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Monday Night TV: Bachelorette Finale

It's been billed as the most dramatic, unexpected ending of the Bachelorette ever. Will Desiree take Brooks back or end up alone? Or pick one of the remaining two?

[Deleted: My inaccurate predictions.]

There will be a ring and a dress -- Neil Lane and Randi Rahm have already been paid and need the promotion. [More...]

The finale is always over-hyped, but I'll watch just in case it really is as "weird" a finale as Mike Fleiss says. Also, Antigua is a great setting. The filming for tonight's episode was done at the Verandah Resort and St. James Club.

Also tonight: The new Bachelor will be named in the After the Final Rose portion of the show. Will it be Chris or Juan Pablo or someone else? Chris is their safest bet. The audience knows him and will relate to him having his heart broken this season.He's also a model and former minor league baseball player. Whatever he lacks in charisma he'll make up for looks-wise. Juan Pablo is a fan fave, but he left so early, viewers didn't have a chance to get attached to him.

Another unusual feature of this season: No one has leaked what happens during the finale. Reality Steve is sticking by his spoiler from earlier in the season that Desiree gets engaged to Brooks, but even he says he has no idea what happened in Antigua. Did Mike Fleiss promise everyone a substantial bonus if the ending isn't spoiled?

Update: Show Recap:

First, I didn't care much for Desiree's season. She's very pretty and nice, but I thought she didn't have enough personality to carry the show. I didn't like Brooks, Drew or really any of the guys. They all seemed too bland and mainstream and really, just boring.

BUT, the last two weeks I got interested in trying to figure out what would happen with Desiree and Brooks after her meltdown last week when he left. The show relentlessly promoted the finale as the most shocking ever and promising something that never happened before on the show.

But something was odd. For all the show's hype of the finale, there was a total blackout of information the past week. That's a major departure from every other season. In past seasons, at least a week before the finale, ABC releases promo shots of the Final Rose Ceremony, the Bachelorette's dress, and her final two (or three) contenders. This year there was nothing.

So even though I fast-forwarded through most of the episodes this season, and two weeks ago wouldn't have been able to tell Chris from Zach or Mike, and didn't care for Brooks, Drew or Chris' poetry, the hype and the departure from customary practice piqued my curiosity. I started watching reruns of previews on You Tube to compare clothes, jewelery, scenery, even nail polish colors for clues. (The show is infamous for switching out scenes in previews and using voiceovers that never end up in the actual episodes to throw viewers off, so it's a laborious process.)

While I never did figure out the ending, I did start to see the connection between her and Chris. So to me, the ending of her falling in love with Chris despite being devastated by Brooks' leaving a week before, actually was a good one, not just a happy one. While others will disagree, I found it credible.

I also have to hand another rose to Mike Fleiss, the producer. While I didn't need any tissues, I was engrossed. It was suspenseful-- waiting for Brooks to come back and say he made a mistake, which never happened. Happily, there wasn't a lot of time spent rehashing her "journey" with the final 3 guys. There was even a rose ceremony with just Desiree, Chris and Drew that I didn't see coming.

I knew from previews of Chris in the suit and tie in the limo that he was going to be there until the end. He was either on his way to the Final Rose Ceremony (FRC) or coming from it, rejected. I knew someone had to propose because Neil Lane and dress designer Randi Rahm had to get their 3 minutes of promotion, and the photo of her finale dress had surfaced. But while I figured Desiree wasn't going to calls its quits after Brooks left, I wasn't expecting her to do a turnaround so quickly. Yet the editing was credible enough that it worked, especially considering that a week in Bachelor time is like a year in real time.

Another reason to give props to Fleiss: I don't remember a prior season that had a final rose ceremony (FRC) with only one choice -- that TB was able to make that scenario interesting (by playing the "will she end up alone?" card) was no small feat. I think Desiree's sending Drew home may have thrown them for more of a loop than Brooks leaving. They must have spent days trying to figure out how to pull off a LCD (last chance date), family meet and FRC with only 1 guy left. How do you add suspense into that? But they did it.

I'm still wondering how Fleiss staved off every single spoiler from last week to tonight. I must have read 50 news articles and forum posts, and no one had any hard information. There were no sightings at the safe house or in airports. No secret photos. No leaks from the camera crew. No one claimed insider knowledge (other than a few people posting with pseudonyms on forums saying their anonymous sources said such and such.) There were no leaks from Antigua.

The other day when I was writing about the latest Somali pirate trial, I read some expert reports saying that rather than ship owners and insurance companies spending billions on having armed guards on ships, their money would be better spent paying the pirates not to engage in piracy. I wonder if Fleiss hasn't adopted a similar policy -- paying people not to leak -- as a means of dealing with Reality Steve and internal leaks. Instead of threatening lawsuits, maybe he offered everyone on the show a substantial bonus if no reports surfaced of anyone claiming to know the ending based on insider knowledge. If reports did surface, no one would get a bonus -- all or nothing. That would give everyone a mutual and collective interest in not spilling the beans. Like paying the pirates more not to pirate than they would make pirating.

So the ending was: Desiree and Chris are engaged, they seem really happy, she's moving to Seattle this weekend to live with him, and they already picked out a new place. Will they get married? Probably not, very few of the couples do. But since neither one seems bitten by the stardom bug, maybe they have a better chance than most. At least she isn't going to stick around Hollywood trying to parlay her 15 minutes into a career as an entertainment journalist or fashion consultant. I hope DWTS doesn't come calling.

As to the next Bachelor, it is Juan Pablo. Chris Harrison said it was a no-brainer given his epic fan base. He will be the first Latino Bachelor. He's a former pro soccer player in Venezuela, outgoing, good looking, and a part-time father. I think the show gets too schmaltzy when it focuses on the contestants' kids, but the past few seasons have been so dull, his season is bound to be an improvement.

Yes, the Bachelorette is just a reality show. While it's not scripted, it uses an impressive amount of creative story-telling and character manipulation. It casts people who fit a preconceived role in the story (the nice guy, the cheater, the liar, the drama queen), and puts them into manufactured situations, hoping they will behave a certain way. Mostly they do, but the unpredictable moments, as happened the last two weeks of this season, are what make it interesting. (I've come to look at wiretap affidavits the same way. Mostly the cops are telling a story, using only the characters and facts that fit into their scenario and leaving out others that don't. It is their version of the truth, and it may not be false, but it can be misleading and may not be the real truth. It's not enough to just look at the facts recited in an affidavit -- by looking beyond them to the story it pitches, you have a better chance of finding the flaws.)

Final thought: The ring is gorgeous.

If you aren't interested in the show, please don't bother to tell us, just scroll on by.

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  • Well? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Payaso on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 12:54:20 AM EST
    Don't keep us hanging.  Tell us what happened.

    I was please with the ending and that (none / 0) (#2)
    by Cashmere on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:23:00 AM EST
    Chris, the man who grew up in McMinnville, OR, won in the end.  They seem like a good match.

    I only became interested over the last few weeks... I did not know who Juan Pablo was.

    I was pleased Brooks was not chosen to be the next bachelor.

    Intriguing comment, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#3)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:38:17 AM EST
    'Just read your perspective above ... how you weave the unreality & reality of a "reality" show with how "truth" plays out & is described in aspects of the world of law is thought provoking.  Thanks.

    As for this TV show: I'm one of those part-time watchers.  It has been dull in recent offerings; but then, how many ways can a story be spun. From the past two weeks, apparently more than I thought.  In this season, I missed about half the episodes (mostly, the would-be suitors seemed flat.)  Because Desiree appeared to be smart as well as pretty, and with a sense of humor as well, I actually found her interesting ... but, considered the rest dull.  Brooks especially seemed tediously lost in himself, in his tiring navel-gazing.  Then, what a pleasant surprise that she refrained--in the end--from chasing after a chimera and recast her view toward a genuine person who seems to care genuinely for her.  Refreshing.  (I'm a real patsy for that kind of tale!)

    I wish them the best. (none / 0) (#4)
    by indy in sc on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 11:07:23 AM EST
    It was hard to imagine such a swing of emotion from Brooks to Chris, but it can happen.  At the end of the show, I got the feeling that he was really in love with her while she wanted to be in love with him so that the whole thing would not have been a waste and so that she could triumph over the heartbreak.  

    By the time the after the rose special aired, however, I got the feeling that she really loved Chris too (as much as can happen in these kinds of situations)--perhaps that love developed over the time that elapsed in the meantime.

    The overall season was a snooze, but I'm glad about Juan Pablo as the next bachelor.