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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled This iBachelor/i finale might actually have been the most dramatic ever—not in a good way
Photo: John Fleenor (ABC)
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Let’s just assume that Chris Harrison makes a seven-figure salary to count single roses, emerging from the Bachelor trenches once an episode to come out and say, “This is your final rose.” Also, “Ladies, please say your goodbyes.” Occasionally, he has heart-to-hearts with the Bachelor or Bachelorette in question. In the finale to this volatile Bachelor season though, Chris Harrison played matchmaker, ostensibly to give this trainwreck of a season some sort of happy ending. And yet, it all still ended in calamity anyway, that’s how awful this season was.

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We have to suppose that people going in as the Bachelor or Bachelorette know what they’re in for, right? In your search for true love you are going to have to pick one person out of al these candidates. One person. Yes, it will probably be difficult as you are in a very public forum, with cameras, and dating several people at the same time. That’s the deal; that’s what you signed up for.

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With any luck, you get a forthright person like Becca, who was able to zero in on the guy she wanted without loads of drama. Colton did the same, although not without loads of drama, but at least he was decisive. But these last two seasons have been straight-up terrible, as Hannah Brown and Peter Weber have both now ended their seasons with only the most precarious prospects of future relationships, basically due to their own waffling. After all those episodes, after so many weeks, we all wind up with nothing.

As we’ve pointed out previously, Peter’s paralyzing indecisiveness made him a poor choice for the top job. He always picked the drama-fueled women, unable to iron out any of their frequent squabbles. Of course now that his mom Barb has shown her true drama queen colors, Peter’s determination to keep someone like Victoria F. around is a bit more understandable: He was raised on over-the-top theatrics, it’s what he’s used to. On Monday night, he actually pleaded with his own mother, “You gotta stop doing this,” but unfortunately it seems like there is a very low chance that she ever will.

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Barb was all hopped up about Hannah Ann, a 23-year-old that she met for about 20 minutes, so that she would be Peter’s final choice. Apparently she was super-pissed at Madison for not sleeping with her son. Or something. When Peter finally told his parents that he had proposed to Hannah Ann, she keened like her son had just risen from the dead. Of the many factors that doomed this Bachelor finale, one of the top-ranked would be Barb. Just way too much Barb.

But Peter, that jellyfish, remained undecided to the absolute end: proposing to Hannah Ann, then backtracking about a month later. The sole high spot of this miserable two hours was Hannah Ann reading Peter the riot act over “not being man enough to follow through with your words.” We rarely get moments of actual reality on reality series, but “you took away from me my first engagement” was a bit of a gut-punch. So much so that the live audience appeared to give Hannah Ann a moment of silence post-breakup. She’s a now-famous 23-year-old model, everyone. She will survive.

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The Hannah Ann fun had not concluded though, because she got to continue her Peter smackdown in person. You could tell that she had been planning that live speech for a LONG time, calling out how much she had been “blindsided.” And absolutely true, Peter waited way too long to tell her that Madison had left, and that she had dumped him, not the other way around. Hannah Ann’s parting shot: “A word of advice. If you want to be with a woman, you have to become a real man.” We have no choice but to stan. Totally get why the show is skewing older next season, but Hannah Ann would still probably make a great Bachelorette someday, something we wouldn’t even have considered pre-finale.

Once Hannah Ann was out of the picture, things were in such dire straits, Chris Harrison himself had to step in, fetching Madison from Alabama now that Peter was single again. But as Peter and Madison tenuously stepped back toward each other, any chance they might have had at a reunion was felled by the true villain of this season: Barb. Barb rolling her eyes at Madison’s proclamations; Barb loving Peter with all of her heart, even though she has another son and a husband; Barb shaming Madison for her choices and trying to prove that the whole family was against her. Madison got her own stan moment when she finally cut Barb off and said, “You know what, I disagree,” pointing out that the whole season was not just about Peter choosing someone, but someone choosing Peter as well. Any relationship that Madison and Peter might have had appeared to be squashed by the end of Barb’s many tirades: Can you honestly imagine Thanksgiving at their house? Or having Grandma coming over to babysit? Run, Madison. Run far away to find a future mother-in-law who will treat you like the treasure you are. Again, seeing Peter’s family dynamic conjures up a little more sympathy for him, but his overall indecisiveness propelled him to where he ended the season: basically alone.

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The whole Bachelor setup is toxic right out of the gate, anyway, as several gorgeous twentysomething women fight over the attentions of a supposed catchworthy male. But sometimes, there’s some actual emotion involved, or friendship among the contestants, or Colton jumps a fence—something to make the season worth watching. This season had none of that. Not surprised at all that even The Bachelor seems to realize that, choosing previous Bachelor contestant 38-year-old Clare Crawley for the next Bachelorette. Hopefully Clare knows what she wants; if she does, it’ll be a huge improvement over these past few Bachelor seasons.

Stray observations

  • Peter’s scar just seemed to get more pronounced each episode.
  • “Hi, Chris Harrison.” Gold.
  • Points off for Hannah Ann’s favorite expression, “Oh my word.”
  • The only thing I like about The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart is that I know that dog-food jingle-writer Jed is home just kicking himself because he’s not in it.
  • For a second, I thought Peter called Hannah Ann “Madison,” Ross Gellar style.
  • If this contest came down to eyelashes, Hannah Ann would win in a walk. Madison’s are way too spidery.
  • And that’s it for the worst season of The Bachelor ever, everyone. Apologies to all who had to witness. Do you think the franchise has actually learned enough lessons to make Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season an improvement? Guess we find out in May.
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Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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