At the start of this journey, we grew to truly care about Brad Womack, The Bachelor, who owned four bars and was amazing and incredible, as well as professional dance team smiler Jenni, who was, Brad reminded us repeatedly, “happy.” Then there was bartender DeAnna, also amazing and incredible, and together the three of them came to have intense feelings and hearts opening and BLAAARRRRGH.
Sounds like just another season of “The Bachelor” here in FliessWorld: A forced proposal followed by bets across America as to the timing of the inevitable “we’ve decided to choose different paths” press release. But wait! What if “The Bachelor,” after an entire season of “he chooses his bride” hyping, doesn’t choose anyone?
For once, a bachelor gave “The Bachelor” a great big one-finger salute — and it wasn’t by slipping a big old diamond on the left hand of a tooth-whitened real estate agent from Tampa. Brad didn’t issue a proposal, or a promise ring, or even an “I love you — I’m just not in love with you.” He rejected both finalists.
In a show that has rarely been little more than an opportunity to knock back the womens’ movement a good 40 years one rose at a time, this season’s edition of polygamy on parade promised an “unprecedented” ending. Rumors swirled over a request to date both, an instant Vegas wedding, an “actually, I’m gay.” Not many expected that Brad would stone-cold drop the final two. Bachelors have upended the “I’d like to see where this amazing incredible journey takes us” wheelbarrow before, but to stand before each with “I have to say goodbye”? Ouch.
It speaks well of Brad that he ripped off both Band-Aids while standing atop a kingly stone podium with precedent pushing him to at least temporarily anoint one woman. Unlike the premise that a man could make a lifelong commitment to one woman while presumably being in love — or, at least, fantasy-suite like — with another, Brad was fully and completely honest about his BS.
What’s interesting about Brad’s “last minute decision” is that he refused to BS the final two women about a future with him. Instead, he chose to BS all of us right up to the point when he had a ring in his hand and the entirety of America staring him in the scruffy face. Given his previous directness with Hyperventilatin’ Hillary, it was an odd turn. Viewers were treated to three carats of product placement and red herringdom as Brad dumped first Jenni, then DeAnna.
He was more honest with Jenni, who has advanced further in the Who Can Dump The Fastest And The Most competition than any other “First Impression Rose” recipient. “I want something more that I can’t find with us,” announced Brad, which was his nice-guy way of saying, “You once used three ‘reallys’ in a row, and last night very seriously told me that ‘people you meet means something.’”
Jenni’s reaction? Take her Frisbee–sized earrings to the Limo of Woe — which should be sponsored by Kleenex, for real — and read off Dr. Phil self-affirmation index cards all the way back to cheer camp. “I know that I’m a good person,” she reassured herself. One truly felt for Jenni and her failure to make the homecoming court as she sniffled about the injustice of how “people kind of just reject your feelings.”
DeAnna, meanwhile, was improperly attired for an afternoon occasion in a strapless gold dress that, awesomely, in close-ups, made her look completely nude. She shouldn’t have necessarily expected better treatment.
But DeAnna’s punting was particularly brutal, and please bear in mind that this sentence was typed by a person who was once dumped in an e-mail. What made her rejection harsher than her rival’s was that Brad first dangled an “I just said goodbye to Jenni” in front of her, allowing an adequate pause for DeAnna to select which tabloid she first wished to contact about the future doom of their relationship. She smiled, then gazed demurely down at the little Stonehenge atop which she stood, awash in this deeply private moment with merely three cameras, full lighting, a boom mike and several union electricians to intrude upon her joy.
But no! Wait! Brad needs a moment! Brad actually put a finger under his collar and loosened his tie before taking a mini-tour of the lawn as DeAnna hilariously pulled up her dress in the background. It was at this moment we began to suspect what was to come. It was perhaps the most pitiful scene on American television since Jessi Spano collapsed in the arms of Zach Morris after ODing on caffeine pills.
“I can’t give you any promises that I can’t keep,” said Brad before slinging the mighty “I have to say goodbye.” Fair enough. Until the lady demands an explanation. An excuse. A gift card to the Olive Garden. Something. Because before limoing off into the world of E-list celebrity, DeAnna first wished to show off her BS detector.
“Do you look at me like I’m a friend?” she said.
No. Well — what then?
Brad’s got nothin’ but a “Do you know how much I care about you?” Which he underscored by telling DeAnna he pretty much never wanted to see her again. And stay away from his identical twin, too.
It was clear that Brad was desperate for DeAnna to be on good terms with the dumption, as evidenced by his jaw-clench of self-rightousness: “You’re closing me out here, aren’t you?” he said as she stepped in the limo. Oh, go open another “Cocktails & Dreams,” Brad.
DeAnna bleeped off into the afternoon. The show ended with Brad gazing mournfully upon his sparkly Rock of Not the Least Bit of Love and a promo for Tuesday’s broadcast of “After the Final Rose,” at which a goth-clad DeAnna seems to be sporting the traditional black nail polish of mourning.
Now, all three of these people can go take a seat at the end of a very, very long line of people for whom I weep, especially since none of them seem to have any concept of how to properly use singular pronouns (“When a person tells you that they love you, they…”). But, oh, we do love our happy endings.
For the time, however, we carry with us at least one shred of honesty from this show: That really was the most dramatic rose ceremony ever.