Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Morning After*: The Bachelorette Finale Recap

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

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After the three-hour finale of an 11-week romantic safari as emotionally strenuous as The Bachelorette, one needs some time to process. Or something. So here we are — The Day and a Half After.

Anyway, it's all over. Emily proposed to Jef by offering him The Final Rose, which invited Jef to propose to her by offering her an enormous diamond, which left me and my prediction that Arie would win standing alone at the altar of reality television.

The remarkable thing about The Bachelor / Bachelorette franchise is that with every episode there is less that actually happens. In a three-hour finale, one hour is devoted to the After the Final Rose post-game show. Of the remaining two hours, a solid hour is spent recapping the 10 weeks it took to get Emily to this point with these guys. After that, subtract time for commercials, time for the annoying "Coming up next!" segments before the commercials, and subtract the time Emily spends walking on the beach while narrating her emotional struggle. You're left with what amounts to a truncated sitcom. A bad one.

The finale did deliver in one unexpected way, though. Normally, the Bachelor or Bachelorette will go on a date with both remaining contestants before the contestants go off to prepare for what they assume will be an engagement. Then, one of them gets rejected on the side of some far-off mountain, and also on national television.

But this time, it only took Emily one date to know which man — out of 25 chosen by ABC producers — is meant for her. She sat on the beach with Jef, introduced him to her daughter, and her mind was made up. So, to her credit, she decided it wouldn't make sense to continue stringing Arie along by going on a date with him, only to tell him no when he proposed to her later. In fact, my television started shaking at this moment in a bit of turbulence that resulted from what seems to have been a rational decision on this show.

I was genuinely surprised by this. These types of shows are always edited into making you think something unexpected will happen. And so when the commercials suggest that Emily might not pick either of the guys, I saw it for what it was: the typical TV Head Fake. (Law and Order fans know this well. The guy they arrest 20 minutes into the show is never the guy. He's just a dude. He didn't do it.). But this wasn't the typical head fake. It was an Allen Iverson crossover.

The guy they arrested 20 minutes into the show wasn't the guy. But he had actually killed The Guy! OK, it wasn't that shocking. But I didn't see it coming.

The next 10-15 minutes were brutal television as the unsuspecting Arie showed up for his date and made a love potion with a Curacaoan woman. He was so excited. So happy. And then he walked into an emotional buzzsaw before our eyes as Emily showed up to tell him in extremely vague terms that it wasn't him, but still it wasn't him. And the whole time, the black SUV of Bachelorette death was waiting, like a vulture, to take him to the airport.

The live studio audience looked horrified. Which reminds me, why is there a studio audience? I understand assembling some super-fans for the after-show. But throughout the episode, going in and out of commercial breaks, Chris Harrison actually interviewed these people. What is this? Now I'm watching people watch a reality show? Do I even exist anymore.

It's bad enough that I've given myself over to this type of shameful entertainment, I shouldn't have to listen to someone ramble on about it too.

*This is not the morning after.

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