Randy Lee, the Oak Creek native who appeared (briefly) on ABC's The Bachelorette, is blunt about his feelings toward the show.
He never watched it prior to appearing on this season's edition.
He's still not a huge fan, and wasn't terribly disappointed when he got bounced in the season premiere.
And he hasn't watched more than a few episodes since.
Lee was back in his hometown this week and spoke to Oak Creek Patch about his time growing up here, his acting career and the backstory on his time on the popular ABC series.
It wasn't his idea to go on the show, Lee said. Christine Gestl, one of his sisters and an Oak Creek resident, is a huge fan of the show and nominated her bachelor, Los Angeles-living brother.
Lee laughed when she told him and didn't think much of it again until he got a call from ABC asking him to go through an extensive interview process. Several interviews and drug, STD and psychological tests later, he was informed he was selected out of thousands of nominations.
Then, the debate started. Lee is an actor trying to make it in Los Angeles, and was wary about the impact of a reality show on his career. But after discussions with agents and others in the business, he decided to give it a shot, thinking it could be a springboard for the things he actually wanted to do.
"The consensus was that most likely it's a good idea, but it could backfire," Lee said. "I really debated for awhile.
"There's a thin line between being in reality (TV) and being an actor. If you're a true actor, you don't want to do reality. But it's kind of being skewed in that reality is becoming so much more popular that it's almost like it could be an 'in' for you."
That line of thinking very much played into what happened when he got there.
Fans of the show will remember Lee for wearing a "grandma" outfit when he was introduced to Emily Maynard, the Bachelorette. But that happened only after his other plans got shot down, Lee said.
"I had all these ideas," Lee said.
He wanted to come in with a marching band. Or after rose pedals got blown out of a snow machine and rained down on Emily. But after producers nixed those ideas, he continued to talk with them about what he could do to be memorable and funny.
That's when a producer told him about the grandmother that appeared on the previous season of The Bachelor. Emily is a fan of that show and would probably have a frame of reference, so Lee decided to try it.
If nothing else, Lee thought, it could get him publicity for his web series that will be released this summer and pitched to TV networks.
But besides, he says, it's at least more memorable than the other contestants.
"I was bored with the show," he said of filming the first episode.
He didn't think he would leave The Bachelorette that night, but he says it doesn't bother him. In fact, he really only wanted to stay on for a few episodes. Otherwise, he risks being remembered as "the guy from The Bachelorette."
"I honestly thought I would do the grandma thing, then kind of show them my personality, and maybe stay on for one or two episodes and then try to get kicked off, because like I said, I didn't want to go that far," Lee said.
Maynard reportedly now wishes he would have stayed around, as well.
"To be honest, if I could go back and maybe keep one extra, I would have kept the guy that dressed up as a grandma, because that took a lot of guts," she told reporters.
That's better than other nicknames he got, Lee said, like the guy who called him "Craigslist Killer."
"Everybody's entitled to their opinion and I'm glad that everybody has their opinions, because without opinions we'd just be animals," Lee said.
But the only thing Lee says he would have done differently is to try to do it better -- make it a little smoother, more funnier.
He'll get another chance to explain on a season wrap-up show July 7, when he'll meet Emily again and get to mingle and party with the other contestants.
But it's not like he would have much of a future with her anyway.
"I think she's a little bit, I don't want to say boring, but I need a little bit more personality as far as having a girlfriend or a wife," he said. "She's very cookie cutter, very proper. I would need a little bit more of a wild side."
A look back, a look ahead
Lee attended and is a 1999 graduate of . He enjoyed his experience here, getting involved with the Salvation Army and participating in sports.
He never did any acting in school plays or the theater, however. After high school, Lee went to Milwaukee Area Technical College and became a firefighter. Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles with thoughts of both acting and firefighting. Instead, he ended up with a full-time job in marketing while he continued to pursue acting.
He found work in spec commercials — ads that are filmed and then pitched to companies — and in short films that found their way to film festivals. Lee likens it to the minor leagues of acting, hoping to get discovered as he works his way up to bigger projects.
Now a full-time actor, Lee will soon debut his web series Pretty Girl Parking, which he described as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets Workaholics, only filmed on a beach. Five episodes have been written, with the goal to eventually get the series on television.
If that happens, Lee wants to make his hometown proud.
"I love Oak Creek and I hope to put it on the map," he said. "In my head there's no doubt that I will be in upcoming TV shows and movies. It's about putting in the work."