Reality-Show Reality Check
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It's a strange thing when actual reality gets in the way of the warped version that exists on reality television. But that's what happened on last night's episode of ABC's The Bachelorette.
When contestant Eric Hill died in a paragliding accident after filming his portion of the show in April, the media wondered how ABC would handle his departure from the show. (Hill died while the show was still in production, but he had already been eliminated at the time of the accident.) The network ultimately decided to dedicate the season to Hill, and promised to address his death openly as the season progressed.
ABC encountered its first hurdle in handling Hill's death in last night's episode, in which the soft-spoken adventurer decided to confront Bachelorette Andi. While he had been open and honest with her, he said, he felt like he didn't know her at all, and accused her of having a "poker face" for the cameras. The talk quickly turned into a confrontation, and ended with the tearful Bachelorette sending Eric home. "I think at this point, you and I both know this is not going to work," she huffed.
It was an uncomfortable ending, knowing that Eric's life ended tragically mere weeks later. ABC has tried to delicately handle the situation, ditching last night's rose ceremony in favor of a conversation between host Chris Harrison and Bachelorette Andi about Eric's life, his time on the show, and the tragedy.
"It was clear to us we should show Eric's scenes," Harrison wrote at Entertainment Weekly, "and I still believe that was the right decision." Harrison continued:
"But we've honestly made these decisions as we've gone along this season, each time just trying to do what's right by Eric and his family, but also still telling everybody the story of what really happened to Andi and the rest of us during this journey. [...] I understand this may bug some of you and you may even stop reading this, but like everything else I'm just gonna do what feels right." [Entertainment Weekly]
Read Harrison's post in full at Entertainment Weekly.