The Bachelorette recap: The men can’t stop fighting — and one makes an accusation of racism

Rachel is feeling pretty judgey on The Bachelorette. Photo/ABC

There’s always toxic levels of testosterone on this show. You jam a bunch of guys in a confined space without their phones, and sure, fighting is going to happen. Still, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this much fighting on The Bachelorette — and, surprisingly, it’s not just about one  ridiculous hot head stomping around.

Trying to keep track of who was stabbing who in the back this week started to feel like keeping a body count watching Game of Thrones — pointless and exhausting.

Worse, when Rachel finally can kick some fellas out the door, she keeps the problem children who are there for all the wrong reasons (reality TV code for “their bad people but good TV”) around — even the ones she doesn’t seem to like very much.

I suppose it wouldn’t be much of a show if everyone stayed sober and behaved themselves, but this was all a bit much.

Last week’s contentious cocktail party ends this week with Eric screaming at everyone (but especially Lee) to keep his name out of their mouths and Lee “double dipping” time with Rachel, busting in on Kenny’s moment when he’d already had a chat with Rachel.

This is, clearly, breaking the bro code, and Kenny is enraged. There is screaming, most of it from Kenny — and he’s loud enough for Rachel to hear. This will come back to haunt Kenny, but we’ll get to that.

While it was a small moment in this bloated, two-hour episode, Dean’s interview with the producers was one that seemed both inevitable and yet still a little shocking.

After talking in circles about how Lee seemed to have a “cultural” bias and didn’t get along with the men in the house who “weren’t like anyone he knew,” the producer tries to nudge him to say what he really means — that Lee is racist.

Dean demurs, only conceding that he means exactly what the producer thinks he means, and that’s that. It’s not much, but it’s the first time we’ve actually touched on the issue of race. It’s a weird oversight.

On the first season with an African-American bachelorette (we’re still waiting for a black bachelor), whoever drops the racism gauntlet is going to have to be able to back it up, so it’s no surprise that hot potato got shoved away.

Maybe no one’s gotten drunk enough to be that honest.

But the fact that race hasn’t even been discussed among the men (at least not that we know of) seems unlikely and at the very least disingenuous.

Rachel clearly feels the weight of being the first black bachelorette, so why does ABC seem so determined to shove what makes this a groundbreaking season of the show under the carpet?

If one of these guys is showing racial bias toward his housemates, how is that not coming up as a topic of discussion?

Maybe next week, when there is punching and bleeding, though it would be so much better if everyone could have a civil conversation.

What am I saying? This is The Bachelorette, not PBS! Go ahead, fight and yell and scream. Ratings, y’all!

When it’s time to hand out roses, the last rose goes to… Lee. Of course. Diggy is turned away, Bryce the firefighter gets the boot, and even male model Brady (who probably lost Rachel when he told her his modeling pose was based on rolling a booger between his fingers) was shown the door.

The first one-on-one date goes to Dean, and he’s clearly a serious threat to the guys in the house since they try to convince themselves that Rachel will send him home because he’s 25 and she’s 32 (uh, nope). They have a picnic, go for a blimp ride (which, luckily, does not make Dean throw up with fear, though it’s touch-and-go for a while) and ends with him telling Rachel about his mother dying of breast cancer. Rachel swoons, he gets the rose, and there’s a concert of crappy country music from Russell Dickerson. Yay.

Russell Dickerson plays for Rachel and Dean. Photo/ABC

The good part? Even if the music is awful (and it is), it does not prevent kissing.

Rachel and Dean kiss on The Bachelorette. Photo/ABC

Then, it’s time for the humongous group date. Alex, Anthony, Peter, Bryan, Jonathan, Adam, Matt, Kenny, Lee, Iggy, Eric, Will and Josiah are all lumped together, and Rachel takes them on a booze cruise.

Shockingly, everyone seems to have fun and no one punches anyone else. Josiah is sure he is the most handsome guy without his shirt on, which suggests he may need glasses, but he really does get to shine when the guys are challengedto a spelling bee.

I think the point of this little contest was to humiliate the guys who aren’t doctors and attorneys, even though some of the smarties aren’t as skilled at spelling as I would hope (though it does explain some of the prescriptions I’ve gotten in the past).

Eric tackles the spelling bee. Photo/ABC

Josiah wins and is given a cheesy, plastic-gold trophy.

He thinks this is the best thing ever. He drinks out of the damn thing.

I am suddenly understanding why so many of the other guys call him annoying.

This kills me, as I thought Josiah was the one most likely to win this thing (he’s a lawyer, she’s a lawyer!). C’mon, Josiah, get it together!

That night (this show is starting to feel as if it’s unspooling in real time — we didn’t even get through two dates in two hours!), Iggy tells Rachel that Josiah is trouble, Lee tells Rachel that Kenny is aggressive, and Kenny is crushed when he realizes Rachel believes Lee over him.

For one little evening, there was a lot of gossiping. It was like watching Mean Girls with an all-male cast, really.

Kenny decides the best way to deal with being called aggresive is to, apparently, start an actual fight.

This is sure to win Rachel over, don’t you think? Yeah, not so much.

However, we won’t know what happens until next week, because it wouldn’t be The Bachelorette if they didn’t keep you hanging!

The Bachelorette airs next week  with two special episodes Monday and Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.

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