The Bachelor Season Finale Review: Clare Wins!

By Lily Sparks

Mar 11, 2014

The Bachelor Season 18 Finale

Where to even begin with the three-hour deconstruction of American gender politics that was The Bachelor's Season 18 finale? We could begin with the creeping horror that has been Juan Pablo’s gradual unmasking. We could chart how he went from being a wildly popular fan (and contestant!) favorite to being so completely unpalatable to viewers that he was the first Bachelor ever to be met with uniformly stony silence from the live audience throughout his (awkward) exit interview. 

Or I could work chronologically and discuss the meaningful warnings his family gave Nikki and Clare about his proclivity for spending his weekend having breakfast in bed and watching TV all day, and being a “hard guy” who is very into himself. But instead I'm going to try to step outside what ABC was showing me and think about what I saw.

It’s very significant how differently this finale was handled compared to the many previous ones. The was the first Bachelor finale couched as a “viewing party,” and we spent most of the heavily edited episode watching audience react, picture-in-picture-style. (Which, seriously, I loved... I wish the show would do every episode this way.) Chris Harrison repeatedly asked audience members to chime in on the action, kept pointing out that Clare had chosen to do this or that, and for once Neil Lane did not appear to tempt Juan Pablo with many, many jeweled rings. (I’m guessing Neil Lane figured that no one would want to ever buy "the Juan Pablo ring" to express their undying love.) Chris also promised a surprise that Juan Pablo had mentioned several months ago, and Juan Pablo didn't know what he was talking about—perhaps a sort of feint to imply Juan Pablo was even jerking the SHOW around! Well I never!

Chris Harrison very nearly lost his long-suppressed temper when Juan Pablo turned on him during After the Final Rose. Did you catch Harrison saying, with giddy sarcasm, eyes glazing over and flawless Caesar Flickerman mask falling over his face, “WHY NOT DO THIS AGAIN?! NEXT UP, MEET THE BACHELORETTE!” It’s a hell of a thing to have to sit there and listen to Juan Pablo of all people articulate exactly how meaningless your show, its thesis, and all you stand for is on a live broadcast of that same show. Truly just screamingly awkward. Don’t listen to him, Chris Harrison, you get paid to travel! But what was fascinating—and what Catherine backed up with her observation that Juan Pablo was “slapping away the hand that fed him” is that The Bachelor finally said baldly that it is not just an extravagant dating service. It’s a Faustian bargain in which you exchange anonymity and a vicarious dating experience for low-level celebrity. How was Juan Pablo not clear on those terms?!

All this to say, it was fascinating to watch ABC and The Bachelor franchise distance themselves from the chilling behavior of Juan Pablo while claiming that he still owed them. Don't get me wrong, I am not defending Juan Pablo, just: Bachelor franchise, why are you shaking your heads right along with us on this one? YOU CAST THIS GUY! You should have screened him for sliminess! YOU HAD ONE JOB! How can you tell people to “give themselves over” and “open up” to the process and then sign up the spiritual heir to Bela Karolyi to conduct 30 simultaneous relationships with young women?

For a man so apparently dedicated to being honest, Juan Pablo managed to very cleverly misrepresent himself, and I don't blame ABC for disowning him. The fact he made his comment to Clare when the mics were off shows an uncanny awareness on his part of how to brand himself and an assumption that she was “in on” that. And let’s put on our Nancy Drew brogues and sleuth that sentence out real quick, shall we? Clare demurely translated it as something along the lines of, “I feel like we don’t know each other. Like, 'You don’t know me, I don’t know you, but he loved hooking up with me.’” Later, when the pain was real, Clare cried, “Don’t tell me you enjoyed fff[bleep]ing me!” So if we put that all together, he said something genuinely chilling to her that cut through the saccharine, simple-hearted Kermit-voiced himbo he’s portrayed himself as. 

The Juan Pablo we dealt with in this finale was laser-focused on himself and utterly without empathy. Every time one of the ladies told him she was nervous, his response was “I’m nervouser,” even in the moment with Clare before she was about to find out whether he was going to reject her on national TV. The Juan Pablo we dealt with in this finale was a very patriarchal Juan Pablo, who defended not saying “I love you” back to Nikki and not proposing to her because he was being respectful to her father. SIR, when you told her you had a ring in your pocket you weren’t going to use but you “liked her a lot” and then told her “not to get cranky about it” on national TV, you disrespected HER, never mind the dad you met for five minutes that one time. Your relationship is with Nikki, not her male relatives, and if she’s happy it’s because she’s prolly one of the thousands of ridiculously beautiful yet insecure women on which “negging” works wonders, see Mystery for details.

Nikki cheerfully admitted to staying with Juan Pablo after four months of continually saying “I love you” to him and him not saying it back, which she termed “a struggle,” then later defended their relationship as therefore being more authentic. She contested there were probably Bachelor couples who had walked onstage and said they were in love when they really weren’t, unlike Juan Pablo (not her! She loves him, we know that for sheeze). I have no doubt there’ve been more than a few Bachelors who have talked themselves into their feelings and over-enthused about their partners in the public eye. But here’s the thing, Nikki: That is a Bachelor's way of giving back their partner's equity. That way if they are going to start a relationship they start on equal footing, not maintaining the dynamic of approver and approved, rose-giver and rose-earner. That’s not a control Juan Pablo appears eager to relinquish. And if they do break up, they each leave with some gotdamn dignity.

Ultimately the person who came out looking the best was Sharleen, for leaving first, and then Clare. Because while Clare talked herself back into liking Juan Pablo right in front of our very eyes on their last date together, at least she snapped out of it eventually. And she had the good grace not to let ABC make her confront him on After the Final Rose. She stood up to Juan Pablo, she stood up to ABC, she left with her head held high, and that’s real growth for Clare. 

Clare’s real honesty in the face of Juan Pablo’s obvious dissimilation and rampant gaslighting—the way she pushed him away, the way she called him out after the proposal—definitely won her the heroine status of the season. And ultimately, though Nikki is Juan Pablo’s choice, it’s Clare who is the healthier, stronger, happier and overall the much more enviable woman. So congratulations Clare! Do a book, do Dancing With the Stars, go get your life! 

And Chris Harrison and The Bachelor Franchise: Get your f-cking house in order. It’s called “psychological screening,” look into it.

What'd you think of The Bachelor's finale and the season overall? What are your final thoughts on Juan Pablo?

  • Comments (19)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • peterthelizard Mar 24, 2014

    This is a great review! I think this parody sums up the show:

  • AckrosGliceas Mar 12, 2014

    1. Claire was so full of herself... i knew she would not get picked .

    You could see how everything had to be about her. She was a ticking time bomb, and we all saw it when he told her she was going home.

    She instantly turned out her true colors..... yes some of us thought.. fair play girl you go girl .... etc... but lets remember its his position, his choice every week to send someone home.

    Being butt hurt coz the guy doesnt pick you at the last two,... come one dont be naive... they both had to know there was a 50-50 chance they were goping home... seriously ... how thick was claire to think it was guaranteed.

    She should have been sent sooner imo.

    2. Reene , Charlene, Nikki were all good matches.

    3. Charlene, as lovely as she was was coodding herself the minute she signed up and had a life & career in europe.

    4. Nikki was my prediction from the start .... I hate to say I told ye so , but in this case I def will ! ;p lol

    5. J P himself , is indeed the real deal , whether you understand him or his way of thinking or not, like he said , he's bluntly honest and doesnt use the right english phrases sometimes , which in itself is fair enough ...

    ... reminder he is not an englishman and his culture is how he is...

    time people to get over ourselves and remember that just because something sounds bad doesnt mean thats also the intended context...

    ...we are too quick to judge people in public these days/years.

    Try putting the shoe on the other foot. ;p

    6. So what if Nikki and JP's views on saying I love you to each other is new , different from what we are used to ,,,..its 2014 not 1914,, there is no conformitty... and why should there be.

    7.Chris has always been a pompous ass,,, long over due replacing him with a new host ...a female...

    8. Andi - Lovely lass, but realistically I couldnt see her giving up her career and moving. Am I looking forward to seeing how she gets on in the next season...? ..... yeah it should be interesting.....

    I loved the subtle dig Chris made about JP and Nikki when talking to Andi after her being announced as the next Bachelorette.... about ... "so you will probably have no issue say you love someone right?" lmao

    If there was one thing I could change about the shows its in the Rose Ceremony , when theres one rose left and that muppet Chris steps forward and states the obvious..... Really? really chris.... just stop doing it... its completely retarded.

    ^^^ That wasnt intended as a rant fyi.... lol .... :) B)

  • CarlyChristen Mar 12, 2014

    So glad you brought up JP not wanting to propose out of respect to her father (not to her). I mean, it was all excuses anyway, but that bugged the crap out of me.

  • scyfymum2 Mar 11, 2014

    Bet the ratings were big! People you are still watching this crap! I have never the ads are enough. As long as people are still tuning in we will still get trash. Don't forget they all get paid.

  • MightyMad Mar 11, 2014

    OK, JP is the douchiest douchebag to ever douche in the douchiest show on television... 'doesn't make the other bachelors less douchey, though; and 'doesn't make any woman willing to subject herself to this televised douchefest any less insecure and/or desperate.

    Fascinating season, though - I have never watched one single episode of The Bachelor, but I read all the recaps for this one on Grantland and here. And, man oh man, the sh*t JP pulled here... epic. In the saddest way imaginable, yes, but still. I also feel it is now safe to say that his homophobic remarks weren't at all a lapsus on his parts. The man is complete scum, and Mrs Sparks' right - ABC must do a better job vetting their main douchebag, next time around.

    Anyway... if the show is somehow still on the air in 20 years from now, its fans should be looking forward to seeing JP's daughter appearance on it. Don't doubt it for a second - if it's still on TV, it will happen.

  • LilyRoRoSparks Mar 11, 2014

    chilling!! And, I fear, dead on!

  • stanking Mar 11, 2014

    Why would a show with a community of only 253 members get a review?

  • patsully Mar 11, 2014

    While the count of community members is a good method to measure users' interest in writing posts, etc. it's only a piece of what is considered when the Editorial team decides what to cover - and checking in on much talked about TV events even when we're not covering the show weekly is always something we like to do.

    Jen also covered this in more detail in Cory's most recent mailbag post, which I'm sure you saw, but adding the link for others.

  • stanking Mar 11, 2014

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I read Cory's article, and I understand that it's always going to be a bit of a guess anyway as to what will interest people. I just don't think this "TV event" was that talked about. Juan Pablo was a mini-scandal, but nobody cares anymore. I think the only way The Bachelor could become interesting again is if it moved to a Hunger Games format.

  • LilyRoRoSparks Mar 11, 2014

    Stanking, are you Chris Harrison?

  • stanking Mar 11, 2014

    HA! I wish I had his money, but no. And if I were him, JP would have been throat punched more than once. Honestly, I read this article because I was surprised that TV.COM published one and I wanted to see if I'd missed anything interesting (Answer: not really), but I don't watch the show.

  • patsully Mar 11, 2014

    HA! Honestly, that might be the next step after this disaster of a season. And you're right, definitely less buzz this season after the PR scandal.

  • youdumbitch Mar 11, 2014

    THANKS for putting THE SPOILER in the title. You do that for every show you review ?

  • MightyMad Mar 11, 2014

    Don't feed the troll, people - his/her username says it all....

  • thekaitling Mar 11, 2014

    Did you read the review? Because it's not actually a spoiler...

  • casssize Mar 11, 2014

    Lily is the best reviewer on this entire site. Calm your tits and learn satire.

  • LilyRoRoSparks Mar 11, 2014

    Nikki actually won so this is not a spoiler. Chill out bro.

  • stanking Mar 11, 2014

    If you've read the entire article, were paying attention, and understand English, then you know the title doesn't necessarily say what you think it does. But if you chose "youdumbitch" as a screenname, you're making Juan Pablo look good by comparison.

  • IrishPrincess23 Mar 11, 2014

    boy was that a hot mess! but i think this may be my favorite season ever! haha who cast all these smart strong women for juan freaking pablo? he had no clue how much they would call him out! I LOVE IT finally this show is showing young girls some women worth looking up to! great review lily