Leave a Comment
Spoilers ahead for the Ben Higgins episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever on June 22.
Ben Higgins ranks as a fan-favorite of the Bachelor leading men, even four years after he went down on one knee on reality TV. That said, not everybody was popular after his time on the show, and then-23-year-old Olivia Caridi was labeled as the villain of the season. It was inevitable that Ben's episode of The Greatest Seasons Ever would revisit what happened with Olivia, and Olivia herself appeared via video chat to share with Chris Harrison what it was like for her after being deemed the villain. Then, Ben (who had appeared in the previous week's episode all about Kaitlyn Bristowe) popped on to chat with her, and Olivia got an apology.
All thing considered, Olivia wasn't the most villainous of the "villains" in Bachelor Nation history, but she was definitely unpopular with the other women vying for Ben's heart, and her case wasn't helped by all the time she got to spend with him while some of the others barely got any. Throw in what seemed to be producers manipulating her situation for maximum drama -- seriously, who can forget Olivia tearfully standing alone and crying on the beach? -- and she was one of the most infamous women of Ben's season of The Bachelor.
The aftermath of The Bachelor wasn't pretty for Olivia, and Chris Harrison arranged for Ben to speak his mind to Olivia on The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever. Speaking directly to Olivia via video chat, Ben said:
I guess the whole reason I wanted to talk to you tonight and talk to anybody out there watching is, I don’t know if you remember this, Olivia, but on night one - and my only request and my only hope was if all else failed, that everybody that participated in this experience left saying they’re glad they did it. And as I look back on that time, I think my lack of wisdom and maturity in standing up for you publicly while I knew this was hard for you. I think the way I navigated the confrontations and the issues on the show could have been better to help you. But mostly I just wanted to speak to you and say ‘I’m sorry.'
On The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever, Olivia revealed that she was humiliated and ashamed to find how she was portrayed by the show, and it took her time to recover. In fact, her treatment has led her to now reach out to other "villains" of The Bachelor to lend an ear or shoulder to cry on, if she's needed. She said that it was "awful" and she "freaking self-destructed," but didn't regret it because she worked on herself.
Olivia also acknowledged some of her missteps during her time on the show, so her conversation with Chris Harrison wasn't just a few minutes of Olivia blaming Ben, The Bachelor, and/or Chris Harrison himself for what she went through. For his part, Ben acknowledged that there was more he could have done publicly to help Olivia when she was going through all the backlash and humiliation.
Ben went on during his chat with Olivia on The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever to share that he has a message for viewers as well:
And then also, anybody watching this, to say, ‘Come on. This girl is a rock star. She laid her heart on the line for love and she tried her best. And you know what? Yes, it didn’t come off perfectly all the time, but none of us did.’ And that’s the beauty of the show is we lay our hearts out there and we do things to make people laugh and to join in on this experience and that’s what Olivia did. And so if we can’t wrap our arms around Olivia and say, ‘Well done, and we’ll lift you up, and we’re just happy you did this,’ then you’re crazy. So, Olivia, I’m sorry. I take responsibility for this, but I also just wanna tell everybody how awesome you are.
Olivia immediately told Ben that it wasn't his fault, and what could have been a very awkward and uncomfortable video chat went well for both of them. I'll admit that I was cringing on Olivia's behalf after watching her tearfully open up about what she went through, only for Chris Harrison to announce that he was springing Ben on her, but she handled it like a champ. Kudos to both of them!
Honestly, Olivia's video call was one of my personal favorite segments of Ben's episode of The Greatest Seasons Ever, although I did get a kick out of the updates from Bachelor in Paradise's Caelynn Miller-Keyes (who has shared how it felt not to be asked to be The Bachelorette) and Dean Unglert, who improbably left the beach together in last summer's season of Paradise to live in a van. They shared that they wear rings to show their commitment to each other, and Chris Harrison can officiate their nuptials if they ever decide to "get the government involved."
I'm still not sure that I'm a fan of the format of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever. Obviously Chris Harrison isn't obligated to build the suspense and avoid spoilers when these seasons aired years ago, but it would feel like less of a recap show and more of a condensed version of the season if Harrison didn't host the episodes like we all know where it's going.
Admittedly, I'm biased by the fact that I haven't seen every episode of every show in Bachelor Nation, but Ben Higgins' episode just wasn't that thrilling to me outside of the new content. And I didn't see his season the first time around!
That said, after watching Ben's episode, I am looking forward to next week's episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever centered on JoJo Fletcher, who was the runner-up of Ben's season. Ben of course chose Lauren Bushnell at the end of the season, and they even starred in a spinoff of their own until their engagement ended.
Tune in to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever. JoJo laughingly groaned at the prospect of reliving her own season of The Bachelorette when she chatted with Chris Harrison, but it should make for an interesting three hours! For more viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, be sure to check out our 2020 summer premiere schedule.