I am a shameless and unapologetic Nick Viall backer. I think he’s funny and cute and genuinely sweet and I literally never understood the “villain” edit he got. As far as I could tell, the other guys in the house always hated Nick because:
- He was a frontrunner on both Andi and Kaityln’s seasons.
- He’s exactly the kind of chatty, emotional guy women tend to like more than men.
To me, the whole “if you didn’t love me, why did you make love to me” controversy from Andi’s After the Final Rose show was overblown. Nick is not a slut-shamer. His behavior before and since has more than demonstrated that. To wit, this tweet*:
Both men and women have an equal right to have sex without judgement #TheBachelorette #bachelorette
— Nick Viall (@viallnicholas28) June 23, 2015
And here’s why I thought Nick was going to make a great Bachelor. Two-percent body fat and smoldering blue steel aside, he seems like a guy I could actually hang with. Most of the Bachelors are cocky ex jocks or overly polished “entrepreneurs” or shameless opportunists or God squad types who have the unneurotic confidence that comes from thinking that everything happens for a reason. Nick isn’t polished. He mumbles. He overshares. He likes to gossip—as people do! He actually thinks about things. He seems to love women, and not just for the sex stuff! How refreshing it will be, I thought to myself, to have an actual human being as the Bachelor.
Oops, I was dead wrong. Because Nick is actually a terrible Bachelor—so neurotic, so fretful, so self-questioning he’s taken a lot of fun out of the series. He’s so afraid that he’s not going to find love, he’s sabotaging himself, second guessing everything he does, sending contestants home willy-nilly, crying when he feels an iota of tenderness toward a woman, then crying again when that fleeting feeling goes away.
The Bachelor is a show that thrives on artifice. You have to believe in the process, no matter how absurd the process may be. Of course the odds are slim that your future wife and soul mate is among the 25 women randomly selected for a reality TV competition. I mean, it’s possible (oh hai, Ryan and Trista!), but certainly not likely. Then, you have to give yourself fully to the romance of it all—never asking yourself, Do I really feel this way? Or am I being overly seduced by the various perfectly-timed fireworks displays, sunsets on the beach, helicopter rides, candlelit dinners in castles, private concerts from minor recording artists, and other unrealistic dates that the show handily provides?
Nick sees through the artifice. This is literally the worst thing that can happen to a Bachelor. They have to either buy into the artifice or not care. But Nick cares! He cares a lot!
A lot of focus has been placed on the fact that Nick was burnt by the show twice (well, two and a half times, if you include Bachelor in Paradise, which I don’t) and that’s why he’s been so gun shy. Surely that’s part of it. With both Andi and Kaitlyn, he thought he had found true love and was sent packing. (In particularly humiliating fashion by Kaitlyn, who literally let him get down on one knee. That’s cold.) So yeah, he’s understandably cautious. But I think his biggest problem is that he’s too damn smart for his own good. He knows that the odds of this whole thing working out are slim and he also knows that if he doesn’t find love he’ll be seen as a failure, even a laughingstock. He’s so afraid of failing, he fails. (There’s a lesson here, people.)
What’s more, because of his natural over-sharing tendencies, he tends to be honest-to-a-fault with his dates, giving them a lot of “I wanted to will myself to love you, but I just couldn’t” and “I thought I had feelings for you—sadly I was wrong” type confessions. He even broke down in front of the remaining contestants and told them about his anxieties over finding “the one.” What the hell are they supposed to do with that?
Every once in a while, a glimmer of the Bachelor I thought Nick was going to be shines through. I loved his amused insistence that Alexis was really a shark, not a dolphin. I loved when he laughingly told Corinne, “Didn’t expect you to go full third person there,” when she started dropping a lot of “Corinnes” into her sentences. And he was beyond sweet when he tended to Vanessa after she fell ill during a date. (He even kissed her after she puked—now that’s chivalry.)
But mostly, I was wrong about Nick. I thought I wanted a relatable Bachelor. I don’t. I want a slick, polished, made-for-TV Bachelor who’s either in it for the wrong reasons or too dumb to care. Turns out the surest way to kill reality TV? Too much reality.
*I do, however, judge Nick for spelling judgment wrong.