Those of us who've been following The Bachelorette in 2020 have been along for a truly wild ride, which is very representative of the craziness of this year. After all of the waiting just to get to see Season 16, we are now nearing the end of Tayshia Adams' journey to try and find love, and, because of that, we were treated to the show's famous Men Tell All installment last night, when the suitors she sent home return to talk about their experiences on the show. But, the setup for the episode was very different from in previous years, and host Chris Harrison is revealing why he thinks it was "better" without all of the men present.
Normally, when The Bachelorette films its Men Tell All episode (or when The Bachelor films its Women Tell All, for that matter), they go all out to make the event special so that it really stands apart from a typical episode. It's taped after production on the main season has finished, and everyone who was sent home by the lead comes back. There's an audience, a stage, and generally around 20 or more men on hand who can have their say. But, this time, we only saw eight of the guys who tried to woo Tayshia (plus one man who was sent home by Clare Crawley) return. As Chris Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter, though, he believes it made for a much better show, and noted:
Because there were less guys — we just couldn’t bring everybody in and brought in the major players that we could — it’s a lot more intimate. When you’re saying something and they’re sitting right next to you, or you’re staring them in the face, your words have a lot more meaning. It’s not as easy to hide in that big group. So it made for, I think, a better show. I think there are things we’re going to take out of this version and [apply] it forward.
Obviously, this year was a challenging one in which to film The Bachelorette, and those challenges continued as the producers were setting up the Men Tell All. Seeing as how it was taped after the season was done filming, this meant that everyone they brought back would have to quarantine again and get clear virus tests before being allowed on set. It was far easier for them to only bring back those who'd been sent away after having the most impactful / funny stories play out on camera, than to try and get the full cast of 35 men to return.
In addition, the MTA wasn't even filmed at the Palm Springs resort where Tayshia's season filmed, but at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania where they are currently still filming on Matt James' Season 25 of The Bachelor, which begins airing in early January. While I'm sure Chris Harrison and the producers would love to get back to filming the MTA in front of a live audience, it's not the lack of that aspect that Harrison thinks will become a staple going forward. Instead, he points to the "intimate" nature of their only being a few men involved, and he makes a good point about that.
As it was, the arguing and in-fighting got pretty loud and ridiculous with only eight of Tayshia's men returning. It would have been positively insane to have roughly 30 dudes sitting around and yelling at each other. Or, have that many men in attendance when only a few really had stories we actually wanted to hear more about. Every MTA has several former suitors who get all dressed up and come out to basically just sit around and look pretty for an hour or so. It was much better to hear something from everyone who was brought back, and I do hope they arrange future Men Tell All / Women Tell All episodes like that in coming seasons.
We still have three episodes of The Bachelorette left in Season 16, so be sure to tune in to ABC tonight, December 15, and next Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST to see who Tayshia chooses!