After Luke P.'s baloney meltdown on 'The Bachelorette,' we get the scoop from the show's exec producer on why 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' villains like to chow down on camera

By Kristen Baldwin
July 02, 2019 at 08:30 AM EDT
ABC

It’s a time-honored Bachelor and Bachelorette tradition: Contestants should ignore any and all food placed in front of them, no matter how delicious it looks. Everyone on these shows is allowed to eat whenever they want, but most people realize that no one looks attractive or sexy while chewing and swallowing — so they choose to nosh off-camera.

But for years, one group of contestants has boldly and blatantly ignored this unwritten rule: The villains. When Luke P. went to town on the baloney platter in the Netherlands on Monday’s episode of The Bachelorette, he became the latest in a long line of fan least-favorites to chow down on screen.

ABC

Who could forget Chad Johnson, the overly-aggro jerk from JoJo’s season of The Bachelorette in 2016? Whether attacking a meat platter during a cocktail party or eating sweet potatoes like they were apples, this was a dude who did not give a frog’s fat behind whether or not America saw him talking with his mouth full.

That same year, former Bachelorette “winner” Josh Murray went down to Mexico for season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise, and when he wasn’t bullying Nick or trying to dominate Amanda’s life, he was stuffing his face with pizza.

ABC

And it’s not just men who feel free to pig out on camera. The Bachelor season 21 vixen Corrine Olympios was notable for lots of dubious reasons — she was a grown woman with a nanny, for example — but her most stand-out quality may have been her unabashed love of naps and food. Sadly, her nanny Raquel wasn’t around to whip up some of her beloved cheese pasta, so Corinne made due with whatever producers set in front of her. Like plain cheese.

ABC

So what’s behind this food-related Bachelor phenomenon? To get some answers, I grilled executive producer Bennett Graebner, who’s been with the franchise for over a decade, about the psychology (and appetite) of Bachelor/Bachelorette villains.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Just because people will ask, please confirm that contestants are able to choose whether or not they eat on camera (meaning, they are afforded time to eat off-camera if they prefer).
BENNETT GRAEBNER: There is plenty of time to eat (and plenty of choices) while not on camera. If we didn’t have a seemingly endless supply of chicken breasts and eggs at the ready, the guys on The Bachelorette would likely riot and the show would promptly end.

Some fans will also assume that producers generally have footage of EVERYONE eating on camera, but they only choose to include footage of “villains” eating on the show. Is that accurate or not?
While there is indeed footage of most or all participants eating, some simply eat more on camera than others.

From your observations as an executive producer, what are some common denominators, from a personality standpoint, among the contestants who choose to eat on camera? 
It’s hard to say why some eat voraciously on camera while others appear to sneak away to a dark corner to indulge in their Keto-friendly lifestyle. Maybe the on-camera foodies simply don’t care what other people think. If so, kudos to them. Or maybe being charismatic on TV — and it’s hard to deny the overt charisma of those on this list — simply requires additional calories.

Juan Pablo, who is widely regarded as the worst Bachelor ever, ate on basically all of the dates. Did anyone ever speak to him about it? Like, “Hey, buddy — chewing on camera is kind of gross”? 
Juan Pablo loved to eat, both on-camera and off-camera. And no one was going to persuade him to stop eating. Frankly, if I had his speedy metabolism I would have probably done the same.

ABC

Which is worse, in your opinion: Chewing sounds or kissing sounds?
I find neither the sound of people chewing nor the sound of people kissing revolting. If I could choose one to avoid listening to, however, it would be kissing. There’s a level of intimacy there that, no matter how many times I encounter it, I can never quite get used to. It just feels like something I shouldn’t be privy to.

Anything else you’d like to say about this very important issue?
Food can be an unusual weapon in this quest for love. I remember on Ashley Hebert’s season of The Bachelorette finding one of the guys in the mansion kitchen laying out sumptuous platters of snacks for his fellow suitors. I asked him what he was doing. He looked at me, grinned, and said: “Fattening up the competition.” It was very funny. He didn’t win Ashley’s heart, but he won my respect with his Machiavellian ways. We are friends to this day.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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