After last night’s wonky rose ceremony and painful After The Final Rose show (and after some time at the beach because, come on now, I’m hanging out in Florida and I have priorities), I checked to see what the Internet had going regarding The Bachelor finale.
In a nutshell: Juan Pablo Galavís showed his true colors, broke Clare’s heart, and had the most awkward declaration of like in the history of the show. Not declaration of love, although Clare and Nikki’s declaration of love was pretty awkward too. Declaration of like because when Juan Pablo told Nikki she was The Chosen One, he did not propose but instead told her he wanted to keep going on with her because “he really REALLY likes [her].”
Here’s the thing: The Bachelor/Bachelorette series has gotten a lot of flack about how the show isn’t real. Meanwhile, this season is arguably the realest season ever. Yes, Juan Pablo is almost certainly the most despised male contestant in the history of the show. However, I think some of the interactions on the show seemed very much like real life. Girls declaring, yeah, that guy isn’t for me so I’m gonna leave, or “I can’t believe how shallow he is” or “He just wants to have sex with me” or “I’d never want to have kids with you.” These things happen in real life. That doesn’t mean they’re okay—no one wants anything to do with a person who’s an asshole—but this reality show finally seemed to focus on the reality.
However, the show is not supposed to be real. It’s supposed to be a fairy tale. This tension is what causes me to continue watching the show. In fact, I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks (although I still have to flesh this out some more) that the reason the show continues to be popular is because it reflects the cultural values of mainstream America when it comes to relationships. In a time where we see more and more diverse representations of what it means to love someone and be in a relationship with someone, this series’ golden token is that it reifies that idea of what it means to fall in love and get married.
That brings me back to last night’s finale. Nikki reiterated during After the Final Rose that she loved Juan Pablo, albeit without the same excitement and enthusiasm that she did during the finale. When host Chris Harrison asked Juan Pablo if he loved Nikki, he insisted that he did not have to say anything to anyone (followed by the audience’s boos—nice touch, Live Audience!) In short, Juan Pablo never said he loved Nikki on the show, even though Nikki felt comfortable reiterating her feelings for him.
I had half a mind last night to talk about how forced the whole interaction seemed between them, but then I read Reality Steve’s entry about the Finale: ”he was not invested into this process at all, is glad it’s over, and will probably never have anything to do with this franchise ever again.” Reading about how much Juan Pablo had manipulated the show to his benefit left me feeling a little empty inside. it also explains how tense and staged everything felt between him and Nikki.
Some light reading about last night’s episode: