On Monday night’s reunion episode of The Bachelor, the “Women Tell All”—where all but the last two contestants in a given confront the Bachelor and each other about the drama of the season—the women may have been warring with each other, but it was clear that the show was their real shared nemesis.
At no point was this more obvious than with the cases of Jubilee and Olivia, arguably the season’s most “controversial” contestants. Both were not liked in the house for different reasons: Jubilee was not liked because she was different, personality-wise and background-wise, and Olivia was not liked because she didn’t make herself very likable. But from their comments last night, it was glaringly obvious that most of their issues stemmed from the circumstances of the show and not with their own personalities.
Jubilee’s confrontation with the women was particularly interesting. One of three black women on this season, Jubilee painted herself as different than the other contestants, even from the other women who were mixed race, Amber and Jami. And during the Women Tell All, the women she got the most heat from were Amber and Jami. “I think a lot of things I said were misunderstood. I’m a little different,” Jubilee said of her sometimes stand-offish behavior during filming.
Amber and Jami were not having it, however, calling Jubilee out for allegedly saying things like, “I’m the real black girl. I’m going to make it the furthest for a full black woman,” and “using the N-word.” While Jubilee quibbled with their characterization of her statements, she also said, “I don’t think that’s offensive. I’m full black.”
Though Jubilee apologized for unintentionally hurting their feelings, qualifying that “I do say offensive things sometimes,” it was her other statements and the women’s response to her that were the most interesting. “I got caught up in the whole reality but not reality of it,” she said of her time on the show. “In my mind, I never really thought that someone like me could win Ben.” Only because of the way this show has historically been cast and structured (with few women of color) did Jubilee feel so impinged—and therefore vocal—about the significance of her race versus the races of the other women. Instead of race aligning her with the other women of color, it pitted them against each other (as it often does), arguably undermining all of their chances of being confident enough during the time they did have with Ben to get to know him better. Ultimately, none of these women were chosen by Ben and we know part of the reason why: the roles that they played on the show mattered more than their true selves did in Ben’s actual life.
The machinations of the show affected Olivia as well. During her moment in “the hot seat,” Olivia compared herself to Jubilee by saying people also don’t get her easily. But she also explained why—even though she has a career as a news anchor—she was so uncomfortable being on this type of television show. “I was not comfortable in that setting. That was not the right setting for my personality type,” she said, further explaining what she had said during filming, that she had been “severely bullied as a child” and that “there were so many moments when it took me back to elementary school.”
“I used to watch this show and we see things and we all judge but no one really knows all of us fully,” she continued, explaining that it has been difficult for her since the show started airing, with all the hate she gets on social media (she has apparently given her sister the logins to her social media accounts).
“If there was a guidebook on how to do this show right and make 28 women happy, I would have read it and maybe I would have done better,” Olivia said. “But there’s no way of knowing how to do this. And I didn’t do it right. But I learned.”
Well, there is a guidebook: it’s called watching the show long enough to figure out the rules. But it’s a faulty one; as we learned last week, that doesn’t always save people—the rules can change (see Jojo and Lauren both being told by Ben that he loved them, and reacting very differently to that news). Unfortunately, the bottom line is that there is no way to predict how you’re going to react to the monster that is this television show. And the only way for some people to learn that is to experience it themselves.
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Images via ABC.