This week’s post-finale episode of The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman, took care to note that the engagement of Tessa Horst and Andy Baldwin was yet another success for The Bachelor series, like Bryon Velvick and Mary Delgado from Season Six, Sarah Brice and Charlie O’Connell from Season Seven, and Trista and Ryan Sutter from The Bachelorette.
But it’s a little early to be calling the couple a success, since they have only been able to be a public couple for less than a week now. The question is: will they last?
It’s easy to dismiss The Bachelor as a silly reality show that can be demeaning towards women and incredibly simple-minded. And you know what? The show can be demeaning towards women and incredibly simple-minded.
But it’s also a show that has real people on, who, for the most part, are actually looking for love and trying for a relationship. So despite the silliness of the Rose Ceremony, the goofy group dates, the endless gratuitous bikinis-in-hot-tubs scene, The Bachelor continues to have viewers because we start to care about these real people and think we know what they should do. Everyone has an opinion about how love and partnership work best and what kind of people match up well together.
Our own comment boards have shown over and over again this season that two people can watch the exact same show and come away with two completely different opinions. Some viewers think that Tessa and Andy are a match made in heaven. Some think Andy made a huge mistake in picking Tessa over Bevin Powers. Or Amber Alchalabi. Or Danielle Imwalle. Or any of the other women who might have seemed, to that individual viewer, like the best fit.
Will Tessa and Andy last? And if they don’t, relationships are so intensely private and personal, who knows if the reasons will match up to the viewers’ opinions as to why? But we can still have our opinions, and this season, those opinions ran the gamut.
Some viewers think that Tessa was too reserved and standoffish, and couldn’t truly have been interested in Andy. Others think that her reactions made perfect sense: when you’re dating a guy who’s dating a bunch of other people – and oh, you’re doing this on a nationally-televised program that sort of depends on stringing some women along to create suspense – it might be natural to want to be cautious. And Tessa made it clear she knew herself, and knew that even under normal circumstances, she’s just a “baby steps” kind of gal. Andy was happy to fight for her, said she deserves to be fought for…but will he grow tired of having to be the enthusiastic one in the relationship if Tessa’s reserved nature never thaws to the level he hopes?
Then again, Andy’s comments in the special that they are both “pragmatic and realistic” shows that despite how he appeared on the show at times, in his real life, he might be more analytical and careful. He might push the envelope with Tessa, trying to move things forward, but one might also wonder if part of why he feels comfortable moving forward quickly is that he’s confident that Tessa will put the brakes on. When one partner is the voice of reason, rather than stifling the other person, it can sometimes free them to indulge their romantic nature because they know that voice of reason will be there to say “Slow down, Tiger!”
Another issue some viewers raised was a perception that they didn’t have true chemistry. They wonder if Andy will be tempted later, after the thrill of the chase for Tessa wears off, and he comes across someone who makes him feel “electricity in his soul” like Bevin.
But others think it is precisely because of the calmer nature of their attraction why they might last. As Andy’s own granddad pointed out, electricity cannot sustain a relationship. Andy comes from a very strong family and seems eager to begin his own. If so, then staying devoted once the novelty wears off is a mature decision he might be truly ready to make.
As we learned on the special, Tessa is moving to Hawaii to be with Andy and give their relationship a real shot. This should be a good proving ground. It’s easy to be happy in love when it’s all fantasy suites and secret rendezvous. But continuing to love, respect and appreciate each other through the mundane details of daily life? That’s the true test, and Andy and Tessa are about to find out if they can pass it. We might have our own ideas about this relationship, but ultimately - only time will tell.
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)