It’s a bigger night than the DNC and RNC conventions combined, with a little Long Island bar-mitzvah party thrown in. Maybe at the big moment, they’ll drop huge inflated red, white, and blue condoms onto JoJo and
Jordan Robby whoever she chooses as her husband-to-be-in-the-unlikely-circumstances-they-stay-together-more-than-two-months.
Following the treacly pageant of pledged troths artfully scripted by writers whose research source is a Rosemary Rodgers novel, we’ll revisit the season’s most emotional moments, and watch Chris repeatedly ask awkward, invasive questions. It’s the post-finale revenue-enhancing show After the Final Rose, which is what I call it when I finish the last bottle of Domaine Mousset Cotes du Rhone.
Like many other seasons, and also like me ordering dinner at Outback, the final decision is not a given for observers. Does JoJo want to sign her name as Fletcher-Rodgers or Fletcher-Hayes? Will she go with the washed-up football player or the non-competing competitive swimmer? Which guy’s beard is less scratchy?
These and other questions will be entertained as we witness the guys meeting JoJo’s family and JoJo struggling to determine which one is less shallow and narcissistic. That will be sandwiched between more filler than can be found in Simon Cowell’s face. As ABC sums it up fervidly, the episode caps off a season of Jojo “surviving shocking twists and turns and a journey filled with laughter, tears, love and controversy.” That sounds like the last meeting of my tenants’ association.
“I’m standing here in Thailand with two men I love,” JoJo announces at the start of the show. She wants a man she can always trust, so she ought to leave Thailand immediately. Meanwhile, Chris greets the live studio audience on the Pottery Barn-inspired set, where they will watch the premiere of this episode and be directed to applaud wildly at parts they were indifferent to.
Chris explains again how JoJo had endured the pain of Ben being indecisive, and cannot bear to visit such grief on the two men she loves. Unfortunately, those Bachelorettes who remember the past are still condemned to repeat it. Ben and Lauren and Chad are there to experience the moment.
Jo feels lucky to be in Phuket–hahahaha–to find love. “It’s crazy,” she describes it, as she describes everything from a chai tea latte to the moon landing. She first meets with her family, who will say anything after receiving a free resort stay. JoJo tells them about the two men she loves, and how torn she is. She feels Jordan is the type she goes for, which is usually a cad, yet she believes he would never hurt her, at least while the script doesn’t call for it.
The Fletcher fam will meet him first. Mom, Dad, the two brothers and a sister. Jordan tells them he was skeptical about the show at first, but when he saw all the free booze and movie premieres, he realized it could work. JoJo is impressed with how he charms them all by bringing funny hats from the duty-free shop for everyone.
Mom, whose name is Soraya, takes Jordan aside first. She asks how he will handle JoJo’s trust issues. He promises never to hurt her daughter, or at lest not as badly as Mom’s cosmetic surgeon did. Yet Mom is still concerned. She thinks Jordan is too likeable, and attracts too much attention–for example, by going on a reality TV show.
Dad Joe counsels Jordan about being accepting and understanding of JoJo and all her bizarre quirks. afterwards, Jordan tells us he wanted to ask Dad for her hand in marriage, but he forgot. JoJo thinks he did it, though, since it was important to her. Hey, Mom, this jerk hurt your daughter before he even left the house.
Now it’s Robby’s turn. He is confident, and expects to leave a lasting impression on the Fletchers as JoJo did on his family. Everyone greets Robby enthusiastically, probably hoping he’s an improvement over yesterday. Robby tells them that JoJo is smart and intelligent, among other things not sticking out of her dress.
Meanwhile, while JoJo feels adored and cherished by him, she wants a second opinion. “All he wants to do is tell me he loves me,” she exhorts, as if that really were all he wanted to do. She asks the siblings if they’ve spotted any red flags, aside from Robby’s gayface and lack of gainful employment. They seem satisfied with him.
But Mom continues harping on JoJo’s trust issues. The heartbreak of Soraya. How about getting the girl some counseling instead of hectoring her dates? Robby reassures her, avowing his love ad overlooking the fact that this whiny, demanding woman could be his mother-in-law. He eagerly anticipates his talk with Dad so he can ask for his blessing.
“Commitment is a lifetime thing,” Robby tells Dad helpfully. He read up on how marriage works before this visit. Dad and Robby shake on the deal. All that’s left to do now is transfer her dowry. Dad is crying afterwards. He’s so grateful he no longer has to lend her money for the rent. But despite Robby’s superior performance in front of the family, JoJo is still conflicted. She must really want season tickets for Packers games.
Back in the studio, everyone claps obediently before they watch the family discuss Robby’s and Jordan’s assets, or lack thereof. “Heart and mind are fighting,” Mom observes, which also describes me when I agreed to recap this show. They tell JoJo that Robby is serious about commitment, which is in part because Jordan did not ask for Dad’s permission to marry her.
JoJo is shocked by this negligent behavior. Brother points out that it means Jordan could hurt her in other ways, like leaving his socks on the floor and not wanting to Netflix The Notebook. Nevertheless, she rushes to excuse him while they view Robby as a prize.
“Basically, everyone’s Robby,” she accuses tearfully. The family indifferently claims to accept both men as good prospects. It’s like she can’t decide between the light and medium pink nail polish. But if she chooses one man, she worries, she’ll always wonder about the other. If only there were a Consumer Report article about this.
Chris then recaps what we just saw, describing how emotional it all is, as if we couldn’t tell by the crying and frequent use of the word “emotional.” But JoJo has one more date with each guy to try to resolve her feelings of uncertainty, and also to showcase popular tourist locations on behalf of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce.
First, she’ll meet up with Robby. She tells him how her family loved him, but not how they basically argued for her to choose him over the useless clod Jordan. They visit a beautiful secluded beach, strip, and jump into the water to make out. An underwater cam reveals how spontaneous and natural their love is. Then they sit together as Robby shares his vision for a life with meat loaf, lots of kids, and a house that she can get a good mortgage on as a real estate professional. She can envision it, although maybe instead of meat loaf, it could be a nice roasted chicken.
That night, Robby and JoJo spend some more time together. He must assure her again that he can be trusted. “This is forever,” he tells her tenderly, or at least it is until he gets back together with his ex. He’ll always be honest, and will call her even while he’s golfing. They have cell phones now, you know.
“You have a heart of gold,” she replies. “It’s the craziest thing.” She assures him she has no doubts, despite the fact that she had plenty in the previous scene. Robby presents her with photographs of them in their swimsuits earlier today, them first meeting, and some other equally posed ones that would have foretold where the script was going if we had seen them earlier. She is delighted. She knows Robby’s love is true. She is confident he’s the one, until she has her date with Jordan or an assistant director compliments her eyes.
Robby is ready to propose. The studio audience approves, although it might be because they just heard they’re getting $50 gift cards for the ABC store. Chris is pumped that everything may crash down around JoJo’s ears. He rhapsodizes that we’ll also get the dish on our ugly curiosity about the estranged Rodgers brothers. It’s all so emotional.
JoJo’s last date with Jordan is next. They greet with little cries of joy and kisses, then board a boat. Jordan says they will make a decision together, although it may just be about where to have lunch. JoJo never expected to see the view from the boat anywhere but in National Geographic, which she looked at once in the dentist’s waiting room.
Yet JoJo is still worried about Jordan’s failure to ask her dad’s permission for her hand. What does it mean? she muses with the gravitas of Stephen Hawking investigating a black hole. Now it’s the two’s turn to strip together and sit on a beach analyzing each other with terminology normally found in a daily horoscope.
Jordan loved meeting her family, he says, compelling JoJo to bring up the issue of his not talking to her dad. Jordan is evasive, then admits he didn’t ask about proposing. Nevertheless, he made it clear to both her parents that he loves her. She is adamant that he should have asked her father’s permission. More specifically, she’s bummed out. How can he propose without her dad agreeing to it in front of TV cameras? “Is he truly ready?” she wonders wretchedly.
Jordan explains that he needs to know that JoJo to want to marry him, and him alone, before he asks her father for her hand. This seems sensible, which is the most shocking part of the whole season. Tonight, though, he must put her doubts to rest, and also throw off the viewers who were certain he is whom she picks.
He insists to JoJo that everybody in her family knows he wants to marry her. It doesn’t matter, though, because she always wanted her future husband to ask her dad’s permission first. “That moment’s gone now, and we can never get that back,” she says sadly, apparently unaware of telephones.
After some back and forth about trust, faith, and petty demands by entitled reality show stars, Jordan apologizes. It’s satisfactory enough to spark a make-out session. They part seemingly happy, but Jordan continues to brood over his unforgivable error. Imagine if he forgets to put down the toilet seat even once.
Chris asks the audience to vote on who the final choice will be. Jordan wins easily. The audience cannot be that easily misled. Then Chris introduces a break, claiming this is the most unforgettable finale ever. Odd, since I’ve already forgotten the first hour and 15 minutes. As they cut away, we see a woman in the audience wearing a plastic cheese wedge hat, which is appropriate for the content she’s viewing, although the cheese looks realistic.
As he goes to meet Neil Lane, Robby says his heart is exploding with love. He wants a ring that describes his love for JoJo, which means it should be a cheap fake.
Jordan can’t wait to start his life together with JoJo, but before he chooses a ring, he must make an important phone call. After he hangs up with his agent, he calls Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher to finally ask the question JoJo requires. The parents agree he can marry her, eager to get back to watching Wheel of Fortune. Jordan then picks a gaudy, ostentatious bauble and carries it back to his room, confident that JoJo will accept it.
JoJo dresses in a filmy gown. She is now ready to choose a man to spend the rest of the year with. Then she reads a note from Jordan, which explains that because he loves her so much, he called her damn parents so can she shut the hell up about it already. The one-syllable words bring her to tears. But there’s also a letter from Robby, written on romantic three-hole-punched notebook paper. Now JoJo is crying again. Which man should she choose? They both love her so much. Neither one knows the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Suspense builds as the two men dramatically, amid sweeping music, express their joy at proposing to JoJo and starting a new life by her side. Easy for them to say when getting down on one knee isn’t painful at their age. The studio audience is in a frenzy, whipped up by a drama-crazed Chris and his fervent promises of heartbreak, betrayal, and what looks like the potential for a nip-slip.
JoJo arrives at the twee setting on the beach where the proposal will happen. She agonizes: How will she turn one of them away? She doesn’t want to hurt him, but she refuses to consider becoming polyamorous.
Robby arrives first. He is so self-assured that it’s tragic to witness, especially since he thinks striped socks were a good choice for the occasion. They admire each other’s good looks before Robby says, “This is crazy.” That word appears to be supplanting “awesome” for meaningless superlatives. JoJo gazes at him mournfully as he begins to recite from page 873 in the script. Crying, she stops him. “I can’t take that moment from you,” she says, since it’s still a perfectly fine way to propose to someone else.
“I was wanting it to be you,” she sobs, as if Robby weren’t inside a package that finally arrived from Amazon. He comforts her. “As long as you’re happy,” he mutters. She seems unsure about her decision, but that was what the producer recommended.
They walk away together. As he sighs deeply, she tells him she hopes she’s not making a terrible mistake. Coming on this show was her first really bad one. She sobs as he is driven away. “My heart is ripped apart right now,” she weeps. It kinds of sets the wrong mood to be proposed to by someone else.
Back in the studio, everyone is silent. Just like at my house, people are trying desperately not to laugh. Chris asks if Jordan will propose, but with only five minutes left, he has to.
After an eye-liner refreshing and a few sips of Evian, JoJo is now ready to spend the rest of her life with Jordan. Meanwhile, he reports that as a man, he’s spent his whole life waiting for this moment. Until this moment, though, he shtupped every woman he came across.
They embrace when he arrives. “Love doesn’t need scripts,” he says, apparently without irony. “I love you so much,” she responds, apparently unsure if she ever mentioned it before. He gets down on one knee and presents the tacky ring. The music swells and they kiss over and over as the lighting director eliminates unflattering shadows.
Finally, she lifts the rose and asks if he will accept it. He does, then picks her up and tries to run down the beach. As the sun sets, they toast each other, and the show cuts to the live studio for After the Final Rose. I think we can guess what happened immediately after it.
Jordan Rodgers Proposes To JoJo Fletcher
Chris cheers for the proposal, then introduces Ben and Lauren, who are apparently not yet bitter and avoiding each other. What made JoJo choose Jordan, Chris asks, and does she still love Robby? Also, what’s the deal with the brother? There’s so much to learn in this short hour.
First Robby will get his answers. His pompadour is higher than ever, a veritable Chrysler Building of hair. He points out that he was disappointed by JoJo’s refusal. “Are you hurt, concerned, frustrated?” Chris probes, reciting from the list he made from Roget’s earlier in the day.
Robby knew he was in love with JoJo in Uruguay. South America often has that effect on people. He was moved when JoJo opened up during their second jump off a cliff, an experience which generally makes people speak honestly. “Are you still in love with her?” questions Chris annoyingly. Robby walks all around the question, then insists he respects her decision not to have a threesome.
“Did seeing what happened just now give you any clarity?” Chris tries next, abandoning the thesaurus. This interview puts Frost and Nixon to shame. Robby does want to ask JoJo some questions, including whether the Plan B worked. He’s about to see JoJo for the first time since she told him to Phuket.
She is radiant in a strapless dress cut to there and a high ponytail I’ve seen directions for creating in First for Women. Robby begins, “Why did you go about it that way?” He means telling him she loved him, then not accepting his proposal. He was nevertheless grateful that she revealed she loved him, so why is he asking. JoJo tells him she wanted to give him closure, but failed mightily at the job. He wonders now if things are more clear to her about why her love for Jordan was stronger then it was for him. As Hillary Clinton would say, what difference, at this point, does it make?
More blather follows. It’s like listening to an audio book of Rod McKuen’s poetry read by Lisa Simpson. JoJo reassures Robby that she hated to hurt him, and hopes he finds the love he deserves. Everyone claps as they did the last dozen times someone said that exact thing on After the Final Rose.
Chris confirms that JoJo felt bad after turning Robby away. “Nothing prepares you for that day,” Chris soothes, as if getting proposed to by two people within an hour is as common an experience as losing a sock in the dryer.
Now Chad rises to his feet to explain that he was a jerk, but also a Marine, and has had a long life, although his mother’s much longer life recently ending may explain why he is a jerk. He thinks those are all traits we want to see in the next Bachelor. To be fair, it would beat what Ben had to offer.
Chris then brings up the fact that things haven’t been easy for JoJo and Jordan since their engagement. She believes people and the media are demanding they prove their love, perhaps by writing a Huffington Post piece about it. What hurt the most for her was people saying Jordan was only there for the fame, when in fact he was there only for the money. But they’ll make it through, she insists. Other young couples have dealt with TMZ chasing them down the street.
Unsatisfied with her reasoned replies, Chris reminds JoJo that they also have to deal with Jordan’s estranged brother problems. Don’t forget to mention global warming and Zika, Chris.
Time to bring out Jordan. JoJo seems happy to see him. He seems happy to see her ring. He felt that they had “realness” and tough conversations during the season, so they really got to know one another and work through some issues. It was hard to be apart after the show ended, but her family loves him and his loves her. Except Aaron, of course.
Chris pushes on: “Were there rocky times?” JoJo and Jordan trust each other, and love each other, and never came to the point of almost breaking up, like everyone was tweeting. Jordan says they expected bumps in the road, but Chris points out that the tabloids said absolutely terrible things. He even puts them up on the big screen. Falling for a Fraud, screams one UsWeekly headline. Chris wants to know how to survive that kind of attack, since he never gets media coverage.
But now the couple is shown lovingly embracing on the next cover of People. The only ones unhappy with that are the Kardashians, who want to maintain their monopoly. Meanwhile, Ben and Lauren have been given their own show. Trump and Pence are the only atrocious couple the country can handle right now.
The couple is moving to Dallas, which Chris seems as excited about as if they were moving to Jupiter. They plan to marry next year. Having settled that, we must address the much-discussed riff between Jordan and Aaron. Ever the nosy bastard, Chris asks, “Has anything changed?” JoJo has not even met Aaron, because who the hell cares?
JoJo’s MIL to be has been very helpful for wedding planning. A wise woman, she suggested they first pick a date, then find a venue. Hopefully, she will next recommend choosing invitations. Until then, JoJo is content to just let people see her and Jordan together, like elephants at the zoo. Chris feels they are obviously in love, and everyone will accept that as fact after watching this show, even Bernie Sanders.
Chris next calls on Ben and Lauren to advise the new couple. “Stay strong,” Ben counsels, suggesting they ignore teenage girls in Iowa who tweet mean things. He probably should have told them to ignore middle-aged women in New York, too.
Bachelor in Paradise premieres tomorrow night, for those of you with a death wish. Chad even makes a go at Chris on that. Hearts are broken, multiple marriage proposals happen, and Neil Lane opens a new offshore account. Enjoy it without me.