A Bachelor Betrothal

And that’s a wrap. Perhaps it’s not too early to cue up Looks Like We Made It (Barry Manilow) because it looks like those crazy kids Zach and Kaity are actually gonna git hitched[1]. If so, they would be the first couple from The Bachelor to marry since Sean and Catherine back in 2014. That raises the prospect that Zach would become the new gold standard in Bachelors, a prospect that is insulting to gold standards everywhere. We’ve got plenty of time to see if it comes to that but we did learn that they are moving in together and have already talked wedding timeframes, too.

Let’s recap how Zach got down on bended knee to offer a Neil Lane ring to his best friend (yes, take a sip).

Before we get into family meetings and last-chance dates with Gabi and Kaity, the book needs to be closed on Ariel who enters the studio arena looking like a goddess.

She left the competition after her Chastity Suite date without knowing that Zach broke his no shagging rule with Gabi. And in her sit-down with Zach, boy, did she ever go IN on him and NOT because Zach did the deal after promising otherwise. She objectively stated that she knew this show means being in an open relationship. But she read him for complete filth for “denigrating” her by taking away her agency with his unilateral declaration something that should have been decided as a couple. KA-BOOM!

Did I mention how Ariel looked?

Then it was Gabi who was first up to meet Zach’s family. But first, she needed to get clarity (take a sip) from Zach about him feeling bad for hitting it with her. The Evil Genius Producers (EGPs) made sure their edit included her saying she wasn’t sure if she would want to meet the fam unless their convo went well. I’m sure she meant that just as I’m sure the EGPs used that to create some doubt for the viewers. I wasn’t buying it especially since there were about another 2.5 hours left in the episode they had to fill. Indeed, Zach passed the “test” despite his annoying inability to see his circumstances from anything other than his perspective.

Zach looking for a perspective other than his own.

The family meeting was noteworthy to me for its lack of noteworthiness. Yes, there was the bomb Zach’s dad dropped on Gabi about Zach not being expected to survive following his birth. Yes, you’d think this is something a possible fiancé would know in a normal relationship but normal isn’t what we expect from this franchise and I am digressing. My takeaway from the visit was that I never got the sense of the fam being inexorably drawn to Gabi. That said, Gabi dropped the L-word and Zach seemed to be, uh, pleased?

That was in stark contrast to Kaity. In her family meeting, it was unmistakable how much Zach’s Mom and sisters loved her. She seemed to fit in right away with that familiar sense of we-know-each-other-without-having-known-each-other. And Kaity dropped the L-word to which Zach happily responds, “Oh, my God.”

Round 1 to Kaity.

Then it was time for the last-chance dates. Per @Bachelordata, 8 of the last 11 Bachelor winners got the second date but the EGPs threw us a curve ball by sending Kaity first. Or did they? My Crack Research Staff[2] discovered that Gabi had the first date, and the EGPs pulled a switcheroo. So in reality, Kaity had the prized second date. In any case, Kaity’s date with Zach was rather meh – he was very non-committal in response to Kaity trying to pry some sense of where she was at relative to Gabi – and gave off vibes that mitigated the earlier vibes with the family.

Gabi’s last chance involved a technical glitch where the sound was lost, sending ABC into a long commercial break and Bachelor Twitter into a collective tizzy. Unfortunately for Gabi, when the sound returns, we see her wanting some reassurance from Zach about where they are and he tells her, “I’m so torn.” She legitimately gets into her feelings which continue into the evening portion of her date.

And that’s where the EGPs leave us with no tea leaves to read as to who Zach is going to choose.

At this point, it’s time for more Sean and Catherine in the studio arena because, with The Bachelor track record and no proposals the past two seasons[3], they really need to sell the idea that this process works (take a sip). Jesse Palmer asks some dumb questions and Sean gives even dumber answers, all while Catherine wears an uncomfortable, “why am I here”, look.

We go back to Zach continuing the process by picking out a ring with Jesse – yes, Jesse – who, after vanquishing Chris Harrison, seems to be coming for Neil Lane, too.

And finally – The Crushing. First out of the limo is The Entrance of Death and it is . . . Gabi. And she says something prescient. Stepping out of the limo into a muddy spot, she scolds some off-camera people saying, Y’all shouldn’t pull in right there . . . when Kaity arrives, don’t do that to her.” In other words, she knew then she was first to arrive.

Like every other Crushing, this one was brutal, and I have no desire to retell it. It’s part of the cost to watch these shows that you get to watch real humans in really painful situations created for public consumption.

Of course, the EGPs make it worse by having Gabi sit down with Zach in the studio arena so that she can go in on him with her pain and answer stupid questions by Jesse[4]. The big revelation was that the morning after she and Zach hanky-pankied, he assured her, “This is just between us.” Except that “between us” apparently meant the other two women and a national TV audience. And that she found out that Zach told everybody BY WATCHING IT ON TV. To which she responds, “I thought it was between us. I get it, sex sells, but now I’ve become a narrative.” Ooof.

And this is where my cognitive dissonance kicks in. One side of me says the cast signs contracts that essentially give the EGPs the right to edit the shows in any way they like. And not only does sex sell but outrage drives ratings, so the Suits at ABC (sABCs) are incentivized to show human beings in a bad light. But the other side of me says they should treat their human beings better as they will have to go back to the real world after the show.

Let’s put a bow on this. We finally get to the engagement (and a Neil Lane signature sighting), a sit-down with the happily engaged couple, a brief preview of Charity looking amazing on the first night of her Bachelorette journey (take a sip), which includes a cameo role for her hot brother who set Bachelor Twitter on fire earlier this season.

And that is a wrap. Monday nights will soon become American Idol nights. The Bachelorette premieres June 26. See you then.

P.S. The Finale viewing wine: Daou Cabernet

[1] In reality, it’s always too early to play any Barry Manilow song.

[2] Long-time friend and devoted follower of these Musing, CSP.

[3] Clay-un and Matt James.

[4] The questions were stupid with Chris Harrison, too.

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