You know it’s Monday night when The Bachelorette is trending along with Gaza on Twitter. Keep being you, world.
Chris Harrison introduces the final episode of an overall tepid tenth season in front of a live studio audience. Wait, did he just say it’s a three-hour show? Good lord. I get some dark chocolate peanut butter cups and settle in for a long night.
“This is the first week [where] I don’t know what could happen,” chirps Andi. Oh, well, it’s not a major week or anything, so that’s good. I’m glad uncertainty has only reared its head during the most important episode of the season, and possibly the most important moment of her life.
It’s time to meet the Fockers—dad Hy, mom Patti, and sister Rachel and her husband—only Andi’s family isn’t so Focker-ish. Their Jewish heritage has barely gotten a peep all season (more on this later). Nick’s up first, and he exchanges the most awkward hug of the season with Patti. Everyone remarks on Nick’s obvious nerves. “He seems a little reserved,” says Patti to the camera, moonlighting as Captain Obvious for the episode. He stumbles over recounting his feelings of true love, but goshdarnit, he does seem genuine and Patti agrees. “For someone to say that about my daughter is very special,” she says, tearing up. Get your tissues, Patti, because someone else is about to say the same exact thing to you tomorrow.
But first, it’s time for a sisterly heart-to-heart. “He makes me feel like a woman,” Andi tells Rachel, and I half-expect Aretha Franklin to break out in song here, but no dice. Nick and Hy speak next. “My whole job is Rachel, Andi, and Patty,” says Hy firmly. “I got one daughter taken care of. My job now is Andi.” If this is supposed to sound sweetly paternal, it doesn’t. It makes Andi sound like a helpless floundering female waiting for her father to secure her a husband—not a self-sufficient woman with a kick-ass career. “It would mean a lot to me to have your approval,” Nick tells Hy nervously. Hy falls silent for a moment. “I feel exactly about Andi the way you do,” he begins (I hope not exactly the same way, considering last week’s fantasy suite shenanigans), and then reluctantly gives Nick his seal of approval should Andi choose him.
I must interject here to make mention of the worst installment of the weekly Suave shampoo commercials featuring the Bachelorettes of Christmases past. This week’s ad features Andi talking stiltedly with Catherine and Desiree, who literally squeal when they wave around their ring fingers, appropriately adorned with baubles, so that Andi can see what her future might hold. Betty Friedan, I’m glad you’re not around for this.
Next up is Josh, and Andi’s family just loves him. Josh, who has thus far shown himself to be loud, dim and hot, is appropriately charming as only former athletes can be, and he lays it on thick for his one-on-one with Hy. “She’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” enthuses Josh. (Really? She’s cute, but in the way that my cashier at Pathmark is cute.) Hy tells him that marriage is sometimes hard work, and wonders if Josh is prepared for that. “It already hasn’t been all roses,” Josh assures him quickly. From a sharper man, this would be a quippy one-liner referring to the show’s recurring motif, but I’m afraid any wit is wholly incidental here.
On their final date, Andi and Josh muse aloud about their confidence in each other. “I have no questions,” Josh coos. “What, you have no thoughts?” exclaims Andi. Yes, that’s it, Andi: no thoughts whatsoever! Absolutely inane conversation ensues for five minutes and is concluded when Josh reads her a letter and hands her a baseball card with her ‘stats’ on the back. “Drafted: first pick,” Andi reads, giggling. It sounds cheesy but it’s actually kind of cute.
The final date with Nick involves fewer giggles, and finally, at long last, there’s a mention of religion: “We’ll figure out whatever it is, where to live, religion…” he says obliquely. It’s the first time in the season, to my working knowledge, that Andi’s Jewishness is even referenced.
It seems bizarre that The Bachelorette never shows potential couples discussing the sorts of things marriage-minded people speak about, like religion or politics. Obviously, there’s a good chance such discussions would alienate large swaths of viewers, so the choice not to air these moments—if they happen at all—is undoubtedly calculated by ratings-minded producers. But for a show that purports to be all about helping the lovelorn find their true match, these are glaring omissions of substance, and it’s disingenuous to exclude mention of major issues that actually impact the longevity and ultimate success of any resulting relationships. However secular and non-practicing a Jew Andi might be, one would think it would behoove a woman on the cusp of marriage to someone who is not Jewish (Nick) or someone who is Jewish but was raised Catholic (Josh), to at least initiate conversation on where she stands in terms of her Judaism. No?
Nick gives Andi a necklace with a vial of sand from the beach where they had their first date, which is simultaneously creepy and thoughtful. And like sand through the hourglass, so is this day of my life: When is this freaking show going to end? Good god, there’s 45 minutes of self-doubt to go before we even get to After The Final Rose. I get more chocolate.
Back from commercial break. “It’s coming down to the final moments,” says Chris. Promise? Andi awakes on the day of reckoning. Josh meets with Jeweler-to-the-Stars-and-Trashy-Reality-Show-Contestants Neil Lane to pick out a ring. When Nick gets a knock on the door and we assume it’s his turn to meet with Neil, it’s not Neil at all but… Andi!? This can’t be good. And it isn’t: Andi proceeds to tell Nick that something didn’t feel right when she woke up that morning—and it wasn’t last night’s sushi. Nick looks stunned, and they bid each other farewell. It begins to rain as Nick looks pensively out on the patio, unless that’s actually a producer pouring down buckets of water from the roof. Either way, we get the point: Nick is a sad panda right now.
Back at the live studio audience, Chris elaborates on Nick’s shame by telling the world that he’s tried repeatedly to sit down with Andi “to chat” since filming ended, but she’s always refused—until now, because she is contractually mandated to. “But first, let’s see how the show ends,” he says, but duh, we already know how this ends. Josh approaches Andi and offers a fast-paced hodgepodge of tidbits pulled from romantic movies into one mawkish speech. Andi tells him she loves him, he proposes, and she happily accepts. And they’ll for sure live happily ever after, or at least until after she finishes filming a season of Dancing With the Stars. The end.
Note: There was an After the Final Rose special, but nothing of note happens except for the continued exploitation of a wounded man (Nick), who also tells Andi that it was wrong of her to make love with him if she wasn’t in love with him. Despite the fact that we all know they’re not crocheting in the fantasy suite, such a direct admission of its inner workings is actually (and literally!) “hitting below the belt,” as Andi tells Nick, looking positively green. The audience lets out a collective gasp and Twitter explodes. Okay, now it’s the end.
Catch up on all the previous Bachelorette re-caps here.
Image: ABC/The Bachelorette