Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bachelor Sean finale: Oh. My. Gosh.

Sorry we're a little late here but I needed time to wrap my head around what happened last night. I'm still recovering. Flabbergasted, I was. I did not see this coming. I may be alone in this, but I never warmed up to the Seattle hippie, Catherine. Nice enough gal. Good looking. Seems fairly intelligent. I can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but if it weren't for the fact she was the ultimate winner, she had the personality of a typical anonymous contestant who goes by under the radar each week. 

Yes, damn you
I could have sworn Lindsay would be anointed Mrs. Sean. Was it the editors playing games with us? Perhaps. When we saw Catherine looking like she was getting cold feet and Lindsay so confident, it was unlikely they would allow the show to play out exactly like that. So they were giving us a bit of the old misdirection. But still, they couldn't manufacture the goo-goo eyes Sean was giving Lindsay the whole episode or the standoffishness directed at his soon-to-be-bethrothed.

While I liked Lindsay quite a bit more, they were an odd final two. Both had a youthful immaturity that's often cast aside as "not being ready to settle down" in this series. But Sean's his own man. Besides, it's not as if the track record of more mature winners in the past is anything to be proud of. So this pairing might actually work. Or, most likely, not.

Slow news day
The episode started off with Chris Harrison breathlessly telling us there's some late-breaking news he'll share with us on After the Final Rose. Ooh, what would it be?! They've broken up? They got married in Vegas already? No, nothing so exciting. Turns out that... wait for it... they're going to get married at... wait... some undetermined date in the future! Are you all tingly inside?! Oh, and since they met on TV, they're going to allow ABC to film the wedding. Isn't that a given? Hasn't every Bachelor wedding been on TV? And haven't there only been, like, two?

That's gotta hurt
Anyway, we sat through two hours in Thailand first. I was excited to see a passing glimpse of a neck-ring lady. I remember being fascinated by a photo in National Geographic (or maybe Ripley's Believe It Or Not) when I was a kid of a woman with a giraffe-like neck thanks to rings stacked from the shoulders up. I don't know why they do it – maybe it's how they treat whiplash there? – but it's freaky.

Sean's family met him and would meet both of the women for, apparently, 20 minutes each. Who knew the visit was such a whirlwind? Sean told his family that Catherine comes from a "great family." Huh. Was it the two evil sisters who told him Catherine wasn't ready to settle down yet or their single mother? Certainly not the absent father. Not to slight them (I come from a single-parent family with two evil sisters*, and we grew up in a run-down house, too). It's just that I wouldn't expect Mr. America who grew up in a mansion with both parents to consider anything less than that to be "great."

*If they're reading this, I'm just kidding.

I'll drink to that
Sean told the gathering he didn't know he could have such strong feelings for two women at once. Is American coming to understand polyamory a bit better? Is the next step polygamy? Can we hope to see a Bachelor Utah with the guy whittling down his choices from 25 to 5? I think we'd all watch. Anyway, if an all-American God-fearing southern Christian gentleman like Sean is now aware that love can be just as strong split two or three ways, maybe there's something to it.

Catherine got the first visit. She left her knuckle-rings, Birkenstocks and tie-dye t-shirt at home but kept the nose-piercing. She'll only capitulate so far for her man and national television. She was out of her element, I thought, seeming nervous the whole 20 minutes. Her answers to mater and pater were stilted and rehearsed, but she did have a bit of a connection with the dad. In fact, it looked like they had a bit of a crush on each other.

Did you catch the family's names? Jay and Sherry were the parents, and Shay (I think that's the spelling) was the sister. That's right – Sherry, Sean and Shay. That's compromise right there, isn't it? You can almost hear the discussion.
Dad: Why should they both start with the sh- sound, Sherry? That's not fair. My name doesn't start with an sh-.
Mom: Hmm... I see your point. How about if we make up an sh- name to rhyme with yours?
Dad: Deal.
Lindsay's visit was much looser. She fit right in with everyone and they loved her. They asked her about her gutsy decision to wear a wedding dress the very first day, saying, "That took a lot of nerve." Lindsay, without skipping a beat, added, "And a lot of champagne."

...because we're not sure about him
The dad then told a weird story to Lindsay. Apparently the day baby Sean was born, he and Sherry began praying for a wife for baby Sean. Is that normal? I've heard homophobia runs deep in the south, but that sounds a bit extreme.

In fact, that was the first of a record-number of references to prayer and faith in the episode. Made me think it was Bachelor Utah already.

Yes, I'm aware, as I mentioned, that editing might very well have led me to believe Lindsay was the one. Yes, he said, "Lindsay is a perfect fit for me" and "She's the piece I've been missing for so long," but maybe he said equally seemingly meaningful statements about Catherine that they just chose not to air.

Speaking of editing, Sherry and Sean had a mother-son heart-to-heart where she said, "You don't need to be proposing to either one of them." That's what we were teased with for weeks. The full quote isn't quite as severe: "It's got to be something you're so excited to do and just feel like in your heart it's the absolutely right thing to do or you don't need to be proposing to either one of them." Still, Sean bristled. After saying he was hoping his family would provide some clarity for his dilemma, now he was saying, "I want your opinion and perspective but more than anything I want your support." So basically he wants them to provide clarity only if it jibes with his own conclusions otherwise just nod and agree.

Still more sly editing tricks. We hear Sean saying he truly believes his wife is here and we see Lindsay walking down a dirt road towards him. Wife = Lindsay, right? But these crafty little manoeuvres by the producers didn't sway me; rather it was the intensely contented flushed looks he was giving her on their last date. They floated down the Mekong River on a craft looking like it came from the Asian Gilligan's Island. The smooched and made lovey-dovey eyes the whole way. Lindsay told him, "I love you. I really, really mean it. I've never meant it so much." So presumably she's said it lots in her 24 years but always had her fingers crossed.

That night Linsday brought out some lanterns, onto which they wrote three wishes: Love, Happiness, and Family. Then let them fly away. Perhaps not a good move in retrospect. Still, Sean said it all feels "so comfortable and so right" with Lindsay. And "At this moment, I really think she's the one for me." Yeah, right, ya big fibber.

The best thing in Catherine's life
The date with Catherine was, like the visit with the family, more proper, distant even. They rode an elephant bareback. That's a long way down. I feel vulnerable sitting on a horse. I can't imagine the fall from such a "majestic" creature (Catherine's description, not mine). I did think it was funny that on this last date with the man she was falling in love with and could possible end up marrying, she described the elephant ride as "this is the best thing in my life!"

Catherine admitted that past relationships have failed because she's been the first to say, "I love you." Which is why she hadn't said it yet. Which makes it all that more inexplicable that she was not only around at this point but was the one chosen. What am I missing here? Plus there were no lovey-dovey looks from Sean when she said things like, "I honestly can't see it any other way it going down than me accepting your proposal. I couldn't not [sic] see that happening." He just looked expressionless when he mumbled "Yeah" back to her. Maybe he was confused by the double negative and was processing it.

But Catherine was hellbent on telling Sean she loved him. She waits until her back is positioned toward the camera. They embrace. They kiss. It's coming... Here it comes... "I love you"... Did you hear it? That was a whisper. That's as much as she was willing to bend since he had yet to reveal his emotions. But what was his response to this opening up? Did he give her the lovey-dovey eyes? No, of course not. He used them all up on Lindsay. Instead he robotically offered, "Thank you for today."

And apparently it wasn't just me that noticed. Catherine angsted it out after he was gone, telling us she looked up at him "hoping to see a glimmer of 'I wanna be with you forever'. And nothing." She called the process "painful." She even ran out to catch up with Sean. Did he make it all right? Not really. ZombieSean said, "We had fun today, right?" It was, as she related, "one of the most horrible goodbyes I've ever had... I can't get anything out of him!... I want him to reciprocate his feelings for me." Then she cried on her bed.

Bet the house on Lindsay
At this point I called my bookie and put my life savings on Lindsay for the win. And then to further convince me of my error, Sean picked out a full-sized ring from Neal Lane, rather than a knuckle ring. That's it, it's gotta be Lindsay, I thought.

I wasn't alone. In the studio audience were rejected babes Lesley, Sarah, AshLee and Jackie. Lesley was the only one who predicted a Catherine victory but I chalked that up to them being besties.

At the final rose ceremony, Lindsay and her foot tattoo were the first out of the limo. Good thing she didn't go with the wedding dress this time. Although she was pretty confident she was the one: "Today is the day I'm going to get engaged," she said. She wasn't nervous at all. Just calm. She stood in front of her man gleaming, waiting for the inevitable proposal that would never arrive.

"You have been such a surprise," he started.  He says he didn't see their relationship coming; he didn't know the depth he would find. He was amazed at her strength, courage and generosity, among other attributes. And then: "This is the toughest thing I've ever had to do." And he may as well have stopped talking because Lindsay stopped listening. She let him go on, nodding throughout. He stammered, "I love you, I know I do," and started crying. Lindsay was awesome throughout. "Stop," she pleaded. "Just please. It's okay. Was it me?" She said she was in shock and so was I. "Okay, well, I'm gonna go. Because this is just really, really painful. This is my nightmare. I really didn't see this coming. So... I'm happy for you. I'm happy that you found love. But I honestly can't imagine my life without you." She then hugged him and took off her shoes. I was thinking she might huck them at him, but it was not to be.

Before Catherine arrived, Chris Harrison delivered the not-so-fateful letter. No, it wasn't from his mother. It wasn't from Desiree, either. Not even a hastily scribbled fuck-you from Lindsay. No, it was a boring old sucky letter from Catherine. But what if Sean had picked Lindsay? That would have been fun. Now we're talking drama. But as it was, much ado about nothing.

She showed up and he proposed, making them the first interracial couple on The Bachelor. Since the producers were recently sued for discrimination (and won the suit), I wonder if Sean was under any pressure.

And in real late-breaking news, this just in: In Googling that story above, I discovered another Bachelor lawsuit. It seems I very well may have been swayed by the anti-Catherine editing after all. Apparently blogger Steve Carbone revealed as far back as November that Catherine would be the winner and, he believes, this is why the producers made her practically non-existent:
Carbone has a hunch that producers may have shown very few clips of his predicted winner Catherine Giudici’s interactions with Sean throughout the season to potentially throw off fans who may have read his spoilers.   
“Obviously there’s no way for me to prove it,” he said, but adds that none of the editing in past seasons has been as “blatant as it has been with Catherine." 
In a March 7 blog post, Carbone said he was counting down the days until he was “vindicated” from his spoiler and that in the beginning of the season there may have been some doubt “because of how little camera time Catherine got.” 
Read more:
As Sean was letting her know she was the grand prize winner of a lifetime with him, she was practically hyperventilating and apparently lost all nostril control. She accepted his request for marriage. He could finally say loud and proud, "I love you so much." So now was her chance to shout it out, right? She had no more excuses not to. Not so much. She still whispered it back to him, not fully understanding how microphones work.

This record is apparently broken
What she didn't whisper was "Oh my gosh!" That was said at full volume. Over and over again to the point where I had to rewind the segment and start counting. From the time he proposed until they rode off on an elephant (saddled this time), she said, "Oh my gosh!" 15 times. Fifteen. For reals. Oh my gosh, it's true!

At the After the Final Rose, Sean said something potentially revealing. In Thailand, he'd have us believe it was a toss-up right until that final day when he suddenly woke up with clarity. But sitting in front of a live audience, without the benefit of editors, he said to Lindsay that in the "days leading up to this, I was thinking, 'What can I tell her? Can I give her a reason? Can I provide you with that closure?'" Days, plural.

And, as mentioned, he prayed about the decision. So really, blame God. It's out of Sean's hands. (Not surprisingly, I don't think we heard a single mention of prayer or faith in Bachelor Canada. Then again, we're a nation of heathens.)

Chris Harrison took a turn as Sean's dad, asking Sean how he knows he's ready to take this next step of marriage. "I just know," Sean said. "When you know, you know." You know? He really paints a picture with his words, doesn't he?

Stay gold
The big news for me was the new Bachelorette. It's cutie-pie Desiree! She was a bit too made-up on the show last night, which doesn't suit her natural beauty. I hope she stays the way she was this season. And I hope her brother stays the same, too. Don't go all Hollywood on us. I can't believe no mention was made of her brother. He's got to play a huge role in the upcoming season, I would think. I would hope! I wonder if they'll even find 25 guys who are brave enough to risk meeting her family. We'll find out this summer.

And that's all I wrote. Thanks for hanging out.