March 15, 2021
Finale time, and you’re going to need to buckle up for this one because it is A LOT.
We begin with the traditional Bachelor plinky guitar music, as Matt James explains that we are in VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS TIME now. There are two women left: No Accent and Veronica from Riverdale and the producers are expecting him to propose to one of them in a few days. To that end, Matt James is going to introduce them to his mother and his older brother/possible alter ego, John.
First to meet Momma James and John (or “John and certainly not Matt in a wig”) is No Accent, and before he introduces her to his family, Matt James explains to them that she was a late addition to the show, but that also she was “right on time.” This is very sweet! This is the kind of thing that would make for a lovely line in one’s wedding vows! Matt James also tells his mother and “brother” that his and No Accent’s lives are parallel — their experiences as biracial people in America, their work with kids — they understand each other.
Matt James escorts No Accent inside and introduces her to his family where she is greeted warmly. No Accent explains that she’s an elementary school teacher who made the scary choice to put her life on hold for Matt James because he’s a “world changer.”
Brother John takes her aside to assess her “vibe” and asks her what qualities she sees in his brother that make her think he could be a long-term partner. No Accent describes Matt James as someone she can trust, that he’s a man of his word. John also asks her about her last serious relationship, and she explains that it ended in January, but should have ended much earlier — it became unhealthy. As for all this, falling for someone this quickly, it’s all new to her. John is duly impressed and notes that his brother seems happy, but that Mom will be the ultimate test.
Momma James meets with No Accent and immediately bursts into happy tears. So I think she has Momma James’ vote.
Momma James sits with Matt James and tells him that 1. she can see how No Accent made it to the final two and that 2. he might have found his future wife, and nothing could make her happier. Momma James then tells all of us in an interview that if things work out, she could easily see No Accent being a part of their family.
The next day it’s Veronica from Riverdale‘s turn to meet Mom and John, and she recognizes that this is a deal-breaker for her: if they don’t accept for some reason, it’s over.
Veronica from Riverdale assures Momma James and Brother James that Matt James has made the entire process much easier than it could have been and that she’s learned a lot about being vulnerable and wearing her heart on her sleeve — it’s all about being completely honest, something she’s had trouble with in the past.
John is the first to chat with Veronica from Riverdale where he asks her about her previous serious relationships, and she reveals she hasn’t really been in any. Sure, there was a high school boyfriend and one guy in college, but she had never experienced “true love” until now.
As for what it is about Matt James that makes her want to spend her life with him: he makes her feel safe and comfortable, and he’s funny.
As for Matt James and his mother, she tells him that Veronica from Riverdale is “cute,” which, as a mother of a young man of a certain age, I assure you is not the compliment you might think it is.
Momma James then sits with Veronica from Riverdale who explains that when Matt James prayed over the women on the first night, she felt “in [her] soul” she was supposed to be there, that “God put [them] together.”
Veronica from Riverdale tells Momma James that she’s in love with her son and Momma James is like, “Hmmm. That’s nice.”
And with that, Matt James sends Veronica from Riverdale back to her hotel suite to wait for their final date. (You’re going to want to get comfortable, girl. Find some snacks.)
The next day, Matt James meets with his mother and brother alone to get their thoughts and advice, and they’re like, “I mean, they’re great, and it’s neat to meet the women who could potentially be our future daughter-in-law and sister-in-law … one day. But how sure are you about this whole ‘getting-engaged-in-two-days-from-now’ thing? Is there some wiggle room there? Are you legally required to do go through with it? Because falling in love is wonderful and all, but speaking from experience, love fades, people fall out of love, it’s not the be-all, end-all.” As Matt James begins to turn a peculiar shade of green, his mother lies that she and John will support him in whatever he chooses to do.
Matt: I’m ready for marriage
— Llama Drama (@sweatsandpizza) March 16, 2021
Ten minutes earlier, Matt James was prepared to propose to one of these women, but now that his mother is like, “LOVE IS A LIE, LOL,” he’s completely shook and requests an audience with Chris Harrison.
Matt James explains to Chris Harrison that he’s having doubts about getting engaged in two days, and Chris Harrison is like, “WAIT, WHAT, NO, WHAT?” Matt James explains that his mother says that love changes, that feelings fade and it’s giving him a lot to think about.
“Love ends, love fades … what kind of greeting card is that?” Chris Harrison replies, AND WE WILL GET BACK TO THAT IN A MINUTE.
Matt James explains that he doesn’t want to mess this up: he doesn’t want to do something just to make
the producers No Accent or Veronica from Riverdale happy in the moment, he wants to do what is right. He doesn’t want to start a serious relationship built on a lie or do something that neither of them is really ready for. Chris Harrison demands to know what this means, and Matt James explains that he just owes it to both women to be real with them and he promises to “stay open-minded” about what the next step will be.
So, to translate: at the behest of the producers, Matt James is leaving the door open for the audience to believe he still might propose to someone at the end of this episode when, in fact, he has absolutely no intention to do so. But we still have another hour of this to get through, and you don’t want people switching over to The Voice.
And before we move on to the final dates, I just want to make a few points about what just happened here, mainly that I think both Momma James and Chris Harrison are in the wrong, but for very different reasons.
Chris Harrison’s greeting card comment was incredibly revealing, because while he’s not wrong — “Love fades” would be a terrible greeting card message — the bottom line is life isn’t a greeting card; functioning adult relationships are not greeting cards. And this insistence that relationships are essentially bloodless fairy tales or can be summed up in a brief platitude is every single thing that is wrong with this stupid show. I am not one of those people who says that relationships are “work” or that maintaining a marriage is hard because in my experience it hasn’t been. But it also isn’t a lifetime of helicopter dates and champagne in hot tubs and believing that once that ring is on your finger there won’t be years of compromises and having to be intentionally thoughtful and express kindness even when you don’t feel particularly like being kind is an immature way to approach any relationship. The bottom line is real relationships don’t have production crews keeping the romance alive for you — you have to make that happen, you’re in charge of your own happiness, CHRIS HARRISON.
So I obviously don’t disagree with Matt James’ family’s hesitations about him moving too fast and becoming engaged to someone he’s been on all of two dates with. It’s the stupidest, most unrealistic part of this show as I’ve screamed for ten years now. HOWEVER. That being said, his mother dumping her own emotional baggage on Matt James just seems unnecessary and immature on her part — just because her relationship ended in failure does not mean all relationships are doomed. While I appreciate the “slow down” message she was trying to convey to him, all he heard was “this is going to fail.” She literally cursed him with doubt and that is just unfair.
But — and this is based on absolutely nothing at all but hindsight from knowing how this episode and everything else ultimately ends — but I wonder if there was more to Momma James’s reaction. I wonder if Matt James shared with his mother and brother who he was going to pick, and that’s why she went so hard on the “love fades” angle, that — SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS OR IN A COMA OR SOMETHING — she worried he was making the wrong choice, that he was bypassing the mature elementary school teacher in favor of the immature young woman with whom he had less in common with because he was infatuated. We don’t see the entire conversation, and you must always remember that there is so much editing that is done on these shows — there is a strong chance they cut a lot of this discussion out to preserve the big reveal at the end. But based on the two meetings with the women, it sure does feel like his mother and brother take such a hard “don’t rush into an engagement” line with him because they are concerned about who he is choosing, not because they think he’s not ready to get married.
OF COURSE, THAT’S 100% PURE UNCUT CONJECTURE, JUST SO WE’RE ALL CLEAR.
Right, so, we’re still pretending that this is a regular finale episode, and Matt James goes on his final date with No Accent. They meet at the big hotel, where he takes her up to the roof and explains that they are going to rappel down the building even though there are perfectly good stairs and elevators available to them.
They get rigged up, and Matt James talks a big game about “don’t look down” and “going for it,” when suddenly this dingus, he flings himself backward, and essentially finds himself hanging upside down like a dumbass.
— 🌻𝓒𝓸𝓾𝓻𝓽𝓷𝓮𝔂🌻 (@CourtneyMenig) March 16, 2021
No Accent, who has a brain in her head, manages to follow directions, and soon they are reading from The Bachelor script about “taking a leap of faith” and how “love is a risk” and “helping each other get through something together,” and MY GOD, FIND OTHER METAPHORS, YOU LAZY HACKS.
Their reward is, for some reason, a couch on the resort’s runway.
— Unimpressed Giraffe 🦒 (@adultingiguess) March 16, 2021
There, they discuss meeting his family and how well it went. No Accent then discusses how surreal it is to be in this moment, and asks if he’s able to get to where he needs to be emotionally for what comes next. Matt James talks about how it’s something that has been weighing on his mind and that’s why it was so important for him to see his father again. In fact, his conversations with both parents were difficult since they’ve both experienced so much pain, but it was necessary for him to be able to make the best decision for himself.
— Unimpressed Giraffe 🦒 (@adultingiguess) March 16, 2021
Matt James then tells us in a talking head that it “hurts [his] chest” because No Accent is over here pouring her heart out and telling him how assured she is in them, and he “doesn’t know where [he’s] at.”
YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOU’RE “AT,” MATT JAMES, AND WHERE YOU’RE “AT” IS “NOT PROPOSING TO NO ACCENT.” QUIT LYING.
Anyway. Before they meet that night in No Accent’s hotel room, Matt James is sighing heavily and saying that he’s not sure if he can “get there” with No Accent, while she’s burbling happily about having found her “person.” It’s like watching a slow-motion car crash and I can’t stop cringing.
First, they discuss rappelling down the side of the hotel and how it fits into No Accent’s goal for coming on this show to find a “teammate.”
No Accent then tells him again that she is in love with him.
No Accent tells him that she can’t imagine leaving Pennsylvania without him.
She then presents him with a gift: a basketball jersey for the “World Changing Warriors” on the front and “Mr. James” on the back.
AND OH NO, SHE HAS ONE FOR HERSELF, TOO, WITH “MRS. JAMES” ON THE BACK. OH NO OH NO I CAN NOT HANDLE ALL OF THIS CRINGE.
And it’s this, the “Mrs. James” jersey that I think finally pushes Matt James off the edge. No Accent notices that he’s being awfully quiet and asks what’s going on in his head, and he’s like, “Yeah, I don’t think this is going to work between us. I have doubts and I tried to push through them today on the date, but I just don’t think I can get there with you.”
There is crying and hugging and crying and Matt James shows himself out.
Oh, No Accent. You deserved better than this. I hope you find better than this.
Chris Harrison meets a sobbing Matt James out on the curb who explains that dumping No Accent was REALLY HARD. Chris Harrison suggests that part of Matt James loved her, but Matt James is like, “I mean maybe, but I am not in love with her.” Matt James admits that he just can’t get what his mother told him about love fading out of his head, and he doesn’t want to do to either of these women what his father did to his mother.
Chris Harrison asks Matt James how he’s going to go on from here, and Matt James tells him that he needs “some time.”
To that end, the next day, Veronica from Riverdale is waiting to go on her final date with Matt James only to find herself with Chris Harrison telling her that Matt James is “emotional” and “lost” and that he “needs time” so there won’t be a date today. Veronica from Riverdale takes in this completely bonkers information with a grace that I’m not sure I could muster, and instead of screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK?” and “YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE ME A PHONE AND MATT JAMES’ TELEPHONE NUMBER, CHRIS HARRISON, BECAUSE I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS FOR HIS ‘EMOTIONAL’ ASS,” and “MOTHERFUCKER BETTER HAVE A DEATH IN HIS FAMILY,” Veronica from Riverdale just calmly closes the door and then poses pensively in her hotel suite while a voice-over explains that she is “hurt” and “confused.”
The next morning, Matt James meets with Neil Lane to pick out an engagement ring he has no intention of giving to anyone, and to tell Neil Lane all about his hesitations and doubts about this entire process. Neil Lane is like, “Listen, jackass, I quarantined for two weeks just so I could show you my briefcase of engagement rings. I don’t care if you don’t actually propose, that’s none of my business, but what we are going to do is we are going to look at some GODDAMNED RINGS and you’re going to pretend to give a shit about what a pear cut is because I DID NOT COME TO PENNSYLVANIA IN THE WINTER TO NOT DO SOME PRODUCT PLACEMENT, YOU WAFFLING IDIOT.”
Matt James does pick out a ring and tucks it into his gettin’-engaged-(maybe) suit pocket, mostly to serve as a cruel little easter egg for Veronica from Riverdale to find when she watches the episode some two months later.
Veronica from Riverdale puts on her gettin’-engaged-(maybe) dress and receives a card that reads: “I’m so sorry for making you wait. I’ve had a lot on my mind these last few days. You deserve answers. Meet me at the lake. Matt James.”
Matt James arrives at the “lake” first, where he tells Chris Harrison that he’s still not entirely sure what he’s going to do: is love enough? I mean, if the trail of failed engagements from this show is any indication, no, obviously not, but yes, let’s certainly keep dragging this out.
As Matt James waits at the proposal station which looks like a Hobby Lobby exploded in a forest:
Bachelor Matt: Meet me at the Michael’s.
Bachelorette: The craft store?
Bachelor Matt: Yup.
Bachelorette: Oh. Um, which one?
Bachelor Matt: The open-air one in a forest in Pennsylvania #Bachelor #bachelorabc pic.twitter.com/PKsbMv2ash
— Jenn M (@Bookish_Jenn) March 16, 2021
Veronica from Riverdale arrives and is greeted by Chris Harrison who asks her how she’s feeling. She admits she’s nervous and manages to not scream at Chris Harrison, “WHAT IS ALL THIS GODDAMNED MYSTERY ABOUT? WHY COULDN’T I SEE MATT JAMES YESTERDAY? AM I ABOUT TO BE PUNK’D? I SWEAR TO GOD IF ASHTON KUTCHER IS HERE, I AM LAWYERING UP.” And instead tromps through the woods in her high heels AND NO COAT down to the Michael’s display where Matt James is waiting.
There, Veronica from Riverdale says a lot of words at Matt James that basically amount to, “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON? I mean, I’m still down, but I gotta tell you, THIS SUCKS.”
Matt James replies with a heavy sigh, and he explains that he came on the show to find love and that he didn’t know what that looks like but that apparently he found it with her. THAT SAID, he doesn’t want to hurt her the way his dad hurt his mom, which is why he’s not going to propose to her today.
Instead, he’s going to offer her the final rose and a carriage ride and hope that can be enough. And because women are conditioned to accept so much less than they deserve, Veronica from Riverdale is like “Sure!” He offers her the final rose and she accepts the final rose and then they get into a horse-drawn carriage and she tries to not show that she is FUCKING FREEZING and they ride off into their happy ending. THE END. NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS AFTER THIS PART.
Rose #1: Veronica from Riverdale
Here are the ladies who were eliminated along with their very not good nicknames:
Here are the women along with their dumb nicknames who are still “dating” Matt and whose nicknames could change as the show goes on, I dunno:
LOL, obviously that is not the end of it. Not by a long shot.
Those of you who read my daily blogs know that I’ve been covering the whole plantation party/Chris Harrison/Rachel Lindsay saga as it has unfolded. But for those of you who don’t read my daily blog and also use this site as your only source of Bachelor news, 1. who are you, you weirdo? but 2. here’s what you missed:
About a month into the season, people began claiming in corners of the internet that Veronica from Riverdale attended an antebellum-themed party in college, that she had liked photos of her friends wearing racist costumes and standing in front of Confederate flags, and one person claimed in high school, Veronica from Riverdale made fun of her for dating Black guys.
And there was proof, y’all.
— Rosé (@TeaAndRoses21) February 4, 2021
Veronica from Riverdale was radio silent on the stories, but the rest of “Bachelor Nation” was not, and, in fact, Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette (and first Black Bachelor franchise lead ever) hosted an interview on Extra! with Chris Harrison. Chris Harrison was defensive and chalked it up to some sort of “cancel culture” story, talking over Lindsay and not allowing Lindsay to explain why people in the Black community might find this behavior offensive even if it did happen a whole three years ago. It was clear Harrison just wanted the story to go away — probably in large part because he knew Veronica from Riverdale was the winner (“winner”) of this season and he didn’t want the “fairy tale ending” for the first Black Bachelor to be tainted by a racism scandal. Or he’s just an ignorant White guy who doesn’t fully appreciate or take seriously the racial pain of Black Americans. You know, either or both.
However, all Chris Harrison did by being dismissive of both the controversy and Lindsay was throw fuel on the fire, and he was soon removed as host of the “After the Final Rose” special and the next season of The Bachelorette. ABC announced that former NFL player and host of the webcast series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho, would be hosting the “After the Final Rose” special, which is where we find ourselves now.
So what happened between Matt James and Veronica from Riverdale once he heard about the antebellum party? That’s what we’re going to find out just as soon as we talk to No Accent for a while.
Honestly, No Accent doesn’t have anything all that interesting to add to the conversation except for the revelation that after Matt James dumped her, she asked to speak to him to get her own closure, but he refused to see her, which is a dick move.
As for Veronica from Riverdale and the whole plantation party mess, No Accent notes that she was hurt by what she saw, but that she thinks it’s ignorance on Veronica from Riverdale‘s part. While she believes Veronica from Riverdale has a good heart, she has a lot of learning to do. And as for that mansplaining asshole Chris Harrison, his bullshit did not help an already difficult situation.
Then they bring Matt James out and she’s like, “Hey, you know what was totally not OK? What was totally not OK was dumping me and then refusing to see me so that I could give you a piece of my mind, you coward.” And Matt James is like, “Yeah, I know, and I have no justification for that. Also, too, you carried yourself so gracefully in a difficult season and showed just how much emotional labor Black women take on in this world. If I could do it again, I would have that conversation with you and I’m sorry.” Everything he says here is 100% accurate.
Emmanuel Acho asks if No Accent has anything else she’d like to say to Matt James before she maybe never sees him again, she’s like, “1. Learn to kiss with your eyes closed, like a grown-up and, 2. Come up with a better phrase than ‘Thank you for sharing that with me.'”
No Accent then leaves so that Matt James and Emmanuel Acho can talk one-on-one. Acho asks Matt James about the pressure of being the first Black Bachelor and living under that scrutiny. Matt James agrees that it was intense and he had to always be conscious of how he was presenting himself, knowing that for many viewers, it was the first time they would have someone who looks like him in their homes. Add to that all of the social justice issues that are roiling the country right now … and YEAH, EMMANUEL, IT WAS A LOT.
As for what happened with Veronica from Riverdale: after they left Pennsylvania, they were very much in a honeymoon period, and everything was wonderful. When the initial stories started coming about the antebellum party, he just assumed it was some social media crap, and he didn’t pay it any attention, and just tried to be supportive of her. But when he finally realized it wasn’t just a rumor, that the woman he is in love with put on a Southern Belle costume and partied like it was 1859, it was heartbreaking. After Veronica from Riverdale acknowledged it and apologized, he was able to check himself and figure out where he was, and where he was was not OK, because he realized that the woman he wanted to be with really didn’t appreciate or understand what it means to be Black in America.
Emmanuel Acho asks where things stand now with Veronica from Riverdale.
Matt James explains that she acknowledged in her apology that she has a lot of work to do, so he’s stepping back to allow her to do that work on her own. Translation: He dumped her ignorant ass. Yes, the event in question took place three years ago, BUT THREE YEARS AGO IS NOT A LONG TIME AGO. If your best defense is: “Well, it was 2018!” that’s not a defense. Emmanuel Acho tries to suggest that Veronica from Riverdale might be a different person now, and Matt James is like, “Listen, I am not falling into your cancel culture trap: no one is irredeemable, but she’s got some work to do, and I’m giving her the space to do it. You’re not going to get a different answer from me on this.”
Emmanuel Acho then sends Matt James away so that he can speak to Veronica Form Riverdale alone. Veronica from Riverdale, who I am completely certain has hired a crisis manager, says that things have been difficult, but that she doesn’t want to play the victim here. Emmanuel Acho asks her about the photo from the antebellum party, and what it is that she sees when she looks at it.
She sighs that she sees someone who was living in ignorance, someone who was not giving a thought to who she might be hurting. She admits she could have been asking more questions about what this “tradition” really meant, but she didn’t and that’s on her. To her
crisis manager’s credit, she doesn’t try to play the Chris Harrison “that’s normal where she grew up” card but instead reiterates that just because it might have been “normal” it was never OK.
Emmanuel Acho then tries to get at something very nuanced about racism and ignorance: “There’s a difference between being racist and racially insensitive or racially ignorant. I’ve been very intentional about saying what you did was racially insensitive, it was racially ignorant, and it plays itself out as racism. But that doesn’t necessarily classify someone as racist. You have to pull back the curtains and look at their intention. Was their intention malicious?”
And it’s a fair point — and one that Chris Harrison wouldn’t be able to express with as much weight and eloquence, had he even been able to come up with it in the first place. But it’s also important to not just brush things under the rug because they are “ignorant” as opposed to “malicious.” The only way to change behaviors, to make people conscious that what they are doing is hurtful and insulting and celebrating White supremacy, is to drag it out into the light, expose it, and loudly and repeatedly say, “THIS IS NOT OK, AND THIS IS WHY IT IS NOT OK.” So while I appreciate Acho’s argument that Veronica from Riverdale is not (necessarily) a racist, it’s still an important conversation for the country to be having.
Emmanuel Acho asks Veronica from Riverdale what took her so damn long to apologize — nearly a month after the initial story broke — and her excuse is that she wanted to
hire the very best crisis manager not just say the right words, but really understand why people were hurt because she wanted to do better.
And as for what those steps are that she is taking to educate herself? Well, Emmanuel, she could give you a list of books that she is definitely reading, but people really need to educate themselves.
Emmanuel Acho points out that it wasn’t a surprise to her that Matt James was a Black man — how often did she worry that the truth was going to come out? And Veronica from Riverdale is refreshingly honest here: she didn’t think about it once, because she was a dumb dummy who was dumb. It never once crossed her mind that what she had participated in was racist and insulting therefore she never worried about it.
Emmanuel Acho asks her to walk him through the breakup conversation, and she’s like, “I was confused at first, but then I realized that if he was really willing to end things, then I had done fucked up.” Veronica from Riverdale then calls Matt James the “love of [her] life,” and insists that she is still in love with him.
When Matt James returns to the couch, Veronica from Riverdale repeats that she’s sorry, her love for him is real, and that she realized that for him to dump her, he must have really been hurt. Matt James pulls the old, “I’m not mad, just disappointed” card before descending into an awkward silence while he struggles to figure out what, exactly, he should say that will be clear to her why he was upset, but not too revealing for all the rubberneckers watching at home. Matt James settles on telling her that what upset him the most about the situation is that he had to explain to her what was so problematic with doing Gone With the Wind cosplay.
OH DAMN, SO SHE DIDN’T GET IT AT ALL? HE STILL HAD TO EXPLAIN IT TO HER AFTER EVERYTHING BLEW UP? Oh shit.
Matt James then adds that the whole situation made him realize that she does not fully understand his Blackness, what it means for him to be a Black man in America, and what it would mean for their children.
Wait wait WAIT … you’re saying that you just now realized that the White sorority girl from Georgia might not understand the Black American experience?
Veronica from Riverdale insists that the only reason she decided to do the show was that he was going to be the Bachelor, and she obviously knew he was a Black man, so, when you think about it, she does get it. And anyway, she’s never loved anyone like this, and can’t see anyone else out there for her.
Emmanuel Acho asks if there is even a slight possibility for reconciliation, and Matt James is like, “Look, my feelings obviously don’t just disappear overnight, but I can’t do the work for her that she needs to do to not be an ignorant fool. I don’t want her to be ‘canceled’ or whatthefuckever, but she needs some Her Time. But her Her Time does not involve me time.”
Emmanuel Acho asks Veronica from Riverdale the same question he posed to No Accent: pretend this is the LAST TIME EVER you’ll speak to Matt James, what do you want to say to him? And she says some well-crafted crisis management bullshit about being grateful for having him in her life and thankful for the time they shared. With that, Emmanuel Acho suggests they share one “final embrace” which begins the single most awkward long sigh-filled what-must-felt-like-an-hour-but-was-probably-only-10-seconds pause I’ve ever seen. They do not embrace. Instead, Matt James tells her that he “doesn’t know if it will never not hurt hearing those things.”
And that’s when Emmanuel Acho is like, “WELL ENOUGH OF THAT! Next up, we announce the big Bachelorette reveal!” And as you know by now, the big Bachelorette reveal is that there will be two Bachelorettes, but not in a terrible Kaitlyn/Britt pitted against each other kind of way. Instead, No Accent (Michelle) and Dildo Queen (Katie) will each have their own seasons, both this year, please pray for me.
But before we leave this season of The Bachelor, I want to note what a wasted opportunity it was: Matt James was the first Black Bachelor in a turbulent moment for our country and this season could have been a deliberate learning experience for a lot of Americans. As it turns out, it did become a learning experience, but a completely unintentional one — and one the producers desperately did not want it to be. But had the show chosen to make Matt James’ Blackness an important part of the entire narrative instead of mentioning it briefly in the first episode and then pretending it was not a factor for every single episode following, it could have been a very interesting and enlightening cultural conversation.
Compare this season to Tayshia’s Bachelorette season which aired just weeks before: she had meaningful conversations with many of the men about so many important issues, including, but not just about matters of race. With multiple men, Tayshia discussed the Black Lives Matter movement, police violence, parental abandonment issues, mental health issues, eating disorders, struggles with suicidal ideations, and addiction.
And in this historic season of The Bachelor, instead of talking about similarly important topics — and having conversations that actually help you understand and connect with a person in a meaningful way — we got a bunch of women bullying each another. But here’s the thing: I don’t actually blame the editors (that much) — I blame the producers and the casting agents. Because The Bachelorette was originally casting for The Oldest Bachelorette EVER (as they insisted on reminding us every five minutes) they cast a bunch of grown-ass men in their 30s, men who had experienced life a bit and who were (relatively) mature. The average age of the contestants on Matt James’ season was 25. And that number is as high as it is because there were some 30 year-olds included in the original cast who were eliminated on the first night. You’re just not going to have the same level of maturity with a bunch of women who were in college a year ago (or, in College Girl’s case, LITERALLY STILL IN COLLEGE). The bottom line is this lack of maturity not only prevents the sort of soul-bearing conversations we saw explored in Tayshia’s season, I genuinely think it is the single thing that keeps the majority of the relationships on this dumb show from being successful in the long haul.
This season was always doomed to failure, from the moment they cast a bunch of 22, 23, and 24-year-old women, including Veronica from Riverdale, who by sheer virtue of their age have not really had much life experience. In fact, ironically enough, this probably will end up becoming one of Veronica from Riverdale‘s most defining life experiences, one of the moments that ultimately matures her and will make her a good partner for someone else down the road. But it was never going to be Matt James.
As for our friend Matt James, he also seems to have learned something valuable from the entire experience.
✍🏾 Google ✍🏾 Therapist ✍🏾 Near me
— Matt James (@mattjames919) March 16, 2021
See y’all in May (probably).
The Bachelor airs on ABC and will return next January.