Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Bachelorette: Good Luck. Don't Settle.

If there is one colloquialism that best describes the finale of JoJo Fletcher's season of The Bachelorette, it must be "the ol' switcheroo." You think things are one way? No. Wrong. It’s the other. Jordan fucks up beyond redemption? Fuck you, he's engaged now. You think Chad is the ultimate villain from this season? Nice try, idiot, you're the ultimate villain. That's right, the fourth wall is gone, Jordan and JoJo can see you, and they're pointing you out specifically as the villain. It is M. Night Shyamalan at his worst and The Bachelorette at its best.

M. Night at his worst.

The finale begins with JoJo's family joining her in Phuket, Thailand (aptly named given my apathy for this show) to meet the remaining two guys. Normally, this meeting would have taken place in JoJo's hometown of Dallas, but even a sex-trafficking, military dictatorship like Thailand is better than fucking Dallas. You hear me, Dallas? Your weather is untenable, your sports teams are shit, and your barbecue is second-rate at best. The one saving grace of being in Dallas is that you aren't in Houston.

First to meet the family is Jordan. In an effort to ease the tension, Jordan brings an array of silly hats for the family to wear. His thought process seemed to be "I bet they're going to ask me a lot of questions about what a weird, self-righteous prick I am. But no one can legitimately insult someone if they're wearing a pink cowboy hat. I'll just make everyone wear stupid hats, and if they call me out on my shit I'll tell them that their stupid hat invalidates their opinion. It's foolproof!"

Silly hats run in the family/

Unfortunately for Jordan, the Fletcher family removes their hats almost immediately and the interrogation begins. Mama Fletcher tells Jordan to, "give me your word that you will never break my daughter's heart." Jordan, in turn, looks as if he just realized that wasn't what he was supposed to do before responding with "yeah?"  That question mark isn’t hyperbole either. It legitimately sounded like he was asking a question.

Jordan rounds out his time with the Fletchers by forgetting to ask for her father's blessing. How that is even possible is beyond me. My best guess is that Jordan either got distracted by his own inadequacies or freaked out wondering if JoJo was going to look like her dad when she got older.

He's not the sexiest dad...

Luckily for both JoJo and her family, Robby showed up to save the day. Instead of silly hats, Robby brought flowers for JoJo's mother because he's meeting a family, not entertaining children. He also soothes Mrs. Fletcher's worries by saying he will never break her daughter's heart. At this point, Robby is about a million times better than Jordan, despite not actually being that great himself.

The family loves Robby for being the first contestant to achieve a minimum standard of human decency, so much so that when Robby asks for Mr. Fletcher's blessing, he tears up and happily grants it. JoJo's father then pulls her aside to tell her how much she means to him and how happy he wants her to be. As a lifelong fan of "cute Dad shit," I can tell you that this was the good stuff. If you weren't at least slightly sentimental, you don't know how to live.

He is a very patient dad though.

After Robby leaves, JoJo polls her family to see what they think about the guys. Everyone is firmly in favor of Robby over Jordan, mostly because Robby has a functional human brain. JoJo's mom calls Robby, "husband material," while her dad calls him, "the logical choice." Even JoJo's normally contentious brothers can't find anything bad to say about Robby. This one-sided result makes JoJo burst into tears because she is, "still so torn!" What was the point of having these guys meet your family, JoJo, if you're just going to ignore any advice they give you?

For their final date of the year, JoJo takes Robby on a beach day. The two make out both above and below the water, then make out on the beach, and then helped rescue a drowning toddler. Just kidding, they made out some more.

She also taught Robby to read. Just kidding, they made out.

Later that evening, Robby has JoJo back to his suite for drinks. He presents her with several pictures of their time together and says, "Wow, where has the time gone," as if this isn't only their fourth date. In turn, JoJo tells Robby "It's overwhelming how much I trust you," and that she has never doubted him for a moment. That is obviously untrue considering only two weeks ago Robby was defending himself against accusations of not being over his ex-girlfriend. What happened to these two? Did they both forget that they were being filmed? Did they both suffer some sort of collective amnesia while making out in the ocean? Did they both just say a bunch of words at random without thinking? Probably the last one.

Non-thinking aside, JoJo leaves Robby feeling fantastic. She says that he makes her see her own self-worth and that while she does love him; she thinks it would be wrong to tell him at this point. Robby also feels confident, saying, "How does something like this not last forever?" Let me answer your question with a question, Robby. How often do people ask rhetorical questions to which they really don't want the answer. Never mind, don't answer that.

The human rhetorical question.

Continuing his role as Goofus to Robby Gallant, Jordan’s absolute shit show of a date was next. He and JoJo kayak through some ocean caves before sitting down to have drinks on a nearby beach. Jordan, sensing JoJo’s anger for his lack of blessing request, tries to explain his actions before she broaches the subject. This has been an ongoing tactic of Jordan’s both because he is a conniving little weasel, and also because people are consistently angry with him. If these aren’t massive red flags, I don’t know what are.

In Jordan’s words (as best I understand them), he didn’t ask JoJo’s father for a blessing because he wasn’t sure she would pick him in the end. Jordan also says he didn’t know that is what she wanted and that Robby’s presence made the question uncomfortable. Somewhere in this word salad, JoJo must have found a satisfactory answer because she didn’t immediately drown him in a nearby shallow pool.

"How shallow was the pool?"

At dinner, once Jordan has had time to get his story straight, he tells JoJo that he basically said he wanted to marry her and that should be good enough. JoJo points out that they can never have that opportunity back. Jordan had his chance to ask her father for his hand and now it is gone. She is disappointed in him for squandering this opportunity and not taking their relationship more seriously. JoJo says all these things because, if only for one brief moment, she is a stone cold killer. Jordan says he has regrets because, again, he’s kind of a turd.

With both dates ended, we are treated to an extended montage of both Robby and Jordan preparing for the final rose ceremony. Both guys put on their finest tight suits and meet with Neil Lane, purveyor of gaudy diamond rings. This happens every year and every year I am unsurprised at the obscene 1,200 karat horseshit that these guys pick out.


Somewhere in this time, Jordan manages to get his hands on a cell phone to call JoJo’s parents. With them both on the line, he asks for their permission to ask for their daughter’s hand which each wearily permits. It’s nice of Jordan to finally do the right thing at the 11th hour, but where the fuck did that cell phone come from? That’s not allowed on The Bachelorette. Hell, that’s not even allowed on Bachelor in Paradise. Whichever producer gave him that phone should be fired for subjecting me to more Jordan Rodgers.

 The moment of truth is now at hand. Whoever arrives first to see JoJo will have their heart broken and be sent home in shame. As much as I’d love to pretend this moment merits any suspense, you already know what happened. Robby exited the car and began the long walk to having his dreams crushed, along with anyone else who cares about sanity existing in the universe.

After several seconds of Robby gushing, JoJo stops him. She tells him that while she does have love for him, and he does “deserve the type of love you have given me,” she must send him home. Before he leaves, Robby whispers in her ear, “Good luck. Don’t settle.” No finer final “fuck you” has ever been issued on this show. May you rest in power, Robby.

Power, or whatever you consider this look to be.

Jordan arrives, post-Robby, and walks towards JoJo with pants so tight he literally cannot bend his knees. After a half-thought out speech full of platitudes and tropes, Jordan summons all his strength, believes in himself, and manages to bend his knee enough to propose. Once she realizes that his crotch didn’t rip (pants nor person), JoJo accepts his proposal and the two celebrate on the beach.

Pictured: JoJo and Jordan.

The recap segment, After the Final Rose, went exactly as you would expect, with only a few deviations. The first deviation came when Robby appeared wearing a gingham tie, pocket square, and lapel flower, as if he were a blind person who hated others for being sighted. Fuck you for making me see that, Robby.

After confessing to Chris that he still had love for JoJo (but respected her decision), Robby was made to confess the same sentiments to JoJo. Which he did.  At length. For several minutes. If I’m being honest, pretty much nothing he said needs to be written down or remembered.

I finally found a picture of Robby doing the one thing he's good at and it's still boring.

Finally, Jordan comes out to join JoJo as a newly public couple. They tell Chris how hard things have been post show. Tabloids have printed “terrible” headlines like, “JoJo: Falling For a Fraud?” and “JoJo’s Bad Boys: Why She Can’t Trust Them.” Outside of a reliance on colons, there really isn’t anything particularly terrible about these headlines. Sure they vaguely call the character of both JoJo and Jordan into question, but such headlines have been a staple of The Bachelor/ette for years. These shows would barely exist without tabloids fueling the narrative they create.

And therein lies the subtle deception of this season. The Bachelorette would have you believe that you, that’s right you, are the real villain of this season. It’s not Chad, who threatened to murder at least a dozen people. It’s not Alex for instigating fights and being short (though that seemed to be a real source of anger for people). It’s definitely not Jordan, despite committing nearly every mortal Bachelorette sin on the books and still winning. The villain is you for gossiping about the show.

I see it now. The mirror is the enemy. Wait, am I not getting this?

Returning Bachelor Ben Higgins said it himself, “There are going to be times when you both probably want to rip your hair out because some 13-year-old in Idaho is saying names to you on Twitter.”  First, congratulations Ben. You found the only person less interesting than a Bachelor from Indiana. Second, fuck you.

You, and this show as a whole, attempted to conflate some warped version of online bullying with reporting on a narrative that you helped create. The Bachelorette is solely responsible for calling into question the character of Jordan, Chad, and frankly every other guy on this show. Tabloids didn’t do that, I didn’t do that, and fans of this show sure as hell didn’t do that. Everything you, JoJo, and Chris Harrison are critiquing was a byproduct of the show. To denigrate any and all headlines that questioned JoJo and Jordan’s love is to ignore the actual problem, the show itself.

LOL. Fuck you for watching.

I could go on ad nauseum about the problems with this show (and frankly probably already have), but the larger point remains worth making. To put an image of yourself into the world, and then complain when it’s noticed, is definitely naïve and possibly disingenuous depending on intent. It’s the ol’ switcheroo, employed in it’s laziest form.

In closing, fuck you, fuck this show, fuck everyone on it, fuck me, and fuck you again. I can’t wait for Bachelor in Paradise. See you tomorrow!

Gossip Squirrel

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