Having two Bachelorettes was a bad idea

This season of The Bachelorette had half of everything

Season 19 turned Rachel and Gabby into competitors.
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On Tuesday’s season 19 finale of The Bachelorette, host Jesse Palmer announced, “you’re going to need a glass of wine for this one.” Jesse, my man, I needed a bucket of wine for this season.

This season of The Bachelorette premiered on July 11 with a twist: instead of the traditional one-Bachelorette, thirty-guys ratio, the show starred both Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey as the star Bachelorettes. Both Recchia and Windey were on season 26 of The Bachelor, and their friendship saved the dumpster fire that was Clayton’s journey.

My take: having two Bachelorettes was a really bad idea.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love Rachel and Gabby’s friendship. My favourite parts of this season were when they sat down and debriefed each other on what had happened that week, giving each other advice or just listening.

Rachel and Gabby embody the importance and strength of female friendship, and it was a nice change to see it highlighted on TV. They stuck together through the whole season, even when they were pitted against each other or in a bad place.

Ultimately, though, while Rachel and Gabby’s friendship was lovely to watch, it came at the expense of the show’s other elements and hindered each of their abilities to find love.

For starters, ABC did not have enough episodes to support two Bachelorettes.

This season had double the relationships using the same screen time, which meant a lot of stuff got cut out. We had less time to get to know Rachel and Gabby’s men and get invested in their relationships. So, when the season came to a close, I cared less about the conclusion.

The show’s insistence on favouring drama scenes over romantic ones exacerbated this issue.

By the time we got to hometown dates, I still didn’t know everyone’s name. I was so confused and distracted that not even Patrick Warburton’s dulcet tones could soothe me.

This issue also led to a lot of wonky editing. For some mystical reason, even though they were already working with less time, ABC designated long stretches of valuable screentime to irrelevant ads, an awkward scene in the finale in which Zach—the next Bachelor—meets some of the women from his upcoming season, and Jesse Palmer being taken hostage in the studio.

Overall, the season felt paradoxically slow and rushed, and choppier than whichever waters that cruise ship was sailing across.

Issue number two: having two Bachelorettes date the same pool of guys pitted Rachel and Gabby against each other.

The Bachelorette is one of the few reality shows that gives women some level of power: though admittedly influenced by producers, it’s ultimately their decision how their journey plays out.

In this season, however, that power was snatched away. A sense of confusion and hesitation dominates the first half of the season, as both Bachelorettes try to figure out who’s here for them, and who’s here for the other option. 

In episode three, the women decide to take the power back and force the men to choose which “team” they’re on, but it devolves into chaos as men refuse roses and women break down in tears.

I also didn’t appreciate the word “team” used in this context: it implied Rachel and Gabby were competing against each other when they were supposed to be on individual journeys for love.

At the end of the day, that’s what this season felt like: a competition between Bachelorettes, not between men.

This system also effectively gave each woman half the options they would normally have in this position. ABC should’ve given Rachel and Gabby each their own individual group of men with no overlap. That way, they could really go on individual journeys, like they’re supposed to.

Or, better yet, ABC could’ve given each of them their own season. That’s what they deserved.

This season of The Bachelorette was marketed as “double the Bachelorettes, double the romance, double the drama.” In reality, it was half of everything.

I’m excited for Zach’s season of The Bachelor, but I could’ve known him better had this season followed the traditional format. It seemed everyone got duped this time around.

Please don’t throw Tino in there with him, Jesse!

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