In Defense Of THE BACHELOR’s Juan Pablo

BACHELOR Juan Pablo

At one point during last night’s three-hour BACHELOR-fest, host Chris Harrison glared at Juan Pablo and his chosen single gal, Nikki, and declared, “I don’t know what I’m looking at!”

Apparently, after 18 seasons of THE BACHELOR, nine of THE BACHELORETTE and three of BACHELOR PAD, the poor guy has lost the ability to recognize an actual relationship when he sees one.

During the course of THE BACHELOR: AFTER THE FINAL ROSE, Harrison became borderline belligerent when Juan Pablo — who’d gone from America’s sweetheart to a public enemy No. 1 during his tenure as the titular fought-over stud muffin — refused to declare his love for Nikki.

Worse, JP had the unmitigated gall to say that he and the blonde beauty were going to — gasp! — get to know one another and continue their relationship in private!

Harrison took Juan Pablo to task for agreeing to take viewers on “the journey” but not allowing them to enjoy the final destination. In essence, he accused Juan Pablo of being a prick tease.

By the end of the night, it became apparent that, for all of Harrison’s seasons-long promulgations that THE BACHELOR is not a game, there are rules which must be followed, the most important of which is that there must be winners and losers. All he and the producers really want is an ending that will satisfy the masses. It doesn’t matter whether hearts are broken (as when Jason Mesnick dumped Melissa Rycroft on the season finale, only moments after we’d watched him propose to her in previously taped segments) or true love is found (as with Trista and Ryan Sutter, who just celebrated their 10th anniversary). The audience must be given a satisfying ending.

Harrison made it clear that what Juan Pablo did? Ees not okay.

In reality, however, Juan Pablo’s attitude capped what may have been the most realistic season this series has ever had. We saw women realize that he wasn’t right for them and remove themselves from the competition. We saw our leading man display less-than-chivalrous behavior, even going so far as to apparently make “offensive” comments when the cameras weren’t rolling. And for a change, it was the bachelor himself — as opposed to the ladies — whose motives we questioned. Was he there — all together now — “for the right reasons?”

Make no mistake, Juan Pablo was kind of a jerk. The audience was completely right to boo him for muttering, “I’m glad I didn’t pick her!” after Clare declared, upon being rejected, “I would never want my children having a father like you.”

Like Juan Pablo, Clare obviously forgot that this is a game designed solely to entertain the masses. It is The Hunger Games of love, with Harrison filling the role of Effie Trinket, trilling from the sidelines, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” How else to explain Clare’s disappointment about “what you just made me go through.” Was she somehow oblivious to the other women whom her beloved was dating and making out with… occasionally in front of her?

In the end, Juan Pablo wound up doing the one thing that THE BACHELOR is never, ever supposed to do: He put the reality back in reality TV.

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