Here's the spread in EW.

By Gina Carbone

A couple of weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly asked readers to submit “burning questions” to “Bachelorette” host Chris Harrison; this past week they printed some of his answers in a two-page spread.

(It’s the “Inception” issue, which is a lot cooler than last week’s “Green Hornet” issue where Ryan Reynolds looked like Will Ferrell.)

I have some time before the “True Blood”/”Mad Men” marathon, so I thought I’d transcribe some of Chris’ answers, along with my own comments. (I am none too pleased with Mr. Armchair Therapist.)

I’m not transcribing in order, though, because I’d like to start with the Q&A that addresses the spoilers:

Q: Why are the Bachelorette previews giving away so much this season? — bean99

A: Honestly, I don’t love that either. Because there have been some spoilers out, we’ve gotten a little liberal with giving things away. But I hate that we could be ruining it for anyone.

(Mike Fleiss acknowledged Reality Steve in a half-joking EW interview this past February, but this is the first time I can think of where the production itself has acknowledged the spoilers and tried to get ahead of them. [The Frank thing, for instance.] It’s basically acknowledging that Steve has it right, which scares me in terms of confirming that Ali chose no one and is single. But it’s also possibly good news that they are following the spoilers, ’cause maybe it means they are playing along with it until the finale, where a rumored second ending has been shot where Ali gets engaged.)

Q: Why don’t we ever see Ali and her suitors talk about anything on their dates other than their romantic “journey”? — Heather K.

A: Not to sound arrogant, but it’s almost like we know better about what you want than you do. We send up a test balloon and if the audience doesn’t respond, then we don’t do it again. Obviously it’s not a normal conversation to talk about “walls coming down” and stuff like that. But discussing the next Supreme Court justice, believe me, that’s not going to bring in the ratings.

(That does sound arrogant. And wrong. First of all, what “test balloon”? And don’t jump to the Supreme Court. We’re talking “favorite movie, favorite type of music” — basically stuff that usually bonds people and shows they have something in common besides “the process.” It’s irritating to hear about “ratings” so often when — fools or not — most of us still want the happy endings. On that note…)

Q: With Jake and Vienna and Ed and Jillian breaking up recently, what can be changed about the show to make the romantic outcomes more successful? — Allison M.

A: The success of our show has never been predicated on the success of our couples. Beyond making a contract that makes them stay together, what can you do? Who’s to say why your neighbors break up either? The whole thing about this show is that there’s no magic pill to take for love. Everybody will go through hell and back to find it. You’ll put yourself through pain and embarrassment, and we all do it. I think that’s why people relate.

(This is bull. It’s just acknowledging that “success” to them is about manufactured drama and ratings, not real love — even though Allison asked specifically about the success of “romantic outcomes.” They could find ways of giving couples a better chance at making it — like not casting for “types” as Mike Fleiss said in the last “Stories Behind the Rose” that they like to do [he thinks women hate women but really he just hates women himself] and actually casting people who might be compatible with each other. Not “aspiring screenwriters” or country music stars who OBVIOUSLY just want exposure. This show has become about people getting famous. “Survivor” has a better success rate at actually establishing long-term relationships. Either fix “the process” or openly say “this is no longer a show about one person’s ‘journey’ to find love.”)

Q: How do these guys with girlfriends back home sneak under the radar? Can’t the producers hire a private investigator or something to check them out before they’re picked for the show?

A: No, we can’t. We do background checks, we do psychological profiles, we do blood tests. But these people are flawed, and that’s part of our success. If you meet someone in a bar he can tell you he’s never been married, but then it turns out he’s been married twice and has three kids. How do you prove if someone has a girlfriend — unless you walk in and see then having sex? We’re not the CIA.

(They did a psych profile on Kasey?And he passed? They could weed out the losers sooner by posting the cast lists early — before taping. Post the names on Facebook or whatnot, let the exes come out and tell their stories. Do a serious vetting. Decide if they are legit enough. Maybe even let the fans vote on the final 25 — the 25 guys or gals WE would most like to watch. Why not? Isn’t this supposed to be our show? It could be fun to be let in on the casting, like getting down to the top 24 on “American Idol” or “So You Think You Can Dance.” Since the Bachelor and Bachelorette don’t get to pick their 25 gals/guys anyway, why not give us a shot? That way if we complain about the guys/gals we only have ourselves to blame.)

There are a few more questions — some on Jake and Vienna, one on Justin, one on guys being trapped in the hotels all the time and one on Ali’s extensions. That’s it.


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