Did The Producers Write That? A Bachelorette Investigation

Photo: John Salangsang/BFA/REX/Shutterstock.
The authenticity of The Bachelorette and its sibling shows has always been dubious. It's a nationally televised search for love; casting doubts on the show's intentions is only natural. Ultimately, the goal is to entertain. In order to craft that sweet, sweet reality television magic, it's theorized that The Bachelorette producers often have a hand in the silliness. (This is not just a theory. Contestants have, on various podcasts and in interviews, admitted that producers give "light suggestions" on the show. I shan't name any names.)
The question is: How much do the producers stick their nose in the proceedings? Some one-liners seem too convenient for a contestant to have come up with themselves. Earlier episodes in the season tend to seem a little more scripted than the rest. The contestants are new, everyone's a little nervous, and a light suggestion can go a long way.
After each episode, we'll be analyzing the silliest moments and determining: Did the producers write that? Criteria for this investigation are subtle. When a contestant says something that's been written, or "suggested," they usually sound a little canned. A pre-planned line is often too cute or too twee to be organic. People don't speak in rhymes. Nor do people so often come up with puns on the spot.
We'll grade each line on a percentage scale, from 0 to 100% the producers wrote that. Let the games begin!
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1 of 22

"I don't wanna be sitting here with you right now. I'm not gonna lie."

Oh, Peter. For a contestant on one of the most plastic reality shows, he's awful honest. (To the point that
he admitted he doesn't want to get engaged after 9 weeks. In the world of The Bachelorette, this is heresy.) When he sat down with fellow contestant Bryan Abasolo in the penultimate episode (minus Men Tell All, which I count as a 'special'), he admitted that he didn't want to be there.

The glory of this moment was that it wasn't written or suggested by producers, most likely, but it was orchestrated, though. Peter didn't want to be sitting there. So, he probably wouldn't have been there unless the producers wanted him to be there. This is reality television at its best: The producers organized the couch conversation. Then, the contestants were honest. A genuine statement emerged.

Score: 20%
4 of 22

Dean's emotional conversation with his father.

Twitter users were disappointed that it seemed Dean Unglert — who was later kicked off — was forced to confront his father on national television. Dean hadn't spoken to his father in two years, and the two had some past issues to address. They did. It was fairly heart-wrenching.

More than likely, the conversation was guided by production. The reality is that it did make for good television. But that doesn't mean that Dean didn't want to have this conversation. Perhaps the show allowed him to deal with his family in a way he hadn't been able to before.

Former Bachelor Ben Flajnik told
Emma Gray of Here to Make Friends that this type of open discussion of past trauma on the show is "cathartic" more than anything else. (When Flajnik was on The Bachelorette, he openly discussed his father's untimely death. In the same interview, he described it as "healthy" for him.)

So, perhaps production nudged Dean to talk to his father. Perhaps Dean also wanted to talk to his father. This is a good example of great reality television — a preordained situation and a riveting unscripted conversation.

Score: 20%
Episode: Week 8, "Hometowns"
7 of 22
"I'm looking for commitment
This girl, she's something different
I ain't telling you anything crazy
But, yeah, I'm just sitting here spittin'
I can tell you something real from my heart
Not gonna tell you something fake, like a fart"

Peter misspelled "coitus," which is disappointing, but not a dealbreaker. (It's okay if your partner can't spell "cunnilingus" as long as they can perform cunnilingus.) But before that, he made a far more egregious error: He tried to rap. During said rap, he used the word "fart." In fact, he rhymed it with "heart." This reeks — ENJOY THAT PUN — of producer involvement. Perhaps Peter is too handsome, too suave, too perfect, and they feel they needed to muss his image. Whoever wrote that rap did a good job, because it's working. Peter, your stock is creeping downhill.

Score: 90%
8 of 22
"Whaboom is like... Wocka, wocka, pie in the face, wocka, wocka, honk, honk, fart joke!"

With prose like this, it's difficult to determine authenticity. Did Blake E., the personal trainer on a ketogenic diet, actually come up with this comic genius? Because as far as my funny bone is concerned, "honk honk fart joke" is about as funny as life can get. Funny like this — a genuinely sophomoric fight between two grown-ups — is difficult to write; it's even harder to fake. Despite the sheer absurdity of Blake E.'s definition of "Whaboom," the line is likely authentic. This gem is part of the fraction of unscripted content on this show, and we're lucky to have it.

Score: 10%
9 of 22
Rachel holding the group date rose.

On the group date at The Ellen Show, Rachel Lindsay's suitor Fred faltered. It was clear from his interaction with Rachel — he asked to kiss her — that he was headed home. Yet, when Rachel pulled him aside, she brought the group date rose with her. This wasn't a line of dialogue, per se, but it was a deliberate move on the producers' part. Fred saw the rose and thought he might be getting it. It was a tease for the audience and for Fred, and it was downright cruel.

Goodbye, Fred. You will be missed.

Score: 100%
10 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
"To the long journey ahead. Your beautiful brown eyes and your gorgeous smile are just the tip of all you entail. And I look forward to this adventure with you to continue for a very long while."

Lucas's poem in the middle of the first cocktail party is puzzling. On the one hand, it's a terrible poem. That would suggest that Lucas wrote it himself. On the other, it's a terrible poem, which would suggest a producer dashed it off at the scene of the crime.

For example:

PRODUCER: Hey, can you recite a poem for her?

LUCAS: Sure. I don't have one, though.

PRODUCER: No worries. Our intern will write out.

Score: 80%
11 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
"Who's this?"

The most glorious part of episode two featured DeMario, the cocksure suitor capable of a good slam dunk...and his girlfriend. His girlfriend came on the show after seeing DeMario on After The Final Rose. When she confronted DeMario in front of Rachel, Demario said, simply: "Who's this?"

Now, this encounter seemed genuine. Chris Harrison was out of sight, Rachel Lindsay herself looked pissed, and DeMario seemed genuinely bewildered.

They say that 80% of reality television is scripted, and the other 20% is the stuff you want to watch. As in, yes, most of it is pre-planned, but the creme de la creme of the genre is always organic. DeMario in this face-off was pure, unplanned glory.

Score: 20%
13 of 22
"I'mma break Dean's leg later."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that nothing Kenny says is scripted. That's why everything he says is so goddamn quotable. The truth is, it's hard to write good one-liners like this. Dean won the group date rose after the "baby" date. Kenny looked like a frontrunner for the rose, so when Dean won, Kenny bristled. He muttered this gem of a line on his way out of the date.

Remember: Kenny is a pro-wrestler. This means he's probably very comfortable performing and dishing prime one-liners. But also: Kenny is perfect. And promising to break Dean's leg seemed utterly genuine.

Score: 10%
14 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
*Baby mic drop* "Whaboom"

Oh, Blake E. Everything you do is courtesy of a nudge from the producers. You've done this before — you admitted in episode two to having been on a reality show before. So, when you "dropped the baby," mimicking "dropping the mic," you were definitely working at the behest of the producers. And I'll say it: It was creepy.

Score: 100%
15 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
"You know what, yesterday after the basketball game, uh, a lot of stuff broke down, and I can't go on without being able to speak to her one last time."

DeMario. This. Was. Planned. The disgraced suitor returned to the Bachelor manse after being unceremoniously kicked off during the basketball date. (I believe Rachel Lindsay's exact words were, "I'd like for you to get the fuck out.")

In an exchange with a security guard — who, I might mention, is the best actor the show's got — DeMario plead to speak to Rachel. Or sorry, the producers plead with DeMario to plead with the security guard to plead with Rachel.

Score: 100%
22 of 22
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