'The Bachelor' finale recap: The red flags wave for Clare and Nikki
As befits one of the crappiest installments in the 18-season run of "The Bachelor," we got a finale which was amazingly unromantic, endlessly frustrating and chock full of moments that made most of us want to throw something at Juan Pablo. When our host Chris Harrison actually comes right out and says there's going to be a run on televisions next week because so many viewers probably threw stuff at theirs because of this show, you know it's not just you. No, Juan Pablo may make his mark as being the most unappealing Bachelor ever, and if you didn't feel that way before the finale, you probably did afterward.
The first big, red flag was when Clare and Nikki met Juan Pablo's family. Usually this is a chance for the ladies to convince the Bachelor's loved ones that each is worthy of his love. In this case, everyone seemed fine with the girls -- they just wanted to give them fair warning that Juan Pablo is no prize. Um, you know he's kind of negative, right? And you don't mind a relationship with lots of fighting, do you? He's kind of a handful, ho ho ho!
Clare and Nikki should hike up their maxi skirts and run, but they aren't really paying attention. They see mouths moving, but they're so fixated on convincing these people to like them, they aren't really listening to what's tumbling out. But no worries! There will be plenty of time for them to discover how much disagreeable Juan Pablo really is!
On Clare's last date with her dream man, she's sure it will be lots of holding hands and picking flowers and canoodling. Instead, Juan Pablo waits for the camera guys to wander off, then tells Clare he doesn't really know her but man, he liked doing her! And he doesn't say doing her. Clare does not think this is cute, and she doesn't think it's funny. No, Clare is offended. Deeply offended. "It was offensive, insulting and made me feel awful," she sniffles. So, she's leaving, right?
Wrong! No, that evening she wants to talk to Juan Pablo about what he said, which opens the door to his weird, circular non-answering technique which is so exhausting most people just lie down and take a nap. Something similar happens to Clare, who goes from being indignant and angry to wondering if Juan Pablo really, really likes her. What happened to the part where you needed to like him first, Clare? No, she's just a girl, standing in front of a boy, hoping he thinks she's pretty or some such crap. They end the date by making out, which seems like a dumb thing to do after your boyfriend has kind of called you a mattress back.
I should point out that while we're watching this, Chris Harrison is running around talking to members of the live audience to see what they think. This has to be the first time I've heard so many fans of the show say, more or less, "Oh, this is a plain, old shit show, Chris. No one's going home happy this year!" Even former Bachelor Sean Lowe seems quietly horrified that Juan Pablo is making such a mess of the franchise.
Juan Pablo also has a final date with Nikki, which ends in chaste kissing. I'm half expecting him to stop, look her in the eye, and say, "I have too much respect for you to make out with you the way I did with Clare. But man, she's great in the sack!" That's just the kind of thing we expect from Juan Pablo at this point.
There are no scenes of Juan Pablo agonizing over what kind of ring to get his special girl, probably because he has no plans to give jewelry to anyone and is wondering if ABC will let him give the ring to Camila. Thus, we know we're getting a disappointing wrap-up to an already disappointing season. All we can hope is that there will be fighting to at least make it interesting.
First up, Clare is getting voted off the island. Juan Pablo tells her she's an amazing woman and he's glad they talked things out, and then he moves in for the goodbye hug -- and Clare pushes him away. The audience watching live literally explodes into applause. Even after seeing Sharleen and Andi kick him to the curb, it's not enough. We need MORE rejection!
Clare is livid, because she felt that Juan Pablo talked to her about babies and a life in Sacramento and lots of other stuff that I mostly lost track of in the nonstop blather he poured on Clare during their date. "I've lost respect for you!" she huffs. "What you made me go through? I wouldn't want my children to have a father like you."
Juan Pablo's reaction? "Wooh, I'm glad I didn't pick her!" Because none of that was his fault, of course! She jus crazee! I will say, Clare knows the format of this show, right? She's seen it at some point in the last twelve years? Because the Bachelor has to keep two women kind of on hold right until the end so we get guaranteed tears from the reject. I'm not saying Juan Pablo isn't a jerk, mind you, but some of this is just the format of the show. Now, if she had decided to tell him he was an asshat for what he said to her in the helicopter? Bring it, sister!
Anyway, next we get a romantic, heartfelt proposal to Nikki, right? Wrong! He tells Nikki he likes her, but he isn't giving her a ring and he doesn't say he loves her, because he's "honest." I think Juan Pablo doesn't realize honesty isn't always the best policy when it comes to romance or telling a woman whether or not she looks fat in a pair of jeans, but okay.
So, that's over, which leaves the really good stuff -- the After the Rose episode. Clare, to her credit, seems far more likable now that she's had a chance to blow up at Juan Pablo, and she doesn't even want to talk to him now -- she felt great having said what she needed to say in St. Lucia, so she has closure. This may actually be a "Bachelor" first!
Then, it's time for Chris Harrison to talk to Juan Pablo, which shouldn't be a big deal -- they talked all through the original shoot for the series, right? They're probably besties! Not so much. Chris wants to know if Juan Pablo has regrets. Nope! Chris tries again. Um, you know that thing you said to Clare? The thing that made her hate you? Yup, but no regrets! That was private! I don't know what you saying, Chris! Chris practically reaches over and grabs Juan Pablo by the collar to shake him. NO REGRETS? ARE YOU SERIOUS? The Internet and lots of filming and it was fun, yes, ees okay!
Nikki comes out, curls up next to Juan Pablo, and everyone in the audience sighs with relief. It's time for the big, romantic payoff, right? Right? RIGHT? Nope! Nikki, has Juan Pablo said he loves you? Uh, no. But you said you love him? "My feelings haven't changed." So, yes. This doesn't seem to bother Nikki, but it really bothers Chris. No matter how Chris pokes and prods, Juan Pablo will not say he loves Nikki. He won't say he doesn't love Nikki. Eees private, Chris!
Sean Lowe's wife Catherine finally tells Juan Pablo not to bite the hand that feeds him and play the damn game. Viewers want romance, Juan Pablo! But ees private! Sean laughs, because Juan Pablo doesn't know that Juan Pablo's dating life won't be private for a long, long time. Juan Pablo doesn't care, and Chris Harrison is just plain old pissed off. I have never seen this guy be anything less than mildly bemused by this show, but this time he basically leaps out of his chair at the first commercial break, probably so he doesn't strangle Juan Pablo, and later admits that he's pretty okay with this season being over. This season was just that frustrating -- if Chris Harrison, who's been doing this for twelve years, is sick and tired of Juan Pablo's crap, that's saying something.
Finally, we get our new Bachelorette -- Andi Dorfman, whom we see in the most ridiculous clip package ripped from a bad '70s chick cop drama ever. Andi isn't even convincing -- we watch her throwing punches as part of what appears to be her training regimen, and she looks like an eight-year-old kid playing patty cake. Andi wants to find love, though, and she seems slightly more sincere than Juan Pablo, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief -- Andi may need to talk through her feelings more than necessary, but at least she gives a crap. Already the next season of "The Bachelorette" is a huge improvement, don't you think?
What did you think of how this season ended? Are you excited to have Andi as the new Bachelorette? And do you think Juan Pablo was a crappy Bachelor?