'The Bachelor': What *Didn't* We Learn?

In a different universe — or maybe just a different network — these "Women/Men Tall All" episodes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, respectively, might actually be sort of fascinating behind-the-scenes looks at one of the most packaged, curated franchises on television. Instead of hearing jilted contestants say things many of them have already been saying all season long, we might learn something... I don't know, new. Honest. Maybe about the way this show has impacted them at home following their dismissal? A keener sense of what was edited (or flat-out cut) in the process of making each of them a "type"? You know, REAL TALK. Not just the 10 millionth utterance of the phrase "Andi's fantasy suite... turned into a nightmare" or some of the earliest no-Rosers demanding more of the screen time they missed out on.

(This show is basically the mascot of our national shame, right? We can all agree on that? Please?)

So, no, Monday's "Women Tell All" did not bust the door open on anything revelatory. It wasn't going to. And you can't get mad at a show for being exactly what it's always been! To criticize Chris Harrison for softballing questions to anyone he interviewed would be like yelling at the sun for being too bright.

But I'd be remiss to let slip the chance to ask those... well, not hard-hitting questions. (IT'S THE BACHELOR.) Still queries, maybe, dangling issues about which I would have liked to learn just a little more. Such as:

  • What does everyone think of their kissing abilities watching them play back on screen? Have they taken lessons since returning home and reviewing the game tape?
  • Based on what they saw of JP's advanced feelings for some women, say Sharleen and Clare, and their diminished chances of winning, did any of the other ladies consider removing themselves from the competition early?
  • What weird shit is available to you in the fantasy suite? Or is it more of a regular suite whose "fantasy" elements depend entirely on your own imagination?
  • You can call it a search for love all you want, but The Bachelor's DNA is still that of a game show. Honest answer from each contestant: What, if anything, was your angle or "strategy"? Do you wish you'd "played" any differently?
  • Yes, Juan Pablo is sort of a dismissive clod. BUT how disappointed would you have been to open the limo not to JP... but, say, the guy in the suit of armor from Desiree's season? Or Clint Howard?
  • How much did you practice saying "CaMEEla" in the mirror before bringing up JP's daughter in conversation with him?
  • Though she could have framed it better, Kelly's criticism of Juan Pablo's "gay parents are perverted" comment that leaked earlier in the season was valid. What would that hour-long conversation he promised her sound like?
  • Occupationally speaking, what is a "Dog Lover"?

If you'd asked me one year ago, before I'd ever seen an episode of either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, whether I'd one day assemble a list of questions like these that demonstrate a thorough, worrying knowledge of the show? I'd probably laugh, and then cry. I don't know. A year can really change you.

Image: ABC