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Television

Reality Steve’s Bachelor Podcast Is Actually Pretty Good

The Dallas-based podcast adds an interesting element to the Reality Steve persona and poses the question: Is Steve Carbone the Gretchen Wieners of Bachelor Nation?

Dallas is home to many an A Team Bachelor Nation member. We have reigning, still-together couples such as JoJo and Jordan, or Sean and Catherine. We claim the current Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who will always be a big deal. Two of the franchise’s more memorable moments involved local participants: the savagely dumped dancing queen Melissa Rycroft and really-doesn’t-like-to-be-interrupted Jake Pavelka. Even Chris Harrison, the irrefutable king of Bachelor Nation, calls Dallas home.

But there’s another major player from the Bachelor world living in our midst: Steve Carbone (aka Reality Steve). The thorn in ABC’s side has been spoiling the series on his blog with remarkable accuracy since that surprising After the Final Rose outcome in 2009, and despite his aversion to the show (Carbone has openly admitted he wouldn’t watch The Bachelor if he didn’t have to), he’s managed to leverage his social media detective work and snark-filled takes into a full-time job.

Of course, in this digital world we live in today, it’s natural for a news site like Reality Steve (some might call it news!) to begin exploring other mediums for content. With the podcast world literally teeming with Bachelor-related shows (The Ringer’s Bachelor Party and Huffpost’s Here to Make Friends are personal favorites), a Reality Steve Podcast felt inevitable. Carbone uploaded his first episode on December 4, 2016, about a month ahead of Nick Viall’s Bachelor premiere. But would his snarky, long-winded commentary translate well across an audio format?

At first, not so much. This is one girl’s opinion of course, but it’s always a little tough to listen to anyone — no matter how funny or charismatic they may be — talk alone for close to an hour. Reality Steve is not a comedian; he’s just a guy (albeit a former sports radio host) who knows a crazy amount about the behind the scenes goings on of The Bachelor franchise. But just as a restaurant’s first few weeks can understandably be a little rocky, so can a podcast’s. For Reality Steve, those first few weeks were essentially just his blog in spoken word format with a jazzy intro. The whole thing felt unnecessary.

Then, finally, Nick Suddenly-Hot-Now Viall’s season premiered on ABC, and Reality Steve welcomed his first guest, Juliet Litman of The Ringer’s aforementioned Bachelor Party podcast. For the first time, we heard our lovable curmudgeon have a spoiler-free back and forth with another knowledgeable force in The Bachelor world, and more importantly, a fan. Litman enjoys The Bachelor wholeheartedly as I do, and Steve was perfectly accommodating of that. It was an interesting dynamic, offering a different tone from other Bachelor-related podcasts.

From there, the episodes continued to get more interesting. Steve invited Bachelor fashion blogger Dana Weiss (The Possessionista) and had a smart discussion about contestants leveraging the show’s exposure to become social media influencers. He also began hosting former Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants, such as Sharleen Joynt, JJ Lane, Michelle Money, and quite possibly the greatest reality TV villain of all time, Courtney Robertson. The conversations were insightful and (sometimes) pleasantly combative, aiding Carbone’s goal of offering a different side to the highly-edited contestant listeners may have seen on TV.

But as any Reality Steve reader knows, our man Steve has some gossip. The past couple of weeks, Carbone has found himself involved in (and at one point the mediator of) various Bachelor Nation dramas. When multiple women claimed that squeaky clean Texas musician and almost-Bachelor Luke Pell had promised them a spot on the show and even an engagement at the end, Carbone posted the story, which Chris Harrison more or less backed him up. When (Not That) James Taylor sent a text to the lady members of the Bachelor “family” apologizing for dropping his sweet, southern gentlemen ways for the siren call of post-reality TV douchebauchery, one of those ladies forwarded the lengthy message to Carbone. The Reality Steve Podcast posted an intimate interview with Taylor within days.

But perhaps Carbone’s most dramatic role of all is that of referee between recently broken-up Bachelor couple Amanda Stanton and Josh Murray. You see, some well-meaning fan posted a photo, which ended up sparking an intense debate that pitted Stanton and her Bachelor girlfriends against Murray (or rather, Murray’s mother). It’s all pretty terrible. I feel silly and gross even writing about it. Thankfully, Carbone does, too. “The stuff that I have seen and heard, I don’t think anybody should hear it,” Carbone mused on his April 6 episode. While he did divulge how his referee role came to be, he vowed not to release any of the tawdry details.

That being said, Carbone admitted to having information that, if released, would “ruin” Murray. “I could easily fan the flames if I wanted to,” he said on the April 6 episode. He’s hinted at having similar condemning evidence for the most recent Bachelor, Viall, as well. Is Carbone the Gretchen Wieners of Bachelor Nation?

Time might tell. For now, Bachelor fans and Podcast lovers, just go give the Reality Steve Podcast a spin. I promise it is actually pretty good.

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