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The Bachelor S18 finale: some thoughts.

Hello!

I haven’t touched this space in a good long while because, as you are probably aware if you’re reading this, I’ve been covering The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and other TV shows over at Previously.TV. Go read my stuff here, if you’re so inclined.

In any case, I didn’t cover the finale of The Bachelor this season for Previously.TV because I was on vacation in Portugal with my adorable husband when it aired, so I had to take a miss. However, being me, I watched the entire finale fiasco on my DVR approximately three to six minutes after getting home from Europe, and I had some thoughts. Since a few people had asked me to post said thoughts online, I figured I’d dump them in here, in crappy bullet point format, since I am lazy and have become accustomed to getting paid cash-money to write about this stuff. So this post won’t be my typical stellar work — ain’t nobody got time for that. Unless, of course, you’d like to pay me according to the standards I’ve come to expect — sort of a Bachelor blog alimony type deal. Anyone?

Okay, bullets it is.

One note: I wrote this knowing who “won,” but had limited my reading about the show so as not to poison the well, so to speak. Then, as soon as I wrote this, I binged on all the delightful articles written about what an out-and-out spectacle the whole thing was, and I will link to some of my favorites as appropriate in the bullets. Okay, so, without further ado, please find my bulleted thoughts on this mess, below.

  • FIRST of all, Chris Harrison isn’t even pretending at this point not to hate Juan Pablo. His voice is absolutely dripping with disdain as he hosts this, the most controversial Bachelor finale in all of storied Bachelor history, or whatever. He almost seems gleeful as he interviews people in the audience, all of whom are like, “We hate Juan Pablo; down with Juan Pablo!”
  • Okay, so, Clare’s Meet The Family date with Juan Pablo: not much to say here other than that Clare is shockingly awkward with Camila. I’m just so distracted by her face. Why can’t she stop herself from doing that tortured tongue-biting duck-face, even while talking to a child? An impressionable child! Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children??
  • Knowing going into this thing that Juan Pablo doesn’t pick Clare in the end makes all of her tongue-iness and baby talk (in both senses of the word) even more embarrassing. And it was already pretty embarrassing.
  • The fact that Clare thinks that she and Juan Pablo “communicated” in the aftermath of their kerfuffle over the ocean swim/sex makes me think she’s a brainwashed robot or else just REALLY dense. Or possibly both? Also, I love how she’s totally bought the company line on how Juan Pablo’s just really “honest.” Most bafflingly, she somehow comes out of a discussion with Juan Pablo’s mom in which Mama is like, “Um, he’s my son and even I think he sucks,” and concludes that this conversation has validated her feelings of adoration and love for Juan Pablo. But then again, you know what they say: prolonged willful ignorance is a healthy foundation for any long-term relationship. They say that, right?
  • Next, Nikki and her intense haunch tattoo show up to try to impress Juan Pablo’s family. Juan Pablo, meanwhile, is totally phoning it in. He might have yawned while talking about Nikki to his family. Yet Nikki, like Clare, is determined to see the best in this man despite overwhelming evidence that there is, in fact, nothing good about him, including his OWN FAMILY being like, “Don’t marry him! He’s an asshole!”
  • Nikki’s ideas of what her time with Juan Pablo and Camila would be like are shockingly vague. “We’d… like, do activities. And just, like, have a loving family.” Well, can’t poke holes in that plan!
  • Back to the studio audience, and Catherine Lowe nee Giudici shows up to misuse the word “complacency.” Go away, Catherine. Go away, show. Go away, everyone.
  • Back to Juan Pablo’s helicopter date with Clare. Surprising no one, Juan Pablo proves himself to be a terrible, insensitive cad and whispers something about sex in Clare’s ear — while adding that he also doesn’t really know her — as soon as they get a private moment. Clare seems shocked and devastated by this, and actually pretty mad — but give her a minute.
  • Clare goes back to the hotel room and cries about the fact that Juan Pablo doesn’t really know her, etc., and I feel like she should have maaaybe had this realization a while ago. She “confronts” him about it and he’s so slimy and insincere that I start to wonder if maybe — and this is just a theory — he’s actually a bunch of lizards in a zip-up human suit. In any case, he seems like the type of person I wouldn’t even want to share a cab with, let alone date or, God forbid, marry. But Clare has convinced herself that he’s a special guy with a big heart, because they don’t let terrible people on TV; it’s against the rules.
  • Anyway, during his discussion with Clare, Juan Pablo’s trusty ol’ “I’m just being HONEST” line comes out, like, a million times. And, like every Clare-Juan Pablo fight, Clare softens up almost immediately, thus killing the small flicker of hope I had that she was actually going wake up and smell the Venezuelan coffee about this loser. Instead, she seems like she is still in this thing and wants it to work despite literally everything she’s seen and heard thus far. When Juan Pablo talks about moving to Sacramento and having a baby with her, I just can’t with it anymore, because, since I am watching this from the future, I know he’s full of crap. Of course, she buys it.
  • Now, onto Nikki, who thinks Juan Pablo is “afraid of getting hurt” and that’s why he hasn’t told her that he loves her. I’d say that’s as gross a misreading of the situation as theoretically possible, but let’s see who’s right. When she tells him she thinks he is “guarded” and “afraid of opening up,” he replies, curtly, “When I feel it, I’ll open up.” And rather than being put off or weirded out by how cold of a response that is at this point in their “relationship,” Nikki just says, “Oh, okay,” and backs off. Good talk.
  • Nikki’s generic handwritten letter to Juan Pablo is the most generic of handwritten letters. It’s like, “Thank you for all the times we had. I have enjoyed them. You are special. The end.” After that, they make out and I become physically revolted by their loud kissy noises and the way Juan Pablo talks to her like she’s a child. “Sleep,” he says, like he’s her dad and he’s putting her to bed. Bluh, how could anyone ever like this guy? I ask you!
  • The producers skip over the part where Juan Pablo has his obligatory sit-down with Neil Lane to peruse his selection of gross rings, and it’s a shame they do, because it’s awk as hell. My editor at Previously.TV, Tara, posted this lovely article showing the deleted scene, and I’d never thought I’d say this, but I’m on Neil Lane’s side on this one.
  • “Proposal” day! Clare says, and I quote: “It’s all been my perfect version of a fairy tale.” I mean, maybe she meant like a Grimm fairy tale, where people get impaled and raped and buried alive and stuff? She also says, “You just have to believe.” Clare, hate to break this to you, but Juan Pablo’s not God, where you’ve never actually seen him, like, with your eyes, but you believe he’s there because of faith. Juan Pablo’s not some mysterious wind in the willows or the footsteps on the sand, or whatever. He’s there, he’s terrible, and you’re being dumb.
  • Clare takes a speed boat to meet Juan Pablo in a bird-filled grove. My nightmare! On every count! “This could be, like, the day my fairy tale comes true,” says Clare. She also thinks her dad would be “proud” of her participation in this charade. Meanwhile, Dad rolls over in his grave.
  • Aaaaand the dumpage begins. Even though Clare strikes me as being emotionally dumb as a box of hair, I am a human being with some modicum of empathy so I can’t help but shrivel inside while she’s speechifying at Juan Pablo about how much she loves him and he’s sort of smirking back at her, waiting for her to shut up so he can dump her. Juan Pablo reminds her that he’s been “honest from the beginning” about people going home. He abruptly tells her goodbye and tries to hug her and she pushes him away. Then she gets bitchy, FINALLY. She basically tells him he’s King of the Turds and that he led her on this whole time, but the big insult comes when she says she’d never want her kids to have a father like him. As she storms away, he keeps it classy by saying, “Oof, glad I didn’t pick her!”
  • In Clare’s tearful post-dumpage confessional, she reveals the shitty thing Juan Pablo said to her in the helicopter, which was, apparently, “I love f***ing you.” [Cue Countess Luann’s “Money Can’t Buy You Class.”]
  • Nikki, meanwhile, can’t wait to tell her mom she’s engaged. Doesn’t matter to whom! She just wants to be engaged! Any old man will do, even one who’s demonstrably awful!
  • Nikki shows up, prepared to be proposed to, and Juan Pablo tells her, considerately, that he has a ring in his pocket but he’s “not going to use it.” He asks her instead to accept his stupid final rose because, while he doesn’t want to marry her, he wouldn’t mind keeping her around. For a second she looks like she wants to smack him, but then she says “absolutely,” and takes it. [Cue Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love.”]

After the Final Rose

  • Everyone’s back at the studio for a good ol’ fashioned rehashing. Clare seems to have redeemed herself in the audience’s eyes by getting mad at Juan Pablo and bitching him out. Apparently she got “closure” from that and doesn’t want to rehash things with Juan Pablo. Fair enough.
  • Chris Harrison then talks to Juan Pablo and you could cut the tension with a cuchillo. Juan Pablo deploys everyone’s favorite helpful phrase, “it is what it is,” to explain his abhorrent behavior. He also snaps, “Can I talk?” and I’m sorry, but one does not speak to Chris Harrison that way. One simply does not. When Chris Harrison asks if Juan Pablo has regrets, he says, “It’s fine. No.”
  • Meanwhile, Nikki’s sad attempt to convince people that their “relationship” is “amazing” is fooling no one. She gazes adoringly at Juan Pablo as he says a bunch of lukewarm stuff about her and I wonder if she was lobotomized at some point during this process, because there is no other logical explanation for that weird smile on her face. She even smiles when Juan Pablo calls out Chris Harrison for interrupting him and the audience boos. [Cue Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.”]
  • The best moment of the whole thing comes when, just before the commercial break, Chris Harrison peaces out entirely and leaves Juan Pablo and Nikki onstage to pretend to like each other and nuzzle unconvincingly.
  • The end of the show gets kind of meta, when Catherine delivers the Bachelor company line to Juan Pablo about not biting the hand that feeds you. Linda Holmes at NPR wrote a very good piece about what this was all about, and I think she nailed it.
  • Finally, we learn that Andi’s the next Bachelorette. Shock. As she’s speaking, I  realize that Andi’s voice reminds me of Zoe Chase from NPR’s Planet Money and that is decidedly not a good thing. However, she kinda looks like Julia Louis Dreyfuss, which inspires some misplaced affection for her in my heart. So this could go either way.

THE END.

See you at Bachelorette season, when I’ll be back on Previously.TV, opining away.

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