The Juan-mare is finally over
Our long national Juan-mare is over.
The 4856th season of "The Bachelor" came to a close Monday night with an excruciating three-hour finale that left us with more questions than that other three-hour tour that ended on an island. (Like, "Why didn't they just patch up the hole in the Minnow?" and "Why is Juan Pablo such a gigantic tool?")
JuanPabs said often of his journey to find
m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶f̶a̶m̶e̶ love, "It wasn't easy," and the same sentiment applies to watching this finale. In fact, to paraphrase "Billy Madison": "Everyone in this room is now dumber for having seen that. I award Juan no points, and may God have mercy on his soul."
Let's break down this tire fire of a show, shall we?
It all starts at Chris Harrison's Lair of Discarded Dreams, a.k.a. a soundstage in Hollywood where people are paid (please, please, please tell me they're paid) to watch the finale and predict the love lives of the strangers on TV. Throughout the show we're subjected to shots of various crowd members in a box in the corner of the screen, watching, judging, eye-rolling.
Harrison promises not only the "most dramatic finale ever" but also tells us that Juan Pablo has promised a "surprise" during the "After The Final Rose" special. Could it be a proposal? A wedding date? A heretofore unrevealed personality? We'll have to wait and see.
Meet the parents
It's time for the two remaining women to meet Juan Pablo's family, including his parents, his brother and sister, his cousin and, of course, his daughter Camila. It's important that the woman he chooses gets along well with the Galavis clan, as JP is really into family. (Also because he's allegedly broke and living in a condo with his parents, Camila, Camila's mom(!), his sister and her child. Get familiar!)
Clare is the first gal to meet everyone and she immediately gives Camila her patented duckface/lip-lick one-two punch. She's awkwardly overeager with the poor girl, and it's clear she's trying really hard to appear "great with kids" and "laid back" and "not desperate and crazy."
JuanPabs' mother warns Clare that JP "is hyperactive" and "sometimes is very rude," and Cousin
B̶r̶a̶c̶e̶F̶a̶c̶e̶ Rodolfo tells her that JP often walks away from relationships at the slightest hint of trouble. Ol' Duckface isn't fazed. That's "just the way he is" she says, completely missing that GIANT RED FLAG.
Rodolfo thinks Clare is "an angel," and JP's dad very sweetly tells her that he'll be a father to her and he already loves her. (That's one Galavis man who isn't scared to dropped the "L" bomb, but we'll get to that later.) After some aggressive making out on a bench, JuanPabs sends Clare on her way.
Back to Harrison in the studio, where he asks the audience which woman will get the final rose. Tepid applause for Clare, raucous clapping for Nikki and Harrison inexplicably announces "Alright, we're split down the middle here." You're not fooling anyone, host boy.
After the break we're back in Saint Lucia for Nikki's visit with JP's family. She met a few members of the clan very briefly at Camila's dance recital earlier this season, but they didn't have enough time that day to try to scare her away from JuanPabs. The good news is, they've got another chance.
JP's father Saul tries to delicately explain that his son is stubborn, telling Nikki "He's not an easy guy. I'm telling you, because he's really ... how do you call that, he's [focused] on what he wants. It's always ... he's very specific in what he wants. He thinks he [knows] the truth [about] everything."
Mama Galavis tries to explain to Nikki that the jet-set lifestyle she's now enjoying with Juan Pablo won't last long. She says on an average weekend "Juan Pablo wake[s] up, take[s] breakfast, stay[s] at home watching TV with his family or with Camila, or watching TV with you. That's it. He's very simple."
"You feel that this is the kind of guy you want?" she continues. "You're sure? You love him?" She sounds downright incredulous at the idea that someone could actually know her son and still want to be with him.
Cousin Rodolfo gives Nikki one last chance to see the light, explaining JP's quick trigger when things aren't going right. "How much fighting ... can you take?" he asks. "'Cause Juan Pablo ... I think Juan Pablo ... I mean, I love the guy ... he's a really great guy, but sometimes when things are getting rough, he'll walk away from the relationship."
Like Clare, Nikki's got her Bachelor blinders on and she doesn't heed the warnings. She's full-speed ahead, hoping that Juan Pablo will propose. "He's just so full of love, and I just, I love that. I would love to be a part of that." Love, love, love, love. She sure throws that word around easy.
"Can I keep both?" Juan Pablo says after both women have met his family. Not unless you move the show to TLC and call it "Sister Wives," champ.
The final countdown
The final date for JuanPabs and Clare starts with a helicopter ride to a magical bluff overlooking the ocean. The end of the ride is a rough one for Clare.
"As the helicopter lands we have a rare moment together with no cameras, no audio, nobody there with us except the pilot," she explains. "And Juan Pablo leaned over and whispered something to me. But what I thought was gonna be sweet, kind, was not what came out of his mouth. And I was shocked. He chose to tell me something that no woman wants to hear -- that he really doesn't know me. And some sexual thing that ... I don't even wanna repeat. It was insulting, it was offensive and it just made me feel awful. Every single woman deserves to be treated with respect. I'm not just an object."
We find out later that he said, oh so romantically, just after telling her he barely knows her, "I love f---ing you." He's got a way with words that Juan Pablo.
She forces a smile through the rest of the date but then stews in her room for a bit and decides she wants answers. When JP arrives for dinner she rejects his request for a "besito," drawing applause from the creepy crowd members in the box in the corner.
What follows is a painfully awkward conversation during which Juan Pablo somehow manages to talk in circles enough to convince Clare that he's not just in it for the nookie and she should stick around. JP has the emotional intelligence of a rock and the attention span of a toddler, often failing to make eye contact and sticking his tongue out oddly while Clare speaks.
The crowd back at the Lair can't believe Clare ignored her instincts and decided to stick around for this clown. Sharleen says some really deep, insightful stuff about the whole mess and proves, yet again, that she's way too smart and emotionally stable for this goat rodeo.
After the break Nikki has her last date with JP, a boat trip to a secluded beach. She tries -- and fails -- to get JuanPabs to open up to her more and spends the day doubting where they stand. She says she used to want the finale to come quickly but now she's so nervous she's changed her mind. You know you're in a messed up situation when you want to drag out the time that your boyfriend is sleeping with another chick.
"It is what it is," JP tells Nikki about having two girlfriends the day before he might propose. But "it's gonna be OK," he says. After he leaves she starts bawling, uncertain about Juan Pablo's feelings heading into the big day.
The final rose
The big day has arrived and Clare is ready for a proposal. This is her first "real" relationship since her dad passed away, and she thinks he would be proud of her for giving her whole heart to the journey and excited for her future with Juan Pablo.
She takes the long walk to the enchanted beach forest where she pours out her heart to JuanPabs, saying she believes in him and trusts him and that his reassurances that "It's gonna be OK" helped get her through the show. JP isn't going to pick her, but he still lets her give a long speech about how much she loves him.
"I wish the earth sucked me today, cause this is the hardest decision ever," says Juan Pablo. He tells her has to say goodbye and tries to hug her but she pushes him away. Clare is likable for the first time ever, telling him off and finishing with the ultimate diss: "I thought I knew what kind of man you were. What you just made me go through, I would never want my children having a father like you."
Clare storms off, head held high, before burying her face into Chris Harrison's shoulder and crying.
"Whoo! I'm glad I didn't pick her. Whoo!" laughs Juan Pablo with zero sympathy or remorse for the pain he caused her, proving he has a cold black heart and is, in fact, Lucifer.
As the once-again single Clare is sent off to Cat Lady Island, the younger, blonder model arrives. Nikki's wearing a long blue gown with a slit so high we can almost see her Saint Lucia, and she teeters toward JuanPabs in not-the-most sand-friendly high heels.
Nikki says she can't imagine her life without JP, and she's totally in love with him. On the Desiree and Brooks scale of love, Nikki is at a full sprint, but it's clear JuanPabs is barely crawling. He tells her he's got an engagement ring in his pocket but isn't going to propose because he's not 100 percent sure that he wants to marry her, but is 100 percent sure that he doesn't wanna let her go.
"I like you a lot. A LOT," he says, just like my fourth-grade boyfriend. "Nikki, will you accept my final rose?"
She's clearly incredibly bummed with his totally unromantic non-proposal and the glaring lack of any "L" bombs, but she accepts the rose and tries to put on a happy face. There are no elephants to ride off on, no joyous smiles or magical moments set to music and fireworks. This
c̶o̶n̶t̶e̶s̶t̶ search for true love ends with the least dramatic rose acceptance ever.
Inspecting the remains
After two hours of charmless, pointless drivel, we get a live "After The Final Rose" hour to inspect the (likely cold, lifeless) body that is Juan Pablo and Nikki's relationship. But first, we hear from Clare.
Rocking a black leather dress, she says she got her closure when she yelled at JP on the beach in Saint Lucia, and she doesn't need to talk to him again. "I don't wanna sit here on this couch and get fed any more BS," Clare explains.
Juan Pablo comes out next, to very limited applause from the crowd. He says he regrets nothing when it comes to Clare, still not understanding that his "I love f---ing you" line was about as classy as sleeping with a chick you barely know in the ocean on national TV.
Nikki comes out in fire engine red, all smiles as she tells Harrison that she and Juan Pablo are still together. They've been dating in hiding for over four months, and he still hasn't told her that he loves her. "He wouldn't be here if he didn't care about me," she says. (Except that he's likely paid more for a longer relationship post-finale and he also probably wants to cash in on some press and publicity together.)
Juan Pablo comes out and tries to defend the reasoning behind not telling Nikki he loves her, snapping at Harrison for interrupting him and expressing tremendous relief over being "done" with the show. The crowd has fully turned on him now, with any remaining supporters finally realizing he's an incredible turd.
Harrison tries to slog through the world's worst interview, asking Juan Pablo about the surprise he promised the producers before they left Saint Lucia. There is no surprise, says JP, who probably promised a proposal to keep the execs off his back but then played dumb at the finale.
After many, many attempts to get Juan Pablo to say he loves Nikki, Harrison finally snaps. "I don't know what I'm looking at," he tells the two mindless dolts staring back at him. "I would like to say you guys are in love but it's so awkward because ... we can't have a conversation." (Every woman who's gone on a date with JuanPabs know where you're coming from, Harrison.)
Harrison asks the couple to share their next step and is met with even more resistance.
"Some information I got from production changed our plans drastically two weeks ago," JuanPabs says vaguely. "Our plans changed."
The best bet is that JP was tabbed to do "Dancing With The Stars" until the producers saw "The Women Tell All" episode and decided he was too unlikable (and boring and mean and insensitive and lame) to give him a spot.
"This is the happy stuff," says Harrison, still trying to figure out why the couple has the enthusiasm of a pair of corpses. "Why not want to share that with all of these phenomenal people who have been on the journey? 'Cause that's what we signed up to watch and that's what you signed up to show."
Nothing doing. The two, who are likely already separated and faking a relationship to get a few paydays, just sit there and talk about how excited they are that this adventure is over (... err ... isn't it just starting?) They're ready to be done with Harrison, the cameras and with trying to use that space where their brains are supposed to be.
"Don't slap the hand that fed you," says the newly married Catherine Giuduci, who rightly recognizes that their obvious disdain for the show is incongruous with the happiness it has supposedly brought them.
Harrison gets one more jab at Juan Pablo after the break, announcing "Another season of 'The Bachelor' has come to an end. Not gonna lie, I'm OK moving on." He welcomes the new "Bachelorette," Andi, to the stage and seems hopeful that she might be a little easier to work with than his Latin lothario.
Let's hope, for the sake of the show and for Andi's sake, that the men on the upcoming season of "The Bachelorette" have more going for them than a nice set of abs and a smile. 'Cause like JuanPabs, this morally bankrupt, probably partially scripted, totally unrealistic search for love can't survive on looks alone.