Sharleen Joynt on ‘The Men Tell All’ Episode of The Bachelorette
The former Bach contestant, podcast host and FLARE columnist shares her insider's POV on last night's episode
Presented by SkipTheDishes
It turns out that without a full cast, a fancy studio or even an audience, I still enjoy a Tell All. Even in the case of last night’s pared-down set, plus the fact that it was a pretty uneventful and unsatisfying event, I was still somehow munching away happily on my popcorn. You guys know by now why: I’m forever keen to see what contestants say after the fact, when the Bachelor bubble is behind them, after having witnessed much of their own behaviour on TV and experienced any corresponding online backlash.
However, in terms of any retroactive self-awareness, remorse or apologies, this Tell All left a lot to be desired. Most of the drama this season has been logistical, not interpersonal, making for very few sagas to rehash. The only conflict in which both parties were even in the room was yet another instalment of Noah versus Bennett, and given we’ve been watching that same battle for the last several weeks, I couldn’t have been less interested. I appreciated Bennett’s quasi-apology, but when Noah didn’t come close to meeting him halfway (and in fact opted for the opposite of the high road, calling him “an ostentatious Harvard D-bag”), I officially had enough. It’s clear these are just two personalities that don’t mesh, and I’ve had my fill of watching the same back-and-forth over and over.
In terms of other content, things were all over the place. With only about half the usual contestants (!), there was definitely less material to work with and work through. Personally, I found it odd that Clare wasn’t included, especially given a fair amount of the footage shown was from her time as Bachelorette. And with so little content to begin with, why not invite her in, check in with Jason (there wasn’t enough Jason in general!), and watch her reactions to her own bloopers? This felt like a missed opportunity in an episode that clearly needed some extra oomph.
I’ll keep with my Tell All tradition of singling out my most memorable moments….
The top 3 moments from Tayshia’s “The Men Tell All” episode
#3 In his defence
A function of not having a full cast of contestants at a Tell All naturally means certain men may not be present to defend themselves. Such was the case last night when Chris Harrison asked Ed just what had bothered him so much about Chasen. Despite time having passed and Ed being firmly back in the real world (meaning, he wasn’t stuck coexisting with Chasen day in and day out), Ed needlessly maintained his negative opinion of Chasen. Instead of showing any remorse for suggesting on national television that Chasen is dumb, he only doubled down, calling Chasen “the three Fs: he’s a fraud, fake and phoney,” going on to say that Chasen is “too dumb” to know “phoney” is spelled with a P-H. Oy. It would seem Ed has his sights set on Paradise, because this was an audition if I’ve ever seen one.
I personally never understand when contestants can’t see how the environment played a role in their opinions of each other, but I’m no longer surprised by this. What bugged me, however, was that Chasen wasn’t even present to defend himself. It was the unfairest of fights.
This is where Demar won all the prizes. Demar has been wonderfully drama-free all season, and last night we saw that he’s also willing to go out of his way to be kind. As Ed assumed—and declared—Chasen was being inauthentic in calling his connections with each Clare and Tayshia “the most magical,” and Demar rightfully challenged that, saying, “What if that was genuine for him? Who are you to say that for him?”
It’s easy to see both sides of this. I can see why Ed might cast side-eye at a guy who seems calculated and fake, but ultimately it’s not his right or responsibility to right that wrong, especially when it’s a “wrong” based on an assumption. Certainly, no one has the right to say someone else’s experience—or a word he uses to describe that experience—is or isn’t valid. I loved that Demar caught this. His defence of Chasen wasn’t about his intelligence or any other of Ed’s claims, but rather the reality of Chasen’s experience.
Even though it didn’t even seem like Demar was necessarily Chasen’s bestie, he stood up for someone who wasn’t present to fight his own battle. This was a refreshing moment of not only kindness, but fairness.
#2 11th hour lead
I’ve always loved seasons (particularly Bachelorette seasons) where you really buy how emotionally invested in the lead the contestants become. Not all seasons are the same in this regard, much less with a Bachelorette overhaul a third of the way into the season. Thus, Tayshia deserves major credit for being the woman to not only salvage this season, but to be so compelling and charismatic that so many guys truly fell for her, fast and hard. Not all contestants are still heartbroken months after the fact, and even fewer still seek answers at the Tell All, so seeing each Bennett, Blake and Riley get misty-eyed over what might have been with Tayshia—the very woman who broke their hearts—speaks to her allure.
For her part, Tayshia spoke to the guys with respect and obvious affection last night. There have been moments throughout the season where she has struck me as slightly cold, but here, she emanated genuine warmth. When guys wanted answers, she was the perfect balance between honest and careful, choosing to be kind above all else. Tayshia really shines in scenarios like this, where she must simultaneously empathize and improvise, and I thought she was the picture of grace at this Tell All.
#1 Unite and conquer
I was really hoping Yosef would surprise me at this Tell All. It’s incredible what a bit of self-awareness, humility and apologizing can do. He had every opportunity to make himself look better here—indeed, even Chris Harrison made a point of giving him another chance to “help him help himself.”
Alas, Yosef eschewed each and every olive branch in sight. In fact, he impressively managed to make himself look even worse than he did in Episode 3. It bewilders me—and even scares me—that he could have watched himself on TV and still thought he was justified in his actions. Even if he still felt the way he did then, who in their right mind wouldn’t soften his stance in the interest of improving his image? That alone speaks to a scary degree of stubbornness and needing to be right at all costs.
Interestingly, what Yosef seemed hell bent on clinging to was his initial argument, that the strip dodgeball date was “classless.” What he didn’t take responsibility for, and hardly seemed to address, was the real issue: his alarming execution. (After all, regardless of the reason, there’s no excuse for how he spoke to Clare.) Even when asked how he’d feel if someone spoke to his daughter the way he spoke to Clare, he just COULD NOT admit fault, even going so far as to say, “If my daughter did something like that, I would hope someone would call her out.” It continues to be painfully apparent that Yosef cannot be wrong—it’s not a scenario he can even fathom—which makes for pretty scary relationship (let alone husband) material. I sincerely hope he’s playing up this role for the cameras, and is meanwhile raising that daughter of his to understand taking responsibility is a good thing, that it’s OK to be wrong once in awhile.
But what made this segment memorable was the other guys’ tag-teaming against Yosef, methodically debunking and dismantling his arguments one by one. When Yosef mentioned how bothered he was by the strip factor of the dodgeball date, even going so far as to twist his argument as “sticking up for the guys” on that date, Kenny couldn’t resist (hilariously) saying he, Blake and Demar were “three of the most naked guys” on that date, and they were A-OK. When Yosef seemed to pat himself on the back for bringing things up to the “source” (AKA Clare), Blake jumped in, saying “in a shitty way,” rightfully zeroing in on Yosef’s awful execution. When Yosef claimed that the conversation was “calm, cool and collected” until Clare caused things to escalate, Jason leaped in, exclaiming, “Because you controlled the whole conversation!” When Yosef played victim about Clare saying he wasn’t fit to be the father of her children, Riley calmly reminded him what Clare had responded to, with, “You came at her, you called her classless. You were out of line.” When Yosef still wouldn’t quit fighting every last battle, Bennett closed with, “The most shocking thing is that you have no regret or remorse.” (I have to agree.) At every turn (and at every weak argument), the guys joined forces to take down the common enemy. And since this was such a clear case of right versus wrong, it felt like a feel-good superhero moment, where their combined forces succeeded in vanquishing this villain.