Last night’s finale of The Bachelor was pretty stellar, as reality television goes. But as a case for finding love? Well, that maybe didn’t work out so well. Juan Pablo ended his epic journey – which for once was actually as controversial as host Chris Harrison touted it to be – by keeping a diamond ring in his pocket and not proposing to anyone. Or loving anyone – or maybe just not saying he loves anyone? I don’t know. Juan Pablo is a pretty difficult guy to understand, and not just because of his poor English language skills.
Toward the beginning of the After the Final Rose special (which followed the finale but also inter-cut the finale itself with live updates) Harrison wondered aloud if Juan Pablo was actually there to find love in the first place – and I’m not sure he was…but I’m not sure he wasn’t. I think he was there because it was a great career opportunity. He got famous, he got paid, he traveled the world on the producers’ dime. Plus, he got to spend a couple months with more than 20 hot women who were all willing to hook up with him. It’s kind of a no-brainer, and I’m sure Juan Pablo’s potentially selfish motivations aren’t all that different from many contestants in the past. The difference is, he’s an assh*le. And unfortunately for him, and for assh*les everywhere, your credibility disappears when everyone hates you.
No one was more baffled by the ending than Chris Harrison himself, who could barely hide his contempt for Juan Pablo during the post-finale special. In the end, Juan Pablo dumped the sensitive and easily fooled Clare and gave Nikki his final rose – but not an engagement ring. “I have a ring in my pocket,” he told her after dancing around his feelings for a few minutes. “But I’m not going to use it.” He explained that he was not 100% sure that he wanted to marry her – and he’d promised her father that he wouldn’t propose to Nikki until he was 100% ready. Nikki appeared disappointed, but gladly accepted the rose. She even accepted it when Juan Pablo said, “I like you…a lot.” Yeah no, seriously. That’s all he said. How romantic.
The thing is, it’s been months since The Bachelor finale was filmed and Juan Pablo still hasn’t used the L-word with Nikki. Chris Harrison grew more and more agitated during his interview with the couple, first attempting to get Juan Pablo to say it, then encouraging Nikki to set a deadline on how long she’d wait until he did. Juan Pablo, making more sense than he’s made all season, fought back. “People don’t understand, this is real life…We are done with the show. We are so done with the show,” he said. Then, later, “I’m sorry that the show didn’t end up like you guys wanted it to.” And strangely, that makes sense. You shouldn’t propose to someone if you’re uncertain. You shouldn’t say I love you if, after only a few months, you’re not there yet. You shouldn’t let a television show force you into saying things you don’t feel. Harrison was more confused than ever…but he was the one being illogical.
Harrison became almost desperate to get answers, but Juan Pablo and Nikki were not willing to give any. It seemed like they hadn’t even been together this entire time – there was a moment when Juan Pablo admitted that their relationship had “drastically” changed, but he wouldn’t say any more – and he insisted that they were looking forward to starting fresh. Nikki told Chris that Juan Pablo cared for her, but she barely said a word once J.P. joined her on stage. She just smiled blankly. Like, it was almost creepy. I couldn’t tell if she was annoyed, or if she’d just gone full Stepford. Juan Pablo definitely grew irritated with Harrison, though, asking, “Can I finish?” when Chris tried to interject. And you almost couldn’t blame him for getting mad – how would you feel if someone was badgering you to say you loved your girlfriend if you weren’t ready to do so? On live national television no less?
But the problem here is that Juan Pablo has already gotten the villain treatment. During his Women Tell All special, the women basically told us all how much they hate him. He’s gotten nothing but bad press for weeks – and rightly so. He’s managed to come off as homophobic and insensitive to the mentally disabled, not to mention how he treats women like garbage on the show. Last night, he managed to make both women cry on their final dates. His entire family had something negative to say about him – even his mother. When Clare mentioned their “misunderstanding” in Vietnam, she confessed to Juan Pablo’s mom that he made her cry. “Oh yes,” his mother said. “Me too, many times.” Um.
When Nikki gave him a heartfelt gift on their final date, he had nothing of substance to say back. Barely a thank you, to be honest. This is after not just one, but two women left the show voluntarily, each after getting to know Juan Pablo pretty well. Andi (the newly announced Bachelorette) flat-out called him a jerk. She pretended to be asleep during their overnight date in the fantasy suite so she wouldn’t have to talk to him anymore.
And then there’s what he did to Clare. No, not in Vietnam – this time, in St. Lucia. In an off-camera scene during their final date, Juan Pablo leaned in and whispered something sexual to her. It was so offensive, she wouldn’t repeat it, but you could tell she was very shaken by the incident. When he went to see her later that evening, she was ready to go home. “I am not just an object,” she told him. One could gather that he said something about having sex with her, which she later confirmed after she was dumped – “I loved f*cking you” is what he reportedly said. In different circumstances, that could be an acceptable comment to certain people (maybe never to Clare, I don’t know her) but I don’t think any woman wants to hear that when she’s expecting to hear how he feels about her, not f*cking her.
So why in God’s name did she stay? Well, Juan Pablo told her how much he liked spending time with her. He told her he could see a future with her. He could even see himself having children with her. Then he took out his phone and played “their song,” which, barf. So she stayed. It was naive, yes, and Clare admits that it was a mistake. But when he rejected her the following day, she was floored. Who says they can see themselves having children with someone and then dumps them the next day? Clare was understandably pissed and she let him know it. “I would never want my children having a father like you,” she said before walking away. “Phew! Glad I didn’t pick her!” was Juan Pablo’s reaction. Literally, that’s what he said. “Pick her,” like she’s nothing more than an object to him….oh wait. Hmmm…
I could go on and on…the evidence against Juan Pablo is pretty staggering. Does that mean he should have proposed? Does that mean the show should force his hand to declare love that isn’t there? No. But on a show with a pretty stupid premise, Juan Pablo actually managed to make logic and reason look wrong.