“The Finale/After the Final Rose”
July 22, 2012
UPDATE: Look. I should be so happy that we are finally, finally! at “the incredibly emotional season finale of The Bachelorette,” because enough already who doesn’t want to see St. Emily find “true love?” The problem is, once this is over? Once St. Emily hands out that final rose and chooses the man she is going to marry one day, probably (but maybe not?), possibly marry, once that is all over with, we’ve got nothing standing between us and the nightmare that is Bachelor Pad. So for once, I’m not going to complain about the fact that this finale is three hours (too) long. Drag this out, Chris Harrison! Find some way to make this nonsense last as long as possible! Because I am just not ready to deal with Kalon Dru-Zod and Erica Rose and Juggz and Lindzi the Horse Girl and Desperate Tony and that sad Michael Stagliano guy and the hot tubs and the stupid gross “sexytime” games and ugh, someone fetch me a cool washcloth for my forehead, I need to go lie down just thinking about it.
We begin the evening in the Bachelor “The Men Tell All/After the Final Rose” studio with Chris Harrison, where, for reasons unclear, will be watching the finale live with an audience full of moms. Sure! Sure. But first Chris Harrison would like to send out thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Colorado shooting, which: super, thank you Chris Harrison. America is totally healed now.
Onto Curaçao! In voiceover, St. Emily yammers about being excited, and being in love with two men at the same time, and y’all, she doesn’t know if she’s going to let them meet Little Ricky Bobby Jr. or not, and she doesn’t even know if she’s going to get engaged, AND EXCUSE ME, BUT WHAT? NOT GET ENGAGED? WHY ARE WE EVEN HERE, LADY? WHY HAVE WE BEEN DOING THIS FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS? You better get engaged. YOU BETTER OR I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT.
To help her make a decision, St. Emily’s family is in Curaçao, and we meet mother Suzy, father David, incredulous brother Ernie and sister-in-law-to-be Bethany. Hello St. Family! Where were you guys during the home visits with Wombat, hmm?
Justin Wannabieber arrives, flowers in hand for Mother Suzy and Sister-in-Law-to-Be Bethany, and immediately acknowledges the St. Family’s skepticism of this entire process. His own family thought it was stupid, too (except for the part where his sister-in-law sent his application into The Bachelor in the first place, but whatever), until they met St. Emily and “got it.”
Mother Suzy takes Justin Wannabieber aside first and makes it very clear that she is Very Dubious about this whole business. YOU DO KNOW ST. EMILY IS A MOTHER, RIGHT? Justin Wannabieber is aware, Mother Suzy, and he’s ready to be a father figure for Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. Justin Wannabieber says all the right things, makes all the right noises, but Mother Suzy still seems unconvinced. You and me both, momma.
Brother Ernie, who is handsome in that Extra in a Carrie Underwood Music Video kind of way, is Extremely Dubious about this whole business, not least of which about Justin Wannabieber’s ridiculous, decidedly not CMT hair. Brother Ernie takes Justin Wannabieber aside to glare at him while Justin Wannabieber yammers about being in love with St. Emily. But Justin Wannabieber is, if nothing else, clever, and engages Brother Ernie by asking him about St. Emily’s previous relationships. Brother Ernie explains that St. Emily hasn’t met anyone who measured up to Ricky Bobby, Sr., but when she does it will be special. While Brother Ernie remains squinty and skeptical, he does concede that Justin Wannabieber seems to have good intentions.
As for Father David, Justin Wannabieber asks for his blessing to propose to St. Emily, and Father David is like, Sure, whatever.
The next day, it’s Cal Naughton, Jr.’s turn to impress the St. Family, which he attempts to do by bringing them a box filled with the roses that St. Emily gave him throughout the process, and trying to make conversation with Father David and Brother Ernie about fishing — even though he does not fish. Father David and Brother Ernie glare.
But Cal Naughton, Jr. manages to charm the St. Family in private conversations by insisting to each of them that he is SO TOTALLY IN LOVE, LIKE SERIOUSLY. He also receives Father David’s unenthusiastic blessing to propose to St. Emily (“Yeah, OK.”), and then the St. Family refuse to pick one man or the other, because they are both fine, whatever?
St. Emily keeps pestering them to tell her what their preference is, but her family is very sensible and like, Listen, you know these guys better than we do. Father David insists that you can’t be in love with two people, not equally, not really, while Mother Suzy urges St. Emily to wait to get engaged, much less introduce either of these people to Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. The St. Family! So reasonable!
St. Emily prepares for her final date with Justin Wannabieber by fretting over Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. as she eats her breakfast. Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. is all, JUST LET ME EAT MY BREAKFAST, WOMAN. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR MAN PROBLEMS. I JUST WANT TO EAT MY LUCKY CHARMS IN PEACE, GAH.
St. Emily and Justin Wannabieber meet at a beach where Justin Wannabieber immediately begins whining at her about wanting to meet Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. already. WHEN WILL HE GET TO MEET LITTLE RICKY BOBBY, JR? Pleeeeeeeeease can he meet Little Ricky Bobby, Jr.? Please please please please please please please? Sad plunky piano plunks while St. Emily chews on her mouth and after a solid 7, 10 minutes of his whinging, she’s finally like, FINE. SURE. LET’S GO MEET MY DAUGHTER.
And so they do, and Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. warms up to Justin Wannabieber considerably faster than she did to Wombat — and who can blame her? — and they play in the pool and play with stuffed animals and play with hermit crabs and all of this is taking up so much time I’m not sure how they can possibly also have time for a final date for Cal Naughton, Jr. and I’m watching the clock wondering if they are going to eat into the “After the Rose” time? Are they going to use that third hour for the finale and not asinine questions about how surprised the dumped person was and how the happy couple is doing now? QUESTIONS.
But we’re still not done with St. Emily and Justin Wannabieber’s final date. They spend the evening cuddling on a couch and looking at a coffee table book about Curaçao that he bought at the hotel gift shop and then doodled stick figures in as a “thoughtful gift” for St. Emily and yeah, it’s 8:10 already, there’s no way we’re fitting another date into this episode. Smell you later, Cal Naughton, Jr.
Chris Harrison then interviews the moms in the studio audience about what they love about Justin Wannabieber, and one mom says something about how when a man loves you and your kid, it’s more attractive than a hot pair of jeans, which I am pretty sure was one of the down-homeisms Dan Rather made up on Election Night, 2004.
The morning of Cal Naughton, Jr.’s final date finds Chris Harrison at St. Emily’s door, because she’s made up her mind, Chris Harrison. She doesn’t need to go on that date with Cal Naughton, Jr., UNNECESSARY. It’s Justin Wannabieber, all the way. Chris Harrison’s like, Super. Now go dump Cal Naughton, Jr. But she doesn’t wanna, Chris Harrison! It’s going to be so hard, Chris Harrison! Too bad. Get going, says Chris Harrison.
And poor Cal Naughton, Jr. he has no idea. The dramatic irony! It is too much! He shows up at some botanical garden for the date, and is greeted by a nice native lady who instructs him on how to make a love potion. Oh dear. That’s not going to work, Cal Naughton, Jr. It really will not. Cal Naughton, Jr. earnestly explains to the snickering camera that he could be meeting Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. soon! NOPE. He could be getting engaged tomorrow! NOPE. He feels like St. Emily loves him! NOPE. He can see it in her eyes, even though she can’t say it back to him! NOPE. It’s going to be so perfect to make their lives together! NOPE. He’s ready to get on one knee and propose! NOPE. That moment when she can express to him how she feels will be so good! NOPE. Amazing! NOPE NOPE NOPE. So much dramatic irony! TOO MUCH DRAMATIC IRONY.
St. Emily finally arrives and begins crying before she even makes it over to poor unwitting Cal Naughton, Jr. He smears her with his “love potion” and she’s like, Yeah, super, thanks. Hey you need to sit down. But she then begins sniveling so much that it takes a painful couple of minutes before she can eventually tell him that she’s dumping him. Cal Naughton, Jr. disbelievingly listens to her simpering for a while: it’s not anything he did, her parents loved him, really thought it would be him… And he eventually gets tired of this, and gets up to leave. OK GOODBYE. St. Emily chases after him, and stops him before he gets into the waiting SUV, and he’s like, WHAT? Thanks for not embarrassing me tomorrow? I guess? And then he gets into the SUV and drives away while St. Emily cries and cries and cries.
We cut to the studio moms who are all stunned and somber looking and appear to have been watching some sort of video mashup of 9/11 and dead kittens and dogs with peanut butter jars on their heads and starving children in Africa and certainly not someone being dumped on a reality dating show because LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
Chris Harrison then interviews Dr. Tube Socks and J.P. who are in the audience (O HAI, GUYZ!) and that Dianna Pappas lady and that sad Michael Stagliano guy and someone named Ashely who claims to have been on the Wombat’s season of The Bachelor, but I’m not buying it. They have nothing interesting to add.
But back to St. Emily: saying goodbye to Cal Naughton, Jr. was really hard but it’s over now and she’s never to think about it again. She’s getting engaged, yay!
Justin Wannabieber meets with Neil Lane, who has been flown out to Curaçao so as to show Justin Wannabieber a handful of engagement rings for fifteen minutes (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Sweet gig, Neil Lane!), while St. Emily puts on — after a season of actually pretty decent wardrobe choices (with one notable exception) — a peach monstrosity of a dress complete with what appears to be some sort of besequined S&M harness as the bodice, and JUST. NO.
Also, where’s your helicopter cape, St. Emily? You seem to be missing your helicopter cape.
Chris Harrison escorts St. Emily over to a weird stage covered in terra cotta pots in the middle of a Curaçao street, which sure? I mean, you’re on a Caribbean island with some of the most beautiful beaches and cliffsides in the world — as they keep showing us at every commercial break — but yeah, instead of using one of those scenic locations, let’s clear off this city block and put a bunch of potted plants on a stage and be done with it. Good job, Set Guys. Well done.
As Justin Wannabieber arrives, St. Emily is still meowing about how she’s not sure she’s ready to be engaged again — she doesn’t want to be that girl who is engaged 15 times. Which: fair enough! But people who are worried about being that person who is engaged 15 times before getting married don’t usually go on reality television (twice) to find their soul mate. I AM JUST SAYING THE THING THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID.
And so Justin Wannabieber comes onto the stage and St. Emily is all: O HEY, I DUMPED CAL NAUGHTON, JR. ALREADY. HIGH FIVE. And Justin Wannabieber gives another endless speech about God putting the right people in our lives at the right time and being the luckiest man in the world and the plucky romantic guitar plucks and Justin Wannabeiber gets on his knee and asks St. Emily to marry him and she doesn’t say anything for a good 10 seconds because DRAMA but then she does say yes, of course she says yes, and the studio moms applaud wildly and as Justin Wannabieber slips the ring onto her finger we get a Peter Cetera’d montage of their romance because Peter Cetera makes everything better.
Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. then appears out of nowhere and the three walk off into the sunset.
And into the Bachelor studio. It’s “After the Final Rose,” y’all. We’re not done yet.
St. Emily comes to the stage first to assure the audience that she and Justin Wannabieber are still in lurrrrve. But before she can revel in that, Chris Harrison brings out poor Cal Naughton, Jr. for one final harassment. Cal Naughton, Jr. says all of the things that The Dumped always say: so surprised! really thought it was going to be me! no, really, very surprised!
But then, Cal Naughton, Jr. reveals that after everything was all said and done, he got onto a plane to Charlotte, so as to go talk to St. Emily. Once he was there, he realized how creepy/stalky this was, and instead left his journal for her on her doorstep, which is slightly less creepy/stalky. (Although still a little creepy/stalky!) St. Emily returns to him his journal, unread, there on the stage, and is like, Thanks, but no thanks!
Once they shoo Cal Naughton, Jr. off the stage, St. Emily reveals that she had Justin Wannabieber call Cal Naughton, Jr. and tell him to quit being so creepy/stalky, which he did, and that was the end of that. Justin Wannabieber then comes out, and everyone is super happy and they are going to go to Africa together and build wells for all the poors and Justin Wannabieber is going to move to Charlotte for the time being because that’s best for Little Ricky Bobby, Jr. and he and St. Emily will get married eventually, quit pressuring them for a date, Chris Harrison, gah. Dr. Tube Socks and J.P. are still in the audience, why don’t you go harass them, come on.
And don’t hate me you guys, this is a first for me, but I genuinely like and wish the best for the all of the major players of this season. I know! And this actually made my job much harder than usual, as I didn’t want to be needlessly cruel or snarky to any of them (aside from Pineapple Head and Kalon Dru-Zod, obviously). As she was in Wombat’s season, St. Emily appears to be a very sweet woman and good mother, and nothing that happened in this season changed my opinion of her. She managed to keep her dignity in an inherently undignified situation, and I have respect for her, believe it or not. Or at least as much respect as I can have for any contestant on one of these ridiculous shows. Additionally, both Cal Naughton, Jr. and Justin Wannabieber seemed like genuine, decent men, who were hard to dislike. I wish happiness for them all, and for Little Ricky Bobby, Jr., and I don’t want to see any of them on one of these shows ever again.
And with that, we are done. Which (siiiigh) means it’s Bachelor Pad time. Lord, box wine me strength and help me rediscover my snark, because I’m going to need it.
PREVIOUSLY: SPOILER TIME, KIDS: If you have not yet watched tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette and do not want to know whom St. Emily chose, I don’t know why you are reading this, but FAIR WARNING, I’m about to tell you, so you may want to avert your eyes/click away from here. CLICK AWAY FROM HERE NOW!
SHE CHOSE JUSTIN WANNABEIBER, OR AS HE IS KNOWN EVERYWHERE BUT HERE: “JEF!” The quirky, skateboard-riding, crazy-haired, soft-spoken, water guy (I think?) from Salt Lake City was her ultimate choice, despite (or perhaps because of) being the diametric opposite of Brad Womack (Wombat), her previous Bachelor “fiance.” Not only did St. Emily choose Justin Wannabieber, she was so certain of her choice, she dumped poor Cal Naughton, Jr. (Arie) without even going on a last date with him. SORRY. YOU GO HOME NOW. KBAI. LOL.
I will have a full recap of the three-hour-long shenanigans (“The Most Emotional Bachelorette Finale EVER”) sometime tomorrow, but I didn’t think it was right to leave you hanging. So, until then, may I offer you the final rose of the evening?
The Bachelorette used to air Mondays at 7 p.m. on ABC, and required copious amounts of red wine to get through. But not again until next summer.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.