There's something immediately disingenuous about reality TV shows. Anytime there's not some type of acknowledgment of the possibility that folks on camera are only behaving in a certain way for screen time, it only helps to further foment distrust in viewers (at least it does for me). The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are prime examples of this kind of unscripted experiment: How are you going to find true love on a reality show? Has anyone ever quit one of these shows? You'd figure if they were only concerned with love, they might.
Has anyone ever quit 'The Bachelorette'?
While rational, logical people would tell you, "Hey, pump the brakes, slow down with X because your relationship is going too fast," that's not very fun, is it? When you're in love with somebody, you want to do and say crazy things and it feels fantastic. Sure, it may be a little annoying to everyone else around (like when you have to express your PDA on social media, gag) but as the saying goes, when you know, you know.
And Clare Crawley in Season 16 of the show didn't want to be on camera pretending to be interested in other guys anymore. She just hit it off with Dale Moss from the get-go and couldn't pretend she wasn't absolutely gushing over the dude. She and Dale were gaga for one another from pretty much the moment they first met.
So when Clare decided to up and quit the show because she found what she was looking for, it not only made for a shocking TV reveal and gnarly problems for production, but it also became one of the most memorable and honest moments in the series.
If you're really in love with somebody, do you even want to consider pursuing intimacy with another person? The idea's almost repulsive to you at that point.
So it can be argued that Clare was basically just acting on the "thesis" of The Bachelorette. But that didn't mean production didn't have a heck of a time figuring out how in the world they were going to finish a show without, you know, a lead that a bunch of men were vying for.
The other contestants felt discouraged by Clare's sudden departure.
Joe said, "How much cumulative time before yesterday did she spend with Dale? Like, two hours?" Blake, of Season 16, also shared his worry: "I'm just shocked. If she wants a true marriage, I don't think you go that route. Like, you don't know anything about him! I'm really nervous for her. I think she's going to get hurt in the end."
So where would the show go from there? Well, a replacement for Clare was brought on: Tayshia Adams. "Everybody is questioning everything, wondering what is going on, and we're just not sure what's going to happen next," contestant Ivan said at the time.
Former host of the show Chris Harrison addressed the change on camera. "As much as it was about her and her journey to find love, it was also about you guys. In that regard, I do feel like you guys were cheated a little bit," he said to the discouraged contestants. "We have never dealt with something like this in the history of the show, and that's going to cause us to do something historic as well. So gentlemen, what I'm here to tell you is that your journey is not over."
Ultimately, the remaining contestants would get another shot at love. Clare and Dale would go on to have another "bump in the road" but would ultimately end up reconnecting in February of 2021, and it looks like as of this writing, they're still together.