9:11pm PT by Daniel Fienberg
'The Bachelor' Finale: 9 Things the Show Taught This 'Bachelor'-Phobic Critic
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Season 20 of ABC's The Bachelor.]
Well, that was a thing.
Tonight I was treated to three hours of live-tweeting The Bachelor as part of a devious social experiment for The Hollywood Reporter.
It was an experience that definitely had me questioning my sense of what the word "love" means.
Here are some other things I learned over the course of two hours of The Bachelor finale and then the After the Final Rose special.
1. Being in love with two people at the same time isn't normal Bachelor protocol.
Ben Higgins is a person who was in love with Lauren Bushnell and Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher, also people, at the same time. He did not anticipate this happening, this circumstance of loving two women at the same time, but he experienced unexpected love. For two women. At the same time. I mean, you might think he might have seen this coming, falling in love with two women at the same time, but he never could picture himself falling in love with two women at the same time. Oh, Ben could picture BEING with both women, but somehow he couldn't picture falling in love with them at the same time. What I learned is that Ben is a man whose imagination is, at best, spotty. And he loved two women. At the same time.
2. But even if love is unpredictable, The Bachelor is really predictable.
Ben loved JoJo, the brunette with no personality traits I could discern during my limited exposure to her. They'd gone through some stuff that I probably would have known about if I watched The Bachelor. JoJo had become his best friend, which probably says bad things about the friends he'd had throughout his life, that they could be so easily supplanted in two months on a reality show. Ben and JoJo had gone through adversity, he could picture his life with her. So he chose the adorable blonde with no personality traits I could discern and proposed marriage to her. It's partially as if this is a faulty methodology to find two people for a lifelong romantic partnership. And partially like The Bachelor is designed to prey on every female viewer's worst romantic insecurity. JoJo's the new Bachelorette and I hope she gets all chummy with one guy and then chooses the himbo with the cut abs.
3. I don't know who Neil Lane is and clearly I should.
What can I say? I've never been in the jewelry business or the jewelry purchasing business. Feel free to feel sad for me. I can handle that. But I appreciated the speed with which Ben came to his ultimate decision when Neil Lane plunked a grotesquely large diamond down in front of him.
4. Family members are the best props.
I sincerely believed that Ben's mom was really concerned about his plight of being in love with two women at the same time, I sincerely believed that Ben's dad had no interest in having to deal with any of this on TV, and I sincerely believed that Lauren's father was excited to give his sham-blessing to Ben to sham-marry his daughter. I could never go on The Bachelor because I'm reasonably confident that America would love my parents more than America would love me, and that would be sad.
5. The clergy deserves more respect.
Ben let his pastor come out to L.A. and stand around flipping through his Bible for three hours before telling him "pass" on the quickie primetime wedding. This is just as bad as Fox's Married by America when nobody actually got married by America. A restaged proposal isn't the same thing, Ben!
6. My timing rocks.
This was the most dramatic Bachelor finale ever and it was one of the best Bachelor proposals ever. I mean, I have no point of reference, but Chris Harrison tells me this is the case and he wouldn't lie to me. I'm just glad I didn't waste my time on some boring, subpar Bachelor finale. Only the best for me!
7. Same old, same old.
Paul Lee thought the next Bachelorette was going to be "diverse." Paul Lee is no longer at ABC. And the next Bachelorette is roughly as "diverse" as everybody else selected as Bachelors and Bachelorettes. If I were a Bachelor (I'm a bachelor, but not a Bachelor), I'd be wary of all of that time JoJo talked about how she was the happiest she'd ever been and she'd never felt love like that before and all of that.
8. The Bachelor isn't as good as Lifetime's UnReal.
People should watch UnReal.
9. I believe in Ben and Lauren.
If two people so pretty can't find love on national TV then who can? I believe that Lauren will always be 1A in Ben's heart.