Does 'Girl Code' Exist In The World Of 'The Bachelorette'?

Leave Tia alone, trolls!
Caroline Lunny, Tia Booth and Seinne Fleming on "The Bachelorette."
Caroline Lunny, Tia Booth and Seinne Fleming on "The Bachelorette."

How do you solve a problem like Ma― ... er ... Tia?

On this week’s episode of “The Bachelorette” the dudes’ hometowns were so uneventful (with the exception of the heart-wrenching revelation that Blake had survived a horrific school shooting), that “Bachelorette” producers needed to fly in Becca’s friends. Because ― surprise! ― Becca’s show BFF Tia still has feelings for Colton, the former football player/former boyfriend of Aly Raisman, whom she chatted with for a month and spent a romantic weekend with. Now that Colton is in Becca’s final four, Tia feels “sick to her stomach.”

This leads to a cringeworthy interaction between the two women, in which both try their best to be honest with each other in a really crappy situation. They end up at somewhat of a standstill. Tia likes Colton. Becca likes Colton. Colton has no idea any of this is happening. But, at the end of the week, Colton is the one who gets sent home, presumably shipped right off to Mexico to film “Bachelor in Paradise.”

Of course we live in a garbage world, so Tia has been bombarded with online harassment, to the point where Becca had to put out a statement on her Instagram story asking fans of the show not to “spew hatred” at her friends. (Incidentally, if you are reading this and have ever felt the impulse to comment something terrible on a woman’s Instagram page or Twitter or Facebook or to her face ― just don’t!)

On this week’s “Here to Make Friends” podcast, HuffPost’s Emma Gray and Claire Fallon, along with Entertainment Weekly TV critic Kristen Baldwin, went deep on all the Tia *~drama~*:

Emma Gray: I do think that if Tia had expressed [her feelings for Colton] early on, Colton would not have been [on the show anymore]. It’s just a really crappy situation.

Kristen Baldwin: A lot of people were tweeting, “Oh, Tia’s such a bad friend, this is awful.”

Gray: I think it’s a little more complicated than that.

Baldwin: I agree. Granted, this is not a good look, and I’m sure she could have gotten in touch with Becca off-camera. But you know, Tia likes to be on camera. There was absolute encouragement [by the producers]. But I don’t think the fault is that she’s betraying girl code or she’s a bad friend. I think it’s more that her need for attention overruled her better judgment in this situation.

Claire Fallon: I don’t think she’s very good at this game. She thought she was going to be the Bachelorette and she completely destroyed her own image with the audience shortly before leaving [her season of “The Bachelor”], and completely undermined her own Bachelorette campaign. And now I think she wanted to get people excited about a possible romance for her on “Paradise,” and instead made everyone hate her. So she really miscalculated. But I don’t think she’s a monster.

And this is one thing I hate about this show sometimes. The whole point of it is to speculate about people’s motives and then I hit a wall where I’m like, how am I supposed to know what they’re thinking? I don’t know what she was thinking!

Baldwin: But the easiest explanation is usually the right one and I think she just wanted more screen time.

Gray: And she liked Colton!

Baldwin: And she likes Colton. You know, had there been no cameras, would this have gone down? I don’t think so. But I agree.

Fallon: It could have played out entirely differently without cameras where maybe she still would have been like, “please don’t date him,” but would have done it at a different time. There was probably a part of her that was like, I shouldn’t be the interfering one, and he probably won’t win, and then I’ll get to date him again in “Paradise.”

Gray: That was the calculation made at the beginning. And then I see [her decision to talk to Becca after hometowns] as an anxiety decision, something that was weighing on her. Becca and Colton are in this experience, without cell phones, and Tia is just spinning, texting Caroline about it, obsessing. And then she’s offered this way to express that and she grabs onto it!

But I don’t think it was the best tactical move. Ultimately, it’s sort of shitty for all three of them.

Baldwin: I just don’t think we need to jump on her as a bad female friend. You’ve gotta actually take logic and normal human interaction out of contention when you’re discussing these things. Because this is not a normal situation ... These people all are in some way in the midst of the grips of Stockholm Syndrome. You can’t apply normal human logic to this. You have to kind of take a step back.

It’ll be interesting to see how [Tia] is portrayed and how she behaves on “Paradise.”

For more on “The Bachelorette” hometowns, listen to “Here to Make Friends”:

Subscribe to “Here to Make Friends”: Apple Podcasts / Acast / RadioPublic / Google Play / Stitcher / RSS

Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

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