March 10, 2014
Worst Bachelor ever, or The BEST Bachelor ever?
I am not here to defend Juan Pablo or say that he was anything but a misogynistic, narcissistic, borderline sociopathic pendejo who used this show as his personal harem for 8 weeks, because there is no mistake: that’s what he was. But what I am asking is how that makes him any different from 99% of all the other Bachelors on this ridiculous series? Let’s be honest, Juan Pablo was exactly as genuinely interested in finding a wife during this process as Alex Michael or Wombat or Bob Guiney or that one guy with the stupid hair, Ben Flajnik or Andrew Firestone, which is to say NOT AT ALL INTERESTED. The difference is, those guys all kept to The Bachelor script and Juan Pablo, he could not read the script because it was not in Español.
Juan Pablo was a jerk to the women — almost all of them in fact, certainly the ones who stuck around long enough for him to notice they were there — and I am not excusing any of that for any reason. But I do think that to some degree the callous way Juan Pablo treated the women on this show, his casual disregard of their feelings in favor of his “honesty,” and the way he treated them as disposable objects, all of this laid bare the inherent sexism and misanthropy of this series itself. Juan Pablo certainly did not come on the series to do all that; he’s much to conservative and conventional (not to mention estupido) to pull off something that radical intentionally. But his inability to understand the rules of the show, much less follow them, ended up exposing the emotional con game that The Bachelor is — and it felt a little dangerous.
You could see the panic radiating off of The Producers every time Chris Harrison would take Juan Pablo aside to discuss some clumsy, rude thing Juan Pablo had just done: Was that what Juan Pablo really meant to do (be it slut shame or use his daughter as an excuse or not listen to the ladies or lie, repeatedly lie and manipulate), or was he just being misunderstood because of cultural differences? And every single time, Juan Pablo would insist that “ees okay,” and he was just being “honest.” Which is the thing: Juan Pablo’s honesty is what is underneath your average Bachelor’s careful script about “journeys” and “self-discovery” and “emotional truths.” Juan Pablo’s honesty burned all that language away, and in the process he very nearly burned down the whole shebang.
And so, while Juan Pablo is an awful person who should never be trusted with another human being’s emotions, if, like me, you find the series depressing and hopeless and sexist and a lie being spoon fed to our culture about what love is supposed to look like and if, like me, you would like to see the whole thing go up in flames once and for all, then Juan Pablo very well might be the best Bachelor yet.
We begin the evening in the Women Tell All holding pen with Chris Harrison assuring us and the incredulous studio audience that this will be one of the “most surprising” finales in the history of the series. Chris Harrison then adds that Juan Pablo has promised that he has a “big surprise” for all of us tonight, but unless it’s that Juan Pablo is going to reveal on the “After the Final Rose” special that all of this has been a stunt for the reboot of Punk’d or that his participation on both The Bachelorette and The Bachelor was actually all part of his Gender Studies doctorate thesis, consider me skeptical.
Chris Harrison then slathers a thick layer of foreshadowing on us: Will one of the final two women become his wife? Will Juan Pablo propose? If he proposes will she say yes? And was Juan Pablo actually here to find love in the first place? And I’m guessing from your tone and stank face, Chris Harrison, that the answer to all of the above is a resounding NOPE. So, can we go home now?
Instead we return to St. Lucia, where The Producers are holding Juan Pablo’s entire family hostage to force them to meet these final two women — one of whom they’ve already met thanks to Juan Pablo’s stubborn refusal to play this game correctly — but whatever.
Niña de Papá is first, and Juan Pablo reminds us that he “likes Niña de Papá a lawt,” that they have a strong physical connection, and that they had a bit of trouble in Vietnam when after they went “swimming” he decided that she was a big slutty slut and he was obligated to let her know. But now he’d like her to meet his familia and his daughter that he was so concerned about, because consistency is not one of Juan Pablo’s strong suits.
Niña de Papá is charmed by Camila and Juan Pablo’s relationship with his daughter, and burbles excitedly about how “sexy” he is as a padre, not that she’s working out her own daddy issues on him or anything, because that’d be weird. What she does know is that Juan Pablo would make an excellent padre for her own niños and she’s ready to make that happen yesterday.
Niña de Papá joins the familia for lunch, where she explains that she, too, comes from a large familia. She has 13 nieces and nephews and can’t wait to have niños of her own — tres, to be exact. And that’s when someone, Juan Pablo’s hermano, I think, says something along the lines of that you can have tres, unless they are all girls, in which case you keep on trying until you get that boy. And I know that this is a common line of thought within our culture, but I still think it speaks volumes.
Niña de Papá first speaks to la Madre de Juan Pablo one-on-one, and assures her that her son “gets” and “sees” her. Madre is like, “Oh, Pobrecita, no,” before pointedly asking Niña de Papá how communication with her son is. Niña de Papá explains that, in fact, she and Juan Pablo have already had a “disagreement” but they communicated with each other their feelings (he told her he felt that she was a slut, she cried), and everything worked out just fine! Madre is all, “oh, Pobrecita, noooo,” before reminding Niña de Papá that her son is very, very rude. Niña de Papá admits that he has made her cry, And Madre replies, “ME, TOO,” and that is the moment when Niña de Papá should have thanked Madre and the rest of the familia for their time, returned to the hotel, packed her bags and said “adiós” to Juan Pablo once and for all because NO. NOPE! NO, MA’AM. When the mother of a grown-ass man tells you that her son been so rude to her as to make her cry, DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO WITH THAT MAN.
Instead, Niña de Papá burbles something inane about how Juan Pablo was just being “honest,” that he wasn’t trying to hurt her feelings, he just did it effortlessly. And then! After talking with Madre, Niña de Papá manages to pull off such self-delusional gymnastics as to declare that her romantic feelings towards Juan Pablo were confirmed when Madre warned her that her own son is a rude jackhole. HOW DOES THAT WORK? YOU ARE MAKING ME DRINK SO HARD, NIÑA DE PAPÁ, AND WE AREN’T EVEN 15 MINUTES INTO THIS THING.
Niña de Papá then visits with Juan Pablo’s cousin who straight-up tells her that at the first sign of problems Juan Pablo will just walk away. HE TELLS HER THAT! But Niña de Papá is not to be deterred, and chirps something about how she would continue fighting for him or something, it’s clear that SHE IS NOT. LISTENING. THEY ARE TELLING YOU THAT HE IS THE WORST. HE IS A RUDE JERK WHO RUNS AWAY FROM RELATIONSHIPS, AND THIS IS COMING FROM HIS FAMILIA.
Juan Pablo then chats with his cousin who warns Juan Pablo that Niña de Papá is ready to get married and make the babies right. now. Juan Pablo, hee knows, ees okay.
Meanwhile, Niña de Papá visits with Padre de Juan Pablo, who is very charming and very sweet and assures her that if his son chooses her, she will have a new padre in him. And if Juan Pablo doesn’t choose her, ~cough, cough~, he will always think of her fondly. Oh, Padre, how did you raise such a gilipollas for a son? How did this happen?
Niña de Papá declares that after this visit, she now knows that Juan Pablo was “raised right,” which, sí! His familia clearly are muy nice people! Muy nice people who have their ojos wide open about who their Juan Pablo is! And you should LISTEN TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING TO YOU. Because just because he was raised right doesn’t mean that something didn’t go terribly, terribly awry later on, Quierda.
With that, Juan Pablo walks Niña de Papá back to the hotel shuttle, ok, adiós to you.
Before we get to Nurse Nikki’s visit, what is going on here?
Is St. Lucia just filled with ocean horses? Sea horses, if you will? AND I WILL, GRACIAS VERY MUCHO.
So, the next day, Nurse Nikki is brought in to re-meet the family, receive their warnings. Nurse Nikki, if you’ll remember, met Juan Pablo’s padres, daughter and baby madre back in Miami while wearing cutoffs and a robe, which might be why no one seems particularly excited to see her again. Everyone chats congenially about their travels so far, and Nurse Nikki makes some noises about how grateful she has been for the experience and to get to know someone as “special” as Juan Pablo. The familia exchange knowing glances.
Nurse Nikki first visits with Padre who asks about her feelings regarding Juan Pablo being a single father, and she blah blahs something boring about how being Camila’s father made him into the man she cares about now, who cares. Nurse Nikki asks Padre what Juan Pablo’s biggest flaw is, and he answers, incorrectly, that his son is “stubborn.” And he is! But that is far from Juan Pablo’s most glaring flaw. Padre warns Nurse Nikki that being married isn’t easy, but does she listen?
During her chat with Nurse Nikki, Madre opens with a weird question: How does Nurse Nikki imagine a weekend with Juan Pablo? Nurse Nikki, she knows that Juan Pablo has Camila on the weekends, so she thinks they’d go out to the pool or the beach, something fun and active and like a normal familia. Madre finds this hilarious, and explains that, no, Tontita, she’ll start her weekend making Juan Pablo a big breakfast to give him energy for an exhausting day of watching fútbol on television while she ponders where her life took such a terrible wrong turn.
Juan Pablo’s cousin repeats the warning he gave Clare about Juan Pablo being a big jerky coward who flees from relationship issues rather than face them head-on lest his inflated, delicate ego ever be challenged, and Nurse Nikki assures him that she likes Latino passion! THAT’S NOT WHAT HE SAID, DUMMY. YOU ARE DELIBERATELY. NOT. LISTENING. YOU DUMMY.
And so with a few goodbye kisses, and a couple platitudes about the “hard choice” he is facing, Juan Pablo sends her back to the hotel, bemoaning that he “can’t keep both.”
Back in the Women Tell All pit, Chris Harrison chats with some Bachelor fans and former cast members regarding their feelings up to this point, and the consensus seems to be, “Ugh, this guy,” because seriously though. For really.
The next day, Juan Pablo and Niña de Papá meet for their last date, which is surprisingly the first helicopter date of the season. How’d that happen? Was The Bachelor helicopter budget finally depleted? Or were they afraid that trying to translate what Juan Pablo is mumbling while using a headset with helicopter engine whirring overhead would be enough to drive their caption editors completely insane once and for all? In any event, they fly around St. Lucia for a while Niña de Papá yammers about how excited she is to possibly be getting engaged in a couple of days, you know, your typical helicopter date nonsense.
BUT THEN! Niña de Papá explains that when they landed, there was a moment when they were all alone in the helicopter without any cameras or microphones, and Juan Pablo leaned over and whispered, “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, something something gross and sexual and objectifying.”
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care what, exactly, Juan Pablo said to her. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT JUAN PABLO SAID TO HER! But the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Whatever he said was so disgusting and disrespectful that it finally penetrated Niña de Papá’s thick bedrock of self-delusion enough to give her pause, so we clearly know it was something gooooooood. And by “good” I mean “stunningly horrible.”
So they spend the remainder of the date with Niña de Papá in a state of dull shock, wondering if she’s made a huge mistake while Juan Pablo obliviously leads her around on a hike in the mountains. Of course, the moment to wonder if you’d made a huge mistake is the first time he slut shames you on national television, Pobrecita, but it’s a little late for that.
That evening, Niña de Papá lets Juan Pablo into her hotel room, but does not greet him with a besito, and he immediately knows that something no ees okay. She sits him on the couch and explains that what he said to her in the helicopter was completely offensive and unacceptable. She won’t get into the more “private” things that he said, which were NOT OKAY, but just saying that they didn’t know one another, that was a terrible! This is their last time together, so what does he have to say for himself?
Juan Pablo starts by whining that she didn’t greet him with his expected besitos, before declaring that he “doesn’t need the pheesical anymore,” whatever that means. He then delivers some nonsense about how the fact is that they don’t know each other completely yet, that there will be things that he will learn about her that he won’t like, there will be things about him that she does not like, and that this is what he was talking about when he said they don’t know one another.
For some reason, Juan Pablo then reminds Niña de Papá that she was the one who created the no kissing rule in South Korea, only to then turn around and break it, WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NADA.
And when that goes nowhere, Juan Pablo drags his daughter back into it, claiming that thees ees hard for heem, he has una daughter to theenk about, and un proposal, eet ees very serious busenees. And that is all it takes for Niña de Papá to put away all of her well-founded reservations and declare that this is what she needed to hear to be able to move forward with Juan Pablo. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? HE JUST TOLD YOU THAT IN TIME HE IS GOING TO LEARN THAT THERE ARE THINGS HE HATES ABOUT YOU, BEFORE HE SLUT SHAMED YOU AGAIN, AND THEN HE REMINDED YOU THAT HE HAS A DAUGHTER. WHAT PART OF THIS DID YOU NEED TO HEAR?
~deep cleansing breaths~
Juan Pablo, not content to humiliate Niña de Papá just once or twice this episode, goes on to tell her every single thing she wants to hear: that if they were to get engaged, they could move somewhere, to Sacramento even, and that they would have a baby within two months, and that she is so speecial to him. He then pulls out his phone and plays that song by that one guy who performed for them on their first date, and Niña de Papá suggests that they should play it at their wedding, because the self-delusion is strong with this one. Incomprehensibly, heart-breakingly strong.
Even Chris Harrison back at the Women Tell All containment facility, he can’t believe what he is hearing and shakes his head in disappointment. And when you’ve lost Chris Harrison, Juan Pablo, you’ve lost America.
The next day is Nurse Nikki’s last date, and she earnestly explains to us that she is very much in love with Juan Pablo, and what she wants on this final date is for Juan Pablo to tell her how he feels about her — that the one thing that is missing, the one thing she needs is Juan Pablo telling her that he loves her. KEEP DREAMING, TONTITA. Even if Juan Pablo weren’t a half-witted narcissist incapable of expressing genuine emotions for anyone other than his daughter, that is not how this show works, honey.
The two head out on a catamaran while Nurse Nikki continues to burble about how important it is to her that Juan Pablo open up emotionally with her. It’s all rather sad, honestly. The two then laze around a beach where Nurse Nikki, trying to prod something, anything out of Juan Pablo, wonders what he’s going to do when this is all over and he no longer has his own private island. Juan Pablo offers that he will be back at home, watching TV, movies, maybe some baseball by himself. Completely alone. He will just spend some quality time with the one person he loves most in this world: Juan Pablo.
But instead of saying, “As the great Maya Angelou once said, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ You have just told me how this is all going to end and I now have everything I need to move forward. It’s been real!” and getting on the catamaran and sailing off into the sunset, Nurse Nikki spends the rest of the day with him.
That evening, Nurse Nikki lets Juan Pablo into her hotel room where she gives him a framed photograph of them on one of their dates, and a card in which she pours out her feelings for Juan Pablo and declares her love for him. Juan Pablo reads this, kisses her, and then jumps up to leave: “¡Ees okay! ¡See ju tomorrow! ¡Adiós!”
After he leaves, Nurse Nikki sobs piteously on the couch because I don’t even know why. He didn’t say “I love you,” back? That’s just dumb. That’s dumb! It’s like she’s never seen this show before! But if she’s acting like a sloppy snuffling fool because he didn’t make her feel cared for in return, then I don’t even know what we are doing here. QUIT BLUBBERING AND GO PACK YOUR BAGS, TONTITA, HE IS THE TERRIBLEST.
Finally, what we all came here for in the first place some 9 weeks ago: the final rose ceremony. While the ladies puts on their fancy gowns and strap on their strappy shoes, they explain that they are certain that they will be the one to whom Juan Pablo will propose. And it’d be funny if it wasn’t so terribly, terribly sad.
Niña de Papá is on the dreaded first boat to Proposal Island, which only means one thing: a return trip to Sacramento on Spinster Airlines. But she doesn’t know that as she steps off the boat and onto the beach in her stilletos, and would it have killed you, Producers, to give her some solid flooring to walk on, or, at the very least, let Chris Harrison escort her all the way across the beach instead of making her hobble her way towards him for twenty feet in the sand?
As it turns out, making her way across the sand in heels will be the least of Niña de Papá’s worries today. Chris Harrison deposits her in front of Juan Pablo, to whom she immediately begins a whole spiel about how she knows they have something special and how she believes in him.
Juan Pablo smiles wanly before telling her that he wishes tha earth would suck heem in right now because he’s gotta be honeest weeth her, she needs to go home now, ees okay, adiós. Juan Pablo goes in for a hug, but Niña de Papá IS NOT HAVING IT, and, in the first evidence of her actually possessing a spine, she shoves him away.
That last night together, she was looking for reassurance from him, and he told her he would MOVE TO SACRAMENTO FOR HER. This is MIERDA. Maria Callas and Abbie Carmichael, Esq. had the decency to walk away when they realized they didn’t have feelings for him, the least he could have done was the same and spare her this humiliation. And as she walks away from him, Niña de Papá informs him that she has lost all respect for him. She thought she knew what kind of hombre he was, but after what he just put her through, she’d never want her children to have a father like him.
And the crowd goes wild.
As she walks away, Juan Pablo puts the final nail in the coffin in his relationship with America by hissing that he’s glad he didn’t choose her anyway. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Great burn, Juan Pablo.
Unfortunately, we are not done here.
Before Nurse Nikki disembarks onto Proposal Island, Chris Harrison assures us that even though they didn’t show it, Juan Pablo did meet with Neil Lane to pick out a ring. The question remains, however, if he will use it or just hurl it into the ocean at the Sea Horse.
Nurse Nikki arrives and tells Juan Pablo that everything is amazing and she would like to spend the rest of her life with him, por favor. And also, too, she loves him.
Juan Pablo listens to all of this with an uncomfortably tight smile and declares that he loves … everything about her. And that he loves … how much she cares about other people. And he also loves … her honesty. But what he does not love is her, not yet, and so that’s why even though he has a ring in his pocket, he’s not going to offer it to her out of respect to her padre or some made-up twaddle. Still! He’d very much like to continue stringing her along! He “likes” her a lot, which is why he is offering her the final rose instead of a ring.
But instead of flipping him the bird and taking the boat back to Self-Respectville, Nurse Nikki accepts the final rose. BOOOOOOOOOOO. EES NO OKAY.
But we are STILL not done yet! The “After the Final Rose” episodes tend to be a huge waste of everyone’s time. The scorned woman comes out and assures Chris Harrison and America that it’s cool she got dumped on national television and she’s moved on and she didn’t really want to marry that guy anyway. Then the happy couple are trotted out to promise America that they will, for reals, get married and we are all invited. We then end the hour by making sure the cycle continues by introducing the new Bachelorette, maintaining the balance in The Bachelor universe. Nothing is learned, everything is boring.
BUT NOT THIS TIME. Juan Pablo, who has no idea how this whole thing works and has proven all season that he is not the Bachelor ABC was looking for, has no interest in making Chris Harrison or ABC or The Producers happy. Ees okay? Sí, a million times sí, let’s burn it all down, Juan Pablo.
We begin with Niña de Papá, whom I never cared for. She was so tense and “perfect” and I hated the way she over-enunciated every word she said. And I would have been really happy for her for telling Juan Pablo off once and for all IF SHE HADN’T HAD SO MANY EARLIER OPPORTUNITIES TO DO SO. Here’s the thing: while what she did after being dumped by Juan Pablo was gratifying and fun to watch, she’s no hero. Winning this stupid reality show was more important to her than her own self-worth, which is why, really, this was less a victory than a petulant stomp of the foot by a toddler who didn’t get what she wanted. I will give her credit, though, for knowing how to go out on a high note, and refusing Chris Harrison’s offer to confront Juan Pablo one last time.
Juan Pablo is then brought out and is completely unrepentant. ¡I say priveet things to Niña de Papá! ¡Ees priveet! ¡Ees okay! ¡Pray for Venezuela!
Nurse Nikki comes out by herself and insists that she is still in love with Juan Pablo. When Chris Harrison asks her if Juan Pablo is in love with her, she can’t answer. She doesn’t know. Maybe? Actions speak louder than words, Chris Harrison. She’s really happy, Chris Harrison, and you can’t convince her otherwise. QUIT TELLING HER HOW SHE FEELS,
DAD CHRIS HARRISON.
So then Juan Pablo is dragged back out onto the couch, and Chris Harrison is like, “So …. that ‘surprise’ you told The Producers you had in store for us?” But Juan Pablo just stares back at him in confusion. “What ees ‘surprise?’ I have no ‘surprise’ for ju.”
The veins in Chris Harrison’s head become visible as he makes the decision to move on and ask Juan Pablo the next obvious question: so, is he in love with Nurse Nikki? Juan Pablo assures Chris Harrison that he is really very happy to be starting a life with Nurse Nikki. That’s not what Chris Harrison asked you, Juan Pablo, and you know it. Is Juan Pablo in love or what? But Juan Pablo, he is very not interested in answering this question, which just makes Chris Harrison push him even harder to answer it. “Thees ees reel life, Chris Harrison,” Juan Pablo explains, before announcing that as soon as they are done taping, he and Nurse Nikki are done with this show. “Eet was un great opportunity, we appreciate eet very mooch, pero gracias, ju go away now. AND BEFORE JU INTERRUPT ME AGEEN, CHRIS HARRISON, [Juan Pablo has] been nothing but honeest unlike the peeple in the text messages and in the compooters.”
Meanwhile, Nurse Nikki cowers next to Juan Pablo with the glassy-eyed composure of a cult victim.
Dallas Sean who is there with New Age Girl because of course he’s there, shakes his head incredulously. “There is no more privacy for you, amigo.” Also, Dallas Sean points out that in terms of Juan Pablo refusing to say whether or not he is in love with Nurse Nikki, he for one couldn’t wait to tell New Age Girl once he knew he felt that way about her.
Juan Pablo “respects” what Dallas Sean went through, pero he’s not just going to say that he loves Nurse Nikki to make Chris Harrison happy, entiende? Also, Nurse Nikki’s padre, so case closed.
But Chris Harrison is like, case is definitely NOT closed, JUST SAY YOU LOVE HER, WHY WON’T YOU SAY YOU LOVE HER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO MEAN IT, NO ONE REALLY MEANS IT ON THIS SHOW, BUT YOU ARE RUINING EVERYTHING BY REFUSING TO PLAY BY OUR RULES. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHAT IS THIS?
Nurse Nikki not incorrectly points out that there have been plenty of couples on this couch over the years who have said they were in love when they weren’t, what does Chris Harrison want Juan Pablo to do, lie? (Yes. Yes, very much so he does.)
Chris Harrison then wonders how long will Nurse Nikki give Juan Pablo to tell her he loves her before she builds up the self-respect to leave him, but she refuses to be put in a box like that, Chris Harrison. There’s no limit on love, Chris Harrison.
Chris Harrison then asks a relatively innocuous question about their future plans and whether or not they will try to live in the same city, but Juan Pablo says something mysterious about how those plans had to change after the Women Tell All special and he’s not going to discuss it. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? What it means is that Juan Pablo and Nurse Nikki are priveet people with priveet lives and they don’t have to tell ju nothing, Chris Harrison.
And with that, Chris Harrison finally tires of beating his head against the wall, and he dismisses Juan Pablo and Nurse Nikki to their priveet lives where they will go and break up in 4 to 6 weeks. Adiós, pendejo!
Before the break, Sassy Chris Harrison promises that he will introduce the new Bachelorette when they return because, “why not do this again.” And when he returns from the commercial, he asks the audience if they had a chance to “shower that one off,” before moving on, which Sassy Chris Harrison assures us he’s never been happier to do. But why don’t you tell us how you really feel, Harrison.
And then Abbie Carmichael, Esq., a.k.a. Andi, a.k.a I Gotta Find a Better Nickname, comes out because of course she does. Here’s Andi in Law and Order cos play! Here’s Andi hanging out with her hilariously disapproving family! Here’s Andi shooting a rifle! Here’s Andi running around the beach for some reason!
In the Women Tell All hole, Andi gives Chris Harrison the “After the Rose” platitudes he’s looking for about being genuine and opening herself up to love and whatever else. But I’m hoping that it’s all a ruse, and Andi will bring the same game she brought to The Bachelor. Because that Andi was smart and that Andi was not afraid of going off script. That Andi has the potential to finish what Juan Pablo started here, and burn the whole thing down. Let’s do it, Andi, let’s burn it to the ground.
The Bachelorette will begin sometime in May. I’ll bring the matches.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.