Over the last two weeks, America endured four agonizing hours of The Bachelorette only to end up with the least appealing iteration of a Final Duo: Jordan, the Crappy Rodgers Family Quarterback, and Robby, an apparently-unemployed Floridian so intensely dislikable that whenever he comes onscreen, Jenna mutters “I hate this guy” and disappears into her phone until his scene finally, mercifully ends. Jordan and Robby are carbon copies of one another, right down to their insistence on wearing fitted oxfords in Thailand, profusely sweating through them in the hot sun, and swaying slightly in a desperate effort to stir the air around them (note: this NEVER works). No matter which one of these goobers she picks next week, I’m going to make exaggerated gagging noises at the TV, and Jenna is going to tell me to give it a rest, and I’m going to go to sleep in a huff and won’t turn on the TV again until Bachelor in Paradise starts.

As these eliminated bros can attest, though, it didn’t have to be this way. IT DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY, JOJO.

LUKE

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The show’s omnipotent producers brought Luke’s on-screen character along slowly this season, gradually transforming him from strong-but-silent war hero into an oversized Texas Ken doll on whom a Bonobos catalog exploded. Jojo, a native of (prepare to be shocked) Dallas, appeared impossibly comfortable at Luke’s hometown date, which was a gigantic outdoor BBQ to which he had invited the whole town like some kind of Friday Night Lights episode. As the golden hour began, Luke brought Jojo on a romantic horseback ride to a secluded field, where he (read: unpaid ABC interns) had arranged rose petals in the shape of a giant heart. But as the cameras rolled and heavily accented sentences tumbled out of him, he couldn’t bring himself to say the L-word. The result—“My heart…all of it…is out there for…you!”—made him sound like an alien who learned to communicate human feelings solely through Dashboard Confessional deep cuts.

Still, given that these two had spent every shared minute this season with their tongues buried in each other’s throats, Luke’s fantasy suite invite seemed very safe. And yet, as Jojo prepared for the rose ceremony, she tearfully confided to the camera: “I feel like I have to say goodbye to Luke.” As unbelievable as this assertion was given literally everything we had seen for the last eight weeks, Luke saved the day, interrupting Jojo mid-ceremony, pulling her aside, and dramatically telling her that, yes, he loved her, y’all. As the music swelled, it seemed clear that they were off to Thailand to finally have all of the sex they both desperately wanted.

Except, NO, Jojo ELIMINATED HIM ANYWAY, giving her final rose to Chase, a faceless human rectangle stuffed into a v-neck tee. (Conspiracy theory: this whole show is a Banana Republic marketing campaign designed to drive up sales of their v-neck and henley lines.) Luke stared blankly over her shoulder as she sobbed out apologies, like a Good Dad who just watched the family dog get hit by a car and now has to go tell his young daughters, stone-faced, that no, nothing is wrong, don’t worry about this blood on my jeans, go upstairs to your rooms. It was gut-wrenching. Luke almost certainly would have cried if the plastics factory that created his face had remembered to give him tear ducts.

Fortunately, as I told you before this show even went on the air, we won’t see the last of Luke. During the always-intolerable “Men Tell All” episode, Luke got the biggest cheers of the night, and Chris Harrison concluded his soft-lit interview by asking, “So, Luke, do you feel like you’re STILL ready for love?” Luke mumbled his way through a series of clichés that approximated to “yes,” and a gigantic neon “FORESHADOWING” sign repeatedly flashed above his head on screen. I look forward to more cutoffs and Luccheses on Luke’s inevitable Bachelor season.

CHASE

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Chase was the Donald Trump of The Bachelorette: he got into the race as a big joke, assuming he would get to say some silly things, promote his brand on national television, and be harmlessly eliminated before anything important was ever at stake. But while each of his competitors found new and impressive ways to implode, Chase improbably hung around. Every time Jojo pinned another rose to his lapel, he wore the same crazed, bewildered, bemused look, like even HE couldn’t believe he had gotten away with it again.

Unfortunately for Chase (and for Trump, actually), the dude is wonderfully, lovably dumb. If Luke learned to talk about women from Chris Carrabba, Chase took his tips from Nike billboards—upon their arrival in Thailand, he gushed: “Everything about her is unstoppable right now.” During Chase’s hometown date, he said “I want to open up and vocalize my feelings and I want to go to the next chapter and I want to go there with Jojo” with all the enthusiasm of a North Korean political prisoner reading prepared remarks on state-run TV. When Jojo asked him about his greatest fear, I expected him to burst into tears and whimper something like “spelling tests.”

Somehow, though, Chase’s exit was even more painful than Luke’s. After securing and accepting his Fantasy Suite invitation from Jojo (I held my breath as he courageously read the entire note aloud even though there were multiple words with multiple syllables), Chase finally told Jojo that, although he had never said it to ANYONE before, he was really, truly in love with her. Jojo responded to Chase’s genuinely sweet confession by informing him that she didn’t feel the same way, and that she should really just say goodbye now.

For some reason, Jojo was shocked that this particular sequence of events made him pretty angry. First, Chase was probably REALLY looking forward to sex with Jojo, as he had made it as far as one can on the show without reaching that payoff. Second, he had JUST admitted that he had never said that to ANYONE before. Did she really need him to say it to her before deciding that she didn’t feel the same way? When she lamely protested that she did not invite him to the Fantasy Suite in order to break his heart, I laughed out loud when he snickered sarcastically. “That’s what you DID, though!”

Fortunately, once the initial sting wore off, Chase handled it perfectly. Even when eliminated in less-than-respectful ways, contestants on this franchise have a maddening habit of glumly walking out hand-in-hand with the leading man or lady that JUST rejected them and accepting a courteous pity-hug before riding off into their new life of D-list fame. Fortunately, Chase was held back by neither his third-grade vocabulary nor Bachelor convention, and he secured a place in my heart forever by stalking to his Exit Limo alone, audibly cracking a beer, and screaming “IS THIS MY FANTASY SUITE?!” at no one in particular before climbing in. I can’t wait for this stupid season to be over so we can watch Chase happily dominate chumps on Bachelor in Paradise like Vikings-era Randy Moss.

One more night, Jojo. Please, for all of our sakes, make it quick.


Previously in insightful commentary on today’s most pressing issues for which I definitely should have thought of more creative titles:

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One thought on “Take A Moment, Say Your Goodbyes: Bachelorette Obits, Vol. 7 (WE’RE ALMOST DONE)

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