Sorry I’m late. We had a family road trip this weekend, and a long car ride with two kids left me flaky and unmotivated. Onward…
Welcome to the most dramatic event in Bachelor history, LIVE from our studios in Los Angeles! Ever wondered how the audience actually gets into that rented television studio on the outskirts of Burbank? Me too, and a quick internet search showed me that it’s not quite as easy as you might think. On most late-night-type shows (Fallon, Kimmel, etc), you enter an online lottery for a particular filming date. For the Bachelor, you basically have to know someone who knows someone at ABC. On some occasions, tickets have been sold for substantial donations to a particular charity. There’s no waiting in line and hoping you get in, which, now that I think about it, makes that lunatic with the tattoo from last week look awfully fishy. Maybe that was Chris Harrison’s unemployed cousin, and he lost a bet? My search also led me to a blog post by Allison P. Davis, who attended a taping of Women Tell All during farmer Chris’s season. Apparently, there’s a firmly suggested dress code: no small prints, no patterns, no plaids – business attire and jewel tones recommended (I’m marginally proud that I had to google “jewel tones”).
The first 15 minutes of taping are taken up by filming canned audience reaction shots while a Producer shouts instructions through a PA system. Laugh! Applaud! Turn to your neighbor and look shocked! Not that shocked! You’re TOO shocked! And then some audience members are assigned seats for the entire taping, while some get replaced halfway through, and others still are regulated to an overflow room. The whole process is a little dictatorial, but not totally out-of-line.
However, I combine this bit of research with something Lovely Better Half told me last week. She has a friend who’s a corporate travel agent, and who’s one of her clients? That’s right, ABC’s very own The Bachelor. She booked a charter flight for a 1-on-1 date (don’t ask me details on who, I have no idea). Guess how many people were on that flight? 110. A crew of 110 people to film one date. Sure, about 50 of those people were Chris Harrison’s entourage – his publicist, a couple yogis, The Harrison Ladies, his weed connection, a few southeast Asian crime bosses, a long-lost cousin with a Lace tattoo – but even still, that’s a lot of people for one date.
What’s the point of my long-winded lead-in, you may ask? This show is a helluva production, and if you have ever been fooled into thinking someone was more evil than they really are, or couldn’t believe that The Bachelor sent that particular girl home, take solace in the fact that there is an army of people bent on keeping you perpetually confused.
And yeah, I’m just ranting because I was utterly convinced 3/4’s of the way through this episode that JoJo was winning. Whatever. I may be a man living in suburbia that writes about The Bachelor, but I still have my pride. Moving on:
Welcome to the most dramatic finale ever! Plus, we have Ben’s hometown pastor here tonight. Will we have the first After the Final Rose wedding in Bachelor history? Of course not! Because I officiate EVERY Bachelor wedding, and The Producers are going to have to pull that job from cold, dead fingers…
Does anyone seriously think that either Lauren or JoJo would settle for anything less than a 300+ guest wedding, rose pedals, string quartet, flying doves and all? Give me a break. They’re not getting married on a Burbank soundstage with a bunch of randoms that got invited by a secret email containing instructions on how to dress. But, just to keep up the charade, both contestant’s families have been invited tonight.
So, who do you think is winning? Lauren B’s family is all smiles and high-fives. JoJo’s mom looks half-in-the-bag already, and her brothers have been barred from the studio. And to complete the bluff, Neil Lane is here as well, with a briefcase full of fun:
How much you want to bet his lady’s ring is from Tiffany?
Welcome Back to Jamaica
Lauren: I’m so happy to be here in Jamaica, and I’m so happy that Ben finally told me that he loves me. It feels amazing to be so loved. And when he told me, I knew that was the exact moment my whole life changed.
JoJo: I feel so much better and secure in our relationship since Ben told me he loves me. And I’m 100 times more confident in what we have. I have zero doubts that this is the perfect relationship for me. Plus, I look WAY better in jean shorts than Lauren.
Ben: My head’s a complete mess right now. I’ve thrown up, like, 4 times already this morning. I like pretty much every girl I meet, but none of them ever liked me back. But now I have two of them, and I don’t know what to do. JoJo is cool and fun and our relationship is so easy. I hit it off with Lauren right away, but she looks just like the girl that dumped outside the movie theater, and I just know she’ll break up with me some day, so…excuse me…reeetcchhh…sorry. Anyway, I’m going to introduce them both to my family and let Mom decide.
Lets’ Meet The Parents
First off, Mom is disturbed that Ben could be in love with 2 women, and she’s a child of the ’70’s. This should be fun. Lauren’s up first and it’s a love fest. Everyone likes Lauren and she is SPRUNG. You can see it in her eyes; she basically looks like Ben did when he cried in front of her sister. Though, Mom does seem to throw Ben under the bus a little:
Mom: Have you seen the side of Ben where he is his worst critic?
Lauren: Come again?
Mom: Well, Ben doesn’t take rejection well. It started when his pet hamster died when he was 5, and then got steadily worse from there. It reached a head when he got dumped outside that movie theater. Now, you have to talk him off the ledge every now and then.
Lauren: Are we talking about a proverbial ledge or a literal ledge?
Mom: No, there’s an actual ledge in town that he likes to go to.
Next up is JoJo, who is visibly nervous:
I just hope your family aren’t complete assholes to me like my family was to you…
A lot of head nods and one word answers from Mom. Either she’s not on board with the whole process or Ben already told her JojO isn’t the one. It was so obvious at this point; why did I start thinking that JoJo had won? I’m an idiot, that’s why. Anyway, JoJo and Ben talk after the parental meeting.
JoJo: So, I have zero doubts in my mind, but what are you thinking?
Ben: I’m in love with you, and…I’m in love with you…and our relationship has been good, but…
JoJo: Great! So, we’re on the same page then!
Ben: Wait, I wasn’t done…
JoJo: GREAT! WE’RE ON THE SAME PAGE THEN!!
Duuuuude…How am I getting out of this…
Dad takes this opportunity to point out to Ben that Jamaica is not Utah, and he can’t propose to two women. Mom tells Ben that she’s proud of him, and she’s very happy for him.
So, so very happy…
Final Date – Lauren B
Boat date! The winner always gets a boat date. Again, I’m not sure why I changed my mind during this episode. Lauren is over-the-moon in love. Ben looks like he wants to throw up, and not from sea sickness. They talk.
Lauren: [running her fingers lovingly through Ben’s hair] What are you thinking about right now?
Lauren: What did you say?
Ben: What? Nothing, just…you’re so beautiful…
I think this is where I started to turn. Lauren is all over Ben, and he’s not giving her anything. Later that night, Ben mopes around on the couch, using the word ‘confused’ a lot. ‘Confused’ is a long way away from ‘I love you’. Lauren tells Ben that every date she’s ever had with him has been the best date of her life. Ben tells her she’s ‘impressive’. This doesn’t sound like everlasting love to me. But this does:
Lovely Better Half: I have never felt like every date we had was the best date of my life.
Me: Ummm, thanks?
LBH: I’m just saying that we’ve had some bad dates.
Me: Well, yeah. Like our first one. That was the worst first date ever.
LBH: That’s not true! And if it was so bad, why did you ask me out again?
Me: I thought you were hot.
LBH: Aww, baby! Thank you!
Ben leaves, and Lauren looks totally unconvinced.
Final Date – JoJo
Right off the bat, Ben is acting a LOT more normal around JoJo. They take a jeep through the jungle, and Ben is a much better driver than Jared during Kaitlyn’s season. I was terrified just watching Jared drive. People like him are why car insurance exists. Ben and Jojo drive to some pools, then maul each other under a waterfall.
Now, I’m the last guy to confuse lust with love, but this date is going a whole lot better than Lauren’s date. And it’s here, for the first time, I am truly convinced JoJo is winning.
Later that night, Jojo is visibly nervous, and Ben asks himself a lot of rhetorical questions. “Did I think I would ever be here? Did I think I would be this confused? Did I think that Jorge would come to my suite at midnight, with pictures of Juan Pablo’s body in a freezer, as a warning of what happens to Bachelors that don’t propose during the finale?” Regardless of how weird the conversation is, at least they’re talking, which is more than Ben and Lauren did. And then Ben brings JoJo into the infamous bathroom (LBH: “That’s not a bathroom. The shower and the sink are outside the door. He brought her to the toilet. Gross”).
Let’s go in here so I can talk to you privately. No one will hear us, despite the fact that our voices are echoing off the tile walls like thundering canon fire…
Ben: I wanted to tell you in private-private–private…I LOVE YOU-you-you…
JoJo: BUT YOU LOVE LAUREN TOO-too-too-too…?
Ben – YES-yes-yes-yes….
JoJo: AND YOU SAID THAT TO HER-her-her-her..?
JoJo: I feel-eel-eel like I always have to compete-ete-ete with other people-people-people, and I’m tired-d-dofff-f-f-f-comm-pet-et-et–ng-ngn-gng-ng-n-gn…
And then it just degenerates into reverberating white noise. Ben leaves, but not before taking JoJo’s alarm clock:
Seriously, does he think that after 8 weeks of filming this crap, The Producers aren’t going to send an intern to wake him up in the morning? “Alright everybody. Ben didn’t show up for the proposal, the season’s scrapped. Break everything down, let’s go home.” Or maybe he doesn’t want JoJo to wake up on time so he has an easy out? Who knows.
The Big Day
Ben wakes up and surprise! He’s confused. Neil Lane shows up with his Magic Box o’ Bling. Then he asks, “you do know who it is, right?” and that question is so coached. Ben chooses the ring, he has what alcoholics refer to as a “moment of clarity”, and finally knows who he is proposing to. And did he really just say that he’s never broken up with someone that he loved? Man, these people are far too young to get married.
Let’s load everyone up; Ben’s waiting and he looks a little peaked. The girls get more helicopters? This season is so much better than Dublin. I wish I could have been at the production meeting where Chris Harrison threatened to bury anyone that sent him to Dublin for 6 weeks again. “I want warm weather, I want boats, and I want helicopters! I am NOT – I repeat NOT – spending another winter in the upper latitudes!” Ben decides not to shave, because why bother – you’re only proposing to your future wife. Classy. The first helicopter arrives and it’s (drum roll please) JOJO!
I’m not sure that dress was the right choice, but the location is spot on…
Ben looks like he’s gonna yak throughout JoJo’s entire speech. I don’t why he even lets her finish. But he does, and then delivers a mini-speech of his own followed by the inevitable ‘but’. Lovely Better Half: “I’d slap him after that.” Thankfully (or not), JoJo is more restrained:
JoJo: You told me you were in love with me.
Ben: I know I did, and in any other world, I would have two wives. But we live in this world, and in this world polygamy is illegal. So I’m picking Lauren B.
JoJo: My brothers are so going to kick your ass…
And while JoJo may arrive in a helicopter, she leaves in the Limo of Loneliness. I feel bad for her, I liked JoJo a lot. I also think she can do better than Ben. I’m not talking smack, he’s a great guy, but JoJo is good-looking, super-cool, and she can legitimately swing a baseball bat. She deserves a guy who has zero doubts about her. On the positive side, maybe the early reports of Caila being the Bachelorette are false and JoJo gets the call instead. WAY better choice. If the fickle sex panther gets the nod over her, I might have to take the season off.
Time to break out the ring. Ben asks Lauren’s dad for her hand in marriage – classy move. And then Lauren takes the long stroll into her future.
Lauren: You’re my person!
Ben: I threw up a couple minutes ago – for like the 100th time this season – but I still want to kiss your face. If I brush my teeth, will you accept this final rose?
And another season is in the books. Lauren and Ben are a great couple, if a little on the boring side. But hey, the boring couples always seem to be the ones that last. You know why? Because real couples are boring. If you watched LBH and I for a couple of days, we’d put you to sleep. Reality tv has skewed our idea of what normal is, so when we see actual normal people – as opposed to the Ashley S’s and Crazypants Nick’s of the world – they come across as a little dull. Lauren and Ben are great, I’m buying that they’re really into each other, and I think they’re going to be just fine. Godspeed, you crazy kids…
I called Lauren B as the winner early in the season, but then I let The Producers and their devious editing get into my head. I don’t mind being wrong, but I hate second-guessing myself when I’m right. The lesson, as always: I have NO idea what I’m talking about, and no one should ever listen to me. But hey, I’m just one man against an entire production army, bent on my perpetual confusion. (See what I did there? How I brought it back full circle? Am I putting too much effort into this? Not when I’m posting this late…)
As always, thank you so much for reading and I’ll see ya next season…
After the Final Rose
Not much to write about without getting repetitive. Ben, Lauren and JoJo all say the right things – “I was trying to be honest with people”, “I’m so happy for the two of them”, “It was hard watching it again”, “We’re excited to start our lives together” – it was all pretty much by-the-book. A few notes:
– A lot of jewel tones in the audience…
…but clearly Ben did not the memo re: dress code:
Small print shirt, plaid sport coat – will someone put this guy in overflow?
– JoJo looks bangin’ tonight. I always thought she was pretty, but she stepped it up a notch or three. She looks “I’m seeing the guy that dumped me, and I’m going to make him regret it” good. A round of applause for JoJo.
– This conversation:
Lovely Better Half: How do these girls all have such perfect hair?
Me: how many people were on that flight for the 1-on-1 date?
LBH: A hundred or so.
Me: I’m sure there’s a hairstylist in there somewhere.
– Ben uses the word ‘respect’ about 800 times.
– Let’s welcome our new Bachelorette, JoJO! So glad it’s not Caila. On the downside, I have to type joJO for another season. The audience loved the pick:
Even the preacher was excited.
– Kimmel shows up for his contractually obligated cross-promotional gig. We’re all one big happy family here at ABC!
– No wedding, but that’s not a surprise. But at least Pastor Denny got a free trip to LA.
– The Bachelorette starts May 23rd? Holy crap, that’s 2 months away. Is JoJo going straight to Bachelor Mansion after the show? No rest for the wicked. I was getting mentally geared up for Bachelor in Paradise 3: The End of Dignity, but we have to wait until summer for that. A well-deserved break for everyone, then. Enjoy your time off, and see you in a couple months!