Was 'The Bachelor' Season 21 a Complete Disaster?
The Bachelor has ended and another couple has found each other ... at least for now. Nick supposedly got his happy ending when he proposed to Vanessa and she said, "Yes." It was a disappointing outcome for many fans because as the season progressed Vanessa plummeted in people's estimations and eventual runner-up Raven soared. In a season full of Nick making wrong choices, he appeared to make the biggest one at the last possible moment. Was The Bachelor season 21 a complete trainwreck or did all the fumbles make for interesting TV?
Was Vanessa the Wrong Choice?
Nick's judgment in season 21 seemed a bit faulty. He kept Corrine around far more than seemed necessary. He cried about the whole ordeal not working out, more than he tried to make it work. Then at the end of it all, Nick chose Vanessa who was uncertain about everything over Raven who by her own admission had no reservations. (Most of) America didn't just fall in love with Raven more than Vanessa, she seemed to be far more ready for a proposal and relationship with Nick than Vanessa. Yet America's choice shouldn't be Nick's choice.
There's no denying that Vanessa and Nick's After the Final Rose interview was painful and awkward. The post-season interviews with the couples are typically full of smiles and happy feelings all around. Vanessa and Nick barely cracked a grin when talking to Chris Harrison, which is shocking because for the entire season Nick mumbled through a plastered-on smile. Vanessa explained that their relationship is "hard" approximately 75 times in 15 minutes. Social media was abuzz with a screenshot of the two looking absolutely miserable. Nothing they said inspired confidence that they had found their happily ever after but this doesn't mean it wasn't interesting TV.
There was something equally refreshing and cringe-worthy about Nick and Vanessa's After the Final Rose. Relationships formed on a TV show when one partner was dating 30 other women should be difficult. The After the Final Rose interview was emblematic of the entire season. Nick might have failed to sweep viewers off their feet with a storybook romance but he did pull back the curtain a quite a bit on the process. Nick was so in his head about his fourth time being the charm that it was probably was the most vulnerable and "real" a lead has been on the franchise. For better or worse, season 21 was more a social experiment than it was escapism.
It was only fitting that Nick ended up with someone who was so paranoid, like Vanessa, over happy-go-lucky Raven. Nick was more paranoid and flighty than free and breezy. Vanessa and Nick didn't seem like a couple destined for a happily ever after but they appeared far more genuine than the previous two winning couples from the franchise. I'd much rather take Vanessa and Nick being honest about how things haven't been perfect over Lauren and Ben's dead-eyed recitation that everything is wonderful and they couldn't be happier. Especially since Ben and Lauren's dreadful spin-off Happily Ever After? told a very different story.
This doesn't mean that season 21 was without problems. There was a real disconnect to the season the moment Rachel was announced as The Bachelorette. By announcing Rachel as the next lead, just as Nick was forming lasting connections with the final women, The Bachelor ended before it began. The franchise was so in love with the idea of their first black lead, something they should have done years and years ago, that they jumped ship on Nick's season. The last part of season 21 was less about Nick finding love and more about preparing everyone for Rachel.
After the Final Rose shunted off Vanessa and Nick in short order. Nearly half of the hour-long special was devoted to Rachel and the show even began her new season in the most awkward way possible by bringing out four of the men to a live studio audience. It was hard to care about the end of The Bachelor at all when everyone watching knew one of the most promising women for Nick was going to be eliminated. Rachel was out doing press constantly talking about how things didn't work out for her with Nick and promoting her own season while Nick's journey continued.
Nick did provide the audience with a very different, much more somber Bachelor. This alone would have been enough. When Rachel was added onto it, things just felt very tired and perfunctory. Nick's season would have been far more interesting and exciting if it really was a toss-up between three women at the end with Rachel, Vanessa and Raven. The announcement of Rachel so early in season 21 just made it feel like the season was going through the motions in the worst way possible.
So how do you feel about Nick's season? Was it really dreadful or were there some good moments? Did Rachel's announcement ruin the season or did Nick do that all by himself? Was Vanessa really the wrong choice?
Bachelor Nation will return on Monday, May 22 at 9/8c on ABC for The Bachelorette season 13.
(Images courtesy of ABC)