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'Bachelor' host Chris Harrison talks Courtney, skinny-dipping

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Tonight is the episode fans of The Bachelor have been waiting for: Courtney invites Ben to go skinny-dipping in Puerto Rico as things continue to go south between her and the other contestants, particularly Emily. If Courtney’s man- and rose-stealing antics weren’t already the focus of watercooler (and ladies’ room) conversations, this should do it. When Bachelor host Chris Harrison visited us last week, he admitted he’d just gotten in a debate with one of our building’s female security guards about Courtney’s aggressive style of play. In the video below, Harrison shares why he thinks Courtney is such a divisive figure and how he first learned about her controversial swim with Ben. He also answers some burning Bachelor questions about what he’s actually doing during those long cocktail parties (sitting in a control room where he can dial up any conversation he wants to eavesdrop on) and who actually decides what order the names are called in during a rose ceremony. (“After 10 years, we’ve been found out.”)

More on Courtney versus Emily: “Look at Emily. She’s bitten off more than she can chew in taking on Courtney. Courtney is Michael Jordan. Emily? A junior high player, comparatively speaking. Emily is gorgeous, smart, has a million things on Courtney, as far as being a woman. Any other guy would kill to be with Emily, yet Emily is insecure, she’s emotional. She’s not herself right now, and Courtney is owning this game. One on one, she’s killing her. It’s an amazing dynamic to watch. You’re sitting on your couch watching this amazing epidemiologist — yes, we all had to look that up, she’s that smart, you don’t even know how to spell it or know what that is — yet she’s being taken to school by Courtney, a model? Why? Emily is running to Ben, and she’s crying, and that’s her demise. You can see her slowly falling on her own sword… If people are rubbed the wrong way now [by Courtney], it doesn’t get better.”

More on the skinny-dipping: “Luckily, ABC has really thick black bars that they stick on your screen, and you won’t see as much as I had to… First of all, I’ve seen the unedited version. Really, it was almost too much for me. Maybe it’s because I know Ben, and he’s a friend. It kinda reminded me of Gilles Marini, he was Naked Guy in Sex and the City. He’s a friend of mine, we play soccer together, we’re buddies. I hadn’t seen Sex and the City. So finally I’m like, ‘Alright, you know what buddy, I’m gonna watch this movie.’ You don’t want to see your friends like that! You never look at them the same. You’re not really looking them in the eye anymore.”

More on how he furthers story lines as the host: “For example, I would say, ‘What do you see in Courtney? You realize a lot of girls don’t like her? Does that bother you?’ It’s my job to at least bring these things up. It’s not my job, nor is it any friend’s job, to say, ‘I forbid you. She’s wrong. She’s terrible.’ Because all that’s going do is make him go the opposite direction. I learned a long time ago, whether you’re a friend, a host, or whatever, if you bring up the topic and start a discussion, a) they’ll open up more and probably be more honest, and b) that’s more helpful to somebody. Instead of being so judgmental, it’s just like, ‘Tell me what you see in her.’ I was like that with Jake and Vienna. I was like, ‘What do you see in this girl?’ He convinced me that he loved her. We all know how it turned out, but if you can convince me, then alright. God bless you. Good luck.”

More on the red flag he and many viewers see with Courtney: “I’ve learned a lot about life and love in 10 years. When a woman says, ‘I’ve never really had any girlfriends. I have a lot of guy friends, but I don’t really have any girlfriends,’ that’s a red flag to me. You should have girlfriends. Maybe not a bunch, but you have your core. You should have gotten along with ladies because that shows a lot, that you can balance fighting for a guy, loving a guy, and being respectful.”

On how players like Courtney who “aren’t there to make friends” tend to react after watching their behavior back: “It will either be defend yourself and fight to the death that you were mis-edited or misunderstood, or, this is what usually happens, watching yourself back [and apologizing]. We all think we know what we look like and sound like and act like. And for the most part, I’m guessing we all think we’re good people. Courtney is probably just the same. A lot of times, you’ll come back to the shows and be like, I was an ass. Take for example Kasey, when he came back on the tell-all at Bachelor Pad, he just said, ‘You know what, I apologize. That’s not me. I watched that back, and I was embarrassed. I don’t treat people like that, I don’t speak to people like that, and I’m sorry.’ I really respect that. That’s why I’m not mad at Bentley. I don’t hate him. Maybe he made a mistake. We’ve all acted like A-holes, we’ve all said the wrong thing at the wrong time, yet this is on network TV in front of millions. You’re put under a lot of pressure that people won’t understand unless you’re in that fishbowl. So I’ll give Courtney the benefit of the doubt. Like Michelle Money even, she really was misunderstood. She was like, ‘It was just my sense of humor, and I was joking. I’m sorry people didn’t see that.’ And the girls backed her up and were like, ‘We love Michelle.’ Maybe that will be Courtney. Maybe she’ll come back and say, ‘I don’t love the way I was perceived.’ Let’s give her a little time.”

Read more:

Chris Harrison talks Emily Maynard as the Bachelorette (and Bentley having to get past him first)

Kristen Baldwin recaps ‘The Bachelor’: Natural Selection

Chris Harrison blogs the latest episode of ‘The Bachelor’

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