Loving the Player/Hating the Game

Well shit.

It finally happened, after years of toeing the line, our beloved Bachelor in Paradise has finally crossed it. Before I get into the particulars and my thoughts, can we pour one out for BiP? That shit was just pure, campy joy and served as a great gateway drug to this beloved American Institution.

Now for the nitty-gritty: filming for this season of BiP was suspended for alleged sexual misconduct. Shocking, I know. Details are still hazy, but what appears to have happened is this:

Producers wanted Demario and Corrine to have a fling. They proceeded to get drunk over the course of the day, culminating in a bunch of poolside tomfoolery (no sex though, apparently Demario was too faded to get it up). One of the producers felt that Corrine was too drunk to give consent, but they kept filming. The next day, the same producer filed a complaint and production was suspended. For what it’s worth, the crew claims to have checked on the couple multiple times and says that they were lucid and consented to it all. Corrine has since come out and said that she was too drunk to give consent.

In the few days since then, the star of Nick’s season has received an overwhelming tsunami of shit from the public, like this gem here

Hey everyone! This is rape culture!

Just to get this out of the way (although why the fuck it still needs to be said is beyond me), JUST BECAUSE SOME ONE HAS HAD SEX BEFORE AND GOT DRUNK DOES NOT MEAN THEY SHOULD BE ASSAULTED OR THAT THE ASSAULT IS THEIR FAULT. Really complicated shit, I know. This victim blaming is so beyond disgusting and is a case study in why so many assaults go unreported.

I want to give credit where it is due (somewhat). The studio did the right thing by suspending filming while they investigate. These types of allegations are serious, yet so often get written off for one reason or another. So kudos for that. You don’t get a full kudo, though, as this could have all been avoided had the production team stepped in earlier.

However, anyone familiar with Paradise will know just how unlikely that was. Getting contestants drunk and having them fool around is the show’s MO. Add in yelling matches and that’s pretty much the entire appeal of Paradise (except the bartender, Jorge, he’s a fucking national treasure, and I’m surprised Nic Cage hasn’t tried to steal him yet). For years, the show has flirted with this kind of disaster. Be it last season, which saw the return of the terrifyingly angry and violent Chad plus ABC’s attempt at rehabbing the image of Josh Murray, known abuser and human pile of garbage, or pretty much every time they’ve had Lace on the show, or the fact that Ashley S. was kept around for weeks on Chris’ season despite being pretty clearly fucked up in some way shape or form.

The Bachelor and its various spinoffs have a history of not giving a fuck about the safety and well-being of their contestants for the sake of ratings. Hell, the description of a couple fooling around in the pool while one or both of them is too fucked up to give consent is the exact same description of whatever Chad and Lace did last season (there was also more anger and cold cuts, but you get the idea). Which brings us to my central question:

Why now?

What was so different about this time that they felt the need to suspend the filming of arguably the most popular branch of the Bachelor family tree?

The cynic in me thinks this has something to do with race. This kind of shit has gone down far too often with no consequences and now, because it was a black man involved, they actually give a shit. I’m not saying that’s what happens, but this is Amerikkka and you can’t really take it for granted that race had nothing to do with the decision.

The optimist in me thinks maybe the franchise is turning a corner. Maybe this was the kick in the ass they needed to realize there need to be some boundaries and that they as producers have some responsibility for their contestants. Who knows?

And, although I’ve spent the last two days forlornly staring at my calendar trying to figure out what the fuck I’m going to do on Monday nights this summer, ABC made the right decision. Sexual assault is such a pervasive problem that it is nice to see a large corporation (waddup Walt Disney?) forgo large sums of ca$h in favor of the morally correct choice. I’m not saying they did it for anything other than to avoid a PR nightmare, but it’s still a welcome gesture.

What this means for BiP and other Bachelor shit moving forward is really anybody’s guess. All we can do is hope that we have not seen the last of Jorge. But if we have, I’m gonna go make myself a niiiiiiiice tall glass of tequila and get fucking lit by the pool in memory of one of the finest two hours of television I’ve ever enjoyed.

Goodnight sweet prince, we hardly knew thee.