Sorry, Chad, your “Man Brand” is no longer king.
There is something irresistible in the Chad mystique that has taken over The Bachelorette. Not that the show has ever really been about love, but this season the producers have set up a fight between good and evil, or more pointedly, a battle between progress and regression. The show seems keen to redefine manhood as we know it: The white Alpha variety.
Part 1 ended with Chad threatening to dismember his cohort and drown their torsos. Part 2 begins with a peace treaty between Chad and the other dudes that breaks within minutes. Chad’s rage accelerates in proportion to the “sensitivity” displayed by the other guys. He rails against the type he hates: “bleeding-crying sensitivity guy with kids,” “scared-of-people sensitivity guy,” and yoga guy. He is particularly against guys who play the “Wussy Card” to gain its heretofore unheard of advantage.
How to Play the “Wussy Card”
Chad represents the end of an era where his brand of masculinity would be king. Now, he’s framed as some sort of freak. The producers shoot him crouching in brush off by himself. In another shot, he’s out on the patio waving pool noodles as if they are alien tentacles. Later, he kicks the head of a giant inflatable flamingo. Like a monster.
Chad seems hungry for a time when no one would have been allowed to speak but him. In fact, he asserts that the best way to stop people from talking is to hit them. He claims his punch could make a head explode. To Chad, there are far too many voices in the mansion. When Derek utters the word “misogynistic” aloud, it’s as if someone has finally put the reality in reality television. He even goes full-on guru and offers this wisdom: “Perception is reality, Chad.”
Of course, misogyny has always been the franchise’s modus operandi.
The women were always pageant-style objects, batons in a competition. Now Derek claims a kind of social awareness previously unseen in this universe. Dare it spark something similar in the watching Bachelor Nation?
The other men strike Chad as weak because they have kids, perceptions, yogic tendencies, and blood. They express a different kind of manhood. They are loud and proud wussies who detest violence and know the term misogyny. Jordan genuinely laughs when Chad threatens to find him, post-production, and beat his ass. Chad is funny.
But Luke is actually the most adept wussy. He plays the wussy card so well he redefines it. He asserts that the best thing in life is to be “super connected to emotions.” He gets a rose.
What does Ben Roethlisberger Got to Do with it?
The group date takes place at the famed Heinz field, stomping ground of the Steelers (a football team.) Famous QB Ben Roethlisberger, retiree Heinz Ward and some other guy trot out to school the contestants in football. Or charging at things. Or jumping in and out of car tires. Or crashing into each other while confined in giant, air-filled hamster balls. Two of them end up bleeding.
James T. requires a medic and Evan bleeds for the second time. (The first involved a pool accident that got blamed on Chad though he wasn’t in the vicinity.) Jordan does not bleed, because like the Fireman in the Fire Challenge, this competition was built for him. He used to play for the pros or “throw leather” as Chad once called it.
JoJo has to chat with Roethlisberger, a guy with a history of sexual assault allegations. He munches chips and laughs in the stands as the bachelors run about the field trying to win more time with JoJo.
Nature Segment: Please Do Feed the Chad Bear
As much as we like Jordan and Wells and James T. with his bandaged head, we really want to get back to The Chad Show. In the last recap, we discovered Chad was masculinity’s stomping Id, a kind of toddleresque Tyler Durden, the Bing-Bong of America’s gender psyche gone wild. It’s as if the Ideal Male stereotype somehow skewed toward irrevocable disaster. Chad himself names his greatest achievement as “being born good-looking.” He checks off all the boxes: rugged, tall, square-jawed, bicep-y, a paragon of white privilege. Yet, his power fades at every turn. He’s like the android prototype of the Perfect Man whose circuitry tangles and veers into evil. In his contestant profile, he even repeats the same line (from Matthew McConaughey’s paean to egotism) three times, as if glitching.
Chad does everyone, most especially whomever is in charge of editing, a huge favor when he refers to himself as the “Chad Bear.” Then he advises that he should not be poked, which assures that he will be poked, and relentlessly. The producers bring in what appears to be stock footage of at least two grizzlies and cross-cut these beasts with footage of Chad. Surreal. Glorious.
Chad is well-hated by his comrades on The Bachelorette—an ire that has bled out into the Bachelor Nation who agree that he is the worst. Many are bored already. They are so over this national Chad-gasm. So much bluster and bullying.
But then we are glad when he doesn’t leave. When the “to be continued” promises even more Chad. As host Harrison often reminds, the show doesn’t have any rules. So when Chad doesn’t get a rose, instead of leaving like the usual contestant, he walks into the woods. Into the dark night. But then, just like a poked bear, he goes after happy campers. His bunkmates were just celebrating his demise when they notice a tapping outside their luxe cabin. Cut to Chad Bear scraping his fingernails (claws?) against the window. What on earth is this bear up to?
The larger question: will the wussies win—or will Chad beat their asses?
Photo: Getty Images
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