Which “toxic male” villain will emerge now that Chad is gone?
Can The Bachelorette survive now that it’s “Chad-less?” Can the audience?
Chad departs within the first few minutes of this week’s Bachelorette episode. He doesn’t beat anyone’s ass. No one gets de-torso’d. His worst move was to shake the Former QB’s hand with an extra tight grip. The footballer told him to “have fun going home.”
Then Chad simply left, much to the disappointment of producers and the entire Bachelor Nation who are secretly in love with hating him.
“I’m out,” Chad claimed. Then he twirled beneath a full moon. The men didn’t yet realize how much they would miss him. How much they actually needed him.
How do you mourn the Chad-Bear?
The rest of the bachelors embarked on some kind of ritual to mark Chad’s demise. It reeked of esoteric male witchcraft, ancient ceremonies from Knight’s Watches of yore, and all that other mysterious stuff that probably goes on in the dungeons of frat houses across the nation.
First, they each took a handful of protein powder Chad left behind. Then they spread it around outdoors as if it were Chad’s ashes. All while accompanied by James Taylor on guitar. Wells offered the eulogy: “Farewell, Sweet Prince,” (a reference to memes and previously, Shakespeare.) Someone shouted “Death to Tyrants!”
Next, they all moved indoors to complete the sacrament. They lifted the Marine Alex onto their shoulders. They congratulated him for rescuing the “princess,” (presumably JoJo.) Candles were lit with a sparkler. This glittering object obviously bore some unspecified anthropologic significance. Then they shoved Alex’s head into a plate of cupcakes. Most cryptic, they began to chant, as if druids, “Slay another dragon! Slay another dragon!”
Clearly these are some kind of masculine fertility rites. Probably. Oh the mysteries of men. Sweet princes. Dragon slayers. Makers of cupcakes. Smashers of cupcakes. If only the group knew then how futile their little ceremony would prove.
Chad left. Now What?
Chad was gone, but he left a void, seemingly unfillable. By the next rose ceremony the camaraderie between the other guys was gone. They realized that this is, after all, a competition. They were held together by their mutual hatred of Chad—and without him, they fell apart. They need someone to hate. But no one is as formidable, as dragon-y, as pokeable, as Chad. Evan, Erectile Expert, notes what he terms the “thick” irony of small enemies. Of mini-Chads.
The men yearn for a new “common enemy.” As The Bachelorette so gamely illustrates, toxic masculinity requires combat. Rivals are crucial. And reality shows, especially this one, thrive on villainy.
Possible Replacement Villains
- Alex vs Derek
The Marine Alex, now that he has slayed the dragon, seems to take on Chad’s toxicity. He is the new seether of the house. His target is regular guy, Derek, who he deems a “sensitive little bitch.” Derek’s primary flaw seems to be a desire for “reassurance,” a weakness that he uses to procure a “pity rose,” according to Marine Alex, Dragon Killer. Derek confronts Alex, the footballer, and some other dudes about their “mean girl clique.” But Derek is ruthlessly feminized merely for acting human. At one point he gazes at Luke, a matinee idol, and requests some pasties for the man’s nips. He has spotted side boob. The camera lingers on the hint of Luke’s nipple peeking out the torn sides of his shirt. Which reads, “Alright Alright Alright,” in veneration to King McConaughey.
In moments like these, The Bachelorette provides a productive tension–when homosocial and/or homosexual desire jumps through artifice. Why shouldn’t Derek lust for Luke? Or at least admire his displayed pecs. JoJo sure does. But what would Alex say? Whose side are you on? (Hint: if you’re human and progressive, you’re on Derek’s.)
- Footballer Jordan
Some of the men start to hate on Jordy because he got a one-on-one date and he used to play football. These are such Chad moves. Also, JoJo somehow knows Jordan’s Ex who gave her the lowdown on him. This revelation makes Jordan’s carefree visage twist into darkness.
He’s not into the idea of JoJo and his Ex comparing notes. He responds vaguely, assuring JoJo there wasn’t any cheating. The problem was other stuff. Like his interest in sports. Jordan reveals little. JoJo wonders if she can trust him and then decides she can.
However, would she still trust him if she saw him on spa day? He was looking very Silence of the Lambs with his white face mask. He was getting a facial and there was some kind of tissue, taut around his cheeks and forehead, loose around his beard. Cucumbers for eyes. That’s a commonplace treatment. But then he removes the vegetable. And eats it. Leaving one real eye peeking out of his mask. Like a monster.
The men need a common enemy. An adversary they can circle around, to band together in hatred and distrust and shaming. JoJo is a princess, but she is a princess with at least two ex-boyfriends which puts her dangerously close to slutness. The men can’t be reminded of that. They have carefully erased JoJo’s relationship with Ben Higgins (who?) from their minds. But now, yet another Chad, emerges. JoJo’s Ex-boyfriend, Chad. His name is Chad! JoJo says she has never known a nice Chad (and all you Chads out there are advised to change your name to something less douche-y ASAP).
This other Chad, the Ex Chad, is the source for an article on JoJo published in In Touch magazine, which is exactly like the New York Times: credible, fact-checked, true, etcetera. For instance, The Duggars grace the cover.
The bachelors pass around a copy and fall into an existential stupor. Why are they even here? JoJo seemed like a princess (maybe even a virgin) and now these printed words hint otherwise. Could this article be true? Is JoJo doing the show for love or, as In Touch, states it, for “publicity reasons.” Ex Chad also claims that JoJo never even loved Ben. She was “being intimate” with HIM. With Ex Chad!!!
Someone had the generosity (a caring producer, perhaps?) to give JoJo a copy of In Touch. Reading it makes her cry hysterically. She goes directly to the guys’ hotel room to set the record straight. Most of them eye her with suspicion as she tries to explain this other Chad. A few offer tepid forgiveness.
What is Uruguay and where is it?
JoJo announces that they are all heading to Uruguay. Punta del Esta, specifically. The men act excited even though they have no idea where it is. The Uruguay tourism office should sue The Bachelorette. The show makes it seem like there’s nothing in Punta del Esta but rain, road jugglers and dangerous beach crags. JoJo and Olympic Swimmer Robby jump off one of these rocky cliffs while wearing protective footwear. There is a gigantic finger sculpture on one of the Uruguay beaches (as if the hand of God (?) reaches up from the depths) and JoJo briefly frolics here, but that’s about it.
Oh, and Robby declares his love for her.
Five men get sent packing this episode. Six if you count Chad. Will we ever recover? You better bring it, Alex. We saw your ninja back flip on the dunes. Your wicked smile covered in cupcake frosting. Now try to make Bachelor Nation hate you.
See if you can slay Chad there too.
Photo: Getty Images
Read Molly Pennington, PhD every week here on The Good Men Project!
And thank you for sharing this!