Ten weeks ago, I set out to write a weekly critical analysis of one of the most time-honored representations of true love our country knows. A perilous journey strewn with shattered dreams, broken hearts, and hot tub infections. A journey that culminates in the image every woman dreams of for herself: being proposed to with a gaudy engagement ring while donning a beautiful gown, a level 5 tan, and professionally done boring soft waves. I’m talking about The Bachelorette.
In my quest to provide weekly updates and insights, I ended up recapping roughly only 60% of the show because “at the end of the day,” I had to recap “for the right reasons,” and “my heart was somewhere else.”
My heart was anywhere else. Rewatching entire episodes of this show is exhausting, and just makes me question my life’s worth in general, so I had to take a few weeks off. For my mental health, y’all. Hometowns is a big deal, and I tried my best to engage with it and work up a recap, but this was literally the only note I took:
“Nick has like 17 siblings seemingly ranging from 9-40 years old. Nick’s Mom looks likes an angry, world-weary Toni Collette. Honestly, his whole family looks tired of his shit.”
But I did want to see Kaitlyn’s quest for true love through to the end, and figured it was only right to provide one final recap.
So here it is, folks… the final rose:
We meet Kaitlyn’s family. Maybe we already did. I don’t know, I was really phoning in my last viewing. Anyway, her mom Leslie looks like Joan Collins and her dad Mike looks like a hand puppet.
Her family’s pretty adorable. They all wear Easter egg colored clothes and pepper their sentences with plenty of “oots” and “aboots,” which is exactly what I want and expect when Canadians are on my TV screen.
I don’t know how to feel about Kaitlyn’s mom at first, with her face full of makeup and very current statement jewelry, but when she talks to Nick, she lays down the law. In so many words, she calls him arrogant and jealous and then asks the crucial questions:
Homeboy tries to seem sincere, “bashfully” looking away and nervously laughing. In Nick’s case, these are the not signs of a socially anxious or shy person, but rather the signs of a habitual LIAR.
Nick musters up some crocodile tears in expressing his feelings for Kaitlyn and though Leslie seems like a smart cookie, she buys a ticket to the waterworks.
Nick crams in on the couch with Kaitlyn’s family and looks awkward as hell.
He’s polite enough, but has very little to say about why he’s there. He acts like a 15-year-old who’s being forced to interact with his homecoming date’s family. They’re like, “So, what do you like about our daughter?” and he’s like, “Honestly, I’m just trying to get a little under the bra action.”
Nick cannot maintain eye contact with anyone for more than 6 seconds at a time, but oddly enough, seems to consistently kiss Kaitlyn with his eyes open.
What the hell?! That is some serial killer shit. Run, Kaitlyn, run!
Shawn is leaps and bounds ahead of Nick in terms of behaving like a dignified, grown ass man in front of Kaitlyn’s parents.
He strides in with firm handshakes and warm hugs, he gives Kaitlyn’s sister gifts for her kids, he makes EYE CONTACT. Ring them bells, preacher man!
I was worried that Shawn, whose theatricality pales in comparison to Nick’s, wouldn’t make as much of an impression on Kaitlyn’s mother, but because he can use his words to express his feelings, he manages to get Leslie choked up.
Shawn also makes the classy move of bringing Kaitlyn’s parents together to get both of their blessings in proposing to Kaitlyn (I can guarantee you this is not something Nick would ever think to do). And guess what Leslie says to Shawn. Just fucking guess…
1,000 PERCENT!!!! WHERE IS JJ WHEN YOU NEED HIM?!?!?!
After all the meets n’ greets with her folks, Kaitlyn and Nick enjoy some time on a boat and discuss their future. Marriage shmarriage, babies shmabies! Nick sees himself and Kaitlyn “goin’ on a lotta dates” and “on [his] couch… hangin’ out.”
Woah! Watch out, world, Mr. Commitment coming through!
That evening, Nick presents Kaitlyn with a shitty poem he wrote about how physically attracted he is to her. She is way more moved than makes sense.
Kaitlyn then has her last date with Shawn before the final rose ceremony. Even after his stellar job meeting her family, Kaitlyn is distant and awkward with him. She’s of course worried about the impending ceremony, but is also obviously preoccupied with Nick, weighing him against Shawn.
She has someone right next to her who actually cares about her beyond wanting to bone her, but Nick’s a real sharmer (someone who’s shitty but also charming), and he’s weaseled his way into her
ovaries heart. I’ve had a feeling all along that Shawn would be the winner, but I start to worry that maybe Kaitlyn really will choose Nick… and break up with him after three weeks, let’s be real.
That evening Shawn smooths things over with Kaitlyn by, again, using his words and speaking in complete, genuine sentences about his feelings. You know, rather than constantly kissing her face with his eyes open like a sociopath. He also gives her a memory jar full of photos and momentos of their time together.
This clearly took quite a bit more time and effort than writing a three stanza poem on a bar napkin. Just sayin’.
The Lord of the Rings, Neil Lane, pays a visit to both Nick and Shawn, bearing a selection of grossly expensive engagement rings that these ding dongs will never have to pay for. It’s entertaining to watch these guys putz around with jewelry that’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and be like, “This one’s good.”
It’s time for the final rose ceremony. Nick is the first to meet with Kaitlyn. He starts in on a spiel about connection, feelings, and probably kissing her with his eyes open and stuff. He reaches into his pocket and Kaitlyn brings things to a grinding halt, not even letting him open the ring case.
She tearfully apologizes and confides that her heart is with someone else. Nick instantly wants to get out of there, and who can blame him? This is the first time I’ve ever felt bad for Nick. He really was going to propose and though it may be more his pride than his heart that’s shattered, it’s painful to watch. She tries to explain everything away and he wants none of it, concluding that what they had must not have been real. He’s kind of right because this a reality show, but poor Kaitlyn really did have feelings for him (or his penis, at the very least). It’s brutal. I dually want her to just let him leave and also want Nick not to be a dismissive dick about everything.
At the end of the day, Nick and his eight bracelets sulk off into the limo.
He dramatically tosses the ring away and flashes a couple meaningful looks before his fifteen minutes are up. His final lines? “I am the world’s biggest joke.” Wow, sound like his heart was really hurt by the whole ordeal. Don’t worry, I’m sure Nick will pop up in the next season of The Bachelorette and get another chance at love. Or he’ll guest DJ at a few clubs.
Four minutes after Kaitlyn rejects one proposal, Shawn arrives to take his turn at popping the question, you know, as nature intended. His proposal is pretty nice. He’s all smiles and full of promises to make her happy and be her best friend and love her and all that nice shit us ladies want to hear (especially when it’s coming from a slightly wonky version of Ryan Gosling).
And Kaitlyn holds her face in horror, disgusted that Shawn would dare ask her such a question after a mere ten weeks of dating and, in the grand scheme of things, pretty mild conversation.
JUST KIDDING! Of course, she said yes! In case you haven’t heard, we’re living in a #bachelornation.
They’re pretty cute, I won’t lie. But I will say that after getting through my first full season of The Bachelorette, I find this show really problematic.
Dating up to 20 men at once is not a great strategy for finding love and I’d venture to say that group dates don’t seem to yield positive outcomes for anyone. I get that this is entertainment, but the fact that it’s meant to culminate in a proposal is troubling.
I think this show should instead culminate in “How about we spend a little more time together and have real talks, where you see me full on ugly cry? How about we try peeing in front of each other and see how that feels? How about we marathon a Netflix show together and find out if our viewing habits are compatible?” … maybe Nick had a point about hanging out on the couch. I guess what I’m trying to say is I hope for the sake of the bachelors and bachelorettes involved, that their relationships have been established more off camera (and I don’t mean in a sexy way).
Though I’m sure more than a fair number of contestants came for the exposure and the free bar, I hope the ones who decide to tie the knot at the end of 10 weeks have had wonderful realizations and conversations that extended far beyond “I was in an accident once” and “Family matters.” I hope they know each other completely, and I hope, even if they don’t end up getting married, that when they said “Yes,” they really meant it.