After watching the pilot, “Moving On,” for The Bachelor spinoff Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? it becomes easier to understand why so many Bachelor and Bachelorette couples don’t survive after that final rose ceremony. It’s been six months since fans of the reality-dating show The Bachelor watched Ben Higgins (28) propose to the girl of his dreams Lauren Bushnell (26), and life for the twosome has been anything but one long Fantasy Suite ever since.
Three Is Still a Crowd
Lauren has since relocated to Denver, Colorado to live with her main squeeze, where the twosome are constantly approached by strangers who can’t wait to talk about their relationship and Season 20’s infamous love triangle between Ben, Lauren and JoJo Fletcher. Ben became the first Bachelor in history to tell two women he loved them, and in the Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? premiere, Ben and Lauren are forced to revisit the emotional fallout when the show’s producers call and ask them to appear on The Bachelorette’s season 12 After the Final Rose post-finale show to lend their support to none other than JoJo, who went on to find love with Jordan Rodgers after having her heart broken by Ben.
The premiere deals primarily with Lauren’s lingering insecurities and Ben’s regrets regarding his emotional promiscuity. While Lauren swears she is friends with her former romantic rival, she prefers to keep that friendship, and JoJo, as far away from Ben as possible — and who can blame her? But Ben is eager to show America he and Lauren have moved on, and Lauren eventually caves, convinced that AFR will put JoJo behind them for good.
One “Moving On” highlight is watching Ben and Lauren catch up on JoJo’s season of The Bachelorette. The binge watching includes lots of takeout and soundbites of JoJo endlessly calling out Ben for his caddish behavior, something that both amuses and disturbs Lauren.
The Quest for Domestic Bliss
Compared to all The Bachelor drama, watching Lauren and Ben decorate their love nest, go to the grocery store and other mundane activities is a bit of a snooze. To spice things up, Lauren gets a visit from Emily and Haley Ferguson (who also appeared on Ben’s season). The twins, fresh from their Bachelor in Paradise misadventures (neither twin found love, but they did stir up some drama) are chummy with Lauren and vested in their pal’s love life. The threesome engage in some home improvement shenanigans which aren’t especially amusing and feel staged to boot.
The doe-eyed, soft-spoken Lauren is the series’ comedic relief, although Ben has a Jessica Simpson-ish moment when it comes to correctly pronouncing a certain spicy food. Neither Ben nor Lauren possesses the kind of charismatic personality to carry a show that doesn’t include dream dates and assorted crazies desperate to find love, which is probably why this season promises to have cameos from multiple Bachelor and Bachelorette alumni.
The Reality TV Show Curse
The teaser trailer for the upcoming season shows Ben and Lauren balancing all the fun stuff that comes with being in love with heavier emotional moments regarding the stress of planning a wedding and the timeline for the possible pitter patter of little feet. Speaking of feet, it could be that Ben is experiencing some chilly tootsies when it comes to actually walking down the aisle after such a whirlwind courtship. But the fact that Lauren and Ben chose to document it all for all of America to see undermines their commitment to making things work.
Couples who choose to chronicle the ups and downs of their relationships on national TV don’t have a great track record when it comes to staying power: Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson (Newlyweds), Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy (Bethenny Ever After), Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom (Khloe and Lamar), Britney Spears and Kevin Federline (Britney & Kevin: Chaotic), Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro (Til Death Do Us Part), Clint and Dina Eastwood (Mrs. Eastwood and Company), John and Kate Gosselin (John & Kate Plus Eight) and Hulk and Linda Hogan (Hogan Knows Best) all split up after the fact.
There are exceptions to the rule. Trista, the first Bachelorette, and her husband Ryan Sutter are still going strong after their three-part wedding special, Trista & Ryan’s Wedding, which aired in 2003.
If you’re a diehard fan of the Bachelor Nation, then this show is for you, but if you’re skeptical when it comes to love at first sight and getting engaged in less time than it takes to get a passport, Lauren and Ben aren’t apt to change your mind.
Will you be watching Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? Do you think appearing on a reality TV show is a good idea for a couple? Are you interested in what life is like for Lauren and Ben after The Bachelor? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? premieres Tuesday, October 11 at 8/7c on Freeform. Want more news? Check out the BuddyTV page on Facebook.
(Image courtesy of Freeform)