Plot twist in Vietnamese version of The Bachelor

HONG KONG •The contestant approached the man she had been publicly courting on live television and confessed that the object of her affections had shifted.

"It's someone else," she said, then walked off the set with a fellow female contestant.

That plot twist, revealed in a trailer for the Vietnamese-language adaptation of The Bachelor, has set the Internet ablaze.

No two contestants on the show, which debuted in the United States in 2002 and later expanded overseas, have ever walked out of its elimination ceremony together.

But in Vietnam, the response has been muted and news media coverage focused primarily on how the episode has been covered abroad.

One apparent reason: Acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships has become so commonplace in the country that they are no longer all that surprising.

"Ten years ago that wasn't normal, but now it is, at least in the cities," Ms Xuan Hong, a homemaker in the capital, Hanoi, said by telephone. "Perceptions change."

In the trailer for the Vietnamese edition of The Bachelor, the contestant Minh Thu walks offstage with her female castmate Truc Nhu after telling the show's eligible single man, Nguyen Quoc Trung, that she was not interested in him.

But after the two women spoke together off-screen, Nhu said that she would return to the show after all.

Stories about the episode - International Press Surprised To See Two Lesbians On The Bachelor, one headline read - were not playing prominently on domestic news sites on Tuesday.

Ms Luong Minh Ngoc, the director of iSEE, a Vietnamese research outfit that advocates human rights, said the authorities might be clamping down on entertainment coverage before a planned funeral for former president Tran Dai Quang, who died last week.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2018, with the headline 'Plot twist in Vietnamese version of The Bachelor'. Print Edition | Subscribe