Sure, we’re only posting about The Bachelor finale now, eleven days after it aired. If that seems like a long time, just remember that Nick and Vanessa are together forever. It could be so much worse!
We try to summarize the episode in 30 words: one word for each contestant the season started with.
Ariel: Vanessa triumphs over Raven even though it makes no sense. Rachel is quickly ushered onstage to distract from Nick and Vanessa’s misery and meet four awkward suitors. Some very awkward.
Matthew: Nick has one last date with Vanessa, Raven, and Finland. Raven stoically accepts defeat. Vanessa accepts Nick’s proposal and they’re totally totally happy so happy really for real totally happy.
It’s Finally Over
Matthew: The season’s only Corinne-free episode. What the hell are we going to talk about?!
Ariel: The clearly deep and presiding love of Vanessa and Nick of course. I mean, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’m 100% sold on their engagement and future plans for Vanessa to very realistically move to the US when she is not actually married to Nick yet and immigration is very welcome and easy in our great nation.
Matthew: Yep, this is the best possible time to move to America when you have the option of instead residing in Canada. Just like how Nick looked so much happier with Vanessa than Raven! Choosing America over Canada is the new choosing Vanessa over Raven.
Ariel: Oh also I actually do have a lot to say because I started reading Reality Steve’s site. He gets all the insider info on all things Bachelor, but I tend to avoid his posts during the season because it’s very spoiler-heavy. But there were some verrrrry interesting points he made from weird episodes earlier in the season/how Vanessa was edited. AND about Nick’s offer to be on Dancing With the Stars…
Matthew: I mean, this was so boring and predictable that even when the live audience was asked who they thought was going to win, there were like two people golf clapping when Chris Harrison asked the crowd who thought Nick would propose to Raven. I honestly don’t think there’s anything to summarize from before the proposal moment, so, yeah, let’s talk about Vanessa’s edit, because I’m WAY more interested in that.
My quick, not-developed take on that is that Vanessa is probably a totally normal person who’s probably just fine to be around, but she was so obviously going to win that the edit had to create tension by over-focusing on how her biggest sin was just that she was nervous and uncertain where the relationship was going, which is… hardly unusual in retrospect?
Like one moment that stood out to me during After The Final Rose was when Chris asked what she’s doing next and basically she’s using her new pseudocelebrity to do nonprofit work for adults with learning disabilities, and I was like “wait, why did I spend so much time dragging this person?”
So what’s your take? What got you thinking from Reality Steve?
Ariel: Well what Reality Steve reported was that Vanessa had a ton of tension with people in the house, including Rachel, and she would befriend people and then turn around and use her time with Nick to tell him how fake they were.
She confronted Rachel at one point about why she didn’t like (eye rolling when she spoke or something) and Rachel said she wanted to keep her distance because of all that stuff above. Apparently Vanessa did that to Danielle L and Taylor, beloved by all Taylor.
Matthew: I knew about the rumors that Vanessa and Rachel didn’t get along, but I didn’t know it was with MORE people.
Ariel: Also, that weird volley ball competition at the beach? Apparently, it was supposed to be whoever won got more time with Nick, but Vanessa (and I guess others on her team) threw such a hissy fit that they all went to that awkward cocktail party at the end. So it looks like that all got edited in a weird way to cover for Vanessa.
Matthew: Man, I knew there had to be more to the story of that awkward volleyball contest that everyone just REVOLTED against, but I figured they were just, like, drunk and tired.
So I guess Nick’s choice doesn’t make any sense based on neither the edit nor on the Reality Steve gossip. It certainly didn’t make any sense during the After The Final Rose interview, did it?
Those two, to put it gently, look like they’re in hell.
Ariel: They seemed really uncomfortable. I get that you wouldn’t have easy days all the time…but the fact that that was at the forefront of her mind when asked about it says a lot.
Matthew: The first thing she said was “I’m not gonna sugarcoat things”, which is kind of not a good way to describe your new relationship.
Ariel: Like I understand long distance is hard…but the way it was framed didn’t seem like she was missing him so hard from the distance. It was framed just as they were fighting a lot.
Matthew: Yeah, right? I mean, just guessing here since most of the footage throughout this season of The Bachelor was them arguing, I don’t think long distance is their biggest problem?
God, I hope there’s some spark between them that just does not appear on camera, because that couple they brought out on After The Final Rose just looked like a nightmare hellscape of desperation and insecurity. They seem like they’re held together purely by some fantasy vision of “love” that they want SO BAD that they’d rather go through that than be alone.
Am I way off base here? Does that relationship look like it’s about chemistry or about just having a relationship?
Ariel: I think Nick was probably in it for a sweet Dancing With the Stars deal, but I felt like they had chemistry on their first date. That being said…having chemistry on one date doesn’t convince me that they have this genuine, loving relationship.
It was really weird that Vanessa was so adamant about only wanting to be engaged once. I kind of believe that and could see her digging her heels in about trying to make it work for that reason? And Nick trying to keep it going since he wants America to love him and continue to watch him in reality tv.
But if that was the case, why wouldn’t he pick Raven? It’s all so confusing.
Matthew: Right?! We never saw any tension between him and Raven, ever.
Matthew: Or between him and Rachel, for that matter. It’s hard to speculate of course, and a relationship without disagreement isn’t a great sign either, but it’s hard to see how it made sense.
Ariel: I get she was confident and direct with him, and maybe there’s a lot that was left out, but this whole season felt all over the place.
Matthew: Biggest disappointment for me was that I was really hoping that Nick Fourth-Season-On-This-Show Viall would actually twist the formula a bit more, but I thought Ben’s season was less by the numbers. I genuinely had no idea where that guy was gonna go, whereas with Nick I did but just never knew WHY.
I seriously don’t know what to even TRY to summarize from this episode. He had one more date with each of them in Finland but it was a foregone conclusion since we knew Vanessa would win. Although it’s worth pointing out that once again Vanessa got the way worse date: Nick and Raven played with puppies in the snow and Nick and Vanessa hung out with a creepy old Santa impersonator. This isn’t a weird Matthew joke, this is literally what happened.
Ariel: Oh my gosh, and then the Santa impersonator asking what they wanted, and Nick and Vanessa both having to find different ways of saying the contractually obligated answer of, ‘love’.
I wanted one of them to just say, “Nintendo Switch.” I guess it could have been misconstrued as product placement, but I would have appreciated that answer.
Matthew: I almost admire the fucking linguistic gymnastics routine they did to say love without saying love, though. Boy, it takes a lot of words to make “I didn’t NOT say I love you” sound good.
But that’s actually pretty much it for pre-proposal? We spent some time with Nick talking to his parents about whether he was ready to propose, where their lips said he’ll know when he knows and their eyes said, “If I have to be on this stupid show one more time I will die.”
And I suppose it’s significant that the build-up was Raven hoping for a proposal, and Vanessa wondering if she would accept a proposal, since I guess they had to work some kind of suspense in there.
Ariel: It just still feels like such a shame. Raven seemed like she got on better with his family than Vanessa did. I mean, watching Vanessa tell zero gravity date story was so forced. And his family had to tell Nick it was his turn to chime in because Vanessa was “having a (very authentic) moment”
Matthew: Right? There was a whole scene with Raven and Nick’s little sister that was just them becoming friends! Nick’s sister must be PISSED at him.
In retrospect, this isn’t that different from all the Corinne stuff. The season really revolved around Corinne and Vanessa, who both got HOURS of footage of them being difficult to get along with, but Nick kept them around because at the end of the day all that matters is what Nick likes, as inscrutable as it turned out to be from start to finish.
Ariel: One last thing about this part of the episode. I think the only negative comment about Raven from Nick’s family was when his mother basically said she seemed to eager to marry Nick. I was like, “Yes, I too am concerned that this seemingly lovely woman is so gung ho about marrying Nick. Maybe Vanessa’s skepticism makes her the right choice.”
The Bachelorette Sorta Started!
Ariel: I’m excited to talk about Rachel, which is exactly what those sneaky folks running Bachelor Nation wanted!
Matthew: YES, let’s talk about the “historic event” at the end of the episode. Which was definitely a surprise, but the folks working on this show sure need to look up some of the words they use.
They kicked off Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette ALREADY, introducing her to four of the contestants from her season. I am 100% certain they did they just because they knew they had an unwatchable three hours of Nick and Vanessa make a horrible mistake. So much so that I was half expecting Nick to come out of the limo outside the studio like, “Hey, it already didn’t work out.”
What was your impression of our first four men from Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette? My favorite part was how the first white guy they brought out was named Blake, which for some reason I thought was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Matthew: Second favorite part was how technically the first black Bachelorette’s season hasn’t even premiered yet and one of the contestants has already made a “once you go black” joke.
Ariel: Blake was SO PAINFUL to watch, so I can’t wait to see him on the actual season.
I don’t remember his name, but there was one guy who Rachel seemed to hit it off with and she got quite giggly. I can’t find my notes on this episode, and now my mind is drawing a complete blank.
Ariel: The once you go black joke stood out to me because I was just wondering why we as a planet cannot retire that phrase once and for all.
This was all definitely just a distraction from Nick/Vanessa (and now it makes sense why they revealed the new Bachelorette so early), but it was cool that they gave us a taste of things to come, especially that they had two black guys and two white guys.
The NPR article you mentioned to me before, “The Purely Accidental Lessons of the First Black Bachelorette“, has definitely made me really curious about this season’s contestants.
Matthew: Right? It definitely made me very conscious of who they were all gonna bring out. I think they very consciously brought out a black guy first, a white guy, another white guy, then a black guy. I really hope the show continues to use this catalyst to finally address its lack of diverse casting. This is a good time to point out that I’m pretty sure Jojo’s season had a single Asian dude who didn’t make it past the first episode.
One thing I found thought-provoking: the reaction across the board to white dude #2 (already don’t remember his name) making the go black joke ranged from cringing to disgust, with one notable exception. Roxane Gay was livetweeting the show and didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal, straight up saying, “We’ll forgive him”.
I will admit I've made a "once you go black you never go back," joke to a certain someone approx. 100 times. We'll forgive this guy.
— roxane gay (@rgay) March 14, 2017
I mean, I think it was still a super weird thing to say, but I was also pretty surprised that it COULD be seen as more innocuous than my gut reaction did.
I guess what’s going to matter the most is, of course, what the bachelorette herself thinks. Everyone’s got different comfort levels and perspectives, and I’m hoping the show gives her space to let the viewer in on her perspective. Another huge problem the show has is that once a contestant becomes the bachelor(ette), the show weirdly becomes less about them and tends to happen TO them. That could get in the way of her much-needed responses to the inevitable awkward moments we just know we’re gonna get. And have already gotten, because America.
Ariel: That’s really interesting about Roxane Gay. I can see how maybe it actually wouldn’t be that offensive, but there was no way it came off as good. If he winds up being otherwise a contestant people like, we’ll forgive him, but if we need to forgive him then he’s definitely said something wrong here.
I agree, I hope Rachel still is given the chance to shine. I feel like Kaitlyn really did in her season – I know you didn’t watch it, but I hope it plays out like that. A lot of it will probably depend on whatever narrative they want to tell and what kind of edit they give everyone, but I really hope it doesn’t try to avoid tackling these moments. Obviously when we met the first four guys, there wasn’t a chance to have Rachel speak to the camera privately, and I really felt that missing there.
She comes across as such a positive, kind person that she was smiling and laughing a lot on stage, but I wanted to hear from her privately about what she thought of them!
I can’t wait to see the show honestly.
Matthew: Same. In a weird way, I’m actually INTERESTED in this show now? It already sounds so much more engaging than Nick’s season.
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