Emboldened, perhaps, by the relative success of Season 6's Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado
, the producers decided to loosen up a bit.
For this new season, the show claimed it was opting for a less structured, more natural process for The Bachelor
and his ladies. And that seemed to be right up new Bachelor
Charlie O'Connell's alley.
The brother of actor Jerry O'Connell, Charlie shared his brother's good looks. Despite his Hollywood connections, however, there was something about Charlie that just didn't quite lend itself to the usual glossy and, frankly, humorless Perfect Guy façade that ABC usually tried to build around all its Bachelors
save Bob Guiney.
Charlie said about himself, “I'm more of a jeans guy…I'm definitely not Mr. Right. I'm just a guy that likes to laugh and have a good time."
Charlie's penchant for a good time, in fact, created an early challenge of sorts for the producers.
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With all of the other Bachelors
, a solid career had been one of their defining characteristics. Once again, Bachelor
Bob Guiney was probably one of the few exceptions to this, but while he wasn't particularly motivated in his current mortgage broker role, at least his rock star ambitions were ambitions.
But Charlie, on the other hand, really truly seemed to a good-time guy – as a full-time job. He had spent the past eight years alternating between living with his brother Jerry in California and his parents' house in Long Island. He acted occasionally, but mainly living a “carefree bachelor lifestyle;” it is, after all, a heck of a lot easier to be carefree when not having to care about things like, say, rent.
They wound up calling Charlie "a financially secure 29-year-old jack of all trades who enjoys a fantastic lifestyle.” Good enough – luckily Charlie's wit and frank manner were enough to win over much of the audience and many of the ladies on the show.
The show had hyped its more relaxed structure, but really, despite the lack of limos and gowns, it seemed a little more stressful from the women's perspective, and, heck, maybe even for Charlie.
Each woman initially only got two minutes with Charlie, and he had to make five cuts after that. He also had the first of The Bachelor
-style sudden-death elimin-date, where the end of the date ended with a rose or a trip home for the lady.
For Charlie, some decisions were clearer than others, noting that ''a lot of [the women] are easy on the eye; a lot of them are not so easy on the ears.”
Two women he seemed to find both beautiful and charming were Sarah Brice and Krisily Kennedy. The two were pretty different in temperament, with Sarah being a little more reserved and physically standoffish, whereas Krisily's own grandmother gave her this gem of advice during Charlie's hometown visit: "What you've got to do now is try to get him in bed."
Although there was the usual big trip at the end of the show (although for Charlie, he got to bring three ladies with him), there wasn't a big final rose ceremony and then months of secrecy and separation while the show was prepared to air. Instead, Charlie got to date the women in the “real world,” and then come back and – ack! – announce his decision on live TV. In front of a live audience.
Charlie first gave Sarah the news that he was picking – but not proposing to – her. He told her, “I know there's a lot of pressure so we're going to call it a promise ring now and see if we can work out, finally with no cameras around, just me and you…I promise you that I will be the best boyfriend ever and we can finally be just me and you.”
Since Sarah was gun-shy after one failed engagement already, so the promise ring seemed to be exactly in line with what she could accept at the time. She told Charlie, "I fell in love with you in Aruba and I've wanted to tell you for so long and just haven't been able to and I love everything about you, and to me you're perfect."
The live audience was happy to see the good news, but Charlie wasn't going to also give them the chance to directly witness his break-up with Krisily. He went to see her backstage – the cameras were still there, but at least “it's going to be as private as it possibly can,” he said to Chris Harrison prior to heading back to do the deed.
Krisily handled the extremely difficult situation with graciousness, saying, "He showed me that I do deserve more…The bar's up here now, it's not down here any more…I can't be upset that he fell in love and it wasn't with me.” I wish Charlie and Sarah the best, she was my closest friend in the house."
Sarah announced during the same show that she was moving to Los Angeles to be with Charlie. Since then, rumors have surfaced every once in a while that they've broken up. However, in mid-July, after his own wedding to Rebecca Romijn, brother Jerry confirmed that Charlie and Sarah were still together.
There are no reports of wedding plans yet, which once again gets people wondering if this relationship will ultimately fail as well. Of course, it could. However, the two just did meet each other a little over two and a half years ago. While The Bachelor
makes its bread and butter peddling a romantic fantasy, in the real world, sometimes these things just take time.
'The Bachelor' Rewind: Season 6
'The Bachelor' Rewind: Season 8
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Sources: Zap2It, RealityTV World, People, EW.com, TV.com, TVGuide.com, Small.to
(Image courtesy of CharlieOConnellFansite.com)