For many years, The Bachelor and Bachelorette have provided 10 to 12 to 14 hours of serviceable television per season. When consumed via DVR, the reality dating show isn’t entirely embarrassing and provides plenty of talking points to bandy about with a partner, confidant, or roommate. And here ends the positive portion of this blog post because it is with deep regret and consternation that I must inform you, dear reader, that tonight’s Bachelorette finale with Rachel Lindsay was an abomination of epic proportions.
Let me be clear. I wish nothing but happiness for Rachel and Bryan, the no-carb Clay Travis-lookin’ dude who basically beat a bunch of double-digit seeds into the finals. I won’t say anything negative about Bryan, who did a solid impression of Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates, proposing and re-proposing every few minutes, treating the promise to marry like a web domain that needed to be renewed before expiring.
It’s just … fans of the Bachelor franchise haven’t seen a couple like this before. Fans of chemistry were left lacking and everyone besides a select few were left scratching their heads as these two came out and put on smiling faces for the hard-hitting Chris Harrison follow-ups. Again, nothing but the best for Rachel and Bryan. But getting past the fact that there wouldn’t be a Rachel and Bryan if not for Peter and, uh, whatever was going on with him is going to be a challenge.
You see, from the very first frames of this season, it was clear Peter — in all his spotty Just for Men glory — was the apple of her eye. He was the Atlanta Falcons building up a 25-point lead. All he had to do was run out the clock, do the dopey thing where he proposes without any real intention of following through on it, and start a new life with Rachel. Again, this is a beautiful, intelligent woman with whom he shared an electric connection.
Peter, either because he only wanted to propose once or because he was looking for the fire escape on this whole situation, stood steadfast in his principles and it led to an awkward and unfulfilling breakup before the big climactic moment. While it was somewhat clear the two had called it quits, it was still jarring to see Bryan pulling up, replete in cheesiness, to proctor a successful invitation to marry.
This is the climactic moment specifically engineered to make viewers feel something on the inside. Even I, a callous and hardened soul who can barely look up from my smartphone, often gets a twinge of joy in my heart when this happens. This year, with Bryan involved, it had all the passion of elevator small talk.
If there were every cause for an asterisk in the record books, this is it. Bryan was so clearly the backup choice to Peter that one felt legitimately bad watching Rachel try to put on a happy face. So bad that one may have even pretended to believe the whole thing to make it less awkward.
The first choice came out, ostensibly to make peace with Rachel and that went south. Very little productive came out of the prolonged and painfully tense back-and-forth. Except, maybe, the torpedoing of Peter becoming the next Bachelor.
Anyway, more serious fans than myself will likely weigh in soon. And I’d advocate reading all their takes, just so you don’t think I’m exaggerating how atrocious this three-hour event turned out to be. If someone who cares so little like myself could be so deeply let down, I shudder to think what the fanatics out there are dealing with tonight.
What an abomination.