Season after season of The Bachelor, we eat up at all the drama. Yet, in spite of our cynical sides, we’re genuinely pleased when a new happy couple surfaces at the finale. You would think the creators and producers behind a show about finding love would genuinely care about that happy ending. At the very least, you would think it would good for the show’s reputation if they do. It is a dating show after all, and shouldn’t successful relationships contribute to its credibility?
I’m calling bluff. Our dear farmer finally chose the lovely Whitney and proposed to her in a barn. Sure, it was kitschy and we all saw it coming, but that doesn’t detract from their love story. And isn’t that love story what this entire show is supposed to be about?
Apparently not. By announcing both Britt and Kaitlyn as co-Bachelorettes in the last five minutes of the After the Final Rose, the show completely steamrolled the season’s fairy-tale ending. All anyone is talking about now is that dramatic twist, which pains me because it’s exactly the hullabaloo you know they hoped it would be. In the same way every season is studded with tears and cat fights, they’ve overshadowed their own finale with news that doesn’t at all pertain.
My bigger concern is the choice to cast two women as Bachelorette. It really proves the powers-that-be are flipping the bird at the theory that they might care about their contestants’ happiness. It would be one thing if they really were focusing on two women all season long. But they’re not. They’re sending two women into Night One and once again pitting them against each other. Worst of all, they’re letting the men decide who stays. Correction: they’re letting men decide who would make the best wife. (Chris Harrison’s words, verbatim. You can’t make this stuff up.) To add insult to injury, the women have clearly been encouraged to emphasize how “excited” and “grateful” they are for this “opportunity.” Is this for real? Or is it 1950 and I just haven’t gotten the memo?
And what about the men’s happiness? It’s safe to say they won’t all be in agreement on which woman should stay and who should go. So let’s say Britt narrowly wins and (God forbid) Kaitlyn is sent packing. Are the men who really saw something with Kaitlyn then supposed to blindly pursue Britt? It’s like some sick musical chairs–themed dating game.
It’s safe to say that while one woman may come out happy at the other end, it will be directly at the expense of her friend. (They really were pushing a friendship between the two, after all.) The loser will suffer a humiliating rejection, far more humiliating than any traditional tearful Bachelor goodbye. She’ll have been not “chosen” by several men, have booked off two months of her life for no reason, and won’t be able to just chalk it up to a fun adventure anymore. Here’s hoping she’s being paid more than the woman who stays. I wouldn’t normally put a price on dignity, but these aren’t normal circumstances.
These people are being treated like pawns more than ever before, all for ratings alone. Shame on you, ABC.
Love Sharleen? So do we! Last week, we announced that Sharleen is our new dating columnist. Now, she needs your queries. Email your most pressing matters of the heart to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us @FLAREfashion or post on our Facebook page using #AskSharleen. Then, look out for Sharleen’s debut column in our June/July issue, on Next Issue on May 4 and on newsstands May 11.
For more on this season of The Bachelor from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
Catch up on previous recaps:
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 1
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 2
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 3
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 4
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 5
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 6
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 7
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 8
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 9
Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Women Tell All