bachelor brad finale and ATFR recap: poking the bear

This position makes me feel as awkward as your relationship.

Previously on The Bachelor…

Chantal = (1) dramatic slap out of limo, (2) electric connection and (3) the emotional roller coaster side of her worries Brad.

Emily = (1) one in a million, (2) an intimidating past and (3) she and Ricki as a package deal.

Now that we have that covered, time for some sweeping montages and pensive looks!

Helicopters. Biggest decision of Brad’s life. Chantal has a terrible bathing suit tan line at the altar rose ceremony. Lion King music. Brad determines that looking over Cape Town seems to be like looking out over the entire world (hmm). Trusts his family…

Brad’s family emerges from the bushes and jumps right into things

So, um, I am assuming they all get to hang out first, right? Sorry, I should be more sensitive. Brad has a total breakdown and sobbing fit upon laying eyes on his family. This gets the mom and sisters-in-law a bit emotional too, and confuses the brothers. Because they know Brad is a Robot. But Chad the Twin has Brad’s back and says this burst of tears is “the real Brad”.

Brad wants to let his family “make their own opinions”. Can you make an opinion? Or only form one? Here is an opinion I just made: I am keeping my eye on these sisters-in-law, Dillon/Dylan and Prima/Preema. I don’t know why, I just have a feeling.

Chantal interviews with Brad’s family

I immediately become distracted when poor Chantal (and I am on her team, okay) says “what made me knew I loved Brad…” You are nervous, of course. But that is a pretty bad grammatical blunder as far as those go. Yikers. But I rally and start listening to her again and realize she is talking some genuineness and sense, describing Costa Rica and falling in love.

Interlude question: why does younger brother Wes look so unlike his older twin brothers? Do you think that makes him super mad?

Second interlude question: Does Chantal look like maybe she has gained the Freshman 15 during the filming? I feel bad saying that because I still think she is adorable like the not-fat fat girl in Love Actually who bags Hugh Grant.

The bros have a beach chat with Channy, and she says something very smart- that she knows she and Brad have been living in LaLa Land. Then she says something dumb- which is that her favorite times, however, are when it’s more real life like: “a rained-out date and going to hang in the hotel room”. Um, lady friend, there is nothing real life about a hotel room. Proof is that someone cleans your bath tub every day.

Now for the deceptive editing that toys with my heart: Mom says Chantal is “precious” and “a catch” and Brad says “if everything works out, I will marry her.”

Emily interviews with Brad’s family

I knew this would happen, and yes it does, Brad immediately has different body language for Emily Day and is waaaaay more excited than for Channy. He’s all over her- ALL OVER HER. Oh wellsies.

I will admit a touching moment from The Robot when he reminds Emily of something she once said which is that she’s “not shy, just private.” Brad listens, apparently.

So the moment comes when Emily has to tell the Ricky story to Brad’s family. There are tears. Later, Wes the thoughtful brother gives Brad a little lecture on being a dad. There are a lot of y’alls and then Brad says, “I think I can handle the change.” I feel like thinking should be no longer an option at this point. We are in knowing zone. Brad loves that Emily is a lady. It makes him want to be a better guy.

Emily tells mom that Brad’s been a blessing and angel to her. There is something about a Southern belle with a flawless Southern accent saying “Angel” that honestly has me too. And mom LOVES IT. That’s all she needs to hear: that her one son, the one she always worried might be a Robot, is an angel.

Brad’s family breaks it down

So in more pseudo-religious evocation, Brad prays his family can give him advice. But it all goes awry when the well-manicured sisters-in-law start cluck clucking very loudly their opinions on Moms vs. Non-Moms. Winner = Moms. So according to their gospel, Brad should choose Emily because:

  1. Chantal “won’t get it” because she’s not a mom
  2. Chantal will only get invited to their wine and sushi nights
  3. Whereas Emily will “get it” because she irresponsibly had premarital sex as a teenager and will therefore be fully accepted into all their mommy social situations, not just wine and sushi night
  4. Women without kids suck, and if they’re infertile or are responsibly waiting until they are financially and emotionally solvent to bear children, then they still suck and should be grateful when they get to go to wine and sushi night and then shut their pieholes

Brad chats with his mom, still reeling from the Angel comment, and she astutely observes that Brad can’t keep his hands off Emily. They also say Emily is the whole package and the one Brad is about to marry. Which then begs the question: if Chantal is the one that Brad ends up with, will she despise Brad’s family forever for all these comments?

Chantal’s Date

There is a boat. Then seals. Then… swimming with sharks in a cage. So right at this moment we all know that Brad does not want to choose Chantal. This happens at the end of every season. It would be too excruciating to have lots of Coming to Jesus convos with someone looking at you with puppy dog-eyes and telling you how in love they are – so instead you choose a date where talking and cuddling and connecting is not an option. Cue sharks. There is a metaphor somewhere here.

And then, out of nowhere-

HOLY WETSUIT BOOBS.

Chantal is maximizing the talents of her puppies before being lowered into shark-infested waters. Because that’s romantic. What’s also romantic is the chum that keeps getting thrown about to feed the sharks. Ugh. I don’t know what is going on during this date but there are entrails and bloody water. Then Brad makes some asinine comment about looking for a wife who can overcome her fears. And then after some scary shark-themed music, says that many of his questions about Chantal have now been answered. Come again? What questions were answered in the cage?

We don’t have time to ponder it because Chantal’s ‘best girlfriends’ pop out of her wetsuit again, when they’re on dry land. And we’re all distracted.

The remainder of the date into the night continues to be heartbreaking to watch. Brad treats Chantal like a buddy, hugs aplenty but no smooching. And Chantal, bless her heart, keeps the faith against all odds and genuinely professes her love for Brad and presents him this series’ arts & crafts project: a map in a bottle. At this point, Brad, who wants to move over on the couch and avoid eye contact, has to feign interest in what I would characterize as actually a sweet little gift. He is busy fantasizing about running his fingers through Emily’s electric yellow hair.

Chantal explains the map by saying: “I’ve never traveled the world for any guy.” And because she’s the underdog, I don’t want to be the one to say it, but, technically, no one has ever paid for you to travel the world for a guy before. That’s probably why you haven’t. Is all I’m saying. Mmkay? I still want to be friends.

Robot then reads a heartfelt letter from Chantal aloud, clearly painful for him and evoking no emotion whatsoever except some pathetic comment about appreciating her expressiveness, and Chantal claps at her own words. She is kind of precious that way! But she maybe starts to cop to things a little. How many hugs can one person bear before realizing they’re a goner?

Emily’s Date

Brad basically says that his family chose Emily. He’s super kissy with her and demonstrative. The pair journey to the Cape of Good Hope for some romantic vistas, picnicking and deep convos. Which is sort of like a cage diving shark date I guess.

Emily breaks it down at this point, in a respectable move. She explains to Brad that marrying into her family would be the real deal, it’s not “cool Uncle Brad” anymore going back to his bachelor pad but he would be in it for realsies. Brad’s expression makes me think he doesn’t like the idea of not running back to his bachelor pad.

Then some surprising things happen. First, Emily tells the camera in a confessional that she is “painfully insecure” which is, yes, annoying. I know beauty doesn’t guarantee anything in life but I at least thought RIDICULOUS BEAUTY guaranteed you some confidence. Barf. And then sweet Emily says quietly to Brad, “I enjoyed meeting your parents” – plural. PLURAL. Brad doesn’t miss a beat and thanks her. But lady, I heard it, and it made me feel awkward.

Em then continues to drive home the point that PARENTING IS NOT ALWAYS FUN. IT’S NOT ALWAYS FUN. Sometimes you’re at the hospital and it’s not always fun. Sometimes you cry yourself to sleep out of pangs of regret at your ex not wrapping that rascal and IT’S NOT FUN. I am feeling bad for “Little Ricki” at this point because (a) she did not get her mom’s looks and (b) her mom is not being the best PR agent at selling parenthood.

Brad robotically struggles to prove he wants to be a father and obsessively rubs his face, which we know by now means he’s getting angry. Later that night it’s deja vu but Brad starts to lose his ability to breathe and needs water, stat.

Brad bitches to the camera that he feels slapped, defeated and the date is making him question everything. And some loser producer at ABC thinks that we’ve all been adequately tricked.

Morning of proposal

Brad is naked. His pecs need some air. He reviews the ladies and walks all over Cape Town thinking. Then Neil Lane arrives and pulls out some redonk bling. I am green with envy.

Cut to both girls journaling.

Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack Mrs. Chantal Womack 4-EVER.

Chantal is, against type, crying. Then the girls are getting ready. So many comments to make, so little time:

  • Chantal is dressed way too evening with the black and the off-the-shoulder  and the feathers and the updo and the big sparkly earrings.
  • Emily is smart to wear a bride-like color palette.
  • I am told by the girls I am watching with that Brad’s suit is way too shiny.
  • Emily looks beautiful as ever, even with the entire tub of blush and tube of mascara on her face.

The Rejection/Proposal

The proposal altar in the vineyard is very pretty. I am pleased with the change of scenery from ocean-backed altars.

The first limo pulls up and my stomach sinks a little. No matter how ridiculous this show, this part is always hard to watch. Some unsuspecting girl or guy, manipulated the whole way through, has to exchange pleasantries with Chris Harrison, walk a long march, hear a speech about all their best attributes as though it’s a yearbook message, and then get dumped in front of millions.

Chantal cries, very genuinely. She seems surprised and hurt. Brad commits his usual offense of stroking a girl’s skin he just dumped. Chantal says, with class, “Emily is very lucky.” And then without class, “this sucks.” And then has the long march back to the limo of sadness.

Now Brad is so happy, he is jumping out of his skin. He tells us he wants to stutter and stammer his way through the dumb speech he has prepared (mission will be accomplished) and Emily tells the camera this day is comparable to the day of the birth of her daughter. WHO IS JUST SOMETIMES SO NOT FUN TO RAISE.

They meet. Brad begins his speechifying and gets choked up. “Em, you are one in a lifetime.” “I love you babe.”

“I love you too.”

Music video montage of their 6 weeks of eternal everlasting love.

For some reason I am feeling very little. And then I know why…

After the Final Rose

So Chantal comes out looking hot and great in her red dress. Words like amazing and journey are mentioned. She starts to get teary. And then Brad enters.

Chantal is one smart cookie and asks Brad the same question in varying forms so that he is cornered into essentially admitting he knew Emily was the one from early on. Now, this is always an emotional conundrum for me. On one hand, it’s effed to string people along in such romantic and emotional settings and involving their families. On the other hand, it’s the cruel format of the show and the Bachelor/ette has to play along. I mean, I benefit from the ruse too. Otherwise, every season would be two episodes long.

Then Chantal sobs more but says she has a boyfriend and is so happy. Um, okay.

After the commercial break, it’s just Brad and the convo with Chris starts to go weird. Brad says he is more in love with Emily than ever, would marry her right now, tried to marry her while the season was airing but the relationship has gone through a test (which may or may not be the fault of the tabloids).

Chris cuts to the chase. The couple has already broken up once, and has not seen each other in a month. I quickly do the math plus the complicated geographic logistics and work out that Brad and Emily have had exactly 5 seconds to date in the real world and self-combust and fight and get back together. It’s all so promising.

Then things get so weird, I am forced to use my trusty bullets:

  • Brad says he is engaged but won’t speak for Emily. Huh?
  • He will fight for her tooth and nail.
  • Emily comes out sans engagement ring.
  • Emily declares it has “not been all roses”.
  • Emily’s body language is only echoed by her words: not ready to get married right now.
  • Brad has a temper- she was warned by his family. It’s called “poking the bear”. When I think of Brad’s robotically angry face, I think of crazy Christian Bale in American Psycho.
  • Brad proposes again, I think.

The most intelligent and interesting thing to hear in this entire weird exchange is that Emily feels after watching the season air that some of the other girls seemed like a lot more fun, and to have had great chemistry with Brad. In fact, Emily thinks even she would have picked one of them given how boring she was edited to be. I will give that a great big hallelujah. I always thought she was boring and now we know why. Which is annoying on the part of ABC. But ultimately, Emily is getting way too hung up on what she saw on the show. Why do these people insist on pretending they didn’t understand the concept?

Finally, ABC trots out “America’s favorite Bachelor couples” (which I am pretty sure constitutes the show’s only couples) for some relationship advice. And actually, I like all three of these couples and think their advice is sweet and genuine. Unfortunately is it wasted on the next Jake and Vienna he said-she said fiasco. I am calling it now. This couple is doomed and my money is on very soon. I look forward to all the news from the “tabloids”, or as I like to call them, my favorite pieces of reading.

I know this post is a day late and dollar short, but what says you?

Can’t wait for Bachelor Pad. The sleaze will be a refreshing change.

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16 Comments

Filed under bachelor episode recap

16 responses to “bachelor brad finale and ATFR recap: poking the bear

  1. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this!! Fabulous insights, I laughed out loud, and I couldn’t agree more with everything you mention. Robotic Brad is right on. I felt close to nothing during the proposal, and everything about the ATFR show was excrutiatingly awkward. PS. Do we really believe Chantal has a boyfriend already?

    • yael

      Thanks for reading!

      Yeah that was awkward about her “boyfriend”, huh? Since she bawled through her convo with Brad, I am guessing Boyfriend has already run for the hills.

  2. Rebecca

    Excellent recap, as always. I actually watched the end and ATFR before watching the beginning which ended up being pretty enlightening. Yes, totally interesting that Emily opted for white bridey dress while Chantal rocked the nontraditional black option. I, along with all of America methinks, would have been shocked had he picked Chantal, but we never do know with fancy editing.

    I remember once ABC mixed things up so the person who got out of the limo first ended up being the chosen one. It took some fancy editing of course on their part, but I thought it was awesome bc it really threw the audience off. I think they should consider that again bc now we know the deal as soon as the person gets out of the limo. And yes, you feel so bad for them. I mainly always focus on Chris Harrison’s face during that time and how impressive it is that he is giving away absolutely nothing.

    I rewinded a million times to see Chantal’s boobs pop out of that suit because it was so hilarious. And my husband hated each time I did it, obvi.

    That conversation between Brad and Emily about parenting could not have been any more awkward or annoying. Emily has gone downhill fast for me. Why couldn’t she just give him the credit to know that he understands parenthood is not all puppies and rainbows? And then he got so angry…weird. I almost wanted him not to pick her after that.

    The rose ceremony was very sweet and I liked when she bent down and started kissing him. I believe he really really loves her. But … I think she’s over him. The ATFR was horrible. Horrific. She was so awkward and you could see she was probably a nightmare to deal with every Monday night/Tuesday (why the eff did she go on the show if she couldn’t deal with him dating other women)? They have lasted about 5 seconds in the real world and while I do think Brad is super into her I do not think the feelings are mutual, at all, despite how she kept trying to act like they were. Not sure if she’s still trying to convince herself or just him or what. I give them 1-2 months max.

    Also did anyone notice how her hair lost its yellow-ness in the ATFR?

    And yes, I also noticed that Chantal had put on weight during the show. Ali did too. I feel bad saying that too because I think she looks great and it is refreshing not to see a super skinny woman on that show but she definitely packed it on.

    • yael

      Oh goodness, so much to respond to…

      We were actually talking at our viewing party about the time they reversed the limo order. I completely agree that need to mix it up more. And remember the one season where they did a live finale in the studio? I can’t remember which But I swear it happened. And it meant, blissfully, no spoilers for once.

      Completely noticed too about Em’s hair. She had a more mature cut and color at ATFR. But it made her look older so I dunno…

  3. Awesome recap, Yael! I love that you guys made Bachelor brownies…my friend made a “We Vote 4 Emily” cake–angel food with strawberries…kind of fitting, I think, for her blond sweetness and light persona.

    Anyway, so glad you took the time to highlight the sisters-in-law weirdness about Chantal not being on their “level” as moms. WTF?

    • April

      Joy, my theory is that stuff like that (the sisters-in-law) just sounds weird because we come from the land where everyone is too nice all the time (the West). This is only based on what I’ve heard from anyone not from the West. And also based on my secret wish to be as outspoken as….fill in the blank here with a social/geographic/ethnic/whatever group you feel is outspoken – I’m too nice to risk offending anyone 😉

    • yael

      Thanks for reading! And I love that cake idea! I wanted to get a Team Chantal shirt made but didn’t have the forward-planning. I gotta get on my game for Ashley’s upcoming season.

  4. Gillian

    Loved the recap!

    Emily seemed like an entirely different person on the ATR show (and kind of scary or something).

    We too had to rewind the wet suit boob pop a couple of times in my household…it was so startling.

    I legitimately felt bad for Chantel, but totes agree re the over-dressing, and the weight gain, poor thing. She must have starved herself for the intro/slap moment.

    I give it 1.6 months. Brad scares me a bit.

    I really want to see a show about Dylan and Prima because…wow. I mean their names alone…

    Until next time…

    • yael

      Yes on Emily got scary by ATFR. Her constant head-leans on Brad’s shoulder did nothing to lighten her weird juju.

      And and Double Yes on a show about Dylan and Prima. Can someone produce that, stat? They can sit around and talk about how clueless non-moms are. The Real Housewives of Austin, here we come.

  5. Beth

    I love reading your blog and this recap was the BEST! Numerous laugh out loud moments and just a great wrap-up to the season. I’m living abroad at the moment and ABC officially locked up their webpage to overseas viewers, so I thought I would finally ditch my reality TV habit (which is now reduced down to this ‘franchise’ only…by the way, isn’t that weird that it’s a ‘franchise’ and they have a ‘family’ of over 500 alumni?!?). But after reading one of your blogs early on, and not seeing the show, I thought, F it, I should at least try to watch it on youtube. And found a lovely person named codebear4 who uploads almost everything and somehow doesn’t get his sh*t taken down for copyright issues.

    It was a fun season and I feel torn about how I feel after watching AFTR. I mean, in some ways it seems more real and legitmate that they are facing weirdness living in limbo between the ‘reality’ they lived on the show, watching its editing, knowing all of their friends and family are also watching it on TV, and then trying to start all over again in ‘real’ reality. It was also refreshing to see Brad show more than his robotic emotion and Emily show that she can be difficult and isn’t this perfect (& boring) Southern belle she was made out to be on the show. I kind of like that she said she wasn’t ready to up and move to Austin right then and there. And why should she be? Just because Brad was the ‘star’ of the show…love is a two-way street, buddy and you will definitely be able to find a new therapist in ______ (wherever Em lives now). Compromise isn’t easy but it’s a huge part of real relationships…

    Part of me pondered, too, whether the counseling couples are contractually obligated to come on these shows? Are they paid appearances? Do they really all feel like “family”?

    Anyway…thanks again and looking forward to following Bachelor Pad hot mess-ness and following Ashley’s “journey” 🙂

    • yael

      Thanks, Beth! So glad you’re a reader. And I am SUPER glad that you just answered all my prayers! I can only ever find snippets on youtube. And there are those terrible moments when Slingbox isn’t working and the show isn’t for sale yet on iTunes when I start labored breathing.

      Good point on the alumni couples being paid. They must be. Why else would you fly to the dumb studio and leave your kids at home?

  6. erin

    When does bachelor pad start? Hopefully before the ashley season. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to watch a whole season of her…

    But back to the new, unimproved meanie Emily. I liked her new hair. That’s the only nice thing I have to say. Brad was back to the apologetic, sad sack Brad from early in the show, and its too bad. He was starting to get some pep in his step when his family came to Capetown, but no sign of pep at the show…

    We also very much enjoyed tits mcgee emerging from the boat. We went shark diving in south africa, but my wet suit did not look anything like that.

    I was surprised at Emily’s sour grapes for not getting fun dates (if she called bs on nascar and flying dates I would have been behind her though), and her pissiness at how the show portrayed her… And her shock that Brad showed interest in other girls. On a dating show, no less.

    I want bachelor brownies! (But can’t eat anything fun thanks to the boy.) The blogging season was definitely a success Yael… Thank you!

    • yael

      I’m with you on the doubts, but sadly the Ashley season is first. They must be taping now because supposedly it is the end of May. Or do I have my facts wrong?

      Oh lord, Tits McGee… Your wetsuit problem, Erin, is that you didn’t shark dive during the nursing months.

  7. Faye Trumbell

    A couple of days late, but I can’t stop wondering how did Chantal already have a boyfriend? Aren’t they supposed to keep the finale a secret? If she already has a boyfriend then he and others would know that she wasn’t picked? I’m so confused……

    • yael

      Wait, such a good point I didn’t even think of. That is so shady she could meet someone and date them and no one would know. I mean, did that guy also have to sign a confidentiality clause with ABC?

      More important, HE IS SO HOT. OH MY GOODNESS. Um, 2,000 times hotter than Brad and I am guessing less robotic too. Chantal, well done.

      Also, I do agree with the article that Chantal or Shawntel would have made much more interesting Bachelorettes than Ashley. It’s weird how ABC thinks it has to be someone from the last 3 rather than actually picking someone popular. I don’t believe Ashley is ready to get married so the season won’t be believable to me. But I will watch every second, natch.

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