Bachelor Nation, Bravo TV, public figures, Reality TV

#BachelorNation and #BravoTV Stars: Kim Biermann Said WHAT?!

I had this same reaction when Kathryn Dennis said something similar:

I’m familiar with #BachelorNation, the culture surrounding ABC’s The Bachelor franchise and many of its antiquated notions with regard to casting.

Weeks ago, Kathryn Dennis claimed to have been courted by production to be an upcoming Bachelorette (People Magazine article), and now, Kim Zolciak Biermann is saying she too was once considered for the title roll.

The Bachelorette may have finally welcomed its first black lead with Rachel Lindsay during its thirteenth season to help reject rumors related to racism, but CLASSISM still marks the franchise. I don’t envision that changing anytime soon.

Lindsay was an accomplished attorney with a stellar reputation overall. Single mom Emily Maynard (Season 8’s Bachelorette) was a gorgeous widow who had tragically lost her young husband. However, a trash talking, cussing, chain-smoking single mom (Biermann) wouldn’t have fit the franchise’s “brand”, particularly at the time she claims to have been approached. That brand is about having a wholesome as apple pie image (or one as close to it as possible for a show that concludes with a “Fantasy Suite” catering to the final three contenders and lead).

Dennis’s turbulent, televised and highly publicized history with the scandalous Thomas Ravenel could not feasibly have garnered such an invitation by ABC. Simply put, they are just not that open minded. It boils down to viewership demographics and ratings.

I have to wonder about WHO was actually talking to these women and scamming them into believing these were valid offers.

In the interim, I am all for a Bravo show encouraging men to step up to the plate and vie for Kathryn Dennis’s affections. After all, Bravo gave her a platform and allowed fans to witness her maturations from season to season on Southern Charm.

Because of how Biermann was received on Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA), as well as unresolved havoc following the show’s reunion, I cannot imagine Bravo and its viewers would be on board for something similar with her as the lead.

Tamara Tattles brings us more information here about Zolciak Biermann’s recent remarks.

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Dating, Reality TV, The Bachelor

#BachelorNation: A Perplexing Pick for ABC’s The Bachelor

**Be forewarned there are spoilers ahead. If you do not wish to know who was selected as the next Bachelor on ABC’s eponymous program, save this post for another day.

When E! leaked deets about the upcoming season of The Bachelor a few weeks ago, ABC’s choices for the title role were: Joe Amabile, Colton Underwood, Jason Tartick, and Blake Horstmann.

If Reality Steve is as right as he is usually proven to be, we’re getting Colton, AKA “the 26 year old virgin.” He was rejected by Becca Kufrin on last season’s The Bachelorette.

“Bachelor Nation” has not been reacting well to this news. Colton seems (to many) young and unready for marriage. During Becca’s season, Tia Booth admitted to still having feelings for him as the two had briefly dated before he came on the show to vie for Becca’s affection and final rose.

Subsequently, Colton and Tia reconnected on Bachelor In Paradise and it took an abundance of tears and turmoil before he made her his “girlfriend” (for about a week).

Previews for tonight’s episode indicate that this “relationship” goes to hell in a hand-basket as Colton is plagued by doubts about Tia being “the one”.

So now, this confused and (perhaps) commitment-phobic young man has agreed to choose a wife on national television, with producers present to egg him on and encourage…er, enforce… overtures? (Read the book Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman to get more insight into the process.)

Colton is a perplexing production pick when banker Jason Tartick, from Becca’s season seemed to be the ideal candidate. Wealthy, established, handsome, considerate and from an admirably loving family, Jason was a contender who didn’t even make it to the final two to amass his impressive social media following.

He seemed mature, “ready to settle down” and – well, let’s face it because we’re comparing him to a virgin – more equipped to handle the requisite Fantasy Suite at the end of the journey.

Then again, I hail from a religious community where many a young virgin with limited relationship experience has jumped right in to marriage, grabbed a life vest, realized they were fine without it and made it.

Who is to say Colton won’t find his ideal life partner through the magical matchmaking process of selective casting?

With this franchise and the few solid relationships that have resulted from it, you just never know.

Share your thoughts on Colton as the next Bachelor in the comments.

(Photo Source: Entertainment Tonight)

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Bravo TV, Psychology, public figures, Reality TV

An Abundance of Ashleys

Between the years of 1983 and 1988, “Ashley” was a top choice for American parents naming baby girls. It was, in fact, the second most popular girl’s name in the nation in 1985, which means if you are a Millennial, there’s a good chance you know an Ashley or two…or seven as I currently have programmed in my phone.

On reality television now, there are three Ashleys – within the aforementioned cohort – who have people talking. Perhaps there is a special formula for all Ashleys to crack (one I wish I knew!) because each of the three Ashleys I’m about to discuss have either had to overcome hurdles in the maze of reality TV, perception and reality, or are still bumbling through that complicated labyrinth.

Let’s begin with Ashley Iaconetti from The Bachelor franchise. This Ashley first came to our collective attention during Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor. She was the emotionally overwrought Kardashian lookalike who seemed to cry on a whim. She also quickly became known to us for another more notable characteristic: being the virgin and was rapidly embraced by Bachelor Nation, the dysfunctional franchise-family that feverishly recycles favorites in spinoffs. So of course, Ashley appeared, and shed a ton of tears, on Bachelor in Paradise and later found lust on Bachelor Winter Games.

After many overly emotional scenes and plenty of loud sobs regarding being relegated to the “friend zone,” Iaconetti’s long-time pal and crush from Paradise finally started to reciprocate her feelings. She had cried over him in Paradise and had been encouraged to give up hope by their mutual friend (former Bachelor) Nick Viall. Years and too many tears later, after baring her soul to cameras ad nauseum, Ioconetti has been publicly vindicated, I guess: The object of her documented obsession, Jared Haibon, recently proposed. The perpetually pining princess will need to be recast as the fiance who turned her commitment phobic pumpkin into her prince.

Another Ashley who some of you are familiar with is Ashley Borders of Southern Charm Savannah. I wasn’t wild about the show, a sentiment not uncommon among Bravo fans, but I found this Ashley endearing even before I had the chance to meet her in person and confirm this.

A crowd of white, somewhat wealthy Savannians were introduced to us as a group of friends – except immediately, we got the sense that Borders was more of a free spirit. This was especially so when juxtaposed with the more traditional, snooty Southerner cast mates. They seemed stuck in the past and we witnessed how they were so bothered by Borders’ bathing suit-clad bod and the effect it might have on the taken men. It was clear that Borders was merely an on-camera friend to those who shunned her on the show, and we got a glimpse of the more liberal Savannians who accepted her, like the cute jewelry designer who appears in one episode.

According to one of my sources in Savannah, Ashley was demoted from a main cast member to a “friend of” for the soon to be airing Season Two. This was because the least likable, most stodgy and snobbish cast mates refused to film with her. Luckily enough, not all of them are total dicks, so although Borders will not get the redemption season she deserves after cast mates lambasted her last season, she will appear in a few scenes this time around.

Last season, while focused on her fashion career, she had a side gig with Delta airlines that afforded her travel opportunities. Her cast mates made a big deal about the side gig, calling her dishonest because she didn’t talk as much about it. In doing so, they unwittingly brought attention to their elitist and classist notions about career choices.

Ashley Borders’ liberal views and openness towards those from all walks of life, made her a breath of fresh air alongside this catty and cliquish crew. It will be interesting to see if she gets some redemption in her diminished role this season. Perhaps refraining from having to hang out too much with elitist cast mates is vindication enough for anyone.

The last of the Ashleys on my mind is the most talked about currently. Ashley Jacobs of Bravo’s Southern Charm (the original Southern Charm, as Savannah is a newer addition to the main franchise) is getting a lot of attention for her missteps on the show, as well as backfiring efforts to repair her image via social media.

Jacobs has had a really tough season and is in over her head as a reality television rookie. The hospice nurse attached herself to a paramour with a personal baggage, including the fact that he and his ex (the mother of his two kids) film together seasonally. It has not gone well for Jacobs who clashes on camera during the current season with Kathryn Dennis, mom to her beau Thomas Ravenel’s children.

While initially welcomed by the rest of the crew, they have taken several steps back from Jacobs and rallied around Dennis. The shifting allegiances, and the apparent disdain for Jacobs that has grown since cameras stopped rolling, attest to several complicated off-camera storylines.

The gossip blogs have played their own part in pitting the Charmers against one another.

While everyone loves a comeback and a redemption tale, many fans feel she is beyond reproach and that the influences behind her behavior, the motives and some of the individuals who nudged her behavior along (i.e. those bloggers), will never be revealed to the public.

To me, it would be a shame if we don’t get to see how bloggers contributed, how Jacobs’ relationship with Ravenel factored in, and whether or not Jacobs will acknowledge her bad behaviors after the upcoming reunion airs…Even more so, when ample time passes and realities (beyond reality TV) set in.

Whether Jacobs will have her opportunity to turn the tide and change the minds is something that seems more uncertain than what is likely for the other Ashleys. Her words seemed more astounding, more regrettable and her actions post-filming more shocking. However, when a person takes major initiatives to revamp their life and starts to see things differently, it’s a beginning towards healing all that has been greatly damaged. Having seen young reality stars mature and become more humbled by public reaction, who knows what could happen in the future after life changes offer new perspectives….In the United States of Amnesia, (to borrow the late Gore Vidal’s term) I’ve witnessed fans change their minds when it previously seemed impossible.

Perhaps there is some formula for all Ashleys to follow in order to become successful – especially in this arena of reality television. Or maybe you don’t believe there’s anything significant about a particular name. Rather, that the three Ashleys above coincidently had rough starts, and faced the challenge of being scrutinized by cast mates, viewers and the world of social media.

In the event that it’s not a fluke, here are Things To Know About the Name Ashley if you happen to be an Ashley yourself or know someone who is.

(The title of this post was inspired by the title of John Green’s novel, An Abundance of Katherines.)

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Reality TV, Uncategorized

What the Hell, Luke Pell?: ‘The Bachelor’ Franchise Contestant Has Been There For All The Wrong Reasons

luke and stassi

ABC/PAUL HEBERT, Stassi Yaramchuk and Luke Pell at the World Tells All special.

The Bachelor Winter Games just ended and like former iterations of The Bachelor franchise spinoffs, the objectives were murky, the competitions silly, the rules ridiculous and the overarching goals unclear….except to have contestants coupling up at the end. The franchise smacks of desperation and if I ever hear the term “I think I could fall in love with him (her)…” again, I might have to tear my hair out. Something about it all is very inorganic and rushed, which is why it’s unsurprising that Bachelor Winter Games contestant Luke Pell proved to be an insincere jackass.

The Winter Games was comprised of contestants from around the world who had been on their countries’ versions of The Bachelor and Luke bonded quickly with Stassi Yaramchuk who had been on The Bachelor: Sweden. The “deep talk” that connected the two of them was about how they both had battled heart problems. Immediately, that became the discussion point to solidify a bond and it seemed that the two were inseparable and mutually devoted to one another throughout the competition. Ever since Luke vied for Jojo’s affections during her season of The Bachelorette, rumors had dogged the Nashville musician as well as claims that he had been approached to be The Bachelor, but had demanded that his season be all about his music. Nick Viall was chosen instead. The sense was that Luke was about getting likes, Instagram followers and song downloads, rather than being sincere about looking for love. However, when Stassi showed up on Winter Games, viewers saw a tender side of the country crooner.

After expressing how much he cared about her during the competition, it was a complete 180 when he iced her out at the show’s reunion last Thursday night. Stassi attempted to talk with him and find out why he had not been in contact at all since the show ended. Luke referenced a conversation that Stassi was completely unaware of ever having (and which, it was clear to viewers, had never taken place) about agreeing to go their separate ways. It was obvious to one and all that Luke was lying and he had ghosted Stassi once Winter Games were over. When Stassi tried to talk to him during the commercial break, he made it clear that he wasn’t interested in even responding to her.

Luke represents a sinister reality behind reality television. He is someone who went on a show to raise his following and promote his music rather than being sincere about looking for long term love. In the past, the franchise has been compassionate about (seemingly) commitment-phobic men and giving them another chance: Dean Unglert juggled two women on Bachelor in Paradise, coming across as a royal jerk to a smitten Kristina Schulman, yet he returned for this season’s Winter Games and found love with contestant Lesley Murphy.

dean and lesley

PAUL HEBERT, Dean “proposes” to Lesley – well, not really. He offers her a key to his apartment.

Then there was Bachelor Brad Womack who rejected both suitors in the finale of his first season, but was brought back to be the Bachelor a second time and got engaged to Emily Maynard (they broke up 8 months later).  However, these men were not as overtly obnoxious and icy as Luke was on The Bachelor Winter Games reunion. Luke was afforded two chances with the franchise and one can only hope producers realize that in this case, he is not deserving of a third chance. If he appears on this summer’s Bachelor in Paradise, fans will be outraged and it will look like a case of producers rewarding bad boy behavior. Then again, anything is possible within this vapid franchise. Either way, I’ll be tuning in.

 

 

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