Photo: Kelsey McNeal/ABC
By: Kat Kaderabek
Petty. Pretentious. Unnecessary. These adjectives come to mind when thinking about this season of ABC’s The Bachelor. Peter Weber’s season has been underwhelming to say the least. Full of petty drama over champagne and narrow-minded gossip, the season has been a disappointment to fans everywhere.
Rather than focusing on serious and shocking situations, which the fans seem to enjoy, this season’s drama seems to be childlike. Cocktail parties break out into chaos for seemingly no reason, or a woman will start crying unannounced. The fans of The Bachelor, dubbed “Bachelor Nation,” have been waiting for certain scenes from the promo videos that started being aired before Peter’s season began. In previous seasons the promo video has shown clips from some of the most heated and intense scenarios.
This season, fans have yet to see the long awaited clip in which Peter’s mother is seen crying. She instructs her son through her tears to “not let her go,” and pushes him to chase after a girl. This teaser, combined with Chris Harrison’s constant reminders that this season finale cannot be predicted means that the winner of The Bachelor could be anyone’s game, including the eliminated contestants.
These two facts, and Peter’s reputation for being indecisive, make for an unexpected end to this season of The Bachelor. However, the issue of this season was that there were very few women that “Bachelor Nation” was actually rooting for.
This past episode was the “Women Tell All” feature, where all the previously eliminated women were invited back to discuss and clarify the events that occurred throughout the season. During this particular episode the same drama that occurred in their shared house continued. It is more evident now that many of the women are seeking fame, rather than love and a future husband. The inconsistency of many stories, like Victoria Paul’s explanation of why she threw her supposed friend, Alayah Benavidez, under the bus, serves as evidence that these women were protecting their image over their heart.
In addition, the amount of bickering in the previous episode was extensive. The women would talk over each other, without one constant voice being heard and the camera furiously panning between all of them. This occurred several times for an awkwardly long period before control was reestablished. Chris Harrison seemed like he would have rather been anywhere but on the stage with the contestants.
However, the end of the “Women Tell All” episode featured a very powerful message that was unexpected, but necessary to address. Former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, joined Chris Harrison in discussing the amount of racial hate and hate in general that the women of this show have received. She read out several graphic messages that were sent to the contestants from strangers, in order to highlight the true nature of the racism and harassment they have dealt with.
The other women, especially fellow women of color, became emotional during this time and they all engaged in the most real and genuine conversation any of them have had with one another throughout this entire season. It was finally a moment of truth in a sea of cameras, makeup, and smiles. It was very proactive for The Bachelor franchise to address this and hopefully, the effects of the small portion of this episode will be positive.
The “Women Tell All” episode did emphasize a maturity within the contestants that was not seen throughout the season. Particularly, “Champagne-gate” was addressed by Kelsey Weier, who owned her emotionalism as an asset rather than a setback. She clarified the rather embarrassing event, where a bottle of champagne exploded in her face on camera during her time with Peter. And while she teared up during her explanation of the events surrounding the original champagne incident where Hannah Ann accidentally stole her special bottle for Peter and when it spilled all over her, Kelsey remained composed and jovial. She was appreciative for the experience and even the audience could see that she learned a lot about herself and her own identity throughout The Bachelor experience.
While the women have seemed to mature and shed their camera-crafted masks, the tension and drama from the season has not been negated. This season has been confusing, upsetting, and many previous Bachelor franchise stars have their own theories about how Peter’s season will play out.
“My prediction is still that he ends up with Hannah B,” said Kailtyn Bristowe, former bachelorette,in an interview.
“Madison would be the only one that I would say, ‘This seems like a good shot,’“ said Ben Higgins, former franchise member.
The lack of any substantial drama in this season made it seem more of a high-school drama show than a reality TV series about love and romance. Mykenna Dorn, former contestant, continues to sound rehearsed during all of her “redemption speeches,” and Victoria Fuller has the biggest tendency to gaslight Peter by playing the victim card. Overall, this season has only exemplified what a toxic relationship is rather than what a successful, driven, and loving relationship and friendship should look like.
With the final rose ceremony looming in the distance, many fans are on the edge of their seats. There seems to be an obvious choice of who Peter will pick. Drama-free, innocent Madison is pitted against sweet and fun-loving Hannah Ann. The choice seems clear.
As far as the audience has seen, both Madison and Hannah Ann do seem to be in love with the pilot. However, what makes Madison stand out more than the other women is that she was not afraid to walk away, to hold herself to a higher standard, and to let Peter chase her. This was seen most prominently when she told him of her expectations in the “fantasy suites” and clearly stated where her moral compass lies.
As a virgin, Madison expected Peter not to engage in anything intimate with the other women. Her reasoning stemmed from the belief that she could not comprehend how someone could get engaged only a few days after sleeping with another person.
It was a respectful and considerate decision, however Peter later revealed he was intimate with the other women and Madison left in the middle of their date. Still, during this past episode, Madison showed up to the rose ceremony and was chosen alongside Hannah Ann to continue her journey with Peter.
The Bachelor franchise’s end goal is not to happily marry two people, it is to make money. The process is flawed, but it can on occasion be successful. Out of all its years of airing, the franchise has produced eight couples still together today. Will Peter be a part of a ninth successful couple? Will Peter end up with Madison or Hannah Ann? The two-night season finale of The Bachelor airs next week at 8 p.m. on ABC network.