How The Bachelor Backfired On America

134220_2043_prePhoto: Courtesy of ABC.
Last night was the season finale of The Bachelor. And, there's paradoxically not much to say and everything to say. I feel like this guy, who has only a vague concept of both reality TV and how to woo a lady, successfully duped a major broadcast network — and all of America — into thinking he was a decent guy just long enough to get cast. Then, he let his crazy out, and the show unraveled like a ball of yarn at the mercy of a bobcat.
Hot tip: It's usually not a deal-sealer to tell a girl, "I don't know you, but I really like sleeping with you," as Juan Pablo allegedly whispered to Clare in their only moments without cameras. (Actually, he used an expletive, but I'm not going there. It's too early.) Likewise, if you sign up for this show — as Bachelor alumni and newlywed Sean Lowe attested to last night — you're gonna be in the public eye. Or, in the case of JP, the public's constant, disapproving eye roll.
Anyway, I think the best way to tackle this is to go one by one. First, I'll speak to Clare's amazing exit, and then we’ll discuss Nikki, whom we should all be worried about. Then I'll waste some breath on JP, and finally we can swoon over Andi one last time, because she pulled off that sequined dress flawlessly.
Listen, I was never a fan of Clare. Something about her cadence, her faces, and how she was discovering her own lips in real time really didn't rub me the right way. That is, until last night. Her grand finale moment was so on point that I forgot how insufferable she had been throughout the season. 'Cuz she was right: It wasn't cool of JP to keep her around when she had doubts, moreover talk about having kids together when he was only going to let her go just a day later. He let her stand there and pour her heart out in a ball gown, all the while knowing he was going to say, "I have to say good-bye to you."
Her reply? "I would never want my kids to have a father like you," and "I believed in us," and "You're not the man I thought you were." The biggest blow though was bringing up Sharleen. Ouch! He really loved Sharleen. You could see it on his face when Clare mentioned her leaving and again when JP saw Sharleen at the After The Final Rose show, which, yes, I also watched in its entirety.
134220_3237_prePhoto: Courtesy of ABC.
More important, I have to discuss Nikki. The show's apparent "winner" is now stuck with America's most hated reality-television star. So, mazel tov on that. This is a girl who was so dead set on winning she ignored the warnings from Juan Pablo’s own family. (His own mother said he could be a jerk!) Indeed, it seemed to me that some sort of Machiavellian rage clouded Nikki’s vision, and she was determined to win. And, by giving JP a heartfelt letter signed "I love you," that's exactly what she did. Look, I'm sure she has some feelings for him (he's still hot — kinda — right?), but I think she’s more concerned about saving face than spending her life with the guy she loves.
Unfortunately, she's not getting either of those things. It’s no surprise that JP still has commitment issues. But, Nikki gladly followed his lead, acting like she was on some sort of horse tranquilizer at the after-show, unable to articulate what their plans are or even why she's still with him. What's most confusing for me, though, is how Andi and Sharleen and her friends from the show (she's still BFFs with Andi, according to Instagram) allow her to continue this sickening charade of sticking by a man who makes anti-gay remarks and sends out rude Tweets about the mentally disabled. Ladies, take note: Friends don't let friends accept the final rose during The Bachelor when the bachelor is a misogynistic villain.
135031_5849_prePhoto: Courtesy of ABC.
And, speaking of the devil! What a perfect transition. Honestly, can you imagine being one of the show's producers watching as America turns on a guy you handpicked to represent "one of the good ones?" Man, it's kind of hilarious. That is, if you're not his girlfriend. Indeed, ABC has already apologized and rescinded its invite to JP to join the cast of Dancing With The Stars. On last night's after-show, he alluded to ABC's dropping him from the show as a "sudden change of plans."
I think this was a really powerful moment for reality television. It was important to watch these women have such a strong, negative reaction to this guy. It's usually all giggles and bikinis on waterslides and sugary-cocktail hangovers after a late-night rose ceremony. But, guess what? It doesn't always work out like that. Sometimes, a guy can be a jerk. You don't want to give him besitos even if it gets you more airtime. And, girl power can trump girl fights when the prize is a man who thinks it’s romantic to watch TV all day.
In the end, no one really won. Maybe Andi won, because, as I already mentioned, she gets a fresh shot at finding love, while proving to America she can indeed rock an impossible sequined dress. But, really, this season was an exercise in the unexpected. And, that's what's so good about reality television. It all went so horribly awry. The show’s winner and her bachelor turned out to be the most contentious characters. I'm still sorting through the rubble, but for now, in Juan Pablo's own words, "BOOM — that's my honesty."

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