Whether you’ve seen angry rants about someone named “Juan Pablo” blowing up your Twitter feed or you’ve been roped into a “Bachelor” finale party on Monday night and haven’t seen a single episode, never fear — here’s a quick primer for everyone who is clueless about ABC’s hit reality show. Don’t be ashamed for wondering. It’s natural.
It’s one of those shows that everyone skewers, yet many of those very same people can’t stop watching. The finale airs Monday night from 8 to 11 p.m. on ABC. (Yes, three hours.) This is the network’s 18th season of its find-a-soulmate show and it remains a fixture in pop culture, even though ratings aren’t what they used to be. (Seriously — 18 seasons.) So far, two relationships have actually worked out long-term; one was Sean and Catherine, who married about a month ago. (Sister show “The Bachelorette” has had nine seasons, with two weddings and one engagement that still appears to be on. Not bad odds!)
Juan Pablo Galavis, 32, single dad to a sweet four-year-old daughter. Unfortunately: Also the reason this season has been pretty much a disaster, even turning die-hard viewers away. He’s been pretty sleazy, hooking up with more women than is usually acceptable even for a show that is exclusively about hooking up with as many women as possible as a means of finding a soulmate. Two contestants have dramatically quit, and he drove another to tears after a late-night rendezvous in the ocean that he tried to pretend didn’t happen the next day. (And off-camera, there were those anti-gay comments that went viral.) Viewers have not been happy, and the tabloids are filled with stories about how even the show’s producers think Juan Pablo has been the “worst Bachelor ever.”
And yet, there are two women still vying for his love. Or at least a giant diamond ring. Every finale, one of the tackiest scenes is when “Bachelor”-approved jeweler Neil Lane strolls out with a ginormous case of bling, while the Bachelor contemplates which one is the shiniest and also which of the two women he should propose to after knowing them for a few weeks.
Anyway, the contenders are Clare Crawley, a 32-year-old hairstylist from Sacramento, Calif., and Nikki Ferrell, a 26-year-old pediatric nurse from Kansas City. They do not get along. (Meanwhile, Clare is the one who took that swim in the ocean with Juan Pablo that caused so much controversy — but obviously he wasn’t too upset about it.)
The actual finale:
Buckle up, because this is a three-hour “journey,” to use one of the show’s favorite words. First, there’s the two-hour show where Juan Pablo will spend a lot of time gazing over the ocean (the finale taped in St. Lucia) and decide which woman he wants to marry, or at least pretend to marry for the purposes of this program. And after an agonizingly long process, both women — decked out in evening dresses — will stroll out to meet Juan Pablo, who will be standing in a forest or something, where he’ll either propose or dump them. It will be magical.
Then, the real fireworks start at 10 p.m. with the “After the Final Rose” special. The actual “Bachelor” was filmed months ago, and now everyone (Juan Pablo, the finalists, other rejected contestants) joins together on live television to rehash the season and find out what everyone’s been up to. Translation: Are Juan Pablo and the winner actually still together? Chris Harrison will ask completely invasive questions. It will be awkward, in the most glorious way possible.
Another fun fact about the “After the Final Rose” special: That’s where we learn the identity of next season’s “Bachelorette,” almost always a reject from the previous “Bachelor” season. Rumors are that lawyer Andi Dorfman — the final three contender who stormed off and dumped Juan Pablo in a “shocking” twist a couple weeks ago — will get the honor, and have 25 eligible men competing for her.