Can we get a slow clap going for Jason Mesnick? After five long years, he is no longer the most hated man in the history of "The Bachelor."
That title now belongs to none other than El Bachelor himself, Mr. Juan Pablo Galavis. It was hard-won, to be sure. Jason set the bar pretty high -- proposing to one girl on the finale only to dump her on national television weeks later and subsequently marry his runner-up? And yet somehow good ol’ JuanPabs managed to top Mesnick. Congratulations, sir.
From the beginning, I didn’t have a good feeling about JuanPabs. Though ABC touted his status as a fan favorite during his turn on “The Bachelorette” last year, I never really felt that “Bachelor” nation was super into him. Basically, we all thought he was hot. We never said we wanted him to be The Bachelor.
And yet months later, there he was in front of the “Bachelor” mansion, practically salivating when limos filled with sexy women pulled up to greet him. It quickly became clear that JuanPabs was not going to play the game the last Bachelor, Sean Lowe, had. For one, Sean was a born-again virg, and JuanPablo is, uh, not. In fact, JP is a fan of besitos. And making out in the ocean. And fantasy suites.
He also -- how to put this delicately? -- had a hard time expressing his emotions. On a show that lends itself to grand declarations of love with waves crashing in the background and such, this did not work well.
But there have been strong-and-silent types on this show before. The problem with JuanPabs, I think, is that I never fully bought he was simply withholding his feelings. It seemed he didn’t have them at all.
Which leads us to the actual finale: OK, so we were in St. Lucia, and we were down to the final two women: Clare and Nikki. As is par for the course, he brought each of them separately to meet his parents. Each woman “visited” the same flower shop and brought the Galavis’ lovely island bouquets. Each met his daughter, Camila, who was cute. She wore a ribbon in her hair. It was red, and I enjoyed it.
Juan Pablo’s parents seemed kind, even as they were throwing him under the bus. Yes, like father, like son, apparently: JuanPabs’ dad told both women that the Bachelor had a stubborn side. His mother relayed that her son could be brutally honest and rude. Even his cousin, Rodolfo, warned that JP was prone to leave a relationship at the first sign of trouble.
Of course, Nikki and Clare sped right past those red flags in the pursuit of everlasting love and happiness.
“We would fight well together,” Nikki told Rodolfo, after he shared that his cousin was often argumentative. Way to look on the bright side of life, girl. Glass half full and rainbows and cotton candy and stuff.
Clare was being a good soldier too -- until she and Juan Pablo set off on their final one-on-one date together. Apparently, as the couple flew in a helicopter to a remote part of St. Lucia, there was a moment where the cameras weren’t on them and no microphones could catch what they were saying. At this time, JuanPabs took the opportunity to say something “sexual” to Clare that totally offended her. She wouldn’t say exactly what it was, but basically, it seems like he told her he didn’t feel like he knew her at all but really enjoyed having sex with her.
Understandably, she was disgusted. That night, when he came over to “her place,” he walked in and immediately requested besitos. She denied him besitos. Instead, she asked him to reassure her that he was interested in more than just knockin’ boots with her.
“Yeah, I could see myself with you,” he said, literally shrugging.
He told her he was more than just physically attracted to her. If he chose her, he said, he could see her having his baby in two months. Her ovaries almost exploded and, for a moment, all was right in the world.
Until it wasn’t. Yep, Clare was the first one to arrive at the final rose ceremony -- always a tragic sign.
He went to hug Clare to comfort her, and she was like, OH NO YOU DIDN’T. She pushed him away. This was when the Clare I have always wanted to see came out. Why did he tell her he wanted her to have his babe if he didn’t? That was not kind to her or her ovaries. Why did he say he could envision life with her in Sacramento? Why lead her on like that?
“Do you want to know when I made my decision?” he replied.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” she said, walking away. “I would never want my children having a father like you.”
OH. SNAP. It was so magical! Just like when Ariel finally finds her voice in “The Little Mermaid.”
“I’m glad I didn’t pick her,” JuanPabs said after Clare stormed off. “AND SHE’S GLAD YOU DIDN’T EITHER!” thousands of impassioned women across the country screamed at their televisions.
And now to Nikki. I knew we weren’t headed toward a fairy-tale ending when Neil Lane and his briefcase of free engagement rings were nowhere to be found. Alas, Juan was not ready to propose. Instead, he offered Nikki a crappy rose -- it wasn’t even long-stem! -- and told her he was “100% sure” he didn’t want to let her go. She looked angry but took the rose anyway.
Let me be clear: I don’t hate Juan Pablo for this choice. Obviously, this show is totally unnatural, and I respect when Bachelors refuse to bow to the pressure to propose after three seconds. I also don’t hate him for not telling Nikki that he loves her after they’ve been dating for, like, four months.
Yes, those three words were the big bone of contention on the “After the Final Rose” special. Chris Harrison was in rare form on Monday night, you guys. Like, something REAL BAD went down between him and JuanPabs, because he was grilling the dude something fierce.
On “The Bachelor,” people get engaged and say they’re in love very quickly. Juan Pablo did not do either of these things, and Chris Harrison was upset.
I understood this, in a way, because when you go on the show, you’re expected to open up and share your emotions. Juan Pablo didn’t, which made him a bad Bachelor. (But hey, that’s on you, ABC. Don’t think you can cast a hot dude with no brains ever again. It won’t fly.)
But still, why all the emphasis on saying “I love you”? JuanPabs has certainly done things his way this whole season, so I can’t believe he’d be with Nikki if he wasn’t into her in some substantial way.
That being said, I feel really bad for Nikki. She’s being held to the standard of past seasons and is pretending she’s fine without a ring and declaration of undying love, but you can tell she’s really not. JuanPabs doesn’t have to drop the l-bomb, but he should make it clear to Nikki that he has serious feelings for her -- and I don’t think he does.
Um, and P.S., how weird was it when Juan Pablo said his plans to move somewhere “changed drastically” after the “Women Tell All” special? It was a very cryptic moment, and my Twitter buddies and I can only surmise he was alluding to the fact that he was dropped from the “Dancing with the Stars” cast a couple of weeks ago.
Whatever the case, it’s clear there’s bad blood between Juan Pablo and ABC. There was another odd moment when Chris said Juan Pablo had promised a show executive he'd deliver a "surprise" during the finale -- likely a proposal? -- but when pressed, JP said he had no surprise to reveal.
“I’m sorry the show didn’t end up the way you guys wanted it to,” he said during the live special, a clear dig at the network.
I can only hope ABC takes a serious lesson away from this disaster of a season. I’m encouraged that Andi has been selected as the next “Bachelorette” -- she has a real job, seems genuinely interested in finding love and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her dad is also amazing.
So yes, Juan Pablo put us through three months of torture. But now he is going back to his “private” life, where he will apparently watch a lot of TV with Nikki and collect baseball bats or something to send to a sports museum in Venezuela. Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief and say aloud: “It’s OK.”