What did you think about last night’s episode of The Bachelor? While I don’t usually see much point or fun in seriously over-analyzing the behaviors and feelings on the show (it would be like contemplating the tannins in fruit punch), I found this Slate article by Willa Paskin really interesting.
This article brings up great points, even if I don’t agree with it a hundred percent; I think that Juan Pablo made a huge mistake going so far so fast with Clare. Part of what makes the fantasy suites acceptable, while this hook-up is not, is that the fantasy suites are offered openly to the last few (usually three) finalists. The fantasy suites are a part of the show that contestants know about before ever going on the show. When offered a key, they can accept or reject the key. I’ve seen both happen. For instance, Emily declined Brad’s key but he proposed to her anyway. Catherine was hesitant to accept the key from Sean, and now they are married. This could be contestants playing a game, or it could be them being themselves. Really, who can say? Contestants who accept the key can stay with the bachelor in the fantasy suite and take advantage of the bachelor, the view, the minibar… whatever they choose. They don’t have to have sex. While presenting three fantasy suite keys to three different women three nights in a row in kind of gross, it’s probably better than a couple who has never spent a night alone together getting engaged.
Back to Clare and Juan Pablo, the secret-affair-ness of what happened between them is what will hurt the others the most.
I feel Juan Pablo was correct that what they did was disrespectful to the other remaining contestants, and it was reasonable for him to explain himself in not wanting things to go so far again. However, a much better solution that would have been more fair to Clare would have been to figure this out ahead of time and to have never slept with her already.
I also think Clare was very disrespectful towards the other contestants. They can all “play the game” how they want to, but there are consequences. She can defend herself by saying that she was just being herself, and even blame the producers and Juan Pablo for telling her to be herself, but some part of her had to realize that her actions were inappropriate. The bachelor and the contestants all have a responsibility to themselves to find the balance between being who they are in the real, off-camera world and the on-air versions of themselves that millions of viewers see. They don’t have to be nice to the other contestants, but as long as I’ve been watching it, I’ve never seen it go well for anyone who doesn’t. Those contestants either get sent home by someone nice or temporarily end up with a low-standards jerk.
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