From the moment the news of Bachelor in Paradise production being temporarily suspended came out, fans wondered how the show was going to handle it when the season aired. The first episode of Bachelor In Paradise 4 showed Chris Harrison talking about the “controversy,” but not really explaining anything — and this was spliced between the regular footage of casual, fun dating. The premiere episode then ended on a cliffhanger, with the rest of the Corinne and DeMario drama to be explored on Tuesday. And right after that, on that same Tuesday, Evan and Carly will get married on Bachelor In Paradise. But, sandwiching these two topics into one episode cheapens both. (ABC declined to comment on the decision to feature both in one episode.)
Evan and Carly were always set to be married on Bachelor In Paradise 4, but the air date seems ill-timed, and combining it with the Corinne & DeMario controversy explainer feels wrong. As a quick refresher: In mid-June, a crew member came forward with claims that alleged sexual misconduct occurred between Corinne and DeMario on BiP. DeMario repeatedly denied the accusations, and both Warner Bros. and Corinne's lawyers — who each conducted independent investigations — concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct. Corinne then released a statement saying she was satisfied with the outcome of her investigation, and filming resumed. The show then promised that everything would be addressed "head on" once the episodes aired. And, it appears that it will address the issue — over two "mega" episodes.
But how are viewers supposed to properly "ooh" and "ahh" over Carly and Evan's everlasting love after they've just finished watching a segment on alleged sexual misconduct? While Warner Bros' found no wrongdoing, it's still a pretty serious issue to follow up with the happiest day of Evan and Carly's lives. To take viewers from the Corinne & DeMario situation to a happy marriage is bound to give people some emotional whiplash. The set-up seems pretty tone deaf and it has the potential to mar Carly and Evan's experience of watching their wedding back on national television.
Plus, putting a wedding next to the coverage of the investigation and aftermath also takes away from the seriousness of the Corinne & DeMario situation. By placing it as a stop along the way to the happy nuptials, the moment isn't given the weight that it's due. Something as serious as a production shutdown and investigation deserves its own episode separated from the rest of the show — not a blip followed up with a pretty marriage ceremony.
Viewers need to watch and understand and think about all that happened or didn't happen before jumping into something with so much levity. And, while no wrongdoing was found on the BiP set, the real world already has a history of not taking allegations of sexual assault seriously. So, while the show's producers may have responded properly by shutting down production and starting an investigation, the episode plan didn't respond quite as well.
And now, unfortunately, neither the investigation nor Carly & Evan's wedding seem to be in a place where either will get their due. It's still possible that the episode will surprise us, but with this set-up, I'm not holding my breath.