That was the most depressing season finale of The Bachelorette, ever.
Normally, the emotional breakdown of the season finale is roughly 17% sadness, 80% happiness and
3% Bachelor in Paradise sneak preview. Last night, the breakdown was as follows: 31%
frustration, 46% sadness, 23% happiness, 8% unnecessary sass and 1000% "well, guess I'm just gonna marry
the 37-year-old chiropractor now and get on with it." So as you can clearly see, last night's episode was
something of an outlier, what with the focus on Peter and Rachel's intractable differences regarding
marriage proposal, which led to a protracted mid-episode break-up, the kind of break-up where nobody wants
to break up but they know it's right but they also still kiss and stuff before saying goodbye forever so
that one of them can marry the human equivalent of a Colombian golden retriever that licks your hand way
too much. To summarize: Rachel really loves Peter and Peter really loves Rachel, but Rachel requires a
marriage proposal at the end of a televised dating show and Peter requires a little more time in the real
world to get there. For Rachel, a proposal means an engagement; for Peter, it means marriage. Someone
smarter than me should really write an essay about the semiotics of The Bachelor.
Back in the live studio, Chris Harrison calls up Peter to sit with Rachel and discuss the break-up. Mind
you, this is in the middle of the episode, not the after show. The conversation was hard to watch. Peter
was "shaking like a leaf." He looked broken. He felt attacked. There were more things left unsaid between
Rachel and Peter on this couch than there was between Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams on a quiet New
England intersection in Manchester by the Sea--and Casey Affleck (spoiler alert) accidentally
burned down his fucking house.
By the end of the show, Bryan feels like an after-thought, the second fiddle. You can't help but feel like
she settled. But he doesn't seem to care. Like, at all.
That should tell you everything you need to know about Bryan.
Rachel and Bryan deserve each other.
Rachel came here looking for a husband. She knew what she wanted. And so did Bryan, from the moment he
stepped outside of the limo, which is sort of insane. This is why love is just as much about timing as it
is about anything else; sometimes being ready--dare I say, desperate--for each other is enough.
I give this relationship a 44% chance of lasting more than a year.
Eric should be the next bachelor, full-stop.
The best way for the show to redeem itself from any race-related mistakes it might've made this season is
to make Eric the bachelor, because if Eric was white and race wasn't involved in any way, they would so
obviously make him the bachelor. He's charismatic. He's good-looking. He actually looks like fun. People
love him. And most importantly, he's got an on-brand, built-in story: the show opened him up to love, and
now he's finally ready to find his wife.
Why did Peter always seem to be staying in some quirky pied-a-terre when everyone else was in a chic hotel
His Fantasy suite date was in a cozy room with hand-hewn beams, rustic shuttered windows and what looked
to be a blanket woven by local artisans neatly tucked over the bed by the lady who runs the pensione and
lives in room 1A if you can't find her at the front desk. Then the place they had their big breakup looked
like it was decorated by a well-traveled aunt who keeps a place in Spain that family and friends are
welcome to stay whenever you're in Spain, just let her know ahead of time so she can have a key ready.
Meanwhile Rachel and Bryan are luxuriating in a sleek hotel, waking up to room service in bed. It was like
someone on the production team had just taken a high school lit course on Steinbeck and really took the
notion to heart that the setting is just as much a character in every story as the people
Rachel saying Peter just wasn't "made for this show" as a rationale for why it didn't work out between them
was the dumbest thing she's ever said on television.
Here's the thing: do you want a guy made for the show--like Bryan, who could teach a college-level course
on All the Right Things to Say to Win The Bachelorette, Namely, That You Love Them Unconditionally and
Are Ready to Get Married This Minute, Seriously, Get Neil Lane on the Phone
--or do you want a guy who
was made for, I don't know, life
? I mean, it's not like you live on the show. The comment made it
seem as if she picked Bryan because he was "good at the show"--i.e., good at falling in love very
quickly--and let Peter go not because she loved him less, but because he wasn't adept at proposing after a
few months. Which doesn't seem like a good reason to let someone go. I feel like the main question you
should ask yourself when choosing your life partner is: Do I love this person more than anyone else in the
whole wide world? Not: Is this person as ready to give me what I want right now as a former cast member on The Player
"Yeah, I literally cried my eyelashes off" is the best thing she's ever said on
Rachel, keeping it 100. As always. You can't fault her for that. (How was she so good at this show? Is she
the greatest to have ever done it? Probably for sure yes, right?) Peter saying he spent the next two days
walking past those eyelashes was a harsh reminder of their tumultuous breakup--and his lack of turndown
service. No, I can't get over the quirky accommodations thing.
Someone is forging Chris Harrison's fantasy suite notes.
They packed the second half of Fantasy Suite dates into this epic episode (epicsode?) and there's
always that coy moment when they have the perfunctory task of presenting an envelope with a fake key and a
handwritten note from Chris Harrison himself. But when they close in on our contestants reading the note,
the notes are written in the same bubbly handwriting the cute girl in high school used to pass notes in
class. Who's forging Chris Harrison fantasy suite notes? Can someone go back over the seasons and compare
some handwriting samples?
For the umpteenth time when promoting Bachelor in Paradise, and trying to acknowledge the "big
issue" the show confronted on night one, they missed the mark. Again.
Harrison teased the BiP trailer promising some more revelations about "the big issue" (a dark
cloud that's been shrouding Paradise since it was announced that filming would stop to investigate
alleged misconduct that involved alcohol and possible sexual assault) including a first look at the
moment filming was stopped. But really they, once again, deflected. They made it seem like the only grave
"issue" at stake was the horror that BiP might not air a season this summer. They gloss over any
worries of consequential damage to the parties involved--emotional, physical or otherwise--and just show
everyone wringing their hands over whether show itself will go on. This was not the "big issue" guys, it
was merely a symptom of it. We hope they handle this slightly better on Monday (YES, a
week from now BiP starts up full-throttle) but that's all we can do, really.
I, Sam Eichner, am not sure I know how to make out, anymore.
With Bryan "Loud Kissies" [Bryan's Last Name] taking home the victory, one has to wonder: if his are the
sort of kissies a smart, desirable woman like Rachel enjoys, what does that say
about my kissies? If I don't literally dive into someone's mouth with my mouth, am I not doing
it right? If I'm not aggressively sticking my tongue down someone's throat, am I missing a crucial aspect
of what the French call "French kissing"? Damn. Here I thought, at the ripe age of 25, with ten-plus years
of kissing under my belt, that I was pretty good! Girls have even told me so! [Receives vital piece of
information] Wait, they tell every guy that?!
This was a rude awakening.