After taking a slight deviation from the usual formula with Bob Guiney
, the producers of The Bachelor
headed right back to their comfort zone for the selection of the man at the center of the fifth season.
Jesse Palmer was precisely the kind of clean-cut All-American dreamboat the producers were looking for. Well, almost. All-North-American, to be precise, since Jesse was born in Toronto, Ontario.
Although Canadian, Jesse was living the American dream as a professional football player for the New York Giants. But it wasn't just brawn and machismo that Jesse could bring to The Bachelor
. He also had the kind of conventional good looks the show favors, and some brains as well, having been named to the Southeastern Conference's Academic Honor Roll while attending the University of Florida.
Undaunted by the lack of romantic success so far to be had from any of the previous four seasons of The Bachelor
, the producers decided to stick to the formula for the structure of the series itself. And with more of the same going in, we got pretty much more of the same coming out, with one notable – and rather unpleasant – exception.
Once again, Jesse had the usual 25 beautiful women to date his way through, bringing things to the final two, Jessica Bowlin, a law student from California, and Tara Huckeby, a general contractor from Oklahoma. Per usual, he claimed to be completely torn between the two women until the last moment. This necessitated the egregiously over-the-top act of shopping for an engagement ring…with each woman
A ring, mind you, that he presented to neither woman. While Jessica was his choice, she got a one-way plane ticket to join him in New York rather than the ring. Jesse told her that it was his "gut instinct" that she was the one, but conceded, "I am not ready to propose to you tonight. I think that we need more time to grow and learn about each other."
Jessica accepted, but there was still Tara for Jesse to deal with. And Tara's gut instinct was telling her she needed the limo driver to pull over pronto so she could throw up. Once her nervous stomach was settled, and, one hopes, her teeth were brushed, she stood before Jesse and told him "I don't want you to say anything…You would make me happier than any other person in this entire world, if I am the girl standing here at the very end."
To which Jesse responded, “Tara, I've fallen in love with someone else."
These are not words that anyone is generally really happy to hear and Tara was no exception. Possibly in no mood to mince words after her rough morning, she told Jesse, "I really wish that you wouldn't have led me on the way you did and said things that you did.” She also told him that his actions were “inappropriate” if he didn't plan to pick her at the end.
Well, now, you can't just say something all deliciously oblique like that without expecting people to speculate endlessly on just what those inappropriate things might be. (Um, I don't know, maybe taking her shopping for an engagement ring
?) Host Chris Harrison actually asked Tara about them on the After the Final Rose
show, and she said it was some specific things Jesse said during their final date. Not content to let the matter rest, one of the resident “bad girls” from the group of women, Trish Schneider, also confronted Tara about what she meant, to which Tara replied, "There's no point in discussing this, I'm done with it, good luck to you," and walked off the set of the show.
Despite the dramatic end to the televised series, in real life, things were a little more muted. Two and a half weeks after the After the Final Rose
special aired, Jesse and Jessica broke up without, it would appear, a lot of rancor between the two. Jessica said later, "It was honestly a very mutual decision. Neither of us had the time to give to the relationship. The relationship we had on reality TV was very different once we got into the real world."
Jessica and Tara actually appeared to remain friends, with the two running a marathon together in Hawaii a few months after the special aired.
Jesse, on the other hand, might not have taken quite as many positive things from his experience. He has said that "I think I'm more confused about women in general after doing this show than I was before I got on.” One hopes that he has eventually learned that a pool of 25 women specifically chosen to create drama on a reality show might not be the best benchmark by which to judge all of womankind.
After the show, Jesse continued his career in sports. He is now retired from football and, as we recently reported, he will be a sports correspondent for two Canadian stations
. Although he and Jessica ended on decent terms, he has said recently that he hasn't talked to her, or any other contestant from The Bachelor
“for a long time.”
'The Bachelor' Rewind: Season 4
Head back here Monday for our Rewind of Season 6, Byron Velvick. Over the weekend, we're giving the guys a break and spending some time with the ladies of The Bachelorette.
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: TV.com, Reality TV World, USA Today, Newsday, OrwellProject.com, Orange County Register, Shawnee Outlook, Fox News, TheCelebrityCafe.com
(Image courtesy of ABC)