The Bachelor — Season 18 Finale — Live Blog and Discussion (UPDATED VIDEO)

Squeeee! Who would not be excited that tonight, Juan Pablo finally makes his decision between the last two bachelorettes, the simpering Clare and the dour Nikki, which means we’ll no longer be subjected to his smarmy punim on our televisions every Monday night! It’s almost as thrilling as finding out last week that Liza Minnelli is still able to stand upright.

We’ll also learn if either of those deserving gals is also the recipient of an actual marriage proposal from JP. Every unattached girl in the nation waits with bated breath for the wildly romantic moment when the semi-employed, deadbeat former benchwarmer with the language barrier will pop the question to whichever desperate, famewhoring sellout lacking the integrity of your average ticket scalper he’s fallen in love with over the many scripted minutes they’ve shared on our TV screens.

To prepare, JP sat down with famed jeweler-to-the-stars Neil Lane, who I didn’t even know was a real person and not merely a brand name, to discuss the big moment. Proposing “eez a beeg step…we’re not playing games,” JP asserts, possibly explaining for Carla why she didn’t rate a ring even after giving birth to his child. As the Season 18 Bachelor gazes thoughtfully upon his potential bride-to-be’s giant rock, as tasteful a bauble as was ever fished out of a Crackerjack box, Lane asks, “Who do you shine the most with?” We used to have other names for that kind of thing, but okay. JP appears perplexed, which is not very telling since that’s how he usually looks when presented with a question exceeding four words, and replies, “We’ll see.” He’s probably still PMing naked pictures with Sharleen.

The show opens by reviewing the nightmare that was Andi’s experience in the Fantasy Suite. The lights in the room are seen from afar, turning off with a menacing sound like they were those red-lit windows in the Amityville Horror house. It seems like things won’t get any more promising tonight, as the segment closes with the sound of anonymous choking sobs from one of the two remaining girls.

Chris appears in the studio to announce that they are live in LA with an audience, presumably also live.  The drama and debate about JP continue, Chris reports somberly, as if ABC’s PR department didn’t love every minute. People who are not particularly concerned about the Ukraine or climate change are up in arms about whether JP came on the show to actually find love.

In St. Lucia, which is ay yi yi, so pretty, according to travelogue copywriter JP, the Galavis family has gathered to meet the two girls. Clare is brought forth first. JP is very attracted to her, he reports, as if this were news on the order of proof of life on Jupiter, and now he wants to know if she fits into his family. She hopes that JP sees amazing “chemistry” between his family and her, but doesn’t seem anxious about whether she herself will like them. She also thinks his love for his daughter makes him sexier. Clare has something of a one-track mind.

Someone asks her how she feels about “family,” as if that were something you could cultivate an interest in, like knitting or German Expressionist art. She can’t wait to have one, she says, bouncing excitedly. She’s been studying for this exam. His mom asks if she likes JP, which, hey, doesn’t Mom know that’s how the show works? If Clare has reached this stage in the competition, she liked him well enough. Clare says that JP “gets” her, hardly a compliment since he has difficulty grasping concepts more complicated than kicking a soccer ball or lathering up his abs. She asks Mom if there’s anything JP would never tell her. What, like he’s wanted for wire fraud? Mom, who is apparently where JP gets his unfiltered honesty from, says he’s hyperactive and sometimes very rude. But it all confirms for Clare how much she adores JP. Hyperactive rude people make good husband material.

Cousin Pablo asks pointedly if she loves him. This is really the third degree when a mere cousin rates the opportunity to interview the girlfriend. He then declares her an angel to JP, and they pronounce her ready and willing to serve in the role of Mrs. Galavis. I heard a similar discussion at a cattle auction recently.

Dad tells Clare he will love their future children, and “if something happens,” she will always be on his mind. So, in other words, she’ll be just like Camila’s mom. Rodrigo, the brother, who looks like the mailman may be his father, seems to approve as well.  Ultimately, though, JP was just waiting for another opportunity to run his tongue over her tonsils.

In the studio, Chris asks who hopes it’s Clare JP chooses. Nikki clearly earns more cheers, after which Chris declares the vote “split down the middle” so we’ll keep watching.

Now it’s Nikki turn to run the gauntlet. Didn’t she meet the family before, at the dance recital? Was she so forgettable that they have to meet her again? She arrives in a sundress that showcases her tattoo of what appears to be either Heckle or Jeckle. She didn’t get her roots done, either. Off she goes with Dad, whose eyes rove over her cleavage while she is blabbering about the importance of Camila in JP’s life. Dad says JP is not “an easy guy,” and is basically a self-centered, egomaniacal jackass. She’s ready for that, she enthuses. Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds, Nikki would say if she ever read anything. Dad thinks she can manage, though. And probably dearly hopes so, if she’s going to wander around the family compound in those revealing outfits.

Mom looks dubious as Nikki describes JP as being full of love. “You feel he is the kind of guy you want? You’re sure?” asks Mom, sounding like the least Momish Mom who ever Mom’ed. She probably just prefers Clare. It has to be that bird tat.

Nikki tells Cousin Rodrigo that she feels she doesn’t need to know everything about someone to know she’s in love. That certainly worked for Mrs. Madoff.  So if JP’s a gambling addict or into S&M, keep it to yourself, Cuz. He thinks the two girls are completely different–whoda thunk?–so he doesn’t know which one JP will pick. Rodrigo would have to see them naked to be sure. Nikki leaves even more confident that he’s the one, and she will be hoisting that chunk of Neil Lane ice pretty damn soon.

“Can I keep both?” asks JP wistfully, watching as she departs. He’d probably like the ring thrown in to pawn, too.

Chris tells us they each have one more date before JP makes his decision, sort of like going to one more open house before you make an offer on the condo. He interviews a lady in the audience about the whole ugly business, who thinks the girls are ignoring all the terrible things his own family said about JP.  A young man, however, believes it will end well, since JP is just being honest. Another woman can’t get a read on the chemistry because JP doesn’t communicate well. The young man interjects with some bogus excuse for that. He’s probably another former benchwarmer from the Venezuelan team. Chris goes to ask some former Bachelors and ladies from the season what they think. Kelly says the girls are overlooking obvious red flags. Sean is still experiencing afterglow, so Catherine suggests that while JP is passionate, he is not showing it in the right way. In other words, ixnay on the onguetay, fella.

Onto the dates. Waiting for Clare next to a helicopter, JP muses again that he has to make a decision between the two girls, like he’s trying to decide which model of Honda to buy. To help the process, Clare wears the shortest shorts she can find. They should be able to have a productive conversation that delves more deeply into the nature of their relationship while in the helicopter with their headphones on. To help the process, they make out.

Then, Clare confides, in a rare moment without crew or cameras and “there’s nobody there with us, except the pilot,” when she expected to hear romantic nothings, JP told her something sexual that was insulting and offensive. So, in other words, he’s a pig. Clare might also be interested to know that water is wet and the Pope is Catholic. If this was the shocking moment Chris warned us of, the only person in America taken by surprise was that guy in the audience he just interviewed. And maybe Sean, since he’s just finding out about this stuff.

Clare is so scandalized, she goes back to the hotel and cries without smearing her makeup. She’s been in relationships where the guys only want one thing, but that wasn’t on television. She needs to know if JP is only interested in her body. When he comes over,  he doesn’t understand what he said that was so offensive. Probably because he’s said the same thing to all the bachelorettes, plus the cashier at the supermarket and Camila’s kindergarten teacher. Clare says that he also told her that he doesn’t know her at all and vice versa, another painful revelation, although the entire viewing audience kind of has to agree with that one. She got it wrong, he declares, and then looks immediately bored with the whole topic. When she insists on discussing her dreary ol’ feelings, he starts reciting bumper stickers he saw in Portland. Nothing he says makes any sense, but he’s clearly done with the conversation. This guy dismisses people faster than Lehman Brothers when they went bankrupt.

Clare thought they were on the same page in their relationship. Of course, her first mistake was thinking it was a relationship at all. JP tiredly recites things he likes about her, none of it personal and all of it about how it will serve his needs. It’s all so hard for him, finding someone hot who will also do laundry. “You’re special to me,” he tells her, pointing out that she got to meet his family and Camila. Is he unaware that she knows Nikki did, too? Twice? But he’s more interested in sidling closer and feeling up her legs.

She needed to know how he feels, she tells us afterwards, but now that he’s mouthed some mindless platitudes while gazing at her earnestly, she feels reassured that he wants her there and it’s for more than physical gratification, not that he would know what that meant. Thank goodness that’s resolved. Meanwhile, maybe the dirty thing he said can be found on some blog somewhere. The pilot must have spilled by now.

Back in the studio, Chris marvels that Clare is staying with JP despite experiencing the most upsetting moments involving a helicopter since Vic Morrow on the set of The Twilight Zone movie. Sharleen is questioned about these events. She found it hard to watch JP be patronizing to Clare when she was responding to her intuition. After all, Sharleen was the patronizing one in that relationship. Sean says JP was talking in circles, although I would characterize it more like labyrinthine intertwined spirals. But wait, there are more shocking surprises to come, Chris says. Like the news that JP is not a member of Mensa and Nikki is not a natural blond.

Now for Nikki’s final date. She appears in a tiny bikini and sarong, easily outdoing Clare’s shorts. They go out on a boat where they can hear each other talk about nothing of substance. JP asks if she has any concerns, aside from the obvious ones like this whole show and its premise. She thinks he might be a little guarded. He disagrees. His tongue is certainly uninhibited.

“Until he says ‘I love you,’ I don’t know if he does or not,” she ruminates with acute perceptiveness.

That night, they chat on the Sofa of Emotional Confrontation in her suite. Nikki still can’t meet his eyes, though, perhaps terrified of the yawning vacancy there. “It’s almost over,” she says leadingly. “It is what it is,” he replies, opting for variation in his inconsequentiality. He grins at her triumphantly, as if something substantive has been established. The whole scene is both bleak and inane, as if Strindberg had written a Bazooka Joe comic.

She leads him into the bedroom–surely he is delighted–to give him a framed photo of the two of them–surely he is disappointed. The card is signed “I love you.” He smooches her in several key locations, but does not say I love you back. Sad music plays. She is already wiping away tears as they head for the door and he swoops in for some final lip action. The beard burn must require half a tube of aloe vera.

JP walks away into the night, oblivious to her heartbreak, as the camera zooms in on Nikki dissolving into ugly sobs. Boy, that cameraman is heartless. But of course, the rule is that they may not intervene in the natural course of events, except as the producers rig them for ratings.

Back in the studio, the audience is struck silent, either with sympathy or abject disgust. Chris helpfully points out that both women were in tears after their final dates with that cad JP. Now, intones Chris, after all the emotion, the drama, and the controversy, JP will make his choice. But is it a Hobson’s choice or a Sophie’s choice? Stay tuned.

In Minnie Mouse eyelashes, Clare rhapsodizes that this is the perfect version of a fairy tale. The one where Prince Charming told Cinderella he wanted to perform a filthy act on her person when she thought he was going to let her try on the glass slipper. Nikki says this is the day every girl dreams of, that day when a guy would choose between her and some other girl he’s been dating at the same time like he was choosing between heads of cauliflower at the Kroger.

In some remote location with flowers and greenery, JP waits nervously for the girls to arrive. Clare is first, negotiating the beach in her heels to be greeted by Chris. JP makes her feel safe, she claims, and she believes he has no doubts, at least with regard to her sexual attractiveness. He tells her she looks pretty, then looks at her disinterestedly as she describes all her intense feelings. Then he tells her she’s amazing and that he appreciates her being there and trusting him.  The man has no grasp of subtlety whatsoever, does he?

He’s been honest all along, he says, lying through his teeth yet again. He has to say goodbye. The live audience cheers, but whether it’s in relief for Clare or joy for Nikki, we can’t know. Probably many of us do not care. Clare’s angry. Just the other night, he told her he could see himself with her, in Sacramento, with babies! He smiles in agreement, the doofus. “Do you know when I made my decision?” he says cavalierly, as if all that were true 48 hours ago and suddenly no longer true 24 hours ago. She waves him away, yelling, “I would never want my children having a father like you!” He says, “Okay.” Maybe English is his third language?

And when she’s stormed off in tears, he rolls his eyes and says, “Woo! I’m glad I didn’t pick her.” Does this guy realize there are cameras on him?

She tells us he shouldn’t have told her those things when she had expressed her fears and wanted reassurance. In that situation, if he couldn’t tell her the truth, “don’t say anything,” she cries. Best advice for JP ever.

In the studio, Chris sighs that that was tough to watch. Clare will be here live to discuss it in just a minute, though, which will be really enjoyable!

But first, Nikki. JP fingers the enormous bling he might be offering her as she is ushered toward him in a dress slit to mid-thigh. She’s ready to become engaged to a man who has never said he loves her. She’s so excited to hear all these things he hasn’t said, and to spend the rest of her life with him possibly not hearing other things he should be saying. This will be one of the best days of her life, the day she can tell her mom she got engaged. Wow, this is going to be painful. I hope they lock up the drugs when she goes back to work at the hospital.

She gushes at him that she can’t imagine spending her life without him. She should be prepared, though, because it seems likely the feds might pick him up at some point. He tells her what he likes about her, like that she’s honest and would be a good stepmom for Camila. It’s like he’s rating laptops at Best Buy. He says, “I have a ring here in my pocket”–she nods eagerly–“but I’m not gonna use it. I’m not one hundred percent sure.” But the good news is, he is willing to keep shtupping her. He offers her the rose and she accepts it.  So while she can’t tell her mom she got engaged, she can probably get free birth control through her workplace insurance, thanks to the ACA.

Now onto the live special that is apparently just the previous live thing continuing? Chris asks penetratingly, was “I like you a lot” enough for Nikki? Was JP stringing everyone along from the start? First to discuss these compelling issues is Clare. She found it hard to watch herself being dumped on national TV. “What?” presses Chris when she pauses uncomfortably. He’s like one of those broadcast news reporters who asks a tornado victim how they feel about their house being flattened.

Clare refuses to reveal the dirty thing JP said, which is the only reason anyone is watching this show, but does explain how she had hoped for something amazing to happen, and instead was asked to stick her tongue somewhere it hadn’t been before. I know that’s always a disappointment for me. “Would you like to speak with JP?” Chris asks. Probably not necessary since she’s hired a hitman. Fortunately, she felt liberated and empowered being able to express exactly how she felt at the moment JP said he would not be proposing to her. Indeed, her presence on the show was giant step forward for feminism.

Now JP comes out. “I feel relief,” he says, and quickly attempts to secure sympathy by mentioning his concern for the situation in Venezuela. Sensing the hostility in the crowd, he declares that he made the decision that was good for him, apparently his new favored line of defense. The camera cuts to various bachelorettes looking murderous as he jabbers on about it being what it is. Chris mentions that people will be upset about how he handled Clare. “I don’t like talking much about my private things,” JP replies, fresh from appearing in various stages of undress on a national TV show where he made out with a series of women on camera and virtually every member of his family got screen time. But he’s delighted to blame Clare for her own heartbreak over his unforeseen rejection of her.

Nikki appears next to discuss being publicly humiliated in a different manner. At least she got her roots done this time. They are in a relationship, she says, and she is in love. “Is he in love with you?” asks Chris. “I don’t know,” she tells him, as the audience murmurs disapprovingly. This chick needs counseling, not to mention speech therapy. She insists he shows he loves her despite his not saying it, even in Spanish. Nikki hasn’t learned that letting you stay overnight does not equal love. “We would love to hear him say that, for your sake,” Chris twists the knife. He really has been doing this show for 12 years.

JP is brought out to join them. Let’s observe body language: She puts her arm around him while he clasps his hands in his lap and leans forward. “We’re very happy,” JP says, pointing a thumb over his shoulder toward her. “How do you feel about her?” presses Chris. “I am very honest with her and she is happy with that,” JP responds, as if their relationship were one of accountant and client who is being audited. Nikki gazes adoringly at him. She is clearly in a state of denial, perhaps assisted by pharmacological aids. “So you’re not going to tell us you love her,” Chris says triumphantly. JP will not. Maybe because he has a daughter?

Sean is called upon to comment. “I could not wait to tell her that,” he says of Catherine. “But everyone goes about it a different way.” Burn! “I respect Sean,” is JP’s response. “It is what it is.” I bet Camila has a larger English vocabulary than he does. I bet a Chatty Cathy has a larger English vocabulary than he does. Chris points out the awkwardness of the situation. Neither JP nor Nikki can find a way to deny that. “This is a real relationship,” Nikki tries, brandishing the daughter card as an excuse not to acknowledge feelings that would make the relationship not merely existent, but meaningful. I’m sure, though, that all the used condoms are real.

Backstage, Clare is laughing her head off.

“How long would you give him” before you need him to say it, Chris questions Nikki. Probably until the comped tickets to red carpet premieres stop coming in. JP hints at some information he got two weeks ago that changed something, but he won’t say what–probably a negative pregnancy test result–but nevertheless, today they will start their private lives together. They have plans, but they want to keep them private. Private, everything private. Except for the part where they appear on television to talk about being private. Sean pipes up that things most certainly will not be private now or anytime. Catherine thinks they shouldn’t “slap the hand that fed them,” which of course is an expression JP doesn’t understand. Why not share the happy things with everyone, explains Chris, which is what the show is about? He means voyeurism and exploitation. JP claims he had never seen the show when he signed up, so he was just going to be true to himself and be honest, which is a creative new use of some of his half-dozen canned phrases, but doesn’t explain why he’s a big stick-in-the-mud now that the show is over. Some of the bachelorettes are seen whispering to each other at that. In fact, he was on The Bachelorette, which is no different from this show. What are these two hiding? Is Nikki really a man or something?

Now to introduce the new Bachelorette! And it is, indeed, Andi. It’s surreal, she says, as if being on The Bachelor were as ordinary an experience as picking up your dry cleaning. She talks about her job prosecuting gang members in Atlanta. She wears a ponytail to do that. Her dad seems to be behind this gig. Maybe he figures there’s no way another loser as bad as JP can turn up in the mix.

Andi arrives in the studio in a sparkly silver dress, all giggly and breathless. Chris advises her not to be afraid to say I love you, ha ha ha. Although she’s an accomplished professional, it’s meaningless without someone to share it with, she explains. So she’s ready to whore herself out on TV a second time to find the casting call responder who is her soulmate.

Hooray for love!


About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.