There are three things I know about The Bachelorette: It’s a reality TV show about dating/love; it airs on ABC; and once a week — when it inevitably becomes a trending topic on Twitter — my sister Isabel tweets about it.
Isabel is a full eight years younger than me, so I remember her as a baby, and sometimes it feels we’re an entire generation apart. Still, we agree on lots in life, including the fact that The Holiday is an A+ romantic comedy. I knew that if anyone could explain to me the massive appeal of The Bachelorette, it would be my smart, savvy, glamorous sibling. (My brother Brendan has his own charms, but I think he and his girlfriend are more into the shows on Bravo.)
I briefly dragged Isabel away from the duties of her amazing job — she works for a famous dog photographer you probably follow on Instagram, so it’s basically pup snuggles 24/7 — and asked her what the deal is.
Last night was the finale, I think? Did I see that it was three HOURS long???
It sure was. Usually the finales are two hours, and then they have After the Final Rose for one hour, which is where they interview the bachelor/bachelorette and the winner and loser. BUT! Last night was different because Rachel (the bachelorette) watched the whole finale live with the audience, and they integrated the After the Final Rose episode WITH the finale. So we got to hear her commentary live.
That is so goddamn confusing. What season was this? Have you watched them all?
This was season 13, and I actually only started watching within the past year or so.
What got you started?
I watched Nick Viall as the bachelor, which was literally like watching a wet paper towel go on dates. I got started because I moved into an apartment with three other girls who were obsessed with it. Plus, I love trash reality TV, so it was a match made in heaven.
I’m honestly sad I didn’t start sooner.
Is it weird to watch it alone?
Yeah, honestly, watching The Bachelorette is a social experience. I’d be worried if someone watched it by themselves.
The whole point is to watch it with a big group of friends, get drunk and yell at the TV. Much like a sporting event.
Interesting you say that, since a co-worker pointed out to me that dude sports writers ALSO love The Bachelorette, and that it’s surprisingly popular among other straight men.
YES! Bros loooooove The Bachelorette.
Talk to me about that — and have you watched with bros?
It’s exactly the same as watching sports. People make fantasy leagues based on it. They make bets on who’s going to win, etc. It involves drinking a lot — mostly rosé, because of the rose theme. I think it gives guys something to be passionate about, because you get connected to these people like you would a team, and you genuinely root for them to win. And no, I’ve never watched with any bros besides my roommates’ boyfriends, but I know of a lot of guys who love it.
Speaking of rooting for a team: I gather you were disappointed with last night’s result?
Yes, it honestly feels like I went through the breakup myself. People are devastated.
Okay, so, I have to give you a little context.
Every bachelor/bachelorette is chosen from the season before, and is usually chosen from the top three contestants. So Rachel was one of the top three when Nick Viall was the bachelor and was by a far a fan favorite. She’s not only the first black bachelorette; she’s funny, beautiful, and smart. (She’s an attorney.) So she was chosen as the bachelorette and people were so happy — me included. I love her so much.
Anyway, the top two [competitors] were Bryan and Peter.
Bryan is a chiropractor from Miami that definitely has cheek implants, kisses like he’s slurping up ramen noodles and has a scary overprotective mom. But mostly, he just displays typical fuccboi traits. As in, he always says the right thing. He tells [Rachel] how much he loves her and how he wants to be with her. Mind you, at the end of this, they’ve probably been on five dates total. And Rachel, as smart as she is, eats it all up because she is desperate to get married.
She makes this very, very clear toward the end of the season because she constantly talks about how she doesn’t just want to leave here with a boyfriend. By the way, both of these guys met her family, and EVERYONE in her family was suspicious of Bryan. They’re like, “How can you love her you’ve literally known her for like a month?”
Peter is not only a fucking salt-and-pepper angel god, he’s also the most logical person in the entire history of the show. Once Rachel starts pressing the marriage thing, Peter makes it very clear that he’s falling in love with her, that he really cares about her, that he wants to plan for a future together, but he doesn’t feel comfortable proposing at the end because HE’S ONLY KNOWN HER FOR LIKE SIX WEEKS AND HAS ONLY BEEN ON LIKE FIVE DATES WITH HER. This really upsets her, but she continues to keep him on, because it’s obvious to everyone watching how much she’s in love with this dude and how desperately she wants him to change his mind.
What about all of this is so upsetting?
Because on their last date, Rachel and Peter get into a big discussion on this very same topic. The finale (and proposal) is taking place THE NEXT DAY. Rachel basically expresses once again that she just wants a ring at the end of all of this, and Peter stands his ground. He tells her that he wants to build a life with her, but it’s ridiculous to rush into something so serious. And so, they break up. BEFORE. THE. FINALE. They’re both sobbing, and she cries her damn eyelashes off. She’s so upset she can’t even leave the hotel room and say goodbye.
This never happens. Usually how the finale goes is that both contestants are there and the bachelor/bachelorette gets to choose who they want. In this case it was so weird/bizarre because she so clearly wanted another guy but literally got engaged to Bryan by default. And when he proposed, she tried to be like, “I knew you were the one weeks ago!” But all of America is like, “You were literally sobbing into Peter’s gray sweater last night!”
Oh my god.
It almost seems like she got engaged to Bryan just to spite Peter.
I feel emotionally drained just hearing about it.
And THEN on After the Final Rose they brought out Peter and Rachel to talk for the first time since their breakup, and it was sooooo obvious that she’s still heartbroken over this guy. IT’S JUST A MESS. And everyone is just upset because she dumped the guy she’s clearly in love with just for a ring.
Switching gears a bit, can I ask what this tweet is in reference to?
LOL. During the proposal, they were standing on a mountaintop in Spain, and it was supposed to be all romantic. But the wind was going at like 50 mph; you could hardly hear anything, and she was so distracted by her hair flying everywhere.
That sounds like something we could get a few meme GIFs out of.
Oh yes. Let me try to find a clip for you.
It just makes it even more awkward.
Exactly. Especially knowing what just happened the night before.
I know we’ve watched some trash reality TV together — probably Real Housewives of New Jersey, repping our home state — but what would you say makes The Bachelorette bigger, better or more important than other reality TV? The idea of it seems so… basic, really. Matchmaking shows like this have been around for a long time, right?
Honestly, I’m not really sure. I didn’t watch it for a long time for that exact reason — I just didn’t understand why everyone was so obsessed with it and why it was such a big deal. I think it comes down to The Bachelorette being such a social experience/event that brings people together.
Not just physically, friends or family watching together, etc., but online, too. At every commercial break my friends and I will go to Twitter and read aloud the funniest tweets. It feels like you’re experiencing something with millions of people in real time. I can’t think of any other reality show that has that kind of online presence, or that people plan entire events around.
Are you excited for next season? Who do you want to see as the bachelor? Eric?
I mean I’d love Peter as the bachelor, because he’s the most beautiful and perfect specimen, but I don’t know if they’ll ask him, since he made it very clear he was against proposing. I think Dean would be my second choice — he was in the top four. His fangirls are called “Deanie Babies.”
Wow. Finally, the question that matters most: Should I watch The Bachelor?
YES. Just for the tweets that would come from it. And my personal entertainment. Bachelor in Paradise starts next Monday. But that’s like a spinoff show.
Sounds like I still have a lot to learn. But thank you for explaining all this.
You’re welcome. Sorry if it was confusing. I’m still reeling from the breakup.