'The Bachelorette' Needs To Stop With The Lee & Kenny "Drama"

by Kayla Hawkins
Paul Hebert/ABC

The Bachelorette is usually artful when it comes to wringing drama out of the romantic lives of strangers, able to make even the most minor events fascinating. Unfortunately, the show making it seem via promos that Lee & Kenny will fight on The Bachelorette, which only plays into the stereotype that Kenny is "aggressive" — a stereotype that not one, but two black contestants have explained is not OK. (ABC declined to comment on the two-on-one or the promos surrounding it.)

Lee is an unambiguous villain. By never showing any of this alleged "aggressiveness" from Kenny that Lee told Rachel about — and adding a segment where Kenny has an adorable conversation with his young daughter — the audience is seemingly supposed to be on Kenny's side. But by implying via promos that Kenny is just one more confrontation away from "drawing blood," as one fellow suitor put it in a (context free) talking head interview, the show is doing almost the same thing as Lee — perpetuating the so-far-unbelievable threat that Kenny will violently attack him.

Two episodes now have ended with a clip of Kenny shouting, presumably at Lee, and footage of Kenny with a bloody cut over his eye. Perhaps there's a chance that this somehow does turn into a violent altercation between the two. Certainly, it seems that Kenny's patience is waning, judging from the many times he called Lee a snake (and a "Southern short stack of garbage") in this episode. But, a fight seems unlikely, given that the show would probably have more footage than just a static shot of Kenny bleeding — and, when it comes to the safety of contestants, the producers would hopefully intervene before things came to physical blows.

As contestants like Dean have claimed, Lee has allegedly targeted only men of color as the men he wants to "destroy" and is using stereotypes about "aggressiveness" to win the favor of a woman he seems barely interested in pursuing. He seems far more interested in getting Kenny kicked off the show than sticking around himself — and, in the face of all that, Kenny's remained remarkably calm in comparison.

It's at the point where ABC is now marketing the show by talking about how unlikeable Lee is.

Thinking about it abstractly, that makes sense. So far, most of Rachel's non-Lee decisions have made sense. After an awkward or uncomfortable date, she usually opens up and lets the guy down gently. There hasn't been much drama to talk about outside of what Lee is doing. But every time the show cuts from Lee talking about getting punched in the jaw to a shot of Kenny with his fist clenched in annoyance that his appearance on The Bachelorette is now all about this puffy-haired jerk, the show's editors aren't doing any better than what Lee is rightfully being criticized for — and Kenny deserves more than further perpetuated stereotypes for the sake of "drama."