I have to confess, I have wasted somewhere around 12+ hours watching The Bachelor this season on ABC. Why? Well, good question.
Ostensibly, the show is about watching one man search through 25 “beautiful” (which really starts to make you question the meaning of that word) women, to find true love ending in the ever lusted after “proposal.” At least that’s what the women lust after: their fairy tale ending.
This phrase is batted around The Bachelor with careless and casual abandon, almost exclusively by the women. Often through tears in the back of limo after being “sent home.” Noticeably, many of the women on that mournful journey say the same things: Why is this happening to them? Why are they getting rejected? What’s wrong with them? When is their time going to come? Where is their fairy tale ending?
Endings are important, and we do like the good ones. Kind of. The show ends with the chosen woman finally getting to hear the Bachelor confess his love. Ahh, it could be us. But part of the appeal of the Bachelor is not only the so called happy ending, it’s the recognition that all of us, no matter how beautiful still get rejected, and it just so happens, it is kind of about our failings. We’re boring, we’re self-absorbed, we’re dull, we lack talent, humor, the willingness to go bungy jumping in New Zeland, and frankly, we don’t look that good in a bikini. But even if we did all those things, even if we were that “beautiful” the Bachelor would still probably reject us. Statistically speaking.
It was a happy moment for Melissa when Jason Meznik chose her at the end of this season’s show. She finally got her fairly tale ending. Until six weeks later when Jason, ambivalent and weepy, unable to find the, well, balls to either “fight for the relationship” with Melissa or forget about Molly broke up with Melissa on national TV.
The most hated Bachelor in television history, the tabloids claimed the next day. You’re a bastard, said Melissa during the breakup, in a moment of utter candor.
Ryan and Tristan are a still married couple from an early season (maybe the first) of The Bachelorette. “I got my fairy tale ending,” said Tristan, barely finishing the sentence before her husband cut her off.
“Well,” he said, “the end of the show was really the beginning of our real relationship. We have to work to make it work.”
Melissa’s fairy tale ending ended as most fairy tales do, at the beginning of something real and something tough. Unfortunately for her, she was trying to do the work with a guy who didn’t have it in him. And “he’s making a big mistake” Molly, of the big beautiful eyes and the shocked smile when Jason asked for her back; Molly won’t put up with his bull for long, I suspect. “What about Melissa,” she asked with a shake of her head.
The best endings resonate in ways that both satisfy and satiate. They find that illusive spot and tug. There is usually little of fairy tale about them. And endings, at least for the characters living them, are the beginnings of something else and thank goodness for that.
In the limo, on her final tearful ride home, Melissa said, “I don’t understand why this happened, but I’m sure that someday, I’ll be able to look back and I’ll say, okay I see why this happened to me.”
It turns out that tonight, there is an After The Final Rose part 2, where we get to check in with Jason and Molly. What happened? Did Molly take him back? Did they rekindle their love?
How does it end? I won’t be watching.
Note: Quotes from the show are paraphrased to give the gist but are not exact.