I Thought Nick Viall Was Going To Be the Best Bachelor Ever. Boy Was I Wrong.

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Sad Nick is sad

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:

  1. He was a frontrunner on both Andi and Kaityln’s seasons.
  2. 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*:

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.

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Why I’m #TeamNick and You Should Be, Too

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Meet Nick.

The other day, hoping to fangirl with some like-minded The Bachelorette watchers, I did a Twitter search for Nick Viall, one of the two remaining men vying for the affections of Kaitlyn Bristowe.

These were the kinds of tweets I saw:

“Nick Viall is actually Satan in human form”

“If Nick Viall doesn’t go home I swear I’m just…I’m out”

“I hope Nick Viall gets hit by a bus”

Then, driven by curiosity, I searched for Shawn Booth, the other remaining suitor. As you might’ve guessed, these were the kinds of tweets I saw:

“Shawn Booth is a dreamboat”

“Without any doubt, Shawn Booth is the epitome of my dream man.”

“Does anyone realize how effing hot Shawn Booth is.” [No question mark needed, apparently.]

And I thought to myself, “Are these people watching the same show as I am?’’

Just the tiniest bit of context, although I’m pretty sure everyone reading this blog already watches the show. (If not, what are you doing here? Shoo!):

Nick was a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to this season of The Bachelorette. He had been a contestant in Andi Dorfman’s season (making it to the final two and famously moaning, “If you didn’t love me, why did you make love to me”—more on that in a sec—before losing to Josh Murray). He’d seen Kaitlyn on Chris Soules’s season of The Bachelor and thought she was cute. The two, reportedly, had been exchanging steamy text messages right up until the time that Kaitlyn was chosen to be this season’s Bachelorette. So Nick decided that he wanted to join the cast. Or maybe the producers approached him. Maybe they even intentionally waited to introduce Nick in the fourth week because they knew it would add to the drama. That would be so like them.

Needless to say, right out of the gate, the other guys didn’t like Nick. They were extremely jealous of his previous connection with Kaitlyn, and annoyed that he had disrupted the show, just when they were all finally getting their legs under them. They got paranoid. (One guy, named Josh A, kind of slowly drove himself mad with jealousy.) They all created this narrative right away that Nick was a bad guy. And that he was—say it with me—here for the wrong reasons (HFTWR).

Their reasoning for determining that Nick was HFTWR? Because he’d already been on The Bachelorette. That, of course, made zero sense since Kaitlyn, the woman they were all already pining away for, had already been on The Bachelor. If Nick was HFTWR, so was Kaitlyn. If anything, an argument could be made that Nick was here for most traditional reasons: He already knew Kaitlyn and knew he liked her. That strikes me as a lot more the way actual romance works than The Bachelorette’s bizarre “25 guys all competing for the heart of one woman” construct.

Knowing that the guys were going to resent him, Nick played it cool. He was nice, polite, kept to himself, didn’t say much. He didn’t gloat about the fact that he and Kaitlyn had a previous connection or that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

He said, again and again, “I’m here for Kaitlyn.”

And when he finally did sleep with Kaitlyn—creating the most overblown and ridiculous controversy in the history of the show—he kept it to himself.

Okay, so let’s break down a couple more reasons I like Nick

He’s hella cute

I mean, different strokes, obviously. You may prefer that hunk of man-meat with the snap-on hair named Shawn. I think Nick is pretty dreamy. For starters, he has great personal style. He really knows how to rock a suit, which something of a lost art form in this country.

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Smizing for days

And, uh, he looks pretty damn good out of suit, too.

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It’s hard to snap your pants and drink coffee at the same time (NOT complaining)

I will confess that my crush on him was slightly dampened when someone pointed out how much he resembled Spencer Pratt.

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How unfortunate

You can’t unsee that shit.

He’s a feminist!

Here’s what he tweeted after the whole ridiculous brouhaha of him sleeping with Kaitlyn:

“Both men and women have an equal right to have sex without judgement”

*Emoji heart eyes*

Now, this might seem to contradict the alleged “slut-shaming” he did of Andi, but I actually saw that as more “emotional shaming.” Like, Andi knew how deep his feelings for her were and he felt that by sleeping with him, she was leading him on. That’s actually kind of …sweet.

Okay, fine, so maybe Nick isn’t your type. I get that. But why is everyone so incredibly in love with Shawn? Help me understand, people. Without further ado, some reasons why I’m NOT Team Shawn

He’s Not That Good Looking

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The dudest bro who ever dudebroed

Look, he’s ripped and he has a deep voice and I guess he does look a little bit like Ryan Gosling—if Ryan Gosling bulked up to play a body builder or something. But that side-part the size of the Mississippi River and all that hair gel is so not working for me.

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I’ve nicknamed his part, “The worm”

He’s One of Those Annoying Contestants Who Forgets The Way the Show Works

Shawn focused most of his ire on Nick, but he basically freaked out whenever Kaitlyn spent any time with a man not named Shawn. He seemed to think that Kaitlyn was going to kick all the other guys out and give him the final rose in week two.

He’s the Real “Slut Shamer”

When Kaitlyn finally told Shawn that she slept with Nick, he did the whole cave man bit, acting like she was his possession and had no right to have sex with any other man. He also threatened to leave the show several times, but finally decided to do Kaitlyn a huge favor and stay. What a guy.

He Refuses To Call Nick By His Name

He calls him “that guy” like Nick is Voldemort or something.

His Idea of Clearing the Air is Calling Nick an Asshole

Two episodes ago, Shawn had to get something off his chest. He needed to speak to Nick “man to man.” So he basically went to Nick’s room and told Nick he hated him. When Nick tried to protest, or find out why, Shawn just kept repeating, “You’re not here for the right reasons.” Nick was quick to point out that Shawn had made no effort to get to know him. “Because I don’t want to,” Shawn said. The thing that was so funny about this conversation was that Shawn clearly thought he was some sort of hero for saying all this stuff to Nick’s face. Yeah, pal, you deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.

In closing, Nick hasn’t done anything wrong this season. A bunch of jealous guys decided they hated him for no reason and collectively agreed he was HFTWR.

I don’t know who Kaitlyn is going to pick in 2 weeks—a Snapchat photo of her in bed with Shawn leaked, leading lots of viewers to assume he’s the winner—but I am unabashedly Team Nick. And you’re damn right it’s for all the right reasons