SPOILER ALERT: If you have not watched this week’s episodes of The Bachelor stop reading, immediately.
I have watched ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette on and off since the first season. I usually watched the first few shows, dropped off in the middle and picked it back up when the contestants had been narrowed down to four or five. Of all the reality TV dating shows, The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise had the best track record of lasting relationships. Two Bachelorettes and one Bachelor reached the altar with their chosen “Final Rose” recipient. The majority of the couples dated then broke up.
I questioned the motives of the male contestants and Bachelors, because it could be a meat market for unscrupulous men. Fortunately, most of the men have taken the process seriously, whether they have found Ms. Right, or not. Moreover, most of the female contestants were truly looking for love – in the worst possible scenario and under international television scrutiny – but, once all the hype was stripped away, they wanted to make a love connection. This show was for folks with brass cojones, as they were willingly subjecting themselves to an artificial dating environment and giving up their privacy. In fact, the group dynamics were fascinating (cringe-worthy) to watch from a sociological perspective. (I hope there were mental health professionals available to assist them as they transitioned back to the “real” world.)
On Desiree’s season of The Bachelorette, there was a contestant who stood out as special. His name was Juan Pablo Galavis and along with so many women (and men) I fell under his mesmerizing spell. I was thrilled when he was named the next Bachelor. Finally, a Bachelor I could root for! Juan Pablo was an attractive, Latino, single dad, completely devoted to his daughter, who carried himself as a charming gentleman. Desiree eliminated him relatively early, but his loyal fans ensured ABC knew how popular he was, and he was selected to be the next Bachelor.
All of us who expected to see the same man who enchanted us, were duped! Juan Pablo started off charming enough, but quickly became quite the megadouchetart. As the weeks progressed and he narrowed down his selection of contestants, we saw sides of his personality that sent up puzzling red flags. Was he plagued by a language barrier or simply a “guy,” versus a “man” as eloquently expressed in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 movie Say Anything? Long story, short…..he was a guy…the lowest version thereof.
Not one, but two women walked off the show, effectively eliminating themselves. The first, Sharleen, was ambivalent about the entire process and I am still confused as to how she was selected to participate. The woman was never engaged in the process, but was likely seeking publicity for her opera career. More power to her. On Monday night, however, Juan Pablo went on the “hometown” dates, where met the final three contestants’ families. Each family expressed concerns over the situation the women found themselves in and questioned whether or not, Juan Pablo was seriously committed to each one.
Tuesday night, Andi, the bright, bubbly District Attorney from Atlanta, with the best dad in Bachelor history, left the show. She and Juan Pablo had a disastrous fantasy suite date, where he shared (bragged?) about his “conquests.” After trying unsuccessfully to make Juan Pablo understand, react or reach out to her, she put him in his place, called him out as an arrogant asshole and left. I cheered her on all the way. As I live tweeted through tvtag, the overwhelming consensus was that all the women, who had either left or been eliminated, were better off without Juan Pablo, aka. El Pendejo. His final tweet of the show was “I’de Rather Not Be Appreciated Being Honest, Than Be Appreciated And Not Being Honest…” No te preocupes, querido. Las pocas fanáticas que te quedaban ya no existen, mal criado.
Must see TV indeed. Telenovela writers wished they had this material! I felt badly for the women on the show, but as a viewer, this was reality TV gold. Oh, and I expect to see Andi again. Very soon.
Next week is the Final Rose Ceremony and the rumors abound as to whether Juan Pablo will choose Clare or Nikki. Reality Steve provided spoilers when the season started, but nothing is as entertaining as the teasers for the Reunion Show. It promises to be a skewer-fest as the women have their “day in court.” I will be watching and live tweeting. Pour yourself a lovely glass of Malbec and join me.
In the meantime, here is a toast to Lloyd Dobler , who proved to a man, not a guy. Sigh.
I have been a reality TV connoisseur since the first season of The Real World aired on MTV in 1992. Additionally, I avidly watched dating game shows like “Love Connection,” “The Dating Game,” and my all-time, these-couples-will-need-family-therapy-after-the-show-airs favorite, “The Newlywed Game.” If I see a Millionaire Matchmaker or Tough Love marathon on, I will make time to watch Patti and Steve deliver their stern, yet sage dating advice, to clueless women and men.
While I gravitate towards shows that focus on the cast’s talent, like So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, The Sing Off and The Voice, big personalities like the ladies of Double Divas, Dance Moms, and this season’s little gem, Kim of Queens, which follows a former pageant queen as she molds girls into pageant winners, are always worth a look-see.
When the first season of “The Bachelor” aired, I watched it, but never became a fan. Even when “The Bachelorette” spun off, I was not sold on the idea of “dating” 25 people in the bubble of reality TV. However, a few of my die-hard “Bachelor” friends started commenting on the last season of “The Bachelorette,” starring Desiree Hartsock. They really liked Desiree, and after following a few of their Facebook chats, I was intrigued enough that I started watching. I also became invested in Desiree and hoped she would find a man who genuinely cared for her. She did! Together with beau Chris Siegfried, they celebrated their first New Year’s Eve together.
As we watched Desiree “date” the preselected hunks, one man stood out from the pack. His name was Juan Pablo Galavis, the soccer-playing, single dad with the sexy Venezuelan accent. Desiree may not have been attracted to Juan Pablo, but America was! And so was I! ¡Ay papacito!
ABC listened! When they announced the next “Bachelor” would be Juan Pablo, people went crazy. My middle-aged, happily married self, included. Juan Pablo came across as a nice man, in a hunky package. He was devoted to his daughter, Camila Valentina, who was born on Valentine’s Day, and remained friendly with Camila’s mother. In other words, he was Central Casting directors’ wet dream. The pre-show buzz included the special, The Bachelor: Countdown to Juan Pablo. I watched it as research to prepare for the actual show. Mmmmm.
The first show aired last night and Juan Pablo (and America) met the contestants vying for a rose. ABC did not disappoint. There were the requisite beautiful, intelligent, accomplished women, who should be able to find long-term relationship partners, and there were the “unique” women. Some may categorize them as unconventional, quirky, socially awkward, overly emotional, but I like to call them reality TV “money.” Let’s face it, no one watches reality TV to see normal, balanced, happy people. We like our train wrecks, thank you very much. Providing last night’s entertainment were Shoeless Lucy, Creepy Massage Therapist Amy J., Bicycle Piano Player Lauren S., Mineral Coordinator and What-Not-to-Share-on-a-Date-Queen Lauren. Uninterested, Possibly Jetlagged, Opera Singer Sharleen received the first rose, but did not look as if she wanted to accept it. Ah, must see TV.
I will be pulling for Florida girl and single mom, Renee, Prosecutor Andi, and Pediatric Nurse Nikki. And, of course, drunk girl drama, which seems to be a staple of “The Bachelor” franchise. Popcorn, at the ready.
Cue the theme song for “El Bachelor” which could be Juan Pablo’s Lucha Libre alter ego, if he is unable to find love.
I live tweet during TV shows using Get Glue, if you would like to join the party!