Well, it finally happened. At long last, the “Bachelor” franchise addressed the scandal that broke in early June involving DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios that shut down production and sparked wild speculation. Were there lawyers? There were lawyers. Were there reports claiming damning details that were never confirmed? Yes, there were unconfirmed reports. But now we have the official word.
But first, a forty-minute-long television wedding! (Do you like that “Bachelor”-esque teasing?)
After a two-hour episode on Monday that managed to divulge essentially nothing, almost the first hour of programming was spent with Carly and Evan — the unlikely (yet somehow entirely predictable?) couple who found each other on “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 3.
“Even though our production was … technically shut down, we didn’t want anyone to miss this joyous occasion,” Chris Harrison says, cuing an entirely-too-long montage of past “Bachelor” weddings. Side note: The footage from Trista and Ryan’s wedding looks absolutely ancient, were wide screen televisions not invented back then? We are also forced to sit through all of their strange vows. It’s almost like they … didn’t have enough footage to show of this season because production shut down and they filmed everything in less than two weeks or something.
But no, totally, love. Carly and Evan’s wedding is attended almost exclusively by people in the franchise, which raises some questions, such as … Do they not have any friends outside of television? Did ABC not want to fly out their other friends? Who is Juelia, and why do I only remember her because of her name’s horrendous spelling convention?
After Carly and Evan have their happily ever whatever, it’s back to the empty set where Chris Harrison welcomes to cast back to the beach. They sit down to discuss what happened. Except, they don’t actually explain anything! (See what I did there? It’s like that thing the “Bachelor” shows do where they promise some sort of bloody brawl, but it’s actually just that someone cut himself shaving.)
Anyway, everyone returns except Corinne and DeMario. Chris Harrison explains that Warner Bros. conducted an independent investigation that found no misconduct (this, we already knew) and proceeds to lead the cast in a question and answer session about how unfairly the situation was portrayed in the media.
Chris Harrison referenced the night production was shut down, but without using any details: “A lot of tears were shed that night … It was really rough. It was brutal,” he says. Yes, but … what happened?
Taylor, at one point, launches into a defense of reality TV. Here’s some of what she said (with commentary): “I think that people think reality TV is scripted …” (Maybe not this show, but much of it is.) “People say ‘I love your character on the show …'” (I refuse to believe this actually happens.) “We’re responsible for ourself …” (Good point.) “… how much we drink …” (Subtle Corinne shade?) “Who we kiss …”
Raven chimes in at one point: “We knew what happened, but it was so unfair what people were saying about DeMario … he and Corinne both.” Again, what happened? If we’re meant to believe that the event that shut down production was DeMario and Corinne going swimming while intoxicated, that doesn’t really add up.
Diggy says that he felt bad for DeMario and the long-term effects that the scandal would have on his life and career, especially as a black man. “Diggy touched on a subject that I think we should talk about,” Chris Harrison says. “Do you think race played a part in this?”
“Unfortunately yes,” Nick (Nick!) says. The crowd nods in agreement.
So why would Corinne release a statement through her lawyer say that she was “a victim”?
“Maybe she wanted to save face,” Danielle M. suggests. Raven says she hopes the events don’t deter any victims of sexual assault from coming forward, and opens up about being a survivor.
Then, Chris Harrison turns the conversation to be about consent! This isn’t orientation week during freshman year of college, people, this is “Bachelor in Paradise”! The whole thing feels very Twilight Zone-ish.
“Verbal consent is the best way to give consent,” Taylor offers. “Consent throughout is important,” Ben Z. adds.
It’s unclear whether the segment is meant to come off like a teachable moment, or doing time, but either way it feels somewhere between the school and prison of television. Guess we’ll have to wait for the tell-all fifteen years from now when all these people run out of money after Instagram finds a better way to monetize its platform than hair gummy sponsorships.
After all that, the show goes back to being its zany, perplexingly endearing self.
Raven continues to be the season’s MVP. “Ben and Robbie both hit me up, but I kind of ghosted both of them,” she says. You know what? Good.
Dean shares that, while production had stopped, he went to Kentucky to be with Kristina. I can’t be the only one whose mind was blown by this information. We know that Dean’s family life isn’t exactly ideal, but going home with a woman after two days? Just wacky decision-making. By the end of the episode they’re predictably falling apart.
Taylor and Derek, meanwhile, seem very solid together. But love hasn’t come so naturally for everyone. Specifically, Alex. He chases around Amanda, who is absolutely not interested whatsoever. His attempts to be romantic come sound like this: “I’m completely engulfed into Amanda.” Gross!
Just when it seems like the show is veering off in an annoying direction, Alex asks Raven for advice and she brings it all the way back: “Yeah, I think you should move on from Amanda,” she says. “If I were you, I would talk to other women.”
The production shutdown would have seemed to benefit Lacey the most. (If you don’t recall, one of her grandparents died last episode and she had to temporarily leave the show.) Well, just in time, she made it back and … no one cares. She cries because no one gives her attention.
“People that I want to be here aren’t here … like, Daniel,” she says of the “Bachelor” franchise’s most Canadian contestant. “Daniel’s the whole package for me.”
Did you learn anything from “Bachelor in Paradise” sex ed? Which of the couples (if any) do you think will last? Will Lacey find her full package? Weigh in below.