There’s been a lot of championships I’ve gotten hyped for, but at the end of the day, the Lombardi trophy or the Larry O’Brien trophy are merely just hunks of metal. The Bachelor is meant to award the heart.
But first, such a big event calls for a studio audience, including some familiar faces: scorned rose-less lovers from one-armed Sarah to possibly-gay Brooks, sexually inexperienced newlyweds Sean and Catherine, and clearly out-of-love awkward fiancés Des and Chris. Feel the romance, Bachelor-fans!
The stakes have never been higher. You can cut through the tension with a knife. All essss not okay! In case you missed it on fantasy suite week, we made it to these final two, Clare and Nikki, not because Juan Pablo now viewed them with warmth and thoughts of growing old together, but because Andi left on her own.
After a long night of JP talking nonsense and a frustratingly one-sided argument with Juan Pablo grabbing chins and saying “ess okay,” Andi describes, “He thinks he can say whatever he wants to say and everyone’s going to laugh and still fall in love with him and that it’s all fun and games, but I don’t see him taking this seriously. I hope, honestly, for everyone’s sake that he’s different with Clare and Nikki. I truly do.”
As do we, Andi, as do we. Remember her words, but no matter what happens tonight or how many broken shards of fragile hearts lay askew in the sands of Saint Lucia, we all need to remember that everything “ess going to be okay.” Take it away Free Spirit Lucy!
(Side note, revealed after the show, ANDI IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT BACHELORETTE!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOO! Maybe she’ll actually wear bikinis this season… Hey ABC, where do I sign up?!? I’d love to learn your politics, Andi!)
But first, I guess we have to wrap things up with this soccer nincompoop.
First Pablo Family Date: Clare the Clingy
Clare arrives in a bright fuscia dress with a bouquet of flowers that ruined expectations for men everywhere. She is super-excited to meet Juan Pablo’s family, including the brother Rodrigo, cousin Rodolfo, sister, niece, mom, dad and, of course, CAAAAA-MEEEEEE-LAAAAAAAAA!!!
Camila finally arrives as Clare holds out her hand, which Camila slaps either like a high-five or like a “I hate you stepmom Barbie!” Clare takes it as a five and makes a handshake. Then Camila sits on Juan Pablo’s lap and silently stares prompting Juan Pablo to ask, “You’re being very quiet. Did you drink too much juice?” which made me think the Pablos are putting either Nyquil or Everclear in Camila’s juice. No wonder she was so bad at dancing. Regardless, we all know dogs can sense whether or not they like a person, and, well, if Camila were a dog with Clare, her tail wouldn’t be wagging.
Clare tells the family about her Mexican mother and Spanish-speaking sisters, but they all grow disappointed when they find out she’s the only one out of eight women that doesn’t speak Spanish, the odds of which are something like Michael being the only Jackson family member to grow up white… oh, wait. Now, everybody is forced to return to broken, half-sensical English.
Clare sits down with Momma Pabs, Nelly, and tells her that she’s in love with her son and she feels like they get each other. Momma Pabs stares blankly. But she does get animated, though, when Clare asks if there are any personality traits she should worry about, responding with, “He’s hyperactive… He will be rude.” Take note, when a guy’s mom doesn’t get excited about a girl loving him but is eager to mention his rudeness, that’s a red flag.
Clare then goes to speak with Cousin Rodolfo, who surely as a fellow male, can offer a more optimistic perspective of Juan Pabs. “Juan Pablo, sometimes, when things get tough in a relationship and he’s willing to walk away.” Well, then…
Clare remains oblivious to the warning signs and simply responds, “If Juan Pablo proposed, it’ll be the best day of my life.” Rodolfo reconvenes with Juan Pablo to offer his review of the potential fiancé, “Phew that woman is in love! She’s not like, I’m not saying begging for it, but…”
At least the dad has some chivalry still alive! Pappa Pabs Saul is a sweetheart with Clare and tells her, “I love you! Te quiero!” Now if only Clare can get Saul’s son to say those same words.
Second Pablo Family Date: Nikki the Nurse
Before Nikki arrives, Camila and Juan Pablo’s niece beg to play Barbies. This presents the perfect opportunity for Juan Pablo to place Hair Stylist Barbie and Nurse Barbie on opposite sides of the room and ask the girls to pick the favorite, a la Air Bud. Unfortunately, fate knocked, but he wasn’t around to answer.
While Clare was super anxious to meet the family, Nikki had already checked that box by attending Camila’s dance recital, so she was feeling confident. “Today, if it goes great, then in a few days, Juan Pablo could be asking me to marry him.”
The family asks Nikki about her hometown, “You’re from Kansas, right?” clearly doing their homework that she hails from Kansas City. This should be a completely reasonable assumption, but Nikki corrects them that, no, she’s actually in KC, Missouri, which shouldn’t be allowed. At least Washington D.C. chose a neutral name. Speaking of which, I can’t wait for my vacation to New York City, Montana!
Pappa Pabs steals away Nikki to gather her feelings on Juan Pablo being a single father. Nikki has no qualms because Camila made JP who he is, and she can always just dump her back on JP’s ex-wife. Pappa Pabs concludes by warning, “He’s not an easy guy.”
Now it’s the mom’s turn to have lukewarm feelings about Juan Pablo. She asks Nikki to describe what she thinks a weekend with Juan Pablo would be like, and the nurse says “First we’d take a helicopter to Mount Vesuvius right as it was erupting then ride down the lava in a Ferrari/volcanic-proof-toboggan hybrid before kissing at a candlelit dinner to a private concert from Parker Donaldson and the Longshots!” Ok, not really, but I wouldn’t have been surprised at unreasonable expectations given ABC’s penchant for scenic locations, crazy vehicles and little know bands. Momma Pabs clarifies that they’ll probably just watch TV and asks, “You feel he’s the kind of guy you want?” When Nikki says yes, Nelly asks again, “You’re sure?”
Rodolpho is pleased with Nikki, partly because she blurted out unprovoked that she loved Juan Pablo and partly because her dress matches his shirt. He then rounds out the trifecta of family warnings by beginning his questioning with a straightforward, “how much, like, fighting… can you take?”
Goodness, Juan Pablo’s family is waving more red flags than the entire USSR army. The family tried to warn the girls, but those warnings fell on completely deaf ears (probably cuz they had their fingers in them screaming na-na-na-na boo). Nikki explains, “They raised a lot of questions for me today, but for me, I feel like I know him on a different level, and it’s not a red flag for me.” Solid logic Nikki. Of course she knows him better. They may have raised Juan Pablo from diapers, seen him grow up, move to New York, play professional soccer, have a child of his own, and go through a divorce, but you went spelunking with him! Once…
First Last Chance Date: Clare
ABC pulls out a stunner for its first Last Chance Date… a helicopter! Even more shocking, Chris Harrison promises this will be the most controversial conclusion in Bachelor history. Good thing I can trust him to avoid hyperbole, or else I may have set my expectations too highly.
I’ve always doubted a true emotional connection between these two, but at least Juan Pablo is here to tell me all the deep reasons he and Clare connect. “Clare, she’s very hot. She’s sexy. She’s cute. And she kisses… aye-yay-yay!”
The helicopter takes them to see St. Lucia’s picturesque mountains and turquoise sea before landing in a field. Apparently this moment happens without sound or cameras inside the helicopter, which is confusing because sound and cameras were in the helicopter for the rest of the trip. Did the producers decide their efforts at love were finally meaningless and leap out onto the St. Lucian rocks? Clare describes, “What I thought was going to be sweet, kind, loving words was not what came out of his mouth, and I’m shocked… some sexual thing, I don’t even want to repeat it.” My money is on something that rhymes with “I want another duck in the ocean!”
Later that night, Juan Pablo comes over to Clare’s room who’s angry enough to not answer the door with the usual pleasantries as Juan begs for a besito. Clare demands Juan Pablo explain the dirty talk, but he plays dumb, “tell me, remind me.” Apparently what he meant to say was that they didn’t know each other enough (because that’s easy to confuse). “The parts that I know [about] Clare, I like. There’s probably bunches of them that I don’t like. I don’t know.”
Then if his answers weren’t ridiculous enough, he tells Clare he no longer needs a physical connection, so maybe the controversy at the end will be Juan Pablo announcing he has joined the priesthood. Also, the physical connection they did have was apparently all Clare’s fault since she briefly mentioned a no-kissing rule. “To me, the no-kissing was the best rule you ever have given me after our one-on-one… and then you didn’t go with your word, so don’t blame it on me,” he scolds with his finger wagging aggressively in her face. “No, no, no, no. You didn’t go with your word in South Korea, so don’t blame it on me.” Then the super-pissed face and accusatory finger wag go down for a smile and the most hauntingly awkward, “I’m just kidding” in television history.
Then, when blaming it on Clare clearly wasn’t working for him, Juan switched gears to setting outlandish expectations. “You’re special to me. I know if I end up with you, we’re going to have a baby in like a year and two months. I just know it. Cuz I will not wait and you will be like, ‘yea, I’m not waiting either.’ We’ll move somewhere, you know. We’ll move to Sacramento.” So fellas, if you haven’t taken notes, when a you’re in a fight with a girl who you don’t really like except superficially, make sure to tell them you want to have a lot of kids with her and move to her hometown. 60% of the time it works every time.
The two exchange besitos again now that Clare fell for the bull****. Juan Pablo plays the song Josh Krajcik played on their first date together (told you you’d have to Google the bands) and lets the music do the romancing for him. Clare exclaims, “We should play this when we get married!” and Juan stays troubling silent.
Second Last Chance Date: Nikki
Nikki has a crucial one-on-one with Juan after he had a late night with Clare. I’m feeling déjà vu. Nikki arrives in a bikini just like her last date, which begs the question why every girl contestant doesn’t just do this all the time. It’s the same competitive advantage Oregon gets from their fluorescent jerseys.
Nikki is hopeful for her last chance date, saying, “Going into today, it’s just the two of us, hopefully Juan Pablo can tell me he loves me. And not only that, he can tell me all the things he’s wanted to tell me all along!” Instead, during a boring conversation on the boat, Nikki snores, “It’s a nice day out.” I’d say talking weather falls short of Nikki’s hopes.
Nikki worries that JP is guarded on their last date, and they will miss the chance to get to know each other, but JP reassures, “ess okay.” The self-awareness of The Bachelor has evolved to the point where the Bachelor tries to popularize his own catch-phrases.
At the hotel, Nikki writes Juan Pablo an adorable note that ends with, “I love you, Nikki.” She looks for a response, but just gets a quick, “Aww” and some kisses on the cheek and forehead. JP finally speaks, “I’ll see you tomorrow” and flees the crime scene like Val Kilmer in Heat.
Nikki escorts Juan to the door quietly, and as the doors close, she lets the tears flow disappointed that her feelings aren’t reciprocated. Two dates, two girls crying on sofas, Juan is really finishing this out with a bang.
Rose Ceremony and Maybe Proposal
Clare and Nikki don their best red carpet dresses and Juan Pablo is already in his suit with a black Neil Lane box that contains a ring as gaudy as the show’s dates. Clare and Nikki ride the boat to a private island, which is probably so they can compete Survivor-style if the Bachelor didn’t make up his mind. On the ride, Clare’s hair blows majestically in the wind, while Nikki’s naturally curlier hair stands still. My girlfriend assumed, “Nikki told the captain, ‘Take it slow, b****! I spent hours making this look good.”
Clare takes Chris Harrison’s arm, and I’ve only watched two seasons, but I think I can already assume that whoever takes Chris’ arm first is the destined for tears. Clare says hello, and after a super-long awkward smile, admits she’s nervous before spilling her final plea to JP, “We have something special, and I believe in you.”
Sadly, belief in Juan Pablo is sillier than belief in the Tooth Fairy. Juan begins, “Clare, when you get out of the limo with your belly, and I was like ‘Hmmm look at her.’” Such a timeless love-story staple. We’ve all heard the story from our dads, meeting the woman of his dreams for the very first time and said, “Hmm, well waddya know?” This isn’t going well. “I’ve got to follow what I think is best for me, and um, I have to say goodbye to you.” Then JP gives a super-strange nod and goes for the hug, only to be denied by suddenly strong-independent woman Clare! Cue live audience applause.
Clare becomes more aggressive than Lt. Kaffee questioning Colonel Jessup. She elaborates, “The other night… I gave you that opportunity right then because I’ve been scared to death and for you to sit there and tell me that you could see yourself in Sacramento, that you can see yourself if we got together, and have our babies, and I wanted to do it because I believed in us… Sharleen didn’t have the feelings for you, it wasn’t there. Andi did the same thing. You had every opportunity just like those other girls did to tell me exactly how you feel.”
Juan asks if she wants to know when he made his decision, and she stops him, “Doesn’t matter to me. I lost respect for you. Because, I’ll tell you what, I thought I knew what kind of man you were, and what you just made me go through, I would never want my children to have a father like you.” Boom. Clare drops the mic like Eminem in 8 Mile.
I swear Clare’s eyes turned red for a moment there, but now in her confessional they are full of angry tears as she reveals what was said in the filthy helicopter ride, “Don’t tell me that you loved ****ing me!” Good thing Juan focused on not embarassing his daughter on the show!
Now it’s Nikki’s turn to either get a ring or again be disappointed. She expects, “He’s going to be like down on one knee, looking up at me and asking me to marry him. I want to hear all the things that he hasn’t been able to say to me. I am ready to spend the rest of my life with this man.”
Then Juan Pablo starts with “I love so many things about you” and it’s obvious he won’t get too particular here either. With a rose in hand, he explains that Nikki’s dad said, “Juan Pablo, if you’re going to propose to my daughter, you have to be 100% sure.” Juan continues, “Honestly, I have a ring in my pocket, but I’m not going to use it. I’m not 100% sure that I want to propose to you, but at the same time, I’m 100% sure that I just don’t want to let you go.”
Nikki looks disappointed but Juan continues, “I like you a lot. A LOT. So, um, Nikki, will you accept my final rose.” Nikki sorta smiles an empty smile and accepts.
So there ya have it folks! We’ve followed for 10 weeks, watched twenty hours, and I’ve developed carpal tunnel writing about 580,000 words, and we finally were rewarded with… boyfriend and girlfriend. Twenty hours and ten weeks to reach the same conclusion that used to happen in one 20 minute episode of the Dating Game, when you would ask freaking horoscope questions to people behind a wall.
Ok, I’ll settle down. Esssssssssssssss alllllll going to be… okay.