After dozens women have come, gone and cried on The Bachelor season 20 only two ladies are left. One is blonde, one is brunette. One has two names, one had the same name as so many girls that she had to be identified by initial. One has a family full of rosy cheeked creepy doll-like people and one has a family full of possessive and hypocritical brothers (we remember your stint on Ready for Love, JoJo’s brother….). Ben Higgins has told both of these women that he is in love with them but he can only get down on one knee and propose to one.
Lauren Is the Boring Frontrunner
Lauren’s been the favorite in season 20 since close to the very beginning. Since Ben and Lauren B went on their first one-on-one date there has been a connection between them, as can be told by the fact that they spent almost the entire date making out. Olivia was the frontrunner in her own mind, Lauren B is, and has been, the actual frontrunner. Lauren has “been in the lead” for so long it has felt like the season was decided long ago. The other girls on The Bachelor were even aware of how favored Lauren was and commented on it frequently. It was in part what inspired Leah’s glorious self-destruction and attempts to get rid of Lauren.
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Here’s a counterpoint to all of that though: Lauren is godawfully boring. Maybe it is just the fact that Lauren and Ben’s Jamaica date consisted of the two of them telling the other that they are wonderful and perfect. It was easily the most nauseating thing put on TV. It was worse than any gruesome death scene on The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Maybe it is that Lauren thinks a “crazy” and funny anecdote is talking about dad mowing the lawn a lot. Maybe it’s the time in hometown dates when Lauren said she didn’t “feel like Lauren” anymore which begs many disturbing questions. There’s just something about Lauren that doesn’t feel “right”.
Lauren is dull and uninteresting. Lauren is “too perfect” and not in the way that Ben seems to think, where he doesn’t deserve her. Lauren just doesn’t seem like a real person. As the audience member I have no better idea of who Lauren compared to the beginning of the season to the end. You could swap Lauren B with any of the previous Lauren’s from earlier in the season and I’m not sure there would be a difference.
JoJo Is Challenging and Compelling
By contrast, JoJo seems like an actual human being. JoJo and Ben’s relationship hasn’t been as idyllic as Ben and Lauren’s but it has been stronger for it. Ben really seems like more of his authentic self with JoJo. In front of JoJo Ben is less the TV’s The Bachelor who is very present of what he is saying and how he presents himself. There is lack of pretense to the JoJo and Ben relationship that isn’t present in the Lauren and Ben one. With Lauren and Ben it feels like both are trying to be a version of themselves that they want the other person to see. With JoJo there hasn’t been that barrier at all.
While a supremely uncomfortable moment, Ben’s meeting with JoJo’s family has probably been one of the most real moments on the reality show. It was the worst nightmare of meeting a significant other’s family for the first come to life and that makes it so much more important than Lauren’s family trip. It’s true that Ben cried over how wonderful Lauren was when talking to her sister but Ben coming face-to-face with JoJo’s angry brothers is much more vital for building a relationship.
There’s probably a number of reasons why The Bachelor relationships, on the whole, don’t stay together or even get married. One of the central ones has to be when the fantasy of The Bachelor life is over there is nothing to build upon. This is what Lauren and Ben’s relationship feels like, it exists too much in isolated The Bachelor universe. It’s easy to imagine a Ben’s relationship with Ben outside the show, not so with Lauren.
Who Will Ben Choose?
It would still come as a shock if Ben didn’t choose Lauren and propose to her. The fact that Lauren and Ben’s relationship feels too perfect is probably intentional. The Bachelor is selling the fantasy. So no matter how fake and unrealistic Lauren and Ben seem at times that’s probably the goal. The Bachelor wants to be the modern fairy tale. It is not a fairy tale if the prince and his princess aren’t equally pretty and equally boring.
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Ben should choose JoJo but he more than likely won’t do it. Ben and Lauren will be engaged by the end of The Bachelor season 20. They just probably won’t ever get married. But what do you think?
The Bachelor season 20 finale airs Monday March 14 at 8pm on ABC.
(Images courtesy of ABC)