|Juan Pablo Galavis (image via Bachelor Burn Book)
Here is where I submit my man card and admit that I’ve been a pretty consistent watcher of ABC’s The Bachelor over the past few years. I consider it a somewhat fair trade-off for making my special lady watch hours and hours of Michigan football games and listening to me rant and rave about Rich Rodriguez’s failure to recruit more offensive linemen. And on top of the whole “fairness” aspect, it’s not so bad to watch 25 or so attractive females prance around in bikinis and tight dresses to try to win the heart of the hunk du jour.
That “hunk” for the 2014 rendition of The Bachelor turned out to be Juan Pablo, a single father of Venezuelan heritage from Miami. Juan Pablo won many Americans’ hearts with his panache and sense of humor during the 2013 season of The Bachelorette, when Desiree let him advance several rounds before axing him. It didn’t hurt, of course, that he’s Latino and could appeal to the ever-increasing Spanish-speaking market in the United States.
For perhaps the first time ever (though I haven’t been watching the show since its inception), the show went down in flames as Juan Pablo started to piss off a bunch of bachelorettes/contestants down the stretch. The first real signs of trouble appeared when Sharleen, a 29-year-old opera singer from Heidelberg, Germany, left the show early because she couldn’t find a cerebral connection with the Spanish-speaking jock. I have known my fair share of opera singers, and they are all well educated and cultured. I have also known my fair share of athletes, and, well, let’s just say they don’t tend to be the most thoughtful bunch. However, the disappointment and surprise Sharleen showed because she couldn’t connect intellectually with Juan Pablo was both sad and comical.
Then there was Andi, the 26-year-old assistant district attorney from Atlanta. She thought she had found a “great love” in Juan Pablo . . . until she spent the night in the fantasy suite with him and realized that he was self-centered and didn’t ask many questions about her. After several weeks of dating a dwindling number of women, alas, he couldn’t tell her what religion she practiced. The horror! The next morning she summoned him for a meeting and removed herself from the show prior to the rose ceremony, incessantly berating him for saying “It’s okay” when she said she was leaving. She also claimed he said she made it that far “by default,” but he insisted he didn’t know what that word meant and had said she “barely” made it.
In the season’s final barrage, there was 32-year-old Clare, a hairdresser from Sacramento. In my opinion, Clare was the most physically attractive girl on the show, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on upstairs. On their final date, when no cameras and no audio could catch it, Juan Pablo allegedly said something like “I don’t know you all that well, but I really liked f***ing you in the fantasy suite.” She was upset but after a heart-to-heart with him later that night, she felt reassured that he was interested in her. During the final rose ceremony a day later, she came marching across the sand in a beautiful gown only to be told that Juan Pablo didn’t see a future with her, implying he had chosen the other remaining bachelorette/contestant. Rather than taking it in stride, she shoved him away when he tried to hug her goodbye and yelled at him for not being a real man, saying she would never want him to be the father of her children. If he had got down on his knee and proposed, she would have said yes. Because the 50/50 proposition went against her, she insulted him and stalked off.
Last Monday was the season finale, and Juan Pablo was accosted from all angles during the After the Final Rose episode. Host Chris Harrison seemed miffed that the guy he hand-picked to be The Bachelor had not told the winner, Nikki (a 26-year-old pediatric nurse from Missouri), that he loved her. Clare hoped that her verbal assault would somehow empower other women to stand up for themselves, advice that will surely be heeded by the plethora of females who find themselves losing on the final round of Bachelor-like dating shows. Andi proceeded to make fun of Juan Pablo’s accent and say she “wanted to strangle him” when he kept saying “It’s okay.” (I wonder how a long a male assistant district attorney would keep his job after saying in front of millions of people that he wanted to strangle a female game show contestant for saying “It’s okay” in a foreign accent.) Kelly, a 27-year-old “dog lover” from Georgia, took the most irrelevant potshot at Juan Pablo; in a separate interview, he had made the mistake of saying that he wouldn’t approve of a same-sex version of The Bachelor, and poor Kelly somehow found it surprising that there are human beings in this country who aren’t 100% in favor of same-sex everything when she herself had been raised by a same-sex couple. Harrison, meanwhile, spent the last few minutes of the show alternately making fun of Juan Pablo and getting quite chummy with the new Bachelorette, none other than the wannabe strangler/accentist Andi.
All this is to say that it is at once riveting and tiresome to watch people who are so delusional. From educated women who so terribly misjudge ignorant and self-centered men; to ignorant women who let fairy tales (you know, all those fairy tales from childhood that include television cameras and 24 other women) cloud their judgment; to television hosts who get offended when their chosen guests don’t play their roles exactly as expected. Who’s to blame for all this drivel on our televisions?
Me, and viewers like me. And for that I want to strangle us.