Category Archives: The Bachelorette

The Bachelorette Finale: WTF

desiree hartsock chris bachelorette finale

The Bachelorette is a show I accidentally became deeply invested in. At first for the sheer “this is incredibly stupid and thus enjoyable” factor. But then the first part of the finale happened. And I practically wrote a goddamn dissertation on it. I could easily get a doctorate in Bachelorette studies.

It’s long, so I’ll sum it up as best I can: The Bachelorette (Desiree) fell in love with one particular candidate (Brooks), and he dumped her. And it was brutal. Basically Brooks realized how fucking ridiculous the whole premise of the show is, and while he really liked Desiree and cared about her, he wasn’t in love, and did not want to propose marriage, which he was expected to do, being one of the final three remaining men. She was heartbroken. She told the host of the show that she was in love with Brooks. She also mentioned she was “falling in love” with remaining candidate Chris and could see herself falling in love with the other candidate, Drew, but it was pretty clear that Brooks was the one she wanted. She said as much when she told Brooks, sobbing, “I didn’t want to share my heart. I wanted to give it to you.” And then Brooks cried.

the bachelorette crying

Then I cried. Then Maggie laughed — she’s such a little trooper.

Thus, the second part of the finale picks up right after Brooks dumped her.

Warning: this will also be long. It will also contain a few Arrested Development references and at least one more intentional Simpsons one.

She is going through a real breakup. But instead of being able to discuss it among her closest gal pals in her apartment over a bottle of white, a bottle of red, a bottle of Billy Joel tears or however the song goes, she only has the show’s host to talk to. “How are you?” he asks her. She smiles weakly. “I’m okay.” He pauses. “No…you’re not.” And she bursts into tears. “I’m okay until anyone asks.” Classic breakup stuff. Great television, horrible in real life.

The host, who I’ve taken to calling Giant Stone Head, asks her what she wants to do now. He was quite obviously pushing her in the direction of, “Stick it out with the remaining guys and see if your feelings develop because we have a show to finish and we’re nearing the season finale and you really fucked it all up, so you can’t go home, or we’re fucked, and I like having a job, fucker.” Desiree says that her heart was broken but, “my spirit isn’t” and so she decides to continue the process of finding a husband with the two dudes left.

chris drew bachelorette finale

“You guys look like… What do they look like, Jimmie?”
“Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.”

To give Desiree credit, I honestly believe that this girl had enough feelings for one of the remaining guys to go on, because she’s not a cruel woman. She gathers Chris and Drew together, explained that Brooks decided to leave and that it really hurt her, but that she wants to continue and if they didn’t, she understands and they should just tell her and go home. And since both men told her, repeatedly, that they love her, they stay.

(It’s just so classic. She’s said on the show that her biggest problems were liking men who wouldn’t admit their feelings and/or say “I love you.” So of course she falls for THAT guy.)

She realizes pretty quickly that she’s not in love with Drew and that she has to break up with him, now. Drew does not realize this, because as they sit down to their picnic on the beach, he raises a glass of champagne and toasts, “To being madly in love.” It was like a scene out of Arrested Development or something. But Desiree doesn’t let that deter her break up plans. She’s honest with him about her feelings; that she’s not in love with him, and apologizes profusely. And Drew says the most mature thing I have ever heard anyone say when they’re being broken up with:

“You don’t have to apologize for not being in love with me.”

Which is a genius concept and a great thing to say, and contrasts sharply with my classic, “FUCK YOU, I LOVED YOU!” break up response.

So Desiree sends Drew home, but without telling Chris. Chris thinks he’s “competing” with another man to “win Desiree’s heart.” This point in the show is when the final two guys meet Desiree’s family. But Chris was the only one to meet them. It’s just Chris now.

chris shirtless bachelorette

And before he left, Drew robbed Chris and left him a note saying,
“Try proposing without a SHIRT, motherfucker!”

Let’s do some math, which I suck at. At this point, Desiree has known Chris for about ten weeks. In those ten weeks, she’s spent maybe a solid 81 hours with him. Prior to Chris meeting her family, ready to ask her dad for her hand in marriage, Desiree broke up with someone she was in love with about five days before.

We’re not sure what the fuck is going to happen. Chris has no idea how upset over Brooks Desiree is. And Chris is ready to propose. He was ready two weeks ago. And while Desiree has feelings for Chris, they’re not nearly at the level as her feelings for Brooks.

How did I write this much about this show already?

Chris and Desiree have their last date together before the proposal scene. (Yes, scene, this is a TV show. In the proposal scene, The Bachelorette stands on a cliff and the guy she chooses proposes to her. Because God forbid a woman propose, I guess.) On this, their final date, Chris sits down with Desiree and is Boyfriend Material Incorporated; he is The Anti-Brooks. He tells her that he saw how hurt she was when she spoke to him and Drew and that he wanted to go hug her but, “out of respect for Drew” did not. And then he shows her something. And it’s his penis. No, I’m kidding. It’s a journal, containing all of the poems he wrote for her over the season, a sweet note inscribed in the cover, and written on the first page,

The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we are but the direction of where we are going.

chris journal desiree poems

Even Ryan Gosling is thinking, “Shit, that’s good.”

And you see the motherfucking lightbulb going off in her motherfucking head. It’s like the room suddenly gets as bright as a Home Depot. She starts crying. You actually see her start to fall in love with him. Because she’s realizing the difference between love and infatuation, and what it’s like when someone loves you more than you love them, and how that’s not a bad thing, and that real relationships need time to develop.

Had the show stopped here, and Chris and Desiree decided to move forward together, as boyfriend and girlfriend, it would have been a great ending.

But no. It can’t end without a proposal. Because here’s Neil Lane with his guady-ass rings, and he paid for his advertising, damnit. So the next day, Chris picks out an engagement ring for Desiree. Desiree gets into a very pretty dress to go stand on a very pretty platform overlooking a very pretty ocean to wait for a very handsome man to propose something no one is sure she wants. Chris doesn’t even know. Desiree hasn’t even said “I love you” to him. But that’s kind of how the show works. The Bachelor/ette is not encouraged to say the “L-word” until the finale. Which is why it was so shocking that she said it about, and to, Brooks.

It’s not that there isn’t any chemistry between Chris and Desiree. Chris was a frontrunner. You can tell she really likes him. But enough to marry him?

Chris shows up. He does a speech. About how much he loves her. And as he’s about to get down on one knee, she stops him. She says, “Stop.” He’s mid-proposal stance. He says “uh” and chuckles at the same time, in that “well this is awkward how the fuck do I respond” way. Again, it’s the best/worst episode of Arrested Development ever.

chris seigfried desiree hartsock bachelorette proposal

Pictured: a man getting his proposal fucked up.

“I want to be honest with you,” Desiree says. People always say they want honesty in a relationship, until someone announces, “I want to be honest with you.” Then you’re like, “Whoa, this sounds serious, I don’t wanna hear this shit.” Desiree tells Chris that she sent Drew home, because she knew she didn’t love him, and that Chris has been the only one left. Chris starts smiling, he really can’t help it. She tells him he’s the only one who’s met her family. Bigger smile. Then she tells him she’s been having a rough time and that Brooks really hurt her. Yes, she brings up another man’s name during another man’s engagement proposal. Chris is not really sure what sort of facial expression to make here.

chris-seigfried

“Him?”

But she goes on. She tells him (to paraphrase), “I think I was so blinded by my feelings for Brooks that I didn’t see what was in front of me the whole time. You have always been by my side. Thank you for never giving up on me. On what we could be. I love you, Chris. I love you so much.”

He says, “I love you too, and this way too much pressure on us. Let’s run away, right now. Let’s date. Let’s take this slow.”

Just kidding, he kisses her and asks her to marry him. She says, “Yes, a thousand times, yes!”

The end.

desiree chris bachelorette finale

And off they went, towards the edge of a cliff, near a cannon, and a dead tree.

Almost the end. There’s a live show after the finale airs, in front of an audience with Giant Stone Head interviewing the newly engaged couple and other contestants. Brooks comes out first. They talk. Then Desiree comes out. Brooks has no idea that Desiree is engaged. This is the first time they’ve spoken or seen each other since he broke up with her on national television. And weirdly, she seems fine, and he seems like the one in “I’ve made a huge mistake” mode. Giant Stone Head wants Desiree to tell Brooks everything that happened after he left. “Things actually got really good after you left,” Des says. She realizes how mean that sounds as the audience laughs. She tries to explain. Finally she just says it. “I’m engaged. To Chris.”

I swear, it’s like that famous scene in The Simpsons when Bart shows Lisa the recording of her breaking up with Ralph and Bart says, “You can actually see the exact moment his heart rips in half.” We see that in Brooks. Briefly. And then he says, very gentlemanly, “That’s great. That doesn’t surprise me. I could see how you guys were with each other.” (Paraphrasing.)

And then Brooks leaves and Chris comes out and sits next to Desiree, and I swear to God, they actually seem really happy together, and they talk about how they are moving to Seattle. It’s like Brooks never even existed.

So here’s what has people divided on this finale. Was Desiree settling or did she realize the person she loved was there the entire time?

All I know for sure is that I’m glad most dudes don’t watch The Bachelorette, because this episode would only encourage the guys who believe that if you have a crush on a girl and she doesn’t feel the same way, you shouldn’t give up because she’ll eventually realize you’re the one for her.

And one other thing:

chris desiree the bachelorette finale

You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.

 

Photo credit: Screen caps of The Bachelorette, ABC, via Zimbio

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The Bachelorette Is The Craziest Show Ever

desiree brooks break up the bachelorette

The Bachelorette is the weirdest show on TV right now, and if you’re missing it, you need to catch up, because I can’t even describe the surreal level of weirdness that is happening on this seemingly stupid and fluffy television show. This season has been one of the most dramatic, and saddest. Because for the first time ever, we’ve seen real torment about what it’s like to simultaneously date twenty-five men and the pain that comes from having to turn down twenty-four men, and on the opposite side, the overwhelming fear and uncertainty that comes with a woman who is dating twenty-five men and wants you to marry her at the end of a staggeringly short two months.

I’m taking about Desiree and Brooks. To sum up: our perpetually on the edge of tears Katie Holmes/Rachel Bilson hybrid, Desiree Hartsock, is the bachelorette and with one episode left of the season, she’s made it clear that only one of these men is the man for her: Brooks Forrester. But Brooks Forrester is the only person in the history of this franchise to say, “This is fucking crazy, I’m not getting engaged to a girl I’ve had four dates with, known for two months, and spent maybe a total of sixty-five hours with.” Well, not in those exact words.

To recap the season up this point, Desiree has had to deal with:

  • A guy who brought his kid on the premiere episode and used him to paint himself as a doting dad so he would have a shot at the next Bachelor (“Hollywood, you missed your opportunity — a single dad from Texas” he said, when Desiree rejected him.)
  • A guy who already had a girlfriend.
  • A guy who wanted to stay on the show so badly he fake cried and manipulated her into believing that he also wasn’t looking to be the next Bachelor.
  • A cringe-worthy rap video shoot with Soulja Boy, in which she and the Mr. Desiree hopefuls had to put on stupid costumes and rap about the show.
  • Two guys who dumped her.

The first one to dump her, Brandon, did it while she was on a date with another guy. No doubt egged on by the producers, he decided right then and there that he wasn’t feeling it to the point where he had to dump her right now. So with a camera crew following him, he found Desiree on her date with Chris, pulled her aside, essentially told her that her feelings for him were stronger than his for her, and left back home for the USA. Desiree cried and poor Chris, still on their date, was left to cheer her up.

About Chris: he and another guy, Drew (who is probably gay), are “madly in love” with Desiree. They, among Brooks, are in the final three. Throughout the show, almost to the end, Desiree said that she likes these three guys very much, and that she’s falling in love with all of them. But then host Chris Harrison, the Olmec (giant stone head in Legends of the Hidden Temple) of the show asked her if there’s anyone in particular she’s really in love with. He asks this of every Bachelor and Bachelorette; they’re never actually expected to answer. They usually deflect the question. The Bach/elorettes never admit to being in love with anyone until the finale, otherwise why would they keep the show going? But Desiree announced, “I’m in love with Brooks.” Stunned, Harrison said something like, “Well should we just pack up and go home?” He asks her, “Has Brooks told you he loves you?”

chris harrison the bachelorette

Pictured: giant stone head.

Zak, Chris, and Drew all told Des that they loved her. Again, they’ve each gotten maybe three dates with her and over the span of two months, while she was dating several other men. Brooks was the only one not to declare his love. “He doesn’t need to,” Des said confidently, 100% kidding herself. “I know how he feels. He doesn’t have to say it.”

But we, the audience, we know how Brooks feels, and we saw that awkward moment where he gave it away with a look. Earlier on their date, Des cheerfully suggested they come up with adjectives to describe something in between “like” and “love” — no doubt she thought this would take the pressure off of him to say “the L-word.” At dinner, she proudly announced her “adjectives.” “There’s stepping. [Then] skipping. [Then] jogging. [Then] running. [Then we’re at the] finish line.” Never mind that none of these are adjectives. The girl is relying on the simplest of metaphors, and possibly the worst; she may as well say, “I am running after you.” When Brooks asked, “So where are we?” she pauses and at the same time she says, “I’m breaking into a run” he says, “Jogging.” Des didn’t acknowledge his lower tier, but we saw the surprise on Brooks’ face. “Running?” he said, trying to keep his eyes from widening to the size of moons. “That’s…good.”

SO here we are, part one of the two part finale, and this is brand new, never before have we seen the show structured like this, by which I mean, it’s not a game anymore. We see Brooks go home to get advice from his mom and sister about whether he should propose. He tells them that Desiree is perfect and what he’s looking for — she checks off all the boxes — but he doesn’t know why he can’t feel love. They stare at him. “If you don’t feel you love this girl, you shouldn’t propose,” says his mom (to paraphrase.)

Well duh, right? But this is The Bachelor/ette world, where it’s expected by the end of the show that there will be a proposal. Because it’s a show. It’s a game. People are eliminated every week until there is a “winner.” But unlike other reality competition shows, there is no cash prize. This reality competition show does not want to acknowledge that that’s what it is. Though Chris and Drew said they are ready to propose to Des right there and then, it’s because they’ve been brainwashed by the entire experience. Brooks is the only one who has stepped back and said, basically, “This is insane.”

brooks the bachelorette break up

He goes to Antigua. Desiree gushes about how excited she is for their date. It’s going to be a romantic day of sailing, and at night, she’s going to ask him to spend an evening with her in “the fantasy suite.” Being in the fantasy suite is the one time during the whole show that the couple can be together without cameras present. And yes, bang. They can bang. And they should, unless they have their own personal reasons against having sex before marriage, but they really should know each other intimately before getting engaged, because that’s what this is, this is your last chance to have sex with someone before you ask them to marry you, and typically, that’s not how people have relationships. But of course none of this show is typical.

Thus Brooks, who must feel like he’s taking crazy pills, came to the decision that he must break up with Desiree, because he isn’t in love with her and isn’t ready to propose, and he doesn’t have any more time, because we are nearing the season finale of a TV show.

Des, so excited to see Brooks walking towards her, immediately knows something is wrong when she sees his face. “What’s wrong?” she asks.

And then we are treated to the most awkward break-up in all of television. Because this is real. No one warned Des about this. Brooks doesn’t want to begin the conversation until they sit down on a bench that is approximately 300 fucking miles away from where they are standing, or at least that’s what it feels like. Once they sit down, it becomes clear that Brooks has no idea how to break up with someone. Des doesn’t understand what he’s getting at until she asks, “How do you feel?” and his pause goes on forever, and she knows, and then he says, honestly, “I want to be madly in love with you…” and trails off and she starts sobbing. He doesn’t even need to add “but.”

He tries to make it better by saying how great she is and he doesn’t know why his feelings aren’t as strong for her as he would like and then she drops the bomb, “I love you.” He’s shocked. “Why didn’t you tell me that earlier?” he says, voice cracking. “Because I couldn’t,” she cries. I’m assuming she means that she was pressured by the producers not to tell him, but who knows really. “You’re the only one I love.” This breaks him. And we see them sobbing on the bench, holding each other, until she pushes him away, begging him not to touch her because it hurts too much.

desiree bachelorette brooks break up

Neither of them want to leave this bench, they are clinging to each other for dear life. There is no soundtrack, there is just the sound of sobbing. He finally suggests they get up, and they walk away. “I guess you’re leaving” she says, emotionless. “I don’t know what to say,” he says. He keeps apologizing. “Don’t say you’re sorry,” she responds. “It makes it worse.” “I’m sorry,” he says. She stops and for a moment you think she’s going to turn around and smack him.

They keep walking. He says something like, “I thought maybe you had similar reservations I did, that you were confused too” or something and she snaps, saying she did have confusing feelings, because, “I didn’t want to share my heart. I wanted to give it to you” thus revealing that this whole time on the show she’s just been going through the motions while dating everyone else. He realizes he’s made it worse. He has no idea what to do with himself. They hug and she says “stop” and she turns around because she can’t watch him leave. She walks back to the bench of doom. Then he paces, sobbing, saying he didn’t know it was going to be that hard and that, “I didn’t want to let her go…I didn’t expect to feel that.” Does this mean that he’s falling in love with her? That her revelation changed his feelings? You better believe that’s what the producers will convince him. He’ll most likely be back, and they’ll reunite and it will be edited like a Nicholas Sparks movie, and this moment of raw emotion will be pushed aside until the show ends and they break up for real.

So why the hell did I write this much about an episode of The Bachelorette? Because this was the most painful fucking thing I have ever seen on reality TV, and this includes every time someone got their nuts smashed on Wipeout. For once we have the “real” in reality. This feels like my break up. I’ve had this break up. Because this part has nothing to do with the show, this part has to do with feelings, that horrible crunching feeling in a suddenly empty space in your stomach when you realize for the first time that someone you are in love with isn’t in love with you. She must have known it, or she wouldn’t make the classic excuse for him, “he doesn’t need to tell me he loves me, he says it without saying it.” We’ve all said that at some point. We all really wanted to believe it at some point. But thankfully, millions of people weren’t watching us prepare for such an epic car crash at the finish line.

desiree bachelorette crying

 

Image credits: screenshots of The Bachelorette, via Hulu, ABC

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