Friday, July 24, 2009

What's the Bachelorette Got to Do With It?

All right, I admit it. I watch the Bachelorette. It's kind of a stupid thing my wife and I like to do together. We get into all into the drama and talk with each other about what he or she should do etc. This is not typical television for me. So much more useful ways to spend my time with all of the injustices in the world. But you gotta goof off sometimes.

All of you high and mighty people might say "Well duh" when I make this point, but we all know "reality" television isn't real. We know the producers skew things to make for an interesting story. On the other hand you're watching video. You're getting their statements. So if someone appears to be a jerk and later denies it you won't believe them. You saw them on video.

So there's this guy on the show vying for the Bachelorette (Jillian Harris) by the name of Wes Hayden. He's introduced on the first episode and you see him singing. He's very good. As the episodes progress you start to wonder if he's really there more for his career and doesn't care about Jillian. He also seems to be a bit of a bully, pushing some of the other guys around verbally.

Later one of the other bachelor's (Tanner P) confides in Jillian that another bachelor has a girlfriend. We learn that it's Wes that is being charged, though Jillian and the other guys never find out who Tanner was implicating. This resulted in large drama. The other bachelor's want to know who it is, but Tanner P says nothing. You wonder why he didn't. Maybe he isn't sure that he understood Wes right.

In a later episode the all American nice guy Jake gets booted. In the next episode he's returned because he has to tell Jillian about Wes, who is still in the running. He's since learned that Wes has a girlfriend apparently. He informs Jillian and later makes the same accusation when Wes is present. Wes denies everything. Jillian apparently isn't sure Jake is right and keeps Wes for another episode.

This is surprising to me. Wes is obviously a jerk. Why would Jake come back if he weren't sure of himself?

In the next episode Jillian has a date with Wes in Spain. It seems to be awkward. At one point Wes appears to have a verbal slip as he talks about his girlfriend. Whoops. I mean ex-girlfriend. Jillian appears taken aback. Finally at the rose ceremony Wes is booted. During his limo ride out he says things like "First guy ever to make it to the top four with a girlfriend."

Prior to the final selection for Jillian they have an episode called "The Men Tell All." Wes didn't show "for obvious reasons" according to Chris Harrison, the host.

Conclusion? He's a scumbag. I mean we saw it on video, right?

Turns out you'd be wrong to think that. It appears to me now that the whole thing is a sham. How do I know? Well, I listened to this interview with him, and I just think his explanations make so much better sense of what I saw. It makes sense of the fact that sometimes when he says something offensive the responses of others around seem strange. Sliced and diced, like they were part of a different context. And it makes sense of the fact that he'd have to be about the dumbest guy in the world to hope for good publicity by going on the show, hiding the truth from Jillian, yet admitting to America how big of a jerk he is. And he's obviously not a stupid person.

Pretty much every instance of him saying something offensive is a spliced and diced clip that really alters the meaning of what he's really saying. Take for instance his admission in the limo that he had a girlfriend. Here is what he says happened. They drive him around in circles in a limo for like 3 hours with the AC off and the windows up. For better sound quality supposedly. They feed him all the liquor they can. At one point a producer says something to the effect of "How about you and all this girlfriend stuff?" He basically repeats back what the producer says. "Yeah, first guy in bachelorette history to get to the final four with a girlfriend." He then goes on to say "As if I'd put up with you pricks telling me what I can and can't do, drive around in a sweaty car, etc if in fact I had a girlfriend. I'd have gotten out of here."

He's quoted as saying at one point "I already played my song, I already serenaded Jillian. I've gotten what I needed." Sounds pretty bad in isolation. An open admission that he's here for publicity. But that was stated in a context of people asking him if in fact he was here more for his career. He basically says that if that were true, he's already gotten what he's needed. He's had the exposure. Why would he stay in this house with all of these stinky guys with producers telling him what he can and can't do, unable to even call home to his extremely sick grandmother if this was just about some exposure, which he's already gotten?

What about Jake's confrontation? Apparently Jake is a God boy. He thinks God speaks to him and tells him what he should do. He had been on 6 episodes, so this was confirmation he needed to go back one more time because God had told him he'd be on 7 episodes (God's lucky number apparently?). He was probably pressured by producers, made to think Wes had admitted to having a girlfriend, when he didn't mean it that way, and brought back on for high drama. It was obvious to me as I watched this that some of it was contrived, but I didn't realize how contrived. Jake talks on the phone with another bachelor already kicked off and it seems scripted, more like he's talking to a producer. Wes claims Jillian didn't even want to deal with the confrontation, but the producers made it happen.

Jake actually identifies the first name of the supposed girlfriend. Laurel. Wes begged the producers not to name her, because he knew she'd be hounded. They didn't think she would be, but the next day People Magazine had already found her and this meant harassment of course. She says there is no truth to the claim that they are together, and she maintains that view today.

The final insult was the "Men Tell All" episode. The host says something to the effect of "Wes didn't show. We can imagine why." But he wasn't specific, which I thought was a little strange. According to Wes he initially did decline to go on, but later changed his mind. He was afraid of the edit he would get, but in the end he decided he had to try. The producers wouldn't let him on.

Today he's a villain. Just Google his name and you'll see. Everyone is still convinced. And it's all false (in my view). I thought he was a villain too just a week ago. I had good evidence. Video footage. And the claim wasn't so outrageous. A guy went on a show for selfish reasons. That's a pretty sound basis for a conclusion, right?

I heard a new saying. Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. Be skeptical. You shouldn't be so confident in what you think you know.

Heck, maybe I need additional information before drawing the conclusion that Wes is innocent. So hard to know. I'd bet he is, but I wouldn't bet my house on it.

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