As they say - all good things must come to an end. As must horrible, soul-crushing, cornea-searing travesties.
The outcome of the finale was so utterly unsurprising yet disgusting that I see no need to write a recap. We all knew how the story would end, and yet we’re all saddened by it. No reason to relive it any further. What I do want to relive, however, is The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special that followed the sappy, “You are my forever” proposal. Because where it began and where it ended a mere 43 minutes later was truly mind-boggling. Much more so than any of the other shenanigans in all the years I’ve watched this show (in my view, except perhaps for when that squirrelly little dude dumped one contestant after proposing to her for the other girl that he had jilted).
The Q&A starts off with just Chris Harrison and Ben, who could not be more glib. He must be in the running for Matt Lauer’s spot on Today. Despite his artificially chipper / saccharin behavior, he does at least demonstrate how much more aware he now is of Courtney’s black-heartedness after watching the season. Sadly, his trip down memory lane did not provide him with any awareness as to how tragic his hair is. Instead, it somehow resulted in the decision to grow a patchy, shit-stain beard (okay, JK, I love beards, including Ben’s dirt face). In this Q&A, Ben also reveals how self-involved, immature, and perhaps even sociopathic he truly is. There were glimmers of this all season long, but his responses last night to challenging situations that would otherwise be fraught with complex human emotions were shockingly cold and, well, inhuman. As Lisa Hanawalt put it in a NYMag Vulture post,
Ben behaves like the creepiest camp counselor; he makes out with everyone, tries to keep the peace in the most detached way possible, and women who aren’t 100 percent in love with him by the fifth episode are eliminated…In his interviews Ben says “I could really see myself with this woman,” or “I’m falling in love with this woman.” It sounds like he’s talking about different sandwiches he could see himself ordering…He’s such a blank slate, it’s hard to imagine him having any kind of internal life or off-camera existence.
Ben clearly doesn’t care about how Courtney’s behavior affected the other women and, instead, only talks about how it made things harder for him; he describes how he gave Courney the silent treatment with no shred of emotion, let alone regret or remorse; he shows zero emotions over their break-up; etcetera. And back to the point about him coming across as a sociopath. When confronted with the rumors of his cheating - which were splashed across every tabloid in the past couple of weeks, complete with explicit, photographic evidence - Ben wholeheartedly denied them without even batting an eye. There was certainly no issue with the common, “Methinks thou doth protest too much” scenario that usually arises when someone attempts to deny an obvious truth. He simply closed the book on the idea that he cheated in a matter of seconds, even though there is no way a normal person could deny that they made out with three women when the photos are right in front of them. That’s like when I found a freshly used condom in my sociopathic ex-boyfriend’s room and he stated that he never used it - “It isn’t used, darling!”
Chris Harrison quickly became bored with Ben’s lies and sociopathic tendencies and, thus, within a matter of minutes brought a comparatively hysterical Courtney out to chat. I sort of loved Courtney’s dress - it was like an angelic dominatrix costume. Best of both worlds. Courtney repeats a lot of the self-pittying sentiments from last week, but goes into more detail on the deterioration of her relationship with Ben - which is the first time I’ve ever felt that her emotions were genuine. She was very clipped at first, hiding the tears and general deluge of emotions that soon followed. (I’m obviously describing her outpouring of emotions on a comparative basis with her typical witchiness.)
After no more than five minutes, Chris Harrison summons Ben back on stage - he was all over the place! For once, I found myself actually preferring Courtney to Ben. I don’t care how well he might be able to compartmentalize his feelings. His faux gay attitude was awful and really not becoming on someone with such filthy hair. Similarly, Courtney’s unexpected pandering to Ben was shocking and not becoming on someone who’s typically so headstrong, vocal, etcetera.
Wow. Courtney and Ben’s hair looked very similar. Similarly flippy. So, so weird. Sorry, moving on.
Strangely, I actually think Ben’s lack of emotions may allow them to stay together. Nothing seems to impact him in a meaningful way. So I feel like he could just “be with her,” even if the relationship isn’t fully “right” or “good.” And I think she just needs to save face now by making things work.
When we returned, I’m pretty sure I saw a 20-something-year-old dude wiping away tears. This show does crazy things to people, and not just the participants. Anyway. Chris Harrison cuts to a video of the proposal, which was awful. I want to block Courtney’s awful elbow-length, black day-time gloves out of my memory forever (really forever, not Ben’s version of “forever”). Also. It just reminded me of the emphasis Courtney put on the ring over the proposal / Ben. Which in turn reminded me how horrible and fake she is. God. I’m sorry. I really don’t want to / said I wouldn’t recap the episode / proposal. Back to After the Final Rose.
Ben and Courtney both start crying. Ben is an ugly crier. To lift their spirits, Chris Harrison makes his own proposal. He pulls the gorgeous finale engagement ring out of his pocket, which ABC had confiscated when Ben and Courtney broke up (I adore the corporate element of this love story), and offers it to Ben. I really wanted Chris Harrison to propose to Courtney at that moment. That would have been the most dank ending ever. Scandal! But no. Ben says that he still loves Courtney, and he slips the ring back on her finger. So, in 43 minutes, they’ve gone from semi broken up to engaged again. She responds to this move with a “Thanks, honey,” as if he had just handed her a can of soup she couldn’t reach.
After this touching moment, ABC brought out Ashley and that bald dude from the last Bachelorette to provide the kind of sage relationship advice that only a couple brought together by reality TV could. I hate Ashley’s overly animated, little girl ways. So I turned off the TV.
And, thus, this concludes my recaps of The Bachelor, Season 16. It’s been a ton of fun, even when I wanted to gouge my own eyes out. Thank you all for reading. Hopefully I’ll have a new TV obsession to share in the not-so-distant future.