My parents and I watched last night’s episode together, something I’ve never even done with my own season. (My dad was never able to sit through a full episode when I was on it.) My mother was quite quiet and pensive, with my dad periodically guffawing and groaning. The common thread, though, is that we were all fairly captivated throughout, a refreshing change from the last two episodes. It’s safe to say last night was anything but boring. We got some epic tears, emotional breakthroughs, and an incredibly honest (and thus rare) departure.
Sometimes when I write these I fear I sound like a broken record, but it’s difficult to not zero in on a resounding thought and reiterate it. This time around, the constant references to affections being expressed “too little, too late” got my panties in a twist. As a viewer—and frankly, in all ways in life—I hate feeling patronized. Being told time and again that the reason our Bachelorette sends someone home is that he wasn’t “open enough,” or that, if and when he did open up, it “didn’t feel the way it should,” is super duper patronizing. As contestants, you know (to some extent, anyway) what you’re signing up for. When there’s a clause in your contract warning you about any sort of humiliation, it’s safe to say you know the inherent risks to your public image and self esteem. Thus, I think any contestant would be resilient enough to be told, to their face or via an ITM after the fact, that frankly, the Bachelor or Bachelorette just wasn’t that into you.
Wouldn’t that be glorious? A dismissal where, instead of vague excuses about openness and timing and other relationships being “further along,” we got something resembling the truth? Maybe a “I find you really attractive but your personality bores me to tears,” “I think you may be an alcoholic,” or “I like you fine but envisioned my Night In Shining Armour having a different job/background/status”? Or, a breakup reason I’ve actually used: “I like you but think we’re sexually incompatible.” (I’ve never been one to beat around the bush, evidently.) The thing is, there’s no way these reasons haven’t been THOUGHT over the Bachelor/ette years. It makes me wonder: Is this a product of how we as a culture actually let people down (easy) or is it to keep the show sterile and peachy? (Notice how every dumpee seems expected to be understanding and gracious, leaving with an amicable hug.) Of course, chalking a breakup to an a-ha moment keeps the lead from looking like a bad guy, leading his/her contestants on until the last minute. But I can’t help but fantasize about a season where we get breakup reasons that are halfway believable. Luke’s dismissal will haunt me in that regard.
My predictions for the Finale…
1. Jordan, 27: I can’t be the only one who thinks this isn’t even a contest. JoJo looks at Jordan with that soft-focus gaze between lovers in old movies; he’s her pick and I feel like that’s been obvious for ages, possibly since day one. Beyond JoJo’s clear affection, though, I love the specificity with which Jordan described his feelings for JoJo this week. Remember how last week I bitched and moaned about Robby’s lack of descriptive words as to WHY he loves JoJo? It’s as though Jordan heard my gripe because, boy, did he deliver in this department:
“I just love the person she makes me when I’m with her.”
“I love how she challenges me and makes me want to be a better person. I hope I can continue to be that kind of person for her.”
“Our attraction to each other, how much fun we have together, how I can be myself with her…”
“My intention is that this is going to be a team effort.”
Beyond all that sweetness, I like how most of his gushing was not to JoJo’s face. She did prompt him, asking him, “How do you know [when you’re in love]?”, but while he did tell her, the bulk of his affections were shared in his ITMs. I like this because, as I’ve expressed before, I’ve got some issues with the extreme inequality between the lead and the contestants. When JoJo prompts her men to open up, of course they will (they must!), because she’s not only in the position of power, but she also has the mystique of power on her side. The fact that Jordan shares these (specific) thoughts not only to her face shows that they’re sincere; he’s not using them to get ahead.
All my theorizing aside, there’s a naturalness to JoJo and Jordan that can’t be beat. It’s Jordan. She picks Jordan.
2. Robby, 27: First, I really liked how both JoJo and Robby addressed the short time in which he claimed to fall in love. Frankly, just addressing and recognizing that issue gave it some degree of legitimacy. Robby still didn’t come through on the specificity front this week (even apprehensive Chase outshone Robby in this department) but I still warmed to Robby a bit. I’ve decided I’m pretty sure he’s sincere—whether or not “sincere” is my “sincere” is a different story—and truly believes what he’s saying. I just reeeeally wish Robby didn’t use (or sell out and use) lines like, “Tonight I don’t have to dream about JoJo, I get to dream with JoJo.” (Cue one of my dad’s groans.) On the whole, while I could probably see them being friends, I still just don’t buy the chemistry between JoJo and Robby.
For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on City. Catch up on past episodes at citytv.com.
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