I don’t know whether this show is getting more graphic with the details of its contestants’ emotions, or if I see things differently having been to the other side, or if I’m just getting older and thus have new perspective. Tell me, did it always have this sadistic a concept? Really, though! When it gets down to the final two or three I find it quite sick and twisted. The Bachelorette must lead on multiple suitors—the show can’t have contestants leaving on their own, suspecting an impending breakup—making them think they’re in love and that she’s in love with them, when it’s inevitable that most of them will be brutally broken up with. Have I really been watching this show for close to a decade of my life? What the hell is wrong with me?
Maybe I’m just getting worked up because this season is tugging on my heartstrings more so than in the past. I usually have an opinion on who I think is a better match for the lead, or I’ve at least preferred (what I saw of) one guy over the other. But, I have to admit, I’m confused. I haven’t been this torn since Emily Maynard’s season. When it was down to Arie and Jef, not only did I not know who she would pick, I didn’t even know who she should pick. I couldn’t tell which relationship was stronger. They both seemed to work so well with her, and both men were so darn likable. Similarly, I truly like both Nick and Shawn. Nick is (still) endearingly uneasy with the cameras and remarkably confident despite being cautious and analytical—a compelling combination. Shawn has a masculine intensity to him and watching him go from the controlled, careful man we saw in the first few episodes to the emotionally vulnerable, almost irrational man we’ve seen recently is the sort of transformation I watch this show for.
Sure, they both have their faults. Nick succumbs all too easily to provocation and has a tendency to get defensive and retaliate without thinking of the consequences. Shawn seems to suffer from crippling jealousy and would rather make an uninformed opinion about someone than give them the benefit of the doubt and get to know them. But, can’t we all relate to those weaknesses? These men are gloriously flawed, and that “reality” is what makes them captivating television. It would be so much easier with a willing (Courtney) or contrived (Nick 1.0) villain. As for Whitney and Becca, I loved both of them, but it was clear Becca wasn’t as emotionally invested; you knew she’d be just fine. However, whether you love or hate either Nick or Shawn, there’s no denying their feelings for Kaitlyn are powerful and very real. The thought of either ending up heartbroken—and it will happen—is, well, a little heartbreaking.
Usually, in this penultimate post, I make my prediction for the Finale. But for the above reasons, I don’t think I can. I like what I’ve gotten to know about both guys, and I like them both with and for Kaitlyn. My only wish? That one or both of them might have said (or have been shown saying) to Kaitlyn what Ben did: “This isn’t easy on you. I know that.” That consideration and awareness of the stress she’s under—not to mention the strain Nick and Shawn add by being at odds with each other—is what might have tipped the scale for me. But right now it’s neck and neck, and while I don’t want to look, I can’t look away.
For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays on City.
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