Why Is The Bachelor So Obsessed With Bullying Instead of How Funny Matt James Is?

Matt James is hilarious on TIkTok, but you'd never know it from watching him break up fights on The Bachelor.

By Lauren Piester Feb 03, 2021 12:44 AMTags

If you're only watching Bachelor star Matt James on Monday nights on ABC and not on any other social media platform, you're missing out.  

The man's an expert at thirst traps, workout videos, show promotion and Frozone jokes, but the place where Matt really and unexpectedly shines is TikTok, where he puts together weekly "charchutary" boards in an effort to get better at making charchutary (known by some as "charcuterie") boards. 

Instead of fancy cheeses, meats and crackers, Matt's boards consist of pizza Lunchables, Oreos, pita chips, hummus, Teddy Grahams ("You gotta get the black and white in there 'cause we're inclusive"), Bagel Bites, Pizza Rolls, dino nuggets, Uncrustables, no raisins ever and, most recently, a giant cookie cake that says "Learn to kiss with your eyes closed" surrounded by snack cakes. 

When Matt's creations show up on our For You Page, we almost always have to watch twice. We spend one viewing going, "Is this really Matt James, from The Bachelor?!" We then spend the second viewing really taking it all in—the placement of the dino nugget with one foot in the Uncrustable, the way he pronounces "aesthetic," and the level of pride he takes in his work. 

If you're not watching Matt on TikTok, you're missing out, and that's what we can't get over. 

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The top comment on his most recent video really says it all (lack of punctuation included), thanks to user casss1e: 


That's also the first question we had, and the first question we have every season when the lead of the Bachelor franchise turns out to be really funny. Why aren't they funny on screen? Why has Charchutary Board Matt been hiding away in favor of Nice and Very Hot But Slightly Boring Matt? Why did Matt and Kit bake cookies in this week's episode when they could have put together a magnificent display of snacks? 

Of course these videos have all been posted long after filming for The Bachelor ended, so it's possible Matt only discovered this side of himself after the season ended. Possible, but not very likely.

We're not really surprised at Matt's TikTok skills. He was there back at the beginning of the pandemic when former Bachelorette Hannah Brown traveled to Florida to join his and Tyler Cameron's TikTok crew. They made some funny videos, but nothing charchutary-level. We didn't yet know how funny Matt could be, and we didn't know what to expect—or not expect, as it turns out—from his season.

Despite the fact that most people would list "sense of humor" right at the top of the list when it comes to describing their perfect partner, the Bachelor franchise tends to kill that side of their leads, saving the funny bits for the very end of the episode. Remember when we watched Magi laugh as Matt did a music-less TikTok dance for her with zero context? Why was that very weird, very cringeworthy, but very entertaining piece of the show relegated to a blooper at the end? 

Rather than getting to know Matt and his contestants as funny, weird, normal people, the show is instead focusing entirely on the women fighting with each other. There was absolutely no point to bringing in five new women halfway through the season beyond upsetting the original women and stressing out Matt, and let's be honest, that plan worked spectacularly for the drama-craving producers and the viewers who only tune in for the fights. 

For the rest of us—the ones with high hopes that the first Black Bachelor can succeed in this silly quest for "love"—the move was just confusing and really depressing. The women immediately divided themselves into OGs and new girls, "JV and Varsity" based on absolutely nothing beyond the fact that five of them showed up late, and those five women only showed up late because producers made them do it.

Likewise, Sarah probably wouldn't have traveled across the resort to talk to Matt during other people's group date without a producer encouraging her to do so and she was torn apart for it. Victoria, Sarah's main instigator and a woman who loves to call people "disgusting" and "idiots," dominated screen time and became the show's most prominent bully, only to be rewarded with endless press coverage and an appearance on Good Morning America.

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Like an elementary school teacher dealing with an unruly classroom, Matt spent almost all of the most recent episode having to carefully maneuver through this minefield to figure out who was being bullied, who was bullying them, and whose behavior was bad enough to send them home. 

Our first instinct was to praise Matt's handling of the situation as he swiftly sent Anna packing for starting baseless rumors and then chose not to give Victoria a rose right afterwards, but Matt shouldn't have been in that situation in the first place. He's no one's dad or babysitter. He's supposed to be finding a wife, not learning how deescalate conflict. Victoria's behavior certainly warranted kicking her off the show, but not by Matt because now he doesn't want to marry her anymore. As a rule, Victoria, or anyone for that matter, just shouldn't have been allowed to behave that way and stay on the show.  

Matt—and any other lead of this show—should be able to just make bad charcuterie boards and tell jokes to see if any future partners find them funny. He should be able to talk about his life and share his likes, his dislikes, his sense of humor, his hobbies and his fears while also the women get to share their true selves too. We shouldn't have to find out how he handles cases of catfights and bullying in large groups of grown women. 


This is not a new problem, but it is particularly bad this season, especially considering how most of the bullying is coming from white contestants toward non-white contestants. It feels like we're just watching a bunch of people be manipulated while manipulating each other and we come away from it all knowing little to nothing about anyone besides their status as a bully and their best sob stories. Matt deserves better, the contestants deserve better, and we, the viewers, deserve better. 

Get rid of the jerks and let Matt make his charchutary boards! That should not be too much to ask. 

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. 

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