‘The Bachelor’: Finding Bigfoot

The Bachelor
March 11, 2019

It’s been over a week since The Bachelor ended in a four-hour endurance test extravaganza and by now even those who don’t watch this dumb show know what happened: Colton was dumped; Colton jumped a fence; Colton dumped; Colton was given a second chance by the woman who dumped him in the first place thanks to a predictably toxic cocktail of manipulation, pity, and women being taught their entire lives that they have to be kind and nice and never hurt a man’s feelings. Yay, happy endings.

And I wanted to begin this two-part post with some sort of intelligent or insightful commentary about how Colton, in almost quitting the show and not pressuring the woman he ultimately chose with a teevee proposal, he exposed the show for the weak facsimile of romance and how we develop relationships that it is. By tearing everything down and not going through the proper prescribed steps of the show in their proper order, Colton reminded us that this show is not “real life” or how real people grow in healthy relationships.

Except I can’t write that because in the end, Colton and Butterflies do still go through the motions, they still do attend the Bachelor’s required steps: meeting the parents, going on a “Fantasy Suite” date, offering and accepting the “final rose” as if that is some sort of signifier of ANYTHING.

But in addition to all that, there is the icky message that Colton’s second chance sends. Colton choosing to go back to the woman who dumped him, along with backup from a team of producers and a camera crew and the pressure of knowing that all of America would see what would happen next, and asking Butterlfies to take him back — it makes me uncomfortable. What real choice did Butterflies have in that moment? How could she do anything but agree to continue dating him and seeing where things would go? Telling him no, that she had made up her mind about him, and he needs to respect that would have made her seem heartless and cold to millions of Americans and she would be Enemy #1 of the so-called “Bachelor Nation” — shit, I can see the Us Weekly headlines now. If Colton were more mature, he would have either respected her decision and let her go home and move on with his life, or he would have let her go home, give her some time and space and then attempt to reconnect with her away from the glare of the cameras, and away from the pressure of giving the audience a happy ending that they in no way have earned.

But that doesn’t sell toothpaste and trips to Disney World so here we are.

We begin this, the first part of a two-part, FOUR-HOUR (sweet Jesus, help me) season finale with a montage of the entire season and what led up to what Chris Harrison describes, rather histrionically, as “the jump heard around the world.”

And for the most part, this montage is just filler, a way to fill five minutes of FOUR HOURS of programming. DID I MENTION THIS THING IS FOUR HOURS LONG? BECAUSE IT IS.

But I did say “for the most part” this montage is filler because there was a moment that had completely slipped my memory which in light of the most recent episodes is actually kind of interesting. When they were in Colorado, following the aftermath of V-Card (AND Another NBA Dancer AND Red Flag) telling Colton that there were women remaining who were not ready to get married, and following Piggyback Ride and Carp both telling Colton that the women who aren’t ready are Butterflies and Miss North Carolina, following all of that, Butterflies had the gall to confront Carp for telling Colton that she was one of the women who wasn’t ready to get engaged and called her an idiot …

… WHEN BUTTERFLIES KNEW PERFECTLY WELL SHE DIDN’T WANT TO MARRY THIS GOOFBALL.

And my point is, I’d like to bring Carp back out to Chris Harrison’s proverbial “hot seat” because I would love to know what she thinks of everything that has since happened, having been COMPLETELY RIGHT ALL ALONG.

So then we get back to the infamous jump and Colton disappearing into the Portuguese night. We go looking for our big dopey virgin with the producers and Chris Harrison, and watch people we don’t know and whom we’ll never meet whistle at Colton like a dog, and scream, “COLTON! COLLLLTON! COLLLLLTONNN!!!” into the dark for thirty minutes. Riveting stuff.

 

Eventually, Chris Harrison and the crew find Colton and try to steer him into a car with poor results. But then the lawyers arrive with their contracts in hand Chris Harrison points out that they are in the middle of fucking nowhere, and even if Colton is “done” with this show as he keeps claiming to be, his stuff is back at the hotel and maybe he should accept a ride with them. Colton, sobbing — and messily — explains that he told Butterflies that he loved her, and she said, “I love you, too, goodbye.” Which isn’t exactly what happened, but close enough, the end result is the same. After snotting into his perfectly nice scarf for a while, Colton agrees to be driven back to the hotel to pull his shit together.

The next morning Chris Harrison visits with Colton and is like, “WELL WHAT NOW, YOU BIG DUMB LABRADOR?” Colton explains that he is in love with Butterflies and only Butterflies and he’s pretty sure she’s in love with him, too, but that she was freaked out by the fact that there were still two other women in the competition.

Note: That is not at all what Butterflies said to him to explain why she was leaving.

Anyway, his plan is to send Empty Gift Box and Piggyback Ride home to prove to Butterflies that he’s all in — even though he pretty much told her that she was his final choice and he was going to break up with the other women and she dumped his ass anyway, BUT WHO AM I TO STAND IN THE WAY OF STALKERDOM TRUE LOVE.

Colton is driven to Piggyback’s hotel room first. She is understandably surprised — but happy — to see him.

At first.

But then he sits her down outside and tells her that while she’s “incredible” and that he was “falling” for her, he’s in love with Butterflies and so she has to go home now, OK BYE. Piggyback asks if they can talk inside WITHOUT THE CAMERAS THANKYOUVERYMUCH, and they are allowed to do so, as long as they keep their mics on so that we can hear Colton sobbing, again, and Piggyback having to be the one to comfort him.

Colton eventually emerges from her hotel room, hugs her one last time, tells her she’s amazing — just not as amazing as Butterflies. Piggyback returns to her room, packs absolutely nothing, and then gets into the Não Esta Bom o Suficiente Van and drives “away.” Or in circles in the hotel driveway to make it look like she immediately left Portugal seconds after being dumped. Whichever.

Tchau, Piggyback Ride. Honestly, you were too good for this nonsense and this galoot. You can do a lot better, honey, with someone you won’t have to train in the bedroom, TRUST.

Back in the Bachelor studio, Piggyback is with Chris Harrison, reliving her humiliation, this time with a studio audience. She says pretty much what you expect: at first she was excited to see him, but she quickly figured out that he wasn’t there to propose; it hurt when he told her he was in love with Butterflies; she felt compelled to take care of him even though he had just dumped her ass because women have to do all of the emotional heavy lifting, thems just the rules.

Colton comes out and everyone is super tense which only makes it more awkward.  Piggyback Ride is like, “Yeah, it’s great to see you. SO, WHAT’S UP, WHY WASN’T I GOOD ENOUGH?” Colton pulls an “it’s not you, it’s me,” and then everyone wishes each other well and moves on to Paradise with their lives.

Next up: dumping Empty Gift Box who didn’t even have the opportunity to go on the Fantasy Suite Date and spend the night lying platonically in bed next to Colton.

Empty, too, is excited to see him, up until the moment he sits her down and pulls the “I can’t be in love with two people, and you’re not the one” line. Empty is considerably more shocked by this revelation than Piggyback appeared to be, probably because she didn’t have Piggyback’s experience of being disappointed by Colton in the bedroom.

Empty is CONSIDERABLY more angry and disbelieving that this bullshit is happening right now, and there is none of the comforting of Colton that Piggyback offered because FUCK THAT NOISE. Colton eventually leaves her hotel room in tears, wondering if he just gave up a chance for happiness with a woman who loved him for a woman who told him she didn’t want to marry him and LITERALLY RAN AWAY FROM HIM.

Which, of course, is exactly the question that the producers want him to ask himself. But I’m here to tell you that YOU’RE DOING THE RIGHT THING, COLTON. NO ONE WANTS TO BE YOUR SECOND CHOICE. (Right, Bryan?)

While Colton is being hugged by Rachel from UnREAL, Empty packs her crap and gets into the Não Esta Bom o Suficiente Van while declaring angrily to the producers that SHE DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING SO DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SHOVING THAT CAMERA IN HER FACE.

Good for you, Empty Gift Box and tchau. Honestly, he’s doing both of y’all a favor. Now go home and prepare your rap lyrics for Paradise. 

While she might not have had anything to say in the Não Esta Bom o Suficiente Van, Empty Gift Box has plenty to say in the Bachelor studio, namely that reliving being dumped is NOT FUN.

Empty goes on to tell Chris Harrison that she was completely blindsided by Colton; that she was in love with him, but isn’t anymore; that people have demanded to see the engagement ring AND IT’S SO HARD, CHRIS HARRISON, BECAUSE THERE IS NO ENGAGEMENT RING.

Colton then comes out and Empty demands to know why he told her that he was falling in love with her and to trust him and then changed his mind without giving her a chance. Colton explains that while he tried to keep his “heart as open” as he could, in that moment when he was being dumped by Butterflies, he came to realize that he would do whatever he had to to keep Butterflies in his life and that Empty didn’t deserve to be his backup plan.

Empty Gift Box, she is still fully committed to the Bachelor nonsense, and wonders if things might have gone differently if he had just played by the show’s rules and taken her on the Fantasy Suite Date, and Colton, God bless him, explicitly says what he has been talking around this whole time: he’s seen the show, he knows how it is supposed to go, but this is his life, this is a real relationship, he’s not going to be produced into an engagement that he doesn’t want just because the show needs a happy ending, i.e. a proposal to someone, anyone, it doesn’t matter who.

And good for him for breaking the fourth wall and explaining that the show is all a big dumb lie that doesn’t reflect how people really behave in relationships.

Among all the other bullshit that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette promotes is this notion that someone can date three or four people at once and have equal feelings for all of them. Look, I know it’s possible to have feelings for multiple people at once (if I were more open with my own personal life here, I would admit that it might have happened to me in the past), but I reject this notion that one can have the exact same amount of romantic affection for three or four different people at the same time. It is strictly a reality television conceit that the producers have to shill to keep the drama chugging along until we get to the big finale. It also serves another purpose: to fill those three or four remaining contestants with enough hope so that if they have doubts, they still decide to stay in the game and don’t just ditch the show when it becomes clear there is a chance they are going to be dumped on national television.

Colton is not the first Bachelor/Bachelorette star to declare his love for a contestant before the finale: Bachelorettes Desiree and Rachel both told men that they were in love with them and they were going to choose them ahead of the final episode, only to have those men turn them down. Both women then chose to continue playing by the show’s rules and accept proposals from other men. And that’s what makes this situation unusual: Empty is wondering why Colton didn’t give her more of a chance, why he didn’t play by the show’s construct, and Colton is saying that once he fell in love, the show’s lie that he could somehow still keep his heart open to two other women was not just nonsense, it would be disrespectful towards the other two women whom he cared about. It would be unnecessarily cruel to string them along just for some artificial story created by the producers.

Anyway, this is a long way to go to say that I actually have some respect for how this big Burmese Mountain Dog handled at least this part of the whole mess, and refusing to play by The Bachelor‘s dumb script. (As for what he does to Butterflies later … that’s a whole other issue.)

Chris Harrison chimes in, wondering if Colton ever considered going on the Fantasy Suite Date with Emtpy, and Colton is like, “I MEAN, HOW MUCH CLEARER DO I HAVE TO BE? I JUMPED OVER A FENCE BECAUSE I WAS DONE WITH BEING THE BACHELOR, SO NO, I DID NOT CONSIDER GOING ON AN OVERNIGHT DATE WITH A WOMAN I HAD NO INTENTION OF CHOOSING. CHRIS HARRISON.”

Empty Gift Box closes by telling Colton that what Butterflies did to him, he did to her, before insisting insincerely that she’s happy for him. No, really. She is. It’s great. Yay, him.

We then kill ten minutes of the episode talking to a bunch of former Bachelorette contestants and one Bachelor for no good god damn reason, and I refuse to transcribe it but to note that while most of the men blah blah blah about chasing true love and fighting the good fight, Becca’s winner, that donkey Garrett, the one who posted the gross things about feminists and immigrants, he is the only one on this entire show to point out that Butterflies left Colton and that maybe these two people don’t want the same thing and that he should respect her decision.

BUT NEVER MIND THAT, BECAUSE THIS IS THE BACHELOR DAMMIT AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A HAPPY ENDING COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.

Back in Portugal, Colton announces his intention to talk to Butterflies before she goes home, that he doesn’t want to leave without her. He is driven to her hotel and makes sad almost-crying faces. Meanwhile, Butterflies is still in Portugal despite having been driven away in the Por Favor Me Leve Para Casa Van in the previous episode …

… when Colton knocks on the door and the episode ends because you have to save some material FOR THE NEXT TWO HOURS OF THIS CRAP.

The second part is coming soon, stay tuned.

Here are the ladies who were eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:

 

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Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Colton:

The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 7/8 p.m.

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