Goodbye, Paradise

Finally, it is over. We can say “ciao” to THE MOST DRAMATIC SEASON OF PARADISE EVER, which in retrospect it probably was but I’m not saying that was a good thing. While we come to expect a certain amount of relational chaos and emotional carnage, in the future I hope the Evil Genius Producers (EGPs) reconsider their decision to dial those features up to 11.

As far as relational chaos, it took @Bachelordata four pages to plot her “Romance Web” of all the connections, disconnections, and reconnections. 30 of the 43 contestants had some kind of connection with each other! [cue Aretha Who’s Zoomin’ Who?]

And emotional carnage? Gaslighting was a common theme and that was far from the worst thing done by a Paradiser.

Here are my Musings on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the ending of this season of Paradise.

The Good

To no one’s surprise, Brandon and Serene made it across The Neil Lane Engagement Finish Line. They also avoided having a way too eager Jessie Palmer officiate the wedding right there and then on the beach. If there is a TV wedding – I’m sure the suits at ABC (sABCs) have been busily plotting how they can make this a televised event with Jessie at the helm. Let’s not waste that ordination! In any case, engagements become weddings more often on Paradise than any of the other shows in the franchise and these two are giving every indication of adding to that success.

Also good but having to overcome our legitimate doubts are Michael and Danielle. She’s moving to his and his son’s hometown of Akron[1]. Bachelor Nation was all aTwitter over her making this move without him dropping the L-word which he finally did for the first time during The Paradise Reunion. My feeling is that her persistence and patience were just what he needed, and she was rewarded for that last night. Danielle’s sensitivity to him and his staying with it after being outside of the Bachelor Bubble is also solid evidence in favor of their relationship getting to The Neil Lane Engagement Finish Line. Everybody on the beach, including Sierra who was spurned by Michael in favor of Danielle (or was Sierra’s reaction spliced in from another segment?), and in Bachelor nation is certainly hoping for that.

Finally, there were two good endings nobody saw coming. The oft-self-immolating and ironically named Romeo is still with Kara. When we last saw them, they were hurriedly leaving Paradise while he was wearing a look of, “WTF am I doing?”

And whoa! – Tarzan Jacob corrected the biggest of his many (many many) mistaken attempts to make a connection by asking Jill if she’d like to give their relationship another go [cue George Michael One More Try]. She happily accepted which was greeted with great enthusiasm by the Paradisers and warmed the cockles of hearts throughout Bachelor Nation.

Oh – one other good was how Logan – looking like a member of a 60’s British Invasion band – read The Devil’s Mistress Kate for filth during The Reunion. More to say about that in The Bad.

The Bad

Eliza who dumped Rodney for Justin made an appeal to win Rodney back during The Reunion right in front of Justin! I wonder what Justin was thinking about that but thankfully the EGPs didn’t create even more of a circus by asking him. Rodney with his usual class politely and graciously declined Eliza’s comeback attempt. [cue Anastacia Left Outside Alone for Eliza]

Also bad was being subjected to Aaron and G-vieve aka The Toxic Twosome one (hopefully) final time. He brutally broke up with her at the end of Paradise, gaslighting and projecting all the way because he’s Aaron. And he came to The Reunion looking like a Vegas lounge singer. That G-vieve was open-mouth speechless that Aaron offered an apology for his being “straight up [bleep] at times” sums up what she had to cope with from him.

Shanae had legitimate reasons to break up with one of the twins: age gap, geographic distance, and different stages in life. But she went out by first saying she wanted to keep things going outside Paradise. But on further reflection, she decided that wouldn’t work for the above reasons. However, rather than explain that, she gaslights him with accusations about things that weren’t true like spending all his time making TikTik dance videos, and then disrespectfully says she needed “a man”.

I enjoyed the redemption of Shanae this season but she ended with a bad look. She had valid reasons for not wanting to continue the relationship. Why not say so? Why blame and shame him?

Similarly, The Devil’s Mistress Kate blindsided Logan with a large order of gaslighting and an extra-large side of projection. Holy lack of self-awareness Batman! EVERYTHING she accused him of was what she was doing to him. Moreover, she was mean, condescending, and dismissive to a guy who had contorted himself in all kinds of ways to make her happy.

The final bad was the way that (no longer) My Girl Brittany [cue The O’Jays Use Ta Be My Girl] ghosted Tyler once she wasn’t feelin’ it outside of the Bachelor Bubble. And it was clear during The Reunion that she wasn’t the least bit concerned about no longer feelin’ it and not at all concerned about how Tyler felt about her no longer feelin’ it. (ex)Girlfriend came in looking hot but is as . . . wait for it . . . [cue Foreigner] Cold as Ice[2].

That said, Tyler was blindsided by Rachel dumping her during her hometown visit (recall that she didn’t even want to meet his family), so this is the second time in a row that he was the dumpee of a dumper who wasn’t nearly as into him as he was with her. Perhaps The Bachelor Bubble gets him in his feelings too much.

The Ugly

Victoria. Girl, what the absolute %$#%^@? Two weeks after getting the engagement you so desperately sought, you’re “rekindling” a prior “friendship” in Rome to “test things out”??? And couldn’t even keep your story lined up with the one your new boyfriend told when he came out to sit on the sofa with Jessie?

Justin be like, “Seriously? What kinda mess you talkin’, girl?”

That entire spectacle made me feel icky. I was angry at the EGPs for airing Victoria and Johnny’s very dirty laundry for our “entertainment.” And I was self-consciously uneasy watching it. Whatever Johnny’s alleged flaws are in Victoria’s eyes, his personality is not built for being the center of that kind of spectacle, and I thought that was cruel to put him through that. And as detached from any sort of empathy as Brittany was with Tyler, Victoria’s casual and even playful dismissiveness of how bad her actions are is a level of self-delusion I cannot understand. That whole scene was sick and disappointing. sABCs and EGPs – do better. Please.

It appears that Victoria enjoys testing things out.

And that’s a wrap. Thankfully, we get a two-month break before another round of madness – or should I say a round of dullness – ensues with Zach’s upcoming stint as The Bachelor. And what was Victoria doing in the previews? I’m sure it’s some kind of fakeout but after her disastrous time on The Reunion, nobody is asking for more of her.

See you next season.

P.S. I stayed with Italian for this week’s viewing wine with a Barba Montepulciano Vasari.

P.P.S. After writing this, I’m feeling I still have more to Muse on regarding this season. Stay tuned.

[1] Original home of The Black Keys. Let’s cue Yearnin’ from their debut album.

[2] You’re as cold as ice/You’re willing to sacrifice our love/You want paradise/But someday you’ll pay the price, I know.

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