The first thing you smell is the roses.
When you enter the Men Tell All studio, it hits you like a brick to the face. That, you remember, is why you are here. It’s all about the roses—who got them, who didn’t and who gives them out. And since the Bachelor franchise is anything but subtle, it’s required that there’s not only roses, but dozens of them. Maybe it’s for the smell. Maybe it’s to remind all the men who are about to take the stage that they didn’t get one. Maybe it’s just because it’s The Bachelorette, duh. But either way, it makes you dang sure you didn’t stumble in to the wrong studio. You are here for Men Tell All, and men telling all is what you are going to get.
Let the fun begin.
Here’s the second thing you notice when you enter the Men Tell All studio after waiting in line, waiting in a small warehouse-like room and signing your life away if you spill one single bean about the show before it airs: the candles. There are more candles than roses and none of them are lit—because the interns obviously screwed up again. They are flameless white spheres, lonely and dark, just waiting for someone to need them, waiting for the show to need some romantic ambiance in a studio full of random viewers and 23 guys who are about to face their ex.
The studio is smaller than it looks on TV. There are probably 300 people in the audience, total—if that. This is an intimate gathering. You see the regular characters in the audience: the girls who have clearly been practicing their judge-y faces in the mirror for weeks, hoping against hope that their mugs make the cut for audience reaction shots. Then, there’s the girl who was dragged there against her will. She refuses to smile, or even participate at all. She is a warm body. There’s the guy dragged there by his girlfriend, who spends half of his time covering his face with his hands in disbelief, silently praying that this six-hour stint in this studio—surrounded by candles and roses and a bunch of girls dressed to the nines that he can’t check out because his girlfriend is there—will earn him one billion brownie points. Then, there’s the guy who is just having a blast (we had one of those next to us). He catcalls. He knows the guys and the plot lines. Does he love the show, or love his girlfriend? Who knows, but he’s a barrel of fun.
Finally, there’s us, the greatest people you will ever meet—the Bachelor Burn Book. We’d like our judge-y faces to make the final cut for the broadcast, but not in an embarrassing way. We’ve practiced them a little bit, but not for years. We’ve resolved that we are going to try our best not to dissolve into fits of giggles at inappropriate times. And we’ve also decided that we are not going to heckle Chris Harrison—no matter how difficult that might be—because we fear the worst: a visit from Tyrone the Security Guard.
There are rules, of course. We can’t discuss the show afterward. We are sworn to secrecy, practically signing away our first born child in exchange for a privileged seat in the audience. Our hair must remain full of secrets, says the audience manager. The threat is effective. We are not going to divulge any information about what any contestant said or did during the filming that Saturday in July, mainly because it would takes us 50 years to pay ABC that $5 million fee (Really. We did the math).
After being fed a quarter of a Subway sandwich and being told that bathroom breaks happen never, we were directed to our seats, which were located in the top row behind where the guys sat. Then, when we sat down, we noticed that the seats to our right were vacant—except for one. One of the chairs was occupied by a kitchen lighter … just sitting there, all by itself, waiting for us to pick it up. Nay, it was calling out to us by name. It yelled, “Bachelor Burn Book! This is your calling! Let’s go light those unlit candles.”
This was our time to shine. Here we were, in the Men Tell All studio filled with the infamous Bachelor candles, and we were SITTING NEXT TO an unattended lighter. It was like fate. I mean, these opportunities don’t just come knocking every day. We would literally be carrying the torch of Bachelor Nation.
So, Bachelor Burn Book Writer #2 leaned over to Bachelor Burn Book Writer #1 to point out the lighter. Then, just as we were debating whether to pick it up, it was swiftly taken away by a stage manager as she directed a group of women to the seats. The flame of opportunity had been extinguished as quickly as it had been lit. Womp womp, indeed. But don’t worry—even though we were not the ones to light the infamous candles, they did get lit. A few interns managed to get it together … eventually.
Once everyone had settled into their seats, it was time for the taping to begin. The stage manager explains that we must clap loudly, cheer loudly, scoff loudly … we must react to everything. Some of the girls in the audience took this direction very seriously, as if it was their life’s mission to make it on TV. They nodded and smiled and “awwww’d” at everything. It was nauseating.
The taping proceeded pretty much just as you saw it on television. There was drama and arguments and weird, awkward moments—and yes, JJ really did speak up about being attacked at the strangest time. You could feel the tension.
Another time you could feel the tension? When Ketchup raised her hand and came down on-stage to talk to Farmer Chris.
Judge-y faces and whispers abounded. Who was this girl? Did she really just raise her hand? What did she say? Was this staged? It was such a bizarre situation. (Side note: It was during this whisper session that we met @melgotserved without even knowing it!)
After romper girl made her appearance, Men Tell All halftime occurred. This is when we waffled about going to the bathroom for 10 minutes because the audience manager announced that if we didn’t make it back in time, we would be locked out for all of eternity. Finally, we decided to make a run for it, and barely made it out with the last group. This is when one of the girls from the group diverted from the line and started raiding the Craft Services table, which was not permitted. You can read all about that story here.
As it neared 8:30 p.m., the taping finally concluded—seven hours after we got there. We were tired, hungry and all clapped out, but we had an amazing time. And the icing on the cake was when Mr. Robert Mills introduced us to Mr. Christopher B. Harrison. This is how the magical moment happened:
Robert Mills: “Hey, Chris! You remember Bachelor Burn Book, right?”
Chris Harrison: “Who?”
Us, thinking: “Oh, thank God. He doesn’t know who we are. He doesn’t know that we call him a skeeze.”
Robert Mills: “You know, Bachelor Burn Book…”
Chris Harrison: “Oh! Yeah!”
Robert Mills: “These are the girls who run the blog.”
Chris Harrison: “Hi girls, nice to meet you. Did you enjoy the show?”
And then we shook his hand. In our minds, we were half-fangirling and half-thinking, “Oh God, he does know who we are. Hopefully he still doesn’t know that we call him a skeeze.”
Chris Harrison, if you know that we call you a skeeze, it’s all in good fun. Please don’t hate us. And thanks for shaking our hands.
Well, that’s it, folks. That’s our story. We made it through the taping without getting thrown out by Tyrone the Security Guard or getting sued by ABC for $5 million afterward. Now that’s a successful trip in our Burn Book.
Want more Bachelor Burn Book? Follow us on Twitter @bachelorburnbk. We live tweet during every episode and offer our insights throughout the week on all things Bachelor-related.
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