Colton Underwood is basically a gay media whore who, according to him, went on The Bachelor (a show of nearly unbelievable banality) because he thought it would make him straight. Given his basic blindness to himself and all those around him, I can probably believe this.
I could only watch this six episode series in short segments (no more than 10 minutes each), because of how embarrassed I felt just watching it. I cringed constantly, primarily because as an older person, I can’t stand to hear young people talk about anything. I always want to jump through the tv and say, “Yes, I know. I’ve lived for a lot longer than you have.”
But besides having to listen to him and others (the completely obnoxious Olympic medalist, Gus Kensworthy) pontificate on what it means to be gay, or what it means to come out — there’s an artificiality about the entire project that reeks of Valerie Cherish and “The Comeback:” Lisa Kudrow’s brilliant, multi-layered, reality project that isn’t a reality project. The problem with these shows is that they don’t acknowledge that they are behaving for the cameras. They are standing in a certain way. The scenes are staged. Lisa Kudrow (in the second season) used one of the “real housewives” of Beverly Hills to say, “I know what they’re doing,” and the “real” housewife said, “Who’s they?” as if she had forgotten there were producers and camera people scripting this pseudo reality.
What really bugged me was the “Friends” episode, where Colton interacts with exactly 0 friends but rather, a group of guys brought in to play his friends. They all stand around drinking at a “party” and they play ping pong and then whack each other in the back with ping pong balls. They go “oooohhhh” in that artificial way that’s so common. I’ve never seen that happen, ever, at a gay party. One of the guys says, “This is the gayest shit we’ve ever done,” and Kensworthy says, “You just got fisted earlier and you’re like this is the gayest thing.” The guy he’s talking to (the one who thinks this is the gayest shit) is an older, heavily tattooed guy, who they’ve brought in so that Colton can hook up with him, which I think means, fuck. Presumably 29 year old Colton is a virgin, but that is just conjecture based on his nickname on The Bachelor. He declined to fuck the guy, as I would have done.
What was compelling, but completely misinterpreted by Underwood, is that his actual friends from church (although I couldn’t tell if these men were actual friends or just recruits for the reality show) and his former pastor at the church, all said he was evil but that they loved him and would continue to pray for him so that he would find the right path and turn away from the most evil of sins, homosexuality. Colton, instead of rejecting these people, returns in another episode and says something like, “Well now that I’ve come out to my mom and dad, and I have the support of my friends, I’m ready to go on Good Morning America.” What support? Anyway, the behavior of the evangelicals was illuminating and clear. They are all about evil and stress an almost medieval interpretation of the bible: not that the flesh should be punished for existing but that there is evil in all men, and Jesus was sacrificed to redeem that evil, making it possible to get into heaven after death. The problem with that, as many great thinkers and scholars have noted, is that it simply does away with individual morality and responsibility. If you murder my friend or relative, you need to ask for forgiveness from me, not from Jesus. Jesus has nothing to do with it. And Jesus, basically a bystander, has no right to step in and say “I forgive you.” Who cares if Jesus forgives you, murderer? I am the one you must ask for forgiveness. And Colton’s experience with these “Loving” but unforgiving evangelicals is a perfect example of how they simply don’t understand that shading themselves under the Jesus umbrella has allowed them to insert themselves where they don’t belong: either in a woman’s womb or at the mouth of a gay man who’s about to suck a dick or at the anus of a gay man who’s about to take another man’s fist.
After the utter nonsense questions from Roberts (Why does viability matter?) and Barrett (but what about adoption?) I had this image of the courts winding their way up a woman’s reproductive system: first from the vagina to the uterus, up the Fallopian tubes and into the ovaries — that soon a woman who has a hysterectomy will be a criminal.
And they are not far from carving out religious exemptions to the equal accommodation rules so that evangelical Christians, the vilest of all religions I think, don’t have to sell us cookies.
Colton kept talking about his new LGBTQ Plus community, as in, “Now that I’m part of the community.” There is no community. There is some shared experience and some history that might be relevant to any young person coming out, but “community” is a loaded word and I don’t think it’s appropriate here — especially because what you’re left with, if you can stand to watch the entire program, is his deep disconnection and loneliness. His friend is Twitter.
I’ve heard that he has a boyfriend now — older, which he said he wanted, but not particularly attractive. So maybe that’s a good thing. But I found this whole series pathetic and sad and not representative of the gay “community,” if there is one.