The Bachelor's Four-hour Hometowns/Fantasy Suite Extravaganza: It's Not Okay

By Lily Sparks

Feb 26, 2014

The Bachelor S18E08 & S18E09: Episode 8 & Episode 9


Someone is going to get fired, n’est pas? I'm looking at you, Bachelor Harem Casting Office! How did you manage to let not one, but TWO self-respecting women with a sense of their own worth make it into this season's cast? THAT’S NOT THE WAY THIS WORKS. They should've all been Clares, Bachelor Harem Casting Office! Disney-princess-faced and inwardly seething, that's what we're going for here. 


First there was Too-Classy-4-This Sharleen, who said in no uncertain terms the connection between her and Juan Pablo wasn’t “cerebral” enough (a.k.a. "himbo is dumb") before bouncing out of Miami to the rest of her extremely successful opera career...


...and then this week, Andi, the sharp-shooting Atlanta assistant district attorney, turned a tropical paradise into a high-noon duel. Andi called out Juan Pablo as only a high power ADA can, and she was downright angry he had wasted her time. She missed weddings for this! (Though frankly, is there a better excuse to scrawl onto an RSVP card? “Can’t come, finding love!”) As an audience, we had a general idea of what was stewing in Andi, thanks to the confessional the producers taped presumably right after their disastrous one-on-one date: Andi reiterating that Juan Pablo couldn’t be bothered to ask her anything about herself or really listen to her, that he talked mostly about himself and did a lot of “name-dropping.” (How I long to know what names he dropped. Those giant CGI M&M’s he’s been co-starring with during commercials? David Beckham? Xuxa?) 


Juan Pablo’s talking head was hilariously intermixed with Andi's own disgusted reactions. Everything is great! She might be the one! It was perhaps a window into just how weirdly detached Juan Pablo has appeared throughout this entire process. His insistence on activities that involved not talking, his habit of constantly tracing the features on his date’s faces while they tried to have a conversation with him as if he was completely not listening—am I alone on this one, or has Juan Pablo seemed a little checked out? And Andi was sane enough to not gloss over that. 


Their actual confrontation brought more unflattering remarks to light, along with a smattering of he-said, she-said: Andi was offended he told her she was the “default” choice after he decided Renee was not in his top three, and he denied the comment insisting he'd said she had “barely made it,” which actually seems more insulting? Regardless, Andi refused to let him end the conversation with an “It’s okay. Thank you for being honest.” Andi’s point was—and I kind of agree with her—that slapping an “It’s okay” onto every response in a difficult conversation is extremely dismissive and condescending. She was not asking him if he was okay with her leaving, she was telling him why he drove her away, and if his feelings were ever actually involved, that should've bothered him. As she pulled away in the ABC Getaway Van, we got Juan Pablo congratulating himself on dodging a bullet—“That little fight right there was everything”—and Andi, hilariously, accurately predicting that he’d “It’s okay” away their conversation. “He doesn’t get it. It’s not a language barrier thing.” AGREED, and it’s not the first time he’s used the ESL thing as a mask for incredibly hurtful and thoughtless behavior; he tried to to dismiss his inexcusably homophobic remarks halfway into the second week of the season with the same inadequate defense.


So, huge round of applause for Andi: She has a real sense of self worth that is not swayed by travel, sun, or all the champagne ABC can buy. And another round of applause for her dad, who no doubt helped build the foundation of that self esteem. When Juan Pablo traveled to the girls' hometowns in the first half of this week's four-hour extravaganza, Papa Dorfman  gave him perhaps the best response I’ve heard to what is easily the series’ most asinine ritual —“Time to ask Daddy for the blessing on a proposal that may or may not happen after two hours of small talk!”—and told Juan Pablo that the man who deserved his daughter would know that he couldn’t bear to be with anybody else.

Andi echoed this sentiment when she proclaimed that she wanted a man who loved her more than he loved himself. That’s not normally how we speak about love; usually, we phrase it the other way around: You put the person you love before yourself. That Andi was gauging how much he appreciated her versus how quickly she could talk herself into loving him provided a healthy contrast to the rest of the contenders, and it might very well pay off in a material way. Some internet sources are already talking about Andi Dorfman being the next Bachelorette like it’s a done deal, and if she’s as forthright with male contestants as she was with Juan Pablo, that'd be an amazing season. 


Was this Andi’s plan all along?! Surely the awkwardness with Juan Pablo was apparent ages ago—the long-delayed first date, the off-key disjointed harmonizing of their steel drums, the weird moment where she and Juan Pablo harassed a couple of kids at a picnic table. If she hung around in hopes of becoming the Bachelorette, then frankly I like her even more. To the savvy, the spoils!

As for the final two contenders, only sworn enemies Clare Crawley and Nikki Ferrell remain in this ridiculously expensive race to the altar, to the delight of The Bachelor's producers. The girls have already said to each other's faces that they are NOT friends and they DO NOT LIKE each other, so that ensures a piquant level of psychological anguish when/if Juan Pablo chooses one over the other. Maybe moreso for Clare, who has visibly wrestled with her fury each time he’s called Nikki for a rose before her and declared that whichever woman he picks will say a lot about who he is as a person: good or evil, presumably. In her mind it’s Betty and Veronica, when in fact JP has introduced Nikki to his daughter already so... watch out, Clare.


During the hometown dates, I felt for Clare; she has a Dickensian number of sisters and one of them was sort of kind of hyper-controlling and emotionally abusive? I’m looking at you, Lara. What was the deal with Lara parking herself next to their mom and answering for her? Granted I think we’d all have the instinct to shake the shit out of a sibling if they were talking marriage about someone they'd just met, but do it when the cameras are off. Clare’s modest Sacramento home and inability to have a five-minute conversation without being sister-bullied contrasted vividly with Nikki’s palatial Kansas mansion, where giant Chinoiserie screens predominated and her dad was all like “Dude marry my daughter sure” and Nikki and her BFF mom had a nice gossip sesh upstairs. 

All this, along with a six-year age difference and her obvious authentic crush on Juan Pablo, conspire to make Clare the underdog I long to champion... except guys, can I be real with you, I can’t handle Clare, and I cannot handle her lips. Clare has not stopped pursing, flexing, or wriggling her lips since Juan Pablo complimented them. They are great lips, sure, but get a shiny gloss and let them stand on their own merits dude, don’t wiggle them around like they’re showgirls at the KissyFace Casino. And Clare is so SUPPRESSED. All her rage, all her feelings, just jammed down into a tiny cloud of darkness that comes out in her eyes when Juan Pablo looks away. In that sense, she is the antithesis of Andi. 


For weeks now I’ve watched her quietly, discreetly freak out for extremely justifiable reasons: Juan Pablo slut-shamed her! Juan Pablo sent her off without a rose after she got very real with him about her dad on a group date! Juan Pablo called Nikki ahead of her every week for a rose! And we've been able to see the anger flash over her face (in one instance, when she was in a helicopter headed back for a hotel, she openly cursed about getting the bleep back on the beeping road), but she is 100 percent dedicated to being just the sweetest lil’ ole thing when she’s next to Juan Pablo. Her voice and conversation when she's sitting across form him becomes way more childish than the articulate, grown woman who shows up to film her testimonials. With Juan Pablo, Clare scrunches up those lips and wants to know if her dress is okay? Oooh when she covers his eyes she goes away! Peekaboo! and it’s just... it’s just so not cool. If a guy likes a dumber version of you, you need to go find a smarter version of him. Of course, unlike Andi, Clare wants to stick around, and I think that's why she’s endlessly swallowing the bitter horse pill of impotent rage: Juan Pablo may value honesty, but he be no friend to an honest confrontation.

I’m conflicted about this season. I'm sort of hoping neither girl ends up with Juan Pablo, both because he hasn’t seemed mentally present the entire season and because honestly I haven’t seen any authentic chemistry at all? The promos for the finale look pretty grim. What is happening? How did things go so terribly wrong?


QUESTIONS:

... Who if anyone is making it out of this show engaged?

... Is Andi a canary in the mineshaft for The Bachelor? Like, how many more years before the premise of this show is completely untenable?

... Andi: unnecessarily harsh on Juan Pablo, or are you proud of her for getting her say in?

... Can someone be “too honest”?

... Clare vs. Nikki: Who would you rather go on a road trip with?

... Is Juan Pablo honestly looking for a life partner, or is he just riding the ABC train to the end of the line?

... Is four hours of The Bachelor in one week kind of like when your dad catches you smoking and makes you smoke an entire carton of cigarettes, which is to say, awesome? Or just too much?


  • Comments (16)
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  • miss_winnberg Feb 27, 2014

    Way to go Andi! Juan Pablo is probably genuine in his attempt to find love but he's just not as great as he seemed on The Bachelorette. Maybe he's stupid, maybe he's an ass. After hearing about his comments about gay people and then seeing this with Andi, it's difficult to like him anymore. Andi seems like a smart girl! I hope she's the next bachelorette

  • FlorBlyth Feb 27, 2014

    Sooo incredibly happy Andi ran for the hills! :D
    The entire time I was grinning from ear to ear; the dude is a total dirt bag and to make matters worse is dumb as a rock, Andi was totally right, he doesn't get it and he never will because you cant teach a person what common sense is, simply cant.
    Andi bachelorette? I cant wait to see the parade of smarty pants, himbos and wannabes being dismissed and try to separate the real catch from all of the above since I believe the casting department will make sure we get to see at least one of each if she happens to say yes to this ridiculousness again.

    Clare makes me agonize everytime I see her on screen... the lips thing, the squinting.... ugh, sadly for the world JP and her are perfect for each other... dat gene pool! sigh...

    I think Nikki is there to help spend the 2 unnecesary hours of face tracing awkwardness.

  • amberfoster90 Feb 26, 2014

    Right on! I confess that I usually fast-forward through most of the show. They kept repeating the whole Andy/Juan Pablo blow-up sequence to keep us interested, playing the same clip no less than 8 times. Much more efficient to just fast-forward to the fight to see what all the fuss was about. I agree wholeheartedly with this review (and think it was excellent!). Way to point out the blatant misogyny at work in this show. Clare comes across as desperate. I predict JP will choose Nikki, but Nikki might ultimately reject him if she finds out about his sexcapades with Clare. I think JP is genuine--a genuine dummy.

  • emmairis Feb 26, 2014

    You can never be too honest. If somebody doesn't like you when you're honest, it is not a matter of sincerity, they just don't like who you are.

  • christieg77 Feb 26, 2014

    First of all, you hit it bang on with that weird shit Clare does with her lips. It was really driving me nuts last night. Does she have more muscles in her lips than the rest of us? It looks gross and stupid - quit it already!!!

    As for Andi, man oh man I wish we could have had some actual footage from the overnight so that we could see for ourselves what she was talking about. I would really have preferred to see this all in action before deciding if Andi was 100% truthful or exaggerating (she is a lawyer afterall). Having said that, I do believe her for the most part, and kind of wondering why it took her this long to see it? They've spent enough time together that if the guy never asks you anything about yourself, this overnight shouldn't have come as a shock and you should have been expecting it was heading this way. Then, honestly, I think she should have told him that she was leaving, told him why, and not gotten into an argument about it. Once you decide to leave, just do it. That argument was pitiful and annoying. If you're done, you're done, just tell him why and leave. Hanging around so they could fight about what he did or didn't do, did or didn't say, his use of the word "ok", etc. just became painful. If you decide he's not worth your time, then prove it by not wasting anymore time arguing. To me she ended up looking bad because she just kept the argument going - and I don't like it when women make all women look like all we like to do is drag out an argument for the simple fact that we love to hand our men their asses on a platter. Her points weren't wrong, but she came off looking too bitter about it. I wouldn't be thrilled if she was the next Bachelorette.

  • katelynsunday Feb 26, 2014

    Andi - hell yes! Good on you.