In (Slight) Defense of Juan Pablo

14 Mar

Bachelor

We all watched the finale of The Bachelor on Monday night (you know you did, so just stop with the denial), and I think we can all agree it was one of the most awkward endings we’ve seen yet. And since they are all awkward in one way or another, that speaks volumes to the level of uncomfortable we were faced with.
I’ve had a few days to take it all in, and numerous conversations with my coworker friends about how it all turned out, and I’ve finally come to this conclusion: I think Juan Pablo was right to do what he did, which was not to propose to Nikki, and I even think he was right not to say he loves her. Now, let me just start by saying all of the things that DO make Juan Pablo an asshole:

1. His personality.

Juan Pablo It's Ok

Juan Pablo is quite the charmer, and he’s not too bad on the eyes, either.* These two deeply shallow qualities got me through a pretty good chunk of the season, until it got down to the final group. I started to notice that although JP repeatedly asked “What you think about? Why you look so serious?” that he didn’t so much want to hear an answer. What I think he was hoping to hear was either, “I’m thinking about how wonderful you are and that I want to be Camila’s stepmother and make you lots of babies,” or “Oh sorry, was I thinking? I hate when I do that. More besitos! More besitos!” It grew abundantly clear to all the women of America that Juan Pablo is not terribly interested in what his potential love interest has to say. Having an opinion is alright, but if it doesn’t match up with his, it’s not noteworthy. It’s acknowledged and then it’s shelved away in the “Not Important” drawer. He gives you a quick boop! on the nose, and a sweep of your hair, and on to the next girl he goes. Like I said, it started out as charming, somehow, and took a quick turn into gravely problematic for womankind.

*Sometimes I can predict phrases that I will say quite often as an old lady, and this is definitely one of them.

2. His real-life stupid comments.

Mindy Funny

Very early on in the season, an interview with Juan Pablo was published in which he said, in so many words, that the world would not accept a gay Bachelor or Bachelorette. Not only because society isn’t ready for it, but because it’s “pervert.” Now, my problem with this might not be what you expect. I am an extremely liberal person, and I would LOVE to see a gay Bachelor or Bachelorette find love (or find someone they “Like a lot. A LOT.”), but I actually agree with JP that most of the country disagrees with me. The majority of people watching The Bachelor are from the South, and not to make a blanket statement about a large group of people like he did (which is exactly what I’m doing), but I’m fairly positive it would make most of them uncomfortable. And while part of me feels like telling all homophobes to go fuck themselves, I also realize that this is a reality show and it is a business. And in order for their business to make money, they have to please the viewers who are tuning in, most of whom would loudly protest a gay or lesbian star of the show, hence lower ratings. It’s gross and horrible, but it’s sadly true.

What I think was disastrous was that he said it out loud, he talked about it being “unnatural” and “not a good example for kids,” and that he used the word ‘pervert.’ What he should have said was “Sure! I would be happy to see anyone find love on The Bachelor.” Done. Next. Instead, he needs to give his honest (and uneducated) opinion and, mistakenly or not, use the word ‘pervert.’ And not even in a grammatically correct way. JP blames his English, or lack thereof, on his choice of words, but come on. Check a dictionary before you call an entire population of people sexual deviants who are exhibiting unacceptable behavior. You idiot. And saying you have one gay friend doesn’t make that much better. I’m not sure that he really meant harm in his statement, but people rightfully took it that way, and with the timing of his show airing, he should have kept his mouth shut. It tainted the season and it sure made him less appealing.

3. His “unknown” comments to Clare in the helicopter.

Clare Funny

Clare was very mysterious at first about what went down at the end of the helicopter ride on their last date. For some reason, there were no cameras for the brief second that the plane was landing, and JP leaned over and whispered something in Clare’s ear. She thought it was going to be something simple and romantic like “I love you,” but I believe it was more along the lines of “I sure loved duck hunting with you” (except, take out the words ‘hunt’ and ‘with,’ combine duck and the suffix of hunting, and replace duck with a dirty word). Clare was appalled, as well she should be, and she let him know it later on in her hotel room. It started out great, but quickly turned into the Juan Pablo show again. He convinced her that this was her problem and that while they don’t know one another well, that she is probably the one. That was enough for Clare to stick around (and I am not blaming Clare in this situation, I actually think she handled everything quite well), only to be dismissively sent home the next day.

Juan Pablo Clare

4. The embarrassment he caused Nikki (who I don’t even like).

Poor Nikki. She had on her favorite of all the evening gowns and she confidently walked up to JP convinced that she was about to be told that JP loves her as much as she does, and that he’d follow that up with a proposal and a big fat diamond on her finger. Instead she got a bunch of bullshit about how JP loves that she’s honest and pretty and likes to work out, or whatever he said. I was so uncomfortable, I’m not sure I was even listening. I’m not upset that he didn’t propose if he wasn’t ready, but to watch Nikki try to mask her disappointment in front of millions of viewers was just awful. Juan Pablo could have worked a bit harder to make her feel special, or even minutely important in that moment, but he didn’t. Instead, it was just a big let down for her, and she had to pretend to be happy for the cameras. And I’m pretty sure he told her not to have a tantrum, or something, in the same way he talks to his 5 year old daughter. That would have maybe been my cue to skedaddle, but that is just one of the many ways in which Nikki and I are different.

5. His resistance to the process.

On the After the Final Rose special, JP was clearly over it, which I get. You’ve been in the spotlight, mostly negatively, for months and you can now be a little more normal. But this wasn’t an innocent excitement about what’s to come, it was feelings of anger and resentment towards the show that he chose to be a part of. Sure, maybe it didn’t turn out quite how you expected, but don’t bite the hand that feeds you. When you decide to have your love life displayed on television, privacy isn’t really the top priority for the producers. JP made it clear that he doesn’t have to tell us anything about anything, and he made for a pretty awkward interview because of this.

Not only that, but Chris Harrison brought up a surprise that JP had discussed with the producers (my guess is that the agreement for not proposing at the last episode was that he’d propose on the After the Rose special), and JP quickly dismissed it, much to the obvious dismay of Chris Harrison. He ruined the process by not proposing in the first place, then he wouldn’t tell Nikki that he loves her, and then he played dumb to get out of his agreement with the producers. Sean Lowe looked like he might jump out of his seat and challenge JP to a dual, he was so steaming angry. It was hard to watch, and I felt like JP could have played along a little more and not displayed so much disdain for the show that gave him his 30 minutes of fame.

Tina Fey Eye Roll

Okay, now to the defense part, which I almost forgot about.

Keeping in mind everything I just said (so that you remember that I do know this is a television show and that it is not necessarily based in real life), I think that Juan Pablo did the right thing by not proposing to Nikki, and I respected his honesty about not being in love with her. Before you get mad, hear me out. Everybody, with the exception of a very small handful of Bachelors, has proposed at the end of their season. Inevitably, things don’t tend to work out, and the engagement is broken off before the US Weekly cover article even touches our hot little hands. And while I know it’s much more entertaining and satisfying to even briefly witness an engagement, it’s also really sad!

These might be happy tears, actually. I can't really tell.

These might be happy tears, actually. I can’t really tell.

Maybe this is an unfairly biased opinion because it’s coming from someone who dated her now husband for 4 years before getting engaged (rather than 4 months), so I’m clearly not a big fan of moving fast. I think it’s actually crazy that people are expected to get engaged after only knowing one another for 4 months, and also spending most of that time talking to said person for 10 minutes at a cocktail party, an hour here and there on a group date, and alone during the 2-3 individual dates. That’s like, 5 days worth of knowing one another in order to prove you’re connected enough to get engaged. And when you get engaged, you just broke it off with your other girlfriend less than 10 minutes before! I’m not saying it doesn’t work, I just think it’s mind-blowingly unrealistic.

So when JP didn’t propose, I gave him kudos for his honesty, as annoying as it was. He admitted he wasn’t 100% positive about his feelings for Nikki, so he wouldn’t ask her to marry him. Although I hated watching it play out, as I said, I think that’s the most “real” response to this situation that one could have. Again, his delivery of his final speech could have been a TITCH more heartfelt. He could have looked in her eyes and told her how much she’s meant to him and what this process has been like for him and that he was falling in love with her. ANYTHING would have been better than the lame shit that was coming out of his mouth.

Mary Kate and Ashley

This leads me to my next point of defense – I do not think that Juan Pablo needs to be in love with Nikki, at this point. I don’t. Even if she’s in love with him, he is certainly not required to feel it back. And if she wants to stay with someone who doesn’t love her back, then that’s her choice, but I still don’t think there’s a requirement for him to feel any way he doesn’t. I think he could have stretched the truth a little, for the sake of her feelings on national television, and maybe said he’s “falling” in love with her. Because, if you think about it, falling in love can really be anywhere on the emotional scale. Every time I eat pasta, I begin to fall in love with it, but it’s gone so fast, that I just kind of hit it and quit it.

Nikki Tumblr

I know I’m really flip-flopping (I’m like the Mitt Romney of this blog post), but a small part of me respects him for not giving in and saying he’s in love with Nikki, just to please the audience. As Nikki even said herself (well, she was kind of forced to say it when Chris Harrison pointed out that she hadn’t spoken in an hour), this is television for us, but it’s real life for them, and sometimes in real life you’re not in love in 4 months. I think the problem was that Nikki was so open with her feelings, and JP just wouldn’t give that back to her, which was making everyone frustrated.

In conclusion, I found this season of The Bachelor to be quite entertaining, as per usual. I am always partial to The Bachelor because I like to see girls losing their minds about this being their last chance at love by the age of 22. I think Juan Pablo could have been less of a sexist problem, but I also think he was terribly honest about his feelings and he didn’t lie just to give the audience some closure. I actually think Nikki is kind of a giant dummy and she should hightail it to one of those Bachelor cast parties they always seem to have, where I’m sure she’ll meet plenty of men who would kill to say they love her back, after an hour or two (and a few cocktails). How about that Brooks guy from last season? He was just hanging out at the finale, waiting for love. Or at least, someone to pay attention to him. Do I smell romance, Nikki and Brooks? Or is that just Juan Pablo’s manly musk. I can’t tell.

Look how sensitive Brooks will be when he breaks up with you!

Look how sensitive Brooks will be when he breaks up with you!

One Response to “In (Slight) Defense of Juan Pablo”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Let’s Talk About How I’m Dealing with the “How I Met Your Mother” Finale. Quick Answer – Not Well. | broadcouching - April 2, 2014

    […] because I got bills to pay and shit to do. But I felt like I would be letting myself down if I took the time to write about Juan Pablo, but didn’t spend a few minutes reflecting on my favorite sitcom of […]

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