People (not me, but people) had hopes for Peter’s Bachelor season that once soared as high as the Delta planes we’re not allowed to forget he flies. Members of the Bachelor Nation were pumped to welcome a season of flight-themed dates and heartfelt I love that about you’s courtesy of the franchise’s newest star. And now, in week 7, I’m not sure I could crawl deep enough into the internet to find someone who’s still on this man’s side. Every time I go online, I see another tweet declaring Peter the villain of his own season, and boy, do those tweets have a point.
So…how did we end up here? In this dark, dark place where Peter is either making these women cry or actively building a tearful environment for the women to thrive in?
The premise of The Bachelor, while insane in a vacuum, is something that the average American has a firmer grasp on than, say, federal income tax code or what a comptroller does. 24 seasons in and this show has become a reality endlessly spoofed to the point that competitive polygamy is now extremely ordinary to us. Every spring, we witness a few dozen women flock to a mansion to fall in love with one lucky Kohl’s catalog look-alike who, due to some sort of reverse cheerleader effect, becomes the most special and attractive man in the world…even when his most used words include “haha,” “ahaha,” and “that’s great.”
Sure, with both organic and engineered drama in the mix, things are sure to become tense for the cast of this social experiment-slash-beauty pageant. But the power dynamic is usually undeniably tilted toward the object of the attention. Peter has the ability to send women home, and every woman in the house presumably wants to marry him. This should add up to pretty smooth sailing for ol’ Pilot Pete until the inevitable eight-hour finale sprint when he is filmed wiping his brow for 45 minutes straight before choosing which lady to pop a signature Neil Lane ring on. So why has Peter—a.k.a. the lead and prize of the show—spent so much of his season begging for validation and getting yelled at? How did such an innocuous Bachelor put himself so solidly at the center of a typhoon made of these women’s tears? I’m so glad you asked. Here’s a quick inventory of the circumstances that made Peter’s season the most cursed yet.
The Producers Clearly Hate Peter
Let’s give credit where credit is due: Peter has definitely not been done any favors by the team of producers manufacturing this show. I’ve maintained for a long time that if you look deep enough into Chris Harrison’s eyes while he’s interviewing his Bachelors and Bachelorettes you can always see either:
- Unbridled Contempt
- Him thinking about a bird he saw once
It is so patently clear this show has no affection for its central players. It was evident last season when Hannah Brown almost buckled under the amount of distress this show heaped upon her, resulting in a weird episode that was mostly Chris Harrison talking her into staying. Making this process as hard on these people as possible seems to be standard procedure now, and this was never clearer than during Chase Rice Gate back in week 4. Peter struggled to understand for five full minutes that the singer booked to play his private rollercoaster date with Victoria F. was actually her ex-boyfriend—which was a totally valid reaction because what the fuck?
Apparently, the amount of havoc wreaked by the live Cedar Point cucking was unsatisfactory. That’s because, in this same episode, the show somehow had the group date football game end in a tie on the SAME NIGHT Alayah returned after being eliminated. This meant that all 13 sweaty, visibly bruised women were there to witness Peter giving her their hard-earned rose. If I had one of those serial killer walls in my home with thread connecting a lot of sticky notes devoted to this show, the night of Alayah’s return would be the one I would circle as the beginning of this season’s rapid descent into garbage town. Speaking of Alayah…
This season somehow has more ghosts walking around than when Nick Viall’s ladies spent the night in a haunted mansion. Former Bachelorette Hannah Brown showing up night one and then just sort of…hanging around (?) for another episode may as well have been an albatross hanging around this season’s neck. I honestly would have been happy to watch a season solely comprised of heart-wrenching talks about what went wrong between Hannah and Peter, but we can’t have nice things, so what we got instead was essentially an opening night and a group date completely tanked by The Dark Visage Of Last Season.
When Alayah rose from the grave and appeared at the aquarium group date (proceeded by at least 45 straight seconds of aggressive heel clacking), one of the girls says “Oh my God a ghost just walked in.” I agree! A brief poltergeist who would be once again exorcised before the next episode’s first commercial break, Alayah truly served just to drift through the halls and fuck things up for the women stillthere. Peter allowing this season to stand as a Memorial To His Regrets has not been a great look for the show.
Bad Housekeeping 2k20
Look, there’s usually a specific narrative structure to these seasons. There’s always a midseason showdown between two contestants, generally a “Good One” and a “Bad One.” (Last season it was Garrett against preacher cyborg and angry short man Luke Parker.) The Good One goes to the Bachelor or Bachelorette to explain that the Bad One is bad. What invariably happens after this is that the Good One gets kicked off the show for their trouble, sometimes along with the Bad One but usually not. The conflict is handled and one survivor remains. It might not be fair, but at least it’s clean.
Peter’s strategy, on the other hand, is completely incomprehensible to me. Time after time he’s forced both parties to fight in front of him and after that he just… releases them back into the general population to continue stewing. I kept anticipating the “Complainer’s Ousting” to occur— when Kelsey complained about Hannah Ann back in week 2 (OBVIOUSLY a favorite from the beginning and complete suicide to go up against so early), when Victoria F called Alayah a liar, when Alayah called Victoria P a liar, when Kelsey called Tammy a bully— almost always whoever the Bachelor likes less gets kicked off and SOME SORT OF ORDER IS MAINTAINED. But Peter seems completely incapable of making any judgement calls whatsoever, instead preferring to put on his little Sherlock Holmes hat and try to see if he can detect who is the most lying woman as he watches them fight, and then storming off to tell the camera “I’m so confused!” and cancelling whatever event was supposed to happen next.
General Baby Behavior
“I’m scared!” This is something that Peter has said roughly 1,600 times this season. He started a recent episode by visiting the women in their hotel and basically begging them to be more rabid about him. It seemed like he physically sensed they were about to have a conversation about how unrealistic it would be to want to marry someone after essentially two dates and wanted to come see if he could get any of them to cry instead.
This entire season Peter has been vacillating wildly between being a passive frightened man who wants anyone to tell him what to do and a stoic hero who really wants a pat on the back for being honest (i.e. sending home any woman he hasn’t managed to break down emotionally). When Deanna (RIP) and Natasha (also RIP) started the all-out complaint blood bath in week 4 over Peter bringing Alayah back, he responded that he felt like he got influenced into doing something he didn’t want to do, while basically pointing directly at Victoria P. Never mind that he was the one that turned the Alayah drama into an episode-length episode of Law and Order interrogation scenes.
Peter seems desperate for guidance and feedback of any kind but resents literally any actual facts he is forced to navigate, such as “faith is important to Madison and it’s not really important to you, so maybe you aren’t compatible” and “Victoria F. is literally telling you to fuck off every time you talk to her so maybe not her.” I mean, come on.
Kelley was my favorite contestant for a lot of reasons, among them was that she appeared to have back-burnered worrying about Peter weeks ago to enjoy grifting ABC out of a whole ass vacation. One of Kelley’s strongest suits was her unique capacity for calling out Peter’s exact brand of muppet baby bullshit.
On their spiritual one-on-one in Costa Rica, Kelley looked Peter right in the face and told him she wasn’t sure he was on her level. “There were things I was hearing that had me questioning: Is he ready for a wife? Just rewarding the drama and stuff like that. No person who should be in that stage would want to even put up with that,” she said. I couldn’t believe a contestant on this show basically called the Bachelor a childish drama queen to his face and survived, but because she did, I’m sure Kelley thought they were on the same page. Y’know, that Peter actually is trying to find his wife on the Find Your Wife Show. She took him at face value, which is why she was nap-level calm on her three-on-one with Hannah Ann and Victoria F.
It’s true, Kelley would have no reason to worry if Peter was at all looking for what he says he is. He gets another one of his patented commitment boners as they talk to the a local about his 36-year marriage. “36 years. That’s what I’m after. I need to know, yes or no, can I see [these women] as my wife,” he said. Looking at his choices thus far in the season, Peter is positioning himself for to a lifetime of being called moody for no reason by Victoria F., encouraging Madison to try and change his relationship with religion, or being with a 23-year-old full stop. During a talking head at some point, Kelley applauds Peter for finally being a big boy, and I hope right now she’s comforted knowing she hasn’t committed to a lifetime of coaxing this human child through every decision.
“I question his intentions because I don’t really know what phase he is in life. The four that are left are like little babies,” Kelley tells us in her outro. There’s really not a more cartoonish illustration that she’s right than Hannah Ann whipping out a note of things she loves about Peter where the I IS LITERALLY DOTTED WITH A HEART.
Some true baby shit.
Extreme Food Pervert Antics
Before I leave you, I can’t help but bring up the other thing that I am absolutely, genetically unable to ignore, which is Peter’s fucked-up insistence on combining the acts of eating and kissing.
This was brought screamingly to my attention on the special second episode last week with THE CURSéD HOT DOG KISS. I HAVE ENDURED A LOT OF THINGS ON THIS TELEVISION SHOW BUT THIS MADE ME WANT TO AT LONG LAST WALK INTO THE OCEAN WITH MY LAPTOP AND SUCCUMB TO THE DEEP.
And, just when this memory was beginning to fade and I was able to start a fresh week with a fresh mind, BOY DID I GET SLAPPED WITH A SECOND EQUALLY HORRIBLE FOOD CRIME.
I’m just gonna say it. This man doesn’t deserve to find love.