Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Bachelorette: Settling??

The Bachelorette finale aired Monday, and since I don't have cable and ABC is practically impossible to get on antenna (and through streaming unless you live in one of eight markets), I had to wait until Tuesday night to watch it (thanks to the login of my friend's brother-in-law! Seriously none of my friends have cable anymore). I like being part of the public conversation of live events, so it was really hard to avoid social media and websites so I wouldn't be spoiled.

I was sure bachelorette Rachel would pick Peter. Both gap-toothed, they had great chemistry and seemed to really talk when they were together. Obviously, there is a lot of editing done on the show so we are only seeing what producers intend to make a good story. But really, they just seemed so right together. Also, the other front-runner, Bryan, I have disliked from the start - aggressive, sloppy kisser; charmer; just..ugh.

Only problem with Peter, though (at least according to what we were shown), was that he didn't feel ready to be engaged at the end. The premise of the show is to find love and get engaged. But that's the problem - it assumes getting engaged is the only logical step after deciding you are in love with someone. When, in reality, people who had been on three or four dates and weren't dating twenty other people simultaneously would decide to get to know each other more before getting engaged.

Rachel wanted a fiance, not a boyfriend. A fact she made clear multiple times. However, Peter also made it clear he wasn't ready to propose, and yet she continue to give him roses until he was one of the last two remaining. When they had their final night together, they had a brutal ending that felt entirely too real to anyone who has experienced a break up.

I've only felt real emotions twice before while watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette - when Jason broke up with Molly during the After the Final Rose, and when Brooks ended things with Desiree during his hometown. This break up between Rachel and Peter was devastating to watch, and I didn't want to believe it was the end. But then Chris Harrison, live in studio, said that that was the last time Rachel saw Peter.

NOOOOOOOO. I for real kept waiting for some twist to happen. Nothing. The show went on, with absolutely no suspense or intrigue and, honestly, no passion in Bryan's proposal to Rachel.

Only Rachel really knows why she made the choices she did. Based on what was broadcast, it looks like she was settling. The breakup with passionate, the proposal was not. It seemed she had to go with Bryan because he was the only one left out of default. It didn't help that Rachel insisted on getting a ring at the end, not a boyfriend. But having a ring is no guarantee that you will get married. It reminds of the movie He's Just Not That Into You. Ben Affleck is dating Jennifer Aniston. She wants to get married, but he doesn't see the need; he loves her and wants to be with just her - why do they have to get married? She realizes that being committed and in love is what is important (he ends up proposing anyway, which I was okay with because they had been dating seven years, living together, and he saw that it was important to her after they both compromised).

I have to completely agree with Peter on his thinking about engagement. It's not something done when still getting to know each other; it's done when you know for sure that is the person you want to be with forever. I believe in long courtships and short engagements, because once a couple is engaged it's just one short step to getting married.

Now Rachel is talking about her and Bryan getting to know one another, not sure where they will live, taking it slow. But they're engaged. So apparently that's better??

I still struggle with many gender roles and tropes that the franchise embraces. Why must Rachel wait for one of the men to propose to her? It's her show, why can't she?! Why must we still have the men asking the dad's permission to marry their daughter?! This is 2017! Why are we still so fixated on worth tied to being engaged/married and using it as a barometer of success? Rachel is already successful in life.

It was a pretty good season, and I was incredibly disappointed in the finale. We'll see what happens with the relationship, but the franchise does not have a great track record (although better with Bachelorettes than Bachelors).



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