[Editor's Note - Miss Banshee is on medical leave from MamaPop. Today's recap of The Bachelor is by guest author and MamaPop alum Kristen Howerton of Rage Against The Minivan]
I’ve long since abandoned any hope for most couples who meet on The Bachelor, but by the time each season’s finale rolls around I can usually engage my suspension of disbelief long enough to offer just a little token of goodwill towards the couple in the end. But not tonight, guys. Not tonight.
All season long, Courtney has mortified viewers and castmates alike with her patronizing attitude and all-around-bitchy behavior. With most seasons, there are a couple contestants that get under my skin . . . folks who are just so crazy/narcissistic/ignorant that it’s entertaining for a few episodes, and then they go away. But in this season, that never happened. We never get the schadenfreude satisfaction of seeing the evil character get ousted. Instead, we’re left with the growing sense of dread that Ben is a bigger idiot than we’d originally thought. And he already seemed like a pretty big idiot.
All of this left me less than excited for tonight’s finale, not to mention that I’m still bitter that Ben sent home the cute, sarcastic PhD student. Emily, you get my final rose.
The show begins with both girls meeting Ben’s mom and his sister Kourtney Kardashian. (Am I right?) Ben’s mom and sister Julia pester Ben for the inside scoop, and he confesses that one of the girls had some drama in the house. This little tidbit of information becomes the backdrop for the entire rest of the show. Ben’s sister wisely advises him that dramatic girls are annoying. Indeed, Julia. Indeed.
Lindzi is first up to meet the family. I’m not gonna lie, Lindzi’s heavy-handed eyeliner has been getting the side-eye from me all season. And while she seems to be suffering from a most ill-timed breakout on her chin, it’s still no excuse for the two-shades-too-orange pancake makeup that is sitting in piles on her skin. Someone get this girl a blending sponge, stat. Lindzi displays nervousness and then complete ineptitude when it comes to eating with proper silverware. Where is that horse buffer when you need one?
Lindzi is so completely upstaged by Courtney in this episode that even Lindzi’s time with Ben’s family is focused on Courtney. Ben’s sister takes Lindzi off privately so that she can ask about Courtney while fluffing and rearranging her hair. Lindzi tries to be diplomatic. Poor Lindzi. First her mom spells her name like that, and then she has to compete with the mind-control model for her man.
Lindzi’s family date comes to a merciful end, and now it’s Courtney’s turn to receive awkwardly announced hugs from the Flajnik family. Why does this family feel the need to preface each hug with a “We’re going to hug now!” They’re almost as bad as that contestant who tried to choreograph the kiss.
For the family date with Courtney, Ben is wearing a cardigan that looks like something my mother-in-law got on sale at the ColdWater Creek outlet. Courtney shows up and they jump right into interrogating her interpersonal skills. Then Julia takes her outside, and privately corner her about her lack of interpersonal skills. And yet somewhere, between all of this concern, Courtney totally wins them over. After she leaves, both mother and daughter have glowing things to say about her. Which makes me think that Courtney is selling herself short by not calling herself a “model/actress” more clearly. Also, I think Ben’s mom likes Courtney because they share that not opening their mouth when they talk thing in common.
After the family dates, each girl has a last-chance date where they frolic in the snow, ride in helicopters, drink wine, and confess their scary, vulnerable love for Ben. I take this opportunity to clear out my inbox, because I feel I may claw my eyes out if I see much more of this staged ridiculousness.
Which leads us to the big day. After the commercial break, we’re treated to the typical scripted monologue from the Bachelor. “I’m in love with two girls, I don’t know how to choose, blah blah blah.” It’s the same speech every season. How about a contestant who just says, “You know? I’ve taken this promise of betrothal thing seriously enough that I’ve made a decision prior to the morning of my proposal.” No? Too much to ask? Ben waxes philosophical on his choices: Lindzi is warm, funny, smart, and positive, and Courtney IS A MODEL.
Then we move to the portion of the show where the girls do a wistful voiceover monologue as they use their curling irons. Courtney recounts how she’s never found a man who would appreciate her the way she deserves. What do you think “appreciate” is code for in Courtney’s mind?
After the obligatory hair-curling/window-gazing, we’re back to Ben, who’s making his yearly pilgrimage to Neil Lane. What’s our count at this point? He’s now chosen engagement rings for three women? I’m sure that bodes well for his future relationship.
Finally, we get to the big moment. Ben stands in front of a picturesque Matterhorn, waiting for the girls to arrive in the Helicopter of Hope. Lindzi steps out first, and she appears to be wearing a cape borrowed from a local community theater production of Phantom of the Opera. She then removes the cape to stand in the freezing cold in a strapless gown – and listen. Can we just pause for a moment and consider how much it sucks being a girl sometimes? I mean, who decided that fancywear must always be sleeveless? Not to mention, why are WE the ones who are expected to wear bathing suits at the beach? Men don’t get cellulite. They don’t carry babies that blow out their stomachs. Maybe THEY can wear the skin-tight spandex and we can trade up for the baggy shorts. Can I get an amen?
Alright. I guess I needed to get that off my chest. Back to Lindzi . . . he dumps her. But not before he gets in a little “I love you! SIKE! love someone else forever.” Lindzi looks at him with such clear annoyance that I think she’s finally realizing what a douche he is. But then, at the last minute, she tells him to call her if things don’t work out. Lindzi!!! Have some respect, woman!
Now it’s Courtney’s turn. True to casting, she wears a white Cruella deVille cape. Ben expresses his love, and I try to muster some sense of goodwill towards their engagement, but it just isn’t there. If this is a fairy tale, then Courtney is Rapunzel’s mother, and Ben has Stockholm Syndrome.
Cut to the After the Final Rose Ceremony, and Chris Harrison somberly asks that we withhold our judgement as we hear the real story from Ben and Courtney.
Naw, Chris. I’m gonna keep on being judgey. How about you stop pretending that these two are still a couple?
Ben’s in the hot seat first, answering questions about tabloid photos in which he appears to be kissing other women. Ben flat out denies it, saying definitively, “I did not kiss that other girl.”
Finally Courtney talks with Chris, and shares how abandoned she felt when her fiancé decided to stop speaking to her when the negative press started swirling. She seemed quite hurt, and the cockles of my cold heart felt just the slightest twinge of empathy for her. Or it might have been heatburn. Either way, it’s clear that Ben’s brand of douchiness, while more covert, is just as self-centered.
Finally, the two are awkwardly reunited on stage, despite not having spoken to each other in months, holding hands and pretending to be a couple. We get to watch a replay of the whole proposal that we watched and didn’t care about just 15 minutes prior. There are more awkward questions and more noncommittal answers from Ben and Courtney, and at the end of the evening I can’t decide which of the two I like less. Fortunately, JP and Ashley finally took their place on the sofa and seemed like a genuinely happy couple. As for Ben and Courtney. . . I’d give it until Wednesday.