The Final Rose, Finally
One of my least favorite things about summer—after bugs, overcrowded parks, and face-sweat—is the serious dearth of decent TV. My TV schedule disappears, and is replaced with an array of below-average reality shows. The only thing I’ve been watching with any regularity is The Bachelorette, a show that alternately bores me, amuses me, and causes me to exclaim to no one in particular, “Oh, come ON!!!!” an average of sixteen times per episode.
Anyone who reads the Internet knows that last night was the finale of The Bachelorette, and anyone who watches the show knows that it was QUITE a finale.
Andi, our heroine, was/is the first Jewish bachelorette in the show’s history. She is also a lawyer, and gorgeous, and speaks her mind. For these reasons, friends and fans have been asking me to write about The Bachelorette all season. You’d expect there to be a lot to say about the show’s retro morals, hilariously premature declarations of love, and serious lack of diversity. The thing is, to quote the great Gertrude Stein, there’s no there there. The show is crammed with filler: silly group dates, painfully long rose ceremonies, and strident attempts by producers to build suspense by stretching out every glance and awkward silence into a minutes-long emotional experience. I understand that The Bachelorette is peddling fantasy, but I like my fantasies to move at a faster pace. AND YET! There is hope. Last night’s finale proved to be not only worth writing about, but worth watching again and again.
Why, you ask? On the Bachelorette/Bachelor, the unspoken rule is to never, ever talk about sex. This is a show about love, and sex is excluded from its format almost entirely. The one exception comes in the form of the Fantasy Suite. For those who don’t watch the show, the Fantasy Suite episode is by far the most anticipated by fans, and involves the bachelorette taking her men to a special hotel room for a full night of alone time with no cameras. To anyone watching, this obviously translates to “SEX!” but the show goes so far to avoid sex-talk that contestants never discuss what happens in the Fantasy Suite AND are told explicitly by the host, Chris Harrison, that this magical room is for “continuing to get to know each other.” Sure. Fine. Whatever.
So last night, Nick broke the rules. It was amazing. Nick was rejected at the last moment by Andi and was stunned by her decision, seemingly blindsided. He had almost nothing to say upon realizing that Andi was choosing Josh, a very tan jock, over him. However (stay with me here) there is a thing called “After the Final Rose” when we catch up with the happy couple in real time and discuss the finale. This time, Nick was also brought back to confront Andi, in front of a live audience. Apparently, Nick did NOT have an easy time letting go after Andi dumped him. He tried to contact her multiple times after being kicked off the show, and listening to him talk last night made it clear that he was still very much in love and needed some closure. He pushed Andi about the depth of their connection, and asked why she acted so in love with him, accusing her of callousness. Then he said this: “Knowing how in love with you I was, if you weren't in love with me, I'm just not sure why, why you made love with me?”
Again, if you don’t watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, you can’t conceive of how monumental this is: Nick exposes their relationship as one that included sex, and it’s clear that she also slept with Josh, who she intends to marry. Confirming that Andi had sex with multiple partners in the Fantasy Suite, almost immediately before choosing her fiancé, is a huge deal in the scheme of Bachelorette history.
I feel bad for Nick, who is heartbroken and confused. But I feel proud of Andi for how she responded to him: not by apologizing or crying, as so many before her have on this show, but by firmly telling Nick that she did care about him, and that what they had was real, but what she had with Josh was simply better. She shut him down and quickly moved on to being giddy about her future with Josh. And just like that, Andi became the most admirably feminist bachelorette ever.
I had a lot of hope for Andi when she became the bachelorette. She seemed like a career-oriented, smart, headstrong woman. I don’t know what Andi’s post-reality TV plans are, but I do think that she really proved herself in this finale to be everything fans had hoped for: a woman who has sex and doesn’t apologize for it, refuses to feel guilty for rejecting a man who wasn’t right for her, and feels no need to compromise her version of happiness to accommodate men who claim to know what she wants. Brava, Andi, I wish you luck. As for Nick, please stop using the phrase “making love.” We all feel bad for you, but not bad enough to make that phrase palatable outside of period dramas.
How to cite this page
Metal, Tara. "The Final Rose, Finally ." 29 July 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 26, 2016) <http://jwa.org/blog/final-rose-finally>.