For a franchise that’s done more to set feminism back than Lena Dunham’s entire existence, “The Bachelor” aired a revolutionary moment last night: One of the final three women told bachelor Peter that if he was planning to propose, she’d really prefer he not have sex with the other two contestants.
And Peter, who has yet to display humor, intelligence, self-awareness, or any quality that will outlast his physical beauty, could not hide his disappointment.
This is Fantasy Suite Week! This is the part where he gets to kick the tires, as it were. To “be intimate” with each of the “amazing ladies” whom he can “really see being The One” because he’s “never felt like this before” even though “this is incredibly hard” because he’s forbidden by producers from using the words “in love.”
But Madison, a 23-year-old virgin saving herself for marriage — you can hear the backlash now, what did she think she was getting into?! — can’t and won’t be villainized. Unlike most other contestants, she doesn’t have an observable personality disorder. She doesn’t spread rumors or lies. She has an actual job finding homes for foster children.
Peter, who couldn’t argue with such common sense — or, that rarity in the ecosystem of reality TV, a person with actual self-esteem — fell back on the last refuge of the scoundrel: gaslighting.
“Honestly, Madi, I have been going through a lot in the last week,” said Peter, neglecting the five-star trip to Australia with his harem and camera crew. “Because of what you did. You know, a lot of this revolves around the whole intimacy thing, and honestly I’ve been torn because the fact of the matter is that I do have two other relationships right now.”
Yes, Peter: Poor you.
To which Madison replied, calmly and cogently, “I just can’t wrap my mind around, in a week from now, if you’re down on one knee and six days before that you slept with somebody else. I just can’t wrap my mind around it.”
Yes! That makes total sense. And if you think Madison is an outlier, consider that several prominent members of Bachelor Nation, including former Bachelor Colton Underwood and contestant Ashley Iaconetti, both virgins when cast, leaped to her defense.
“She probably watched my season,” tweeted Underwood, who is still with the contestant he chose in the finale. (They are not engaged.)
As we all well know, reality television is usually manipulated by producers to generate the most conflict. Many of the brutal tactics deployed behind the scenes on “The Bachelor” were outed long ago by the excellent scripted series “UnREAL,” created by an ex-“Bachelor” producer.
“Scary accurate,” “Bachelor” alum Olivia Caridi told Us Weekly in 2016.
So when Madison tells Peter this isn’t for her, that she doesn’t want to enter a crude competition that may as well be called “Who’s Better in Bed, But It Doesn’t Really Matter Because by Now I Know Whom I’m Picking,” you can bet producers told Peter to beg her to stay.
Why else keep her around?
Hannah Ann, Madison, and Victoria
They also probably realized it was funnier to let him speak extemporaneously rather than give him a script, because here’s the tortured logic this himbo came up with:
“I can 100 percent see you and I together at the end,” he told Madison. “But I have to be honest with you. Coming into this week, I could see that with other people too. I hate that I can say that to you, but that’s the truth too.”
As Bachelor Nation knows, that really is the truth, because Peter — as with one Bachelor on “UnREAL” — is actually in a secret relationship with one of his “Bachelor” producers.
A fate most befitting.