones-level conversation going on. Don't get me wrong, Brittany is kind of awesome. I loved when she just bluntly said she was not attracted to Ben whatsoever. My kind of girl.

We checked in with some of the girls who are now jockeying to be Miss Bachelorette 2013. There was Emily, with her sexy armpits, still very confused about how Ben could have turned down her charming raps and waist-length hair. She had gotten over Ben by realizing a man who tells you to "tread lightly" when sharing your thoughts is not an ideal partner.

Then there was Nicki, who is still in love with Ben, nothing a good season of Bachelor Pad can't cure. And Kacie, good lord that girl was a wreck. Her sense that Ben couldn't handle hanging out with her family in perpetuity is probably dead-on and hardly a comfort in getting over a heartbreak. She definitely led the cheerleading against Courtney, with all the ladies at one point mimicking her spider-squashing hand gesture ("Here's Courtney, and she's a black widow, and I do this!" CLAP, SMUSH). But in Kacie’s case, hating Courtney is a really transparent displacement of blame. She hates Courtney so she doesn't have to hate Ben for judging her parents, or worse, hate her parents for being their true selves around Ben and not putting on a B.S. façade to win him over. She and Nicki held hands and tried not to sob as footage of Courtney and Ben in Switzerland played, and it was equal parts touching and pathetic.

Is this not exactly that relationship you have in middle school where you and your one friend both have a crush on the same guy, and no chance of dating him, so you spend tons of time together just to talk about him endlessly? That little square, by the way, was the thing to watch during the special. Watching the girls sneer, pale, and tear up at the footage is truly the most raw human emotion TV has to offer.

Ben, who was carefully shown to arrive after Courtney had vacated the premises, had a remarkable effect on the ladies. Poor Jamie offered to get on that if he was currently single, (Oh, Shamie.) I don't think they kept it vague enough about how things had worked out. Don't you get the sense that he chose Courtney and then things fell through? Or is that just the US Weekly covers talking?

In any case, we are on the verge of the finale. In the week ahead, the final bets must be cast and the champagne cookies must be bought. For those who are thrilled by raw human emotions, the finale is like the purest of heroins, and while I am 1,000 percent certain Courtney will get proposed to, I look forward to the editors doing they're damnedest to convince me Lindzi has a fighting chance.


QUESTIONS:

– Which lady came off the best on the show? Which one came off the worst?

– Why do the girls/America hate Courtney so much?

– Did you believe Courtney really felt bad for how she'd acted, or was she checking off some mea culpas to make Ben/her publicist happy?

– Do you think Courtney's little jabs were harmless, if snarky, or is she a BLACK WIDOW CRUSH CRUSH?

– Do the Bachelor reunions look like the sleaziest, greasiest frat parties for 30-year-olds on the planet?

– Do you miss Rude Jude?

– Does anyone think Lindzi is going to get proposed to?

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