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What Happens When Reality Enters the ‘Reality’ of ‘The Bachelorette’?


A visit with Rachel’s family turned tense over dinner when Bryan was questioned about how he developed intense feelings for Rachel in such a short timeline.


Another season of “The Bachelorette” is underway on ABC, and The New York Times is still here for the right reasons. Our resident obsessives are following Rachel Lindsay’s love journey while forgoing our own rooms to spend an unforgettable evening in the Fantasy Suite. Can we steal you for a sec?

Before we discuss this week’s episode, I think everyone ought to know that in 2004, Bryan was a contestant on a UPN reality-dating competition called “The Player.”

Also, there exists video of Bryan, who is a chiropractor, pitching a line of diet supplements called Total Life Changes, including “Life Drops,” which supposedly speed the metabolism, and a tea that promises “herbal slimming and intestinal cleansing.”

Moving on: This week, Rachel’s three boyfriends flew to Dallas to take turns showing up at her family’s house to present slightly different floral arrangements and ask for permission to marry Rachel, should she choose to dump the other two guys next week. When it was Bryan’s turn to make his case, Rachel’s relatives grilled him about his relationship with his mother and his shady professions of devotion to Rachel, a woman he barely knows. Our Bachelorette was visibly upset that her family didn’t seem as charmed by Bryan as she has been. Her mother’s response: “You are in a bubble.” Rachel and her suitors are seeking to get engaged before ever (1) hanging out off-camera; (2) getting to spend the night together unsupervised more than once; and (3) performing a quick Google search that could reveal a potential partner’s reality-television pedigree or pseudoscientific marketing scheme of choice.

Peter is the only one who seems at all bothered by this timeline, which makes him both the only realistic choice for a stable partner and the only truly untenable one. Bachelor Nation expects the show to end with a ring on a finger, not a dramatic finale where two beautiful people in formal wear plan to continue seeing each other and just … see where it goes. This week’s show left Peter and Rachel at a tearful standstill, with Peter saying that believes an engagement is a serious commitment to be married (the commonly accepted definition) and that he wasn’t ready to pull the trigger, with Rachel arguing that a proposal is less final and serious than actually tying the knot — and also that she really needed him to pop the question at the end of the show.

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