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The Bachelorette S09E12


As Chris Harrison, the television host most likely to expire from tealight-related injuries, told us last night: There has never been a Bachelorette who walked away without choosing someone. While there have been Bachelors who took a long, hard look at their top two and said “Meh. I could do better,” the women don’t go home empty-handed. At one point it seemed possible that Desiree Hartsock would be the post-modern Bachelorette of our dreams who would walk off the show with a shrug and a wink, trusting that she’d find someone better or simply enjoy her own autonomy. She did, after all, say that she loved Brooks, that she didn’t love anyone else, and that she'd saved her heart to give to him. Then she burst into tears alongside Chris Harrison (the media host most likely to suffocate from second-hand spraytan fumes) and told him she just wanted to go home.

And then she fell in love, again, in less than 48 hours.

A more wrenching indictment of the dysfunctional female relationship to marriage has never been televised.


Desiree’s season of the Bachelorette was unique in featuring a constant stream of hashtagged tweets from “Bachelor Nation,” which revealed the intense schadenfreude and ruthless physical and sartorial scrutiny that is essential to the Bachelor/ette franchise viewing experience. Whoever selected the tweets went for hard laughs, often at the expense of the people onscreen. However, ABC's implicit encouraging of our out-and-out hate-watching was switched off for the finale, allowing the editors to do their damnedest to convince us that Des’s emotional U-turn was sincere.

I’ve sprinkled them throughout this review because I think it was pretty emotionally manipulative that they were suppressed. Of course, everything about the finale is a huge, horrible wonderful emotional manipulation designed so that no matter how little you’ve seen, you’re practically vomiting with nerves by the time the proposal happens.


Des is an absolutely beautiful woman. We don’t really know too much more about her. Not a lot of psychological digging is done on-camera beyond statements like the ones you find inside Hallmark cards: “I’ve got to trust my heart.” “This journey is so emotional.” “I’m just glad you’re my rock.” We saw Des sketch some gowns, we know she was raised in financially insecure circumstances. I don’t think any of us really got a handle on her personality until her break-up with Brooks. The make-up, figuratively and literally, came off. Des flushed, blushed, sobbed, and revealed that no one she's loved had loved her back. For a woman who embodies a lot of culturally prized standards, Des revealed that she's incredibly insecure and during the final rose ceremony, basically begged the guys to let her down easy. Why? Why would a young, beautiful woman have such a store of negative relationship experiences that she would sob that no one she's loved has ever loved her back? Why is a 27-year-old woman terrified of being alone?


When Des sobbed to Chris Harrison that she wanted to just go home, I believed her. If Des had an appropriate sense of self-worth and emotional boundaries, she would have then stood up, walked over to a producer, and demanded a seat on the next plane. But after some prodding from Chris (“If Brooks had never existed, how would you feel about the other guys?” a.k.a., “If you completely dismiss your individual desires and standards, you can snatch up an available gent.”) Des soldiered up and dismissed what she wanted. She bulldozed her emotions. She “trusted her heart.” The good men out there mustn’t go to waste. The cultural capital of being proposed to couldn’t just be left on the field. The security of being married trumped the security of really knowing her feelings.


For what lady isn’t this true, guys? Damn!

Des, in the first 24 hours before mentally swapping out the partner of her future life, ditched one of her contenders Drew, looking about as miserable riding a horse in Antigua as a person could look. 


The next day, a little more mellowed-out, Des spent a Catamaran ride getting buzzed and allowing Chris to talk her into him and his puffy nips. (His nips were all puffy! I don’t know why! I know it's grody to mention but I started getting concerned. Maybe he went jogging and forgot to put on the Band-Aids?)


I’ve got nothing against Chris. He seems like a nice guy, hey, I like him a hell of a lot better than Brooks. I just don’t buy that he is everything Desiree “ever wanted, right in front of her the whole time, but she couldn’t see it.” I think it’s more likely he was a guy who made her feel confident after her confidence was badly, badly shaken. The tip-off was when she told him he was the greatest man ever. That’s not something you say when you’re madly in love with a guy. That’s a pep talk you give yourself. Even more damning was the remark she whispered into his mic pac after she accepted his proposal: “And I want you to hold me to that.”

“What?” he giggled, just glad he wasn’t going to be flying home alone.


There is a certain age as a single woman where single men feel like helicopters leaving Saigon. You really want to stand there and wait for the one with the shiniest propeller? Do, there are plenty others waiting to board.

Why? Why do we feel this way?

Des is 27. She’s not exactly racing from the grim spectre of infertility. Would any 27-year-old man, who watched the woman he thought he loved walk off a few days ago, talk himself into a lifetime with a runner-up? Hell no. Even if he was 80 percent in favor of Plan B, he’d take himself home and wait until his ego was restored before making big lifetime decisions on national television. I don’t want to go so far as to say that we culturally instill a sense of panic in women over their marital status, the better to make them easy pickin’s for dudes (and more obliging; Desiree said during the “After the Final Rose” episode that she was moving to Seattle for Chris), but… maybe that’s exactly what we do.


Anyway, congratulations, Des. After two hours of hearing your best friends and socially deaf brother say you were head-over-heels-in-love with Brooks, and having Chris Harrison (the TV host who's most likely to get sick of Prague) constantly holler, “So you think BROOKS MIGHT COME BACK, EH AUDIENCE?” to a round of clapping, after all that, you're now engaged to that other guy. But at least you didn’t walk out of there and back into the world a beautiful, strong, single, 27-year-old woman. That would have been the worst-case scenario, right?


QUESTIONS:

... Are women systematically oppressed by marriage pressure? Or do women prioritize relationships because they innately understand that is what truly matters?

... JUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN PAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBLLLLOOOOOOOOO! (What do you think of ABC's pick for the next Bachelor?)

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/1/2016

Season 12 : Episode 12

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THANK YOU for saying it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I've missed you! So glad to see you back (please stay around for Juan Pablo's season). I think she always had feelings for Chris, honestly. I'm also over it and so freaking ready for some Juan Pablo hotness.
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Love the review Lily. I'm really conflicted with the finale. I love Chris. He was always my 1st choice for Des and I always thought that they seemed really good together. However, after seeing how much she was "in love" with Brooks, I'm kind of disappointed in her. If she can't honestly see a forever with Chris and "love" him as much as she "loved" Brooks. I think she should of walked away. I wish them the best though. As for Juan Pablo, I love the accent but I'll probably pass on this season. No offense to Juan Pablo. I watch the show sporadically anyways. Plus, I'm kind of sick of this recent trend of recycling contestant. Plus, Lily, did you ever catch up on Scandal!!!
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are you so estupid and geoulus that you cant see how many times women arround the word to the same mistake to fall in love with a man that doent apreciate them and dont apreciate the ones that really are the for them... in this situation, where they are force to live every experience maybe you or everyone else live in years of time, they have to experience in a very short period of time, of course it id going to feel much more intensive than when you are not in that kind of situation... and besides the others that break up after and the ones that said i chose one and realise i love the other... and all the people that marries has children and then says i dont love you they are hipocrits to, just because they arent film it doent mean that is not true... so stop the bosheat!
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Staff
geoulus?
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The grammar and the spelling in that comment...I just can't...
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if only I could be so articulate is french...
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I adore Chris and I actually think Des chose the right guy, I just don't think they should have gotten engaged. They need to date for awhile in the real world before making that decision.
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Ok, so I haven't watched the Bachelorette (and the Bachelor) in years. I mostly started reading this article cause Lily was the author and the title. So when I read about this Des woman, and her not so intelligent decision. I thought "well that sucks" and "I can't be that surprised cause the women who go to the program probably were chosen because they really want to get married" I don't see (in my head) the people who make the casting choices saying "you know this time let's choose a feminist or a woman who will put herself first" I don't know I just can't picture it. I know society puts pressure on women and all that (it is condemnable), but I think what truly matters (in this moment, let´s talk about burning bras in another ocassion) is the fact that there is people who say "you know that is wrong"
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That's very true. That's why I included the tweets, because I like that the viewers wanted more for Des than just a proposal. However ABC didn't include any of them in their broadcast.
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'There has never been a Bachelorette who walked away without choosing someone. While there have been Bachelors who took a long, hard look at their top two and said “Meh. I could do better,” the women don’t go home empty-handed.' This says a lot of really terrible things about women and tells a sad story about 3 generations of feminism. I am now really sad that I clicked here and know this (I saw all the fuss on twitter and was curious). Thanks, Lily, you've sort of ruined my illusions about the world I live in. Now, tell me a story about the Voting Rights Act.
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I don't think the women on The Bachelorette or The Bachelor are an accurate representation of women in general (at that age)---just a subset of the population. I sure hope they don't represent the majority of women (the idea of "needing" a "partner or man" in your life...emphasis on "needing").

I also don't think the men on these shows accurately represent most men (of that age) in society (but maybe closer then the females represented on the show~~IDK)
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What exactly happened with Brook, btw?
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Don't the people on these shows not get married all the time? Just because she picked him doesn't mean she actually has to go through with it right?
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Yeah, no, she probably won't marry him. I have a theory they get some cash bonus if they stay together for the "After the Final Rose" ceremony + 3 months...because that's usually when the USWeekly comes out with them tragically parting ways
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Is this one of the shows where they're separated until the show stops airing so the Bachelorette and whoever she chooses aren't seen in public together until the After the Final Rose or whenever it's announced officially! So they haven't even seen each other in months?
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Staff
I think they're not allowed to be seen publicly together- and because generally they live in opposite towns this usually translates to them being seperated for the most part and having to essentially move things to a phone/text/LD relationship.So they are de facto seperated although if they want to be all cloak and dagger about it they could sneak into each other's houses, presumably. Still, that definitely means living in an altered-state semi-relationship. They have yet to face the demons of the "you're still in your pajamas at noon?" phase of the relationship.
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I refuse to watch either show anymore (I did watch the first couple seasons of each) but I still tend to semi-follow it through recaps and whatnot, especially this finale.

I think, even though we are in a generation where women are much more active outside of home, there is still a lot of outside pressure for women to settle down and have children and it definitely affects the psyche of some more than others. And it's a theme that we're even seeing in modern shows. Just think of CeCe's storyline for the bulk of the season on New Girl. She was told that she only has a limited time window if she wants children so she immediately went to try and find a husband, no matter what it meant for her career. So I can definitely understand there being more pressure on a woman to not go away empty handed (and I mean with the ring, not just the relationship).

That being said, there is a reason why these shows have an abysmal success rate. And it's for the exact same crap that happened last night. You can't just shut feelings of love off for one person and magically have them appear for someone else. I could see having feelings of love for 2 people at once but from everything I've read (and please correct me if I'm wrong) she basically told Brooks he was the only one she could admit to loving.

Personally, the relationship aspect is more important to me than rushing into something just because biologically I want to get ahead of the game or have that status of being married. My fiance and I were together for 5 years before we got engaged and we lived together for 2 of those years. We know the statistics and ideally I don't want my future children to have to live in a broken or multiple home situation, so we took our time making sure we really and truly knew each other. And I think we're definitely a stronger couple for it. But I also know I'm not every woman and there will be some that disagree with me on that.
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I absolutely agree that our generation is COMMITTED to living with partners and testing the limits of a realtionship before getting married. My relationship progressed on almost exactly the same timeline.
I also think the pressure to be nice & grateful is a lot heavier on women- I think in some respect Desiree didn't just walk off (despite that being EXACTLY what she wanted to do) because she wanted to complete the role of being the Bachelorette for the show that had lavished so much $$ on travel and clothes for her. This is also something that weighs on people who didn't grow up in financially stable situations- they are a lot more self-conscious about "owing" people and making good on a perceived financial responsibility.
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I read an interview with Chris Harrison and he said that the decision to carry on was solely Desiree's and had she said at that point, she just wanted to be done with it all that the producers were going to accept that decision and figure out how to make the finale work. But I completely agree that women in general feel that sense of obligation. It affects me on more occasions than I would like to admit.
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I'm just glad that Drew or Brooks aren't the next bachelor.As for the cultural pressure on women to get married,I absolutely agree. Chris is Des' rebound guy.It seemed to me like she just didn't want to be forever known as the rejected bachelorette.
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Great review Lily
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