Manufactured drama is the sustaining element of all reality television, yet this season’s bachelor, Colton Underwood, does his best to keep it to a minimum. The show has branded Colton as “open and honest” from the beginning, and it’s proven to be true. In addition to the producers’ hammering away on his openness about his virginity, Colton is quick to stamp out conflict between contestants, have the “hard conversations” with his suitors, and walk them out the door before they can even get to a rose ceremony.
Typically, the bachelor is happy to let as many women as possible hang around for a long as possible, even if there is obviously a missed connection. It’s inevitable every season, given the classic “Bachelor” challenge of vulnerability or, as the show’s cliche goes, “opening up.” This is unsurprising given they have just a few weeks and little one-on-one time with a person they are considering marrying.
Colton, however, is not settling for the “Bachelor” status quo. He doesn’t have time for these missed connections. Once he realizes the woman he’s “dating” is not the one for him, he has an honest and sincere conversation with them about why, and then lets them go even before any roses are handed out.
At just three weeks into this season, the 25-year-old realtor Caitlin confessed to Colton on a group date that she felt she was already falling behind in their relationship. He asked her a simple question about herself and her answers were embarrassingly bad — mentioning that she wanted someone who would want to go out with her and her friends, and that she didn’t have anything to share with him other than that she had “a good life.” Colton was smart to stop her right there, sparing viewers at home weeks of torment, and walk her out the door.
He was almost being too nice when he told the cameras, “I think tonight, just sitting down with her, the conversation wasn’t the best. The one thing I know is that I have relationships that are further along, and with Caitlin, I just didn’t feel it.”
Two other women, Elyse and Sydney, technically left on their own volition, but it was only because of Colton’s honesty that they were able to see they did not have a future with him either. Elyse, the oldest woman of the group at 31, cracked when she realized the guy she was dating was also dating a dozen other women.
“I want the time and attention that a relationship deserves… I can’t accept a proposal after a few months of sharing your time and attention with other people. I can’t do it,” she said. It’s a little late for that, Elyse!
Sydney, an NBA dancer from New York, left on Monday night’s episode in Vietnam after whining throughout the episode that she wasn’t getting as many “opportunities” with Colton as the other women. To his credit, Colton listened and tried to understand her complaints. She finally realized that the reason the process was so difficult for her was because there was zero connection, and he walked her to the car.
Finally, the best “hard conversation” on Monday night, one that Colton was probably happy to have, was with the season’s resident villain and psychopath, Demi. After this week’s group dates and one-on-one’s, Demi decided to make an unexpected visit to Colton, quite explicitly with the intention of taking his virginity. She told him she was falling in love with him. He did not reciprocate her feelings. Her plan completely backfired as Colton calmly explained he didn’t see them together and that she should leave.
“Those other girls seem like the safe choice but in the end it’s not gonna be safe because you’re not gonna be happy in the long run,” Demi said as her parting words, totally not like a psychopath or anything.
Sending so many women home each episode could seem like a savage move. But on the whole, it is positive change of pace for viewers who can see past the lies these people tell themselves and the camera. Bachelors and Bachelorettes alike often let their suitors dangle, only to build suspense for each episode’s rose ceremony. Colton’s “open and honest” brand is a good example to set for future bachelors (not to mention more efficient). Although the producers will never fully allow it, sending home the ditzes, villains, and drama queens sooner rather than later is the only way to find someone there for the “right reasons.”