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Chad, We Love You, Come Back

A tearful goodbye to the only good part of this season of ‘The Bachelorette’

ABC/Ringer illustration
ABC/Ringer illustration

Last night, we lost a hero. After three weeks of dull insults, vacant stares, heavily-edited (to the point I didn’t believe it) threats of male aggression, creepy window-stroking, vague suggestions of cannibalism, and some light ‘roid rage, we (mostly) said goodbye to the best part of this season’s Bachelorette.

Farewell Bad Chad, this show is going to miss you.

This is not an obvious or commonly-held opinion, so let’s talk about Chad for a moment. He was a consummate douche bag; born to offend. From his name, Chad, which is Welsh for “battle” (and Esperanto for “‘roided-out bully”), to his veiny muscles, to his pointy chin (not a Disney prince chin at all), he was a classic Bach bad guy. He’s combative, cocky, and even worse, not really that into JoJo. And his offenses, even over three short weeks, were many: He ate a lot of ham and left the ham plates around the mansion. He spent all his free time lifting weights. He wouldn’t sing along when James Taylor taught the other bros song lyrics that mostly consist of “JoJo.” He had a disdain for every other man in the house — especially Evan (I mean, he’s right about Evan) — and worse, he announced it to the other dudes. He called Jordan Rodgers a “27-year-old failed football player.” He earned the label “not here for the right reasons” in the first episode; by Episode 3, his only friend was begging him to take it down a notch from “Hitler” to “Mussolini.” He was a new breed of evil, and he was the only damn fun on this boring, baked-tilapia season of a show.

The entertainment value of The Bachelorette is dependent on its villain, because it’s the only arm of the franchise that really lets villains shine. On The Bachelor, female villains are fairly limited in their roles: they are either too catty (like Olivia Caridi from Ben Higgins’s season) or too brazenly sexual (like Courtney Robertson from Ben F.’s season). None of those archetypes are particularly enjoyable to watch — the show’s baked-in sexism becomes a little too hard to ignore — and they’re not the point, anyway; the central drama of The Bachelor is the fairy tale desperation of the final contestants.

The Bachelorette, on the other hand, allows male villains a whole host of unique ways to be delightfully, unemotionally, unapologetically awful. They can be misogynistic, violent, too obsessed with winning the girl, not obsessed enough with winning the girl, fame-seeking, too sexual, too piously prude, or a Pantsapreneur. Chad is a Voltron of all these characteristics: with the added evils of being a former car salesman and maybe porn domain flipper. Oh, and he’s totally unhinged, which is why Chad was left on a rock last night after his two-on-one date.

Yes, the villain always gets cut, but without a bad guy, this season is now adrift, trying to come up with new ways to distract you from the fact JoJo is probably going to pick Aaron Rodgers’s brother, Jordan Rodgers, and has probably been planning on that since minute one of Episode 1. Nobody says “see ya” to a famous football player’s younger sibling, or to a man with that sculpted of a hair flip. Jordan might be the one to beat, but Chad was our bright spot; Chad was our plot device. The producers know this, which is why they’re milking Chad’s dramatic return to the cabin for next week’s episode. But promos lie; Chad’ll get sent home, and then we’ll be stuck watching a bunch of dudes in tank tops talk about how much they like milk. (Which might be more entertaining than them discussing why they like JoJo, honestly.) If this soon-to-be Chadless show has any hope of improving, then someone better get to sexing. Because The Bachelorette is good at only two things: fucking and fighting. And without Chad there are no more punches to be thrown.