We’ve heard plenty from Sean Lowe regarding this season of The Bachelor, both on Twitter and during a special episode dedicated to his side of the story. Now, the women get their moment to “tell all.” It’s refreshing because The Bachelor is essentially about Sean’s journey for love, when in reality, we all know that love is actually a two-way hiking trail through the rocky mountains of Montana. Or something.
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Look, The Bachelor may not be a terribly serious show, but it still has its moments of truth, and the women deserve to speak theirs. I realize that to some, the show is the stuff of dystopian nightmares: “love” reduced to TV elimination game show, which, yes, is a little scary when you really think about it. But it’s not a documentary; it’s a diagram for the 21st century search for partnership, and in that sense, I think it’s pretty interesting. It’s college hookup culture, OkCupid, arranged marriages and even a few honest moments between the stacks of library bookshelves, all boiled down to a two-hour weekly television show that’s weirdly compelling.
Which is all just to say, let’s hear the ladies out. Tierra and the others would like to clear a few things up. And there will be drama!
The Madwoman in the Hot Seat
After a guided tour of America’s diverse Bachelor viewing parties (with so much high-pitched screaming!), “The Women Tell All” cuts to the crazy. Chris Harrison introduces a montage of this season’s oddest birds, from Ashley P’s 50 Shades of Grey fetish to AshLee’s obsessive nature and Amanda’s dark side. We mostly breeze past these women, though, and focus on the season’s main villain, Tierra the terrible. I may be the only Bachelor viewer in America to think this, but I feel for Tierra tonight. The women verbally tear into her before she arrives on stage, and even Chris Harrison seems nervous to release the tiger from its cage. But Tierra saunters out with her “sparkle” and smile, offering up a story that seems pretty fair and balanced (to borrow Fox News’ odd choice of slogans).
Like every reality TV villain ever, Tierra admits that she didn’t come on the show to make friends. She arrived with a competitive spirit that just didn’t include mingling, but she wasn’t openly hostile to the other women. The ladies are forced to agree that, no, Tierra wasn’t technically unfriendly. But she wasn’t actively friendly, either. And that neutral demeanor was enough to stir up all kinds of trouble, which escalated until Tierra was confronted, fought back and labeled the problem in the house.
To be honest, I can see how Tierra would start to embrace the bad-girl identity everyone else was thrusting on her. If you can’t be liked, you might as well act like you enjoy being hated, you know? It makes me think of soccer star Hope Solo relishing the attention of a jeering crowd and letting that hatred fuel her performance. Of course, being the black sheep doesn’t make anyone lucky in love, so Tierra’s approach ultimately backfired. Still, I kind of admire her spirit. Maybe she really should take a page from Regina George and just channel all of her anger into sports. She could be good!
Oh, and here’s an added bit of gossip: Tierra’s now engaged to a guy she dated before she appeared on The Bachelor. So yeah, if I convinced you to like Tierra for a few seconds, I suppose that undoes that. C’est la vie. Moving on.
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Fan Faves Look Back
Sarah takes the hot seat next, reflecting on all the challenges she accepted this season, like canoeing, roller derby skating and plunging into an ice-cold Canadian lake. She appreciates that Sean never made her feel disabled, despite the fact that she was born with one arm. Understandably, though, she’s frustrated by the outcome of her time on the show. Like every other guy she’s dated, Sean gave Sarah the predictable news that she’s wonderful — she’s just not “the one.” Sarah hears that all the time. Guys tell her how great she is, for someone else just to weasel out of a relationship, I suppose so they can feel like good men when they’re walking out the door.
Imagine experiencing that your whole life. Imagine experiencing it in any aspect of your life. Anyone can call a few failures “learning experiences,” but when they come one after another, constantly, and packaged as compliments when they’re really pure rejection, it honestly must be hard to bounce back.
That’s why it’s such a great moment when Sarah tells Chris and the audience, “I think I’m smart. I think I’m funny. I think I’m great!” Chris agrees and tells her, “We’re all better off for getting to know you.” This is very true.
Desiree meets with Chris next, and while I’m a little underwhelmed, the audience is overjoyed to see her again. Des shares thoughts on her parents and the great relationship model they’ve given her. In a strong marriage, Des tells us, the couple loves being together, supports each other and just generally makes each other better. Desiree tells Chris that she’s still looking and open to love. Sooo … in other words, she is the next Bachelorette. She must be. It’s not official yet, but c’mon. No one else came out with a public service announcement about love and marriage. So you’ve got that to look forward to this summer, Desiree fans!
For a final dose of conflict, AshLee takes a seat beside Chris and recalls all the extreme things she’s said about Sean and her love for him: “He has literally healed my broken heart,” “He’s my soulmate” and “He’s the one!” I’m not sure what this says about me, but I don’t believe in “soulmates” or “the one” or other people fixing us. I think we’re capable of loving many people in our lives (and we do!), and we can’t expect other people to fix our emotional wounds, although clearly they can hurt or help. Anyway, we know how much Sean ultimately helped heal AshLee’s heart. (Oh, right, he crushed it.)
When Sean finally joins the party, AshLee accuses him of lying to her and purposely leading her on by saying he had “no feelings” for the other two remaining women, including the woman to whom he may be engaged. Sean tries to defend himself, but AshLee sticks to her guns, telling him to “be a man” and a gentleman. Sean decides he can’t win and says that while they’re interpreting the past differently, he must have done something to mislead AshLee, so he apologizes. It’s a kind gesture that AshLee seems to accept.
In the end, we see a montage of the two remaining free spirits vying for Sean’s heart. They’re both a breath of fresh air, frankly. Someone had to open a window and let the breeze in.
Discover who the winner of The Bachelor is next Monday (March 11) at 8pm on ABC.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)