Last night’s The Bachelor finale proved why after 22 seasons, ABC still knows how to put on a show.
Am I proud of having watched several seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor In Paradise, and now Bachelor Winter Games? Absolutely not. But we all have our weaknesses and one of mine is reality television.
I got hooked a few seasons back when a friend enlisted me to help with her office betting pool. I’d never seen the show but based on the unhealthy amount of reality television I consume, I was able to do pretty well guessing how the show producers would think. I don’t watch because I think any of them want to find true love, or will find it. Please remember this show is filmed over a two-ish month span, where they’re constantly liquored up, and COMPETING against dozens of other women or men. There’s more potential for a fairy tale ending on a Tinder date, and at least when those go wrong they’re not broadcast nationally.
Yet The Bachelor empire is a fascinating, self-sustaining beast. Contestants aren’t competing for “true love” anymore, they’re competing for a spot in the coveted ABC ecosystem. They have more options than ever as well. Find true love? Great, get a spinoff (like Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell). Break up after said spinoff? End up competing on The Bachelor Winter Games, like Higgins did this past month. Still somehow married after the proposal? No problem, you play the game right and you’ll be invited back every season to comment on the current contestants. Don’t think you’ve got the chops to make it to the final 2 or get engaged? No problem, you'll vie for a spot as either the next Bachelor or Bachelorette. Don’t think you’re interesting or possibly wholesome enough to carry a whole season? There’s still a show for you! Villains, skanks (both male and female), and anyone willing to be corrupted get sent to the purely hedonistic Bachelor in Paradise. You don’t come on any of these shows to find love, you come to find screen time.
Arie, apparently known as “the kissing bandit” from the season where he was a contestant, came across as weasley, insincere, and immature. Hearing him abuse the phrase “I love that” over and over, or worse, stick his tongue down every woman on the show’s throat, became a repulsive experience. Ladies of this season you should all apply for an Abreva sponsorship because I promise you you all have the herp now.
I’d tapped out after Krystal got sent home in an epic 2:1 date, where it’s essentially sudden death and one woman gets sent home on the spot. I relapsed temporarily and got sucked into viewing the “Women Tell All” special, where the women get to confront Arie (and each other). Generally speaking it was sorely disappointing, except for when they tore into Krystal, whose voice was miraculously several octaves lower than it had been during the show, and who clearly did not want to hear anything that was being said.
We got our first hint that something was messed up with this season during that episode. One of the ten million Beccas or Laurens to compete on this season (seriously, there were 4 Laurens at one point…..) called out Arie, saying “you know what you did.” (Just kidding it was some woman named Caroline, I had to look it up).
Well turns out she actually WAS hinting at something dramatic, in an unprecedented dick move, even for this franchise, Arie UNPROPOSED.
After sending the Highlander Lauren home (for there can be only one) he proposed to Becca K. There’s about a month lull between when the show films this proposal finale, and when it actually airs. I was fully prepared to just look up who the winner was when I found out she’d been chosen last night. However I woke up to an ominous tweet storm of shocked viewers. So once again into the breach, dear friends.
Turns out during that quiet time, where contestants aren’t allowed to reveal the results and basically go into lock down, Arie decided he loved Lauren more. He’d said “I love you” to both women on the show, which is also unusual. Usually the preferred phrase is “I’m falling IN love with you” as it gives participants a chance to back out.
So let's be clear. Arie DOESN'T propose to Lauren. DOES propose to Becca.... and a month later UNPROPOSES to Lauren because he thinks he's still in love with Lauren.
Naturally I had to watch the train wreck. Boy did they deliver. They showed both camera angles, “unedited,” and they showed no mercy. Arie proved himself to be a moron, refusing to leave Becca alone when she said there was nothing left to say. Needless to say it was brutal, and rather brilliant. Her reaction was probably the most genuine thing to happen this season. You can almost see The Bachelor host Chris Harrison counting the dollars every time they cut to commercial break (and especially when they announced there was going to be a bonus follow up the next night).
Yet even during this emotional slaughter, Becca has the foresight to not lose her cool. In doing so, she won in a different way. She dodged a bullet from having to marry someone who cared more for someone else. But more importantly for her - she also just rose to the top of the pool for candidates for the hero on next season of The Bachelorette. And isn’t that the ultimate main goal? Go get em Becca.
The latest interviews, reviews, and opinions on film by Dana Han-Klein. Thoughts and opinions are entirely my own and not reflective of my employer or any third parties.