As a collective, we root for love, don’t we? In the end, that’s the bond that unites us more than anything. Or, at least that’s what I’d like to think. Love is what some of the most popular shows center around – Love Island, The Bachelor franchise, and the current hit – Love is Blind (I haven’t started that yet, but damn it’s all the rage, isn’t it?). It’s why the 5 Love Languages book is a New York Times top seller. It’s why dating apps are some of the most downloaded… It’s why The Notebook is number one on favorite movie lists. If you’re a bird, I’m a bird. Speaking of birds – on Love Island, they call girls birds – but men shouldn’t be mating with birds, should they? I think we’ve learned that lesson with everything that’s happened with bats. Or maybe it’s just bats that originate in certain areas of China – either way, let’s agree to avoid mating with animals.
Back to love.
For those of you that have watched this season of the Bachelor, you’ll know how hopeful Peter was to meet someone who loved him equally. And for those of you that haven’t watched his season, that’s okay – I just find his trajectory fascinating and worth taking a deeper dive. Also, we’re here to distract ourselves from the… thing that must not be named.
Peter is a pilot from LA. He’s boyishly cute. He’s charming. He’s fun. He can dance well. He likes country music. He’s very close with his family. He has a lot to give. What’s the catch? Peter doesn’t know what he wants because he’s unsure of who he is. Mind you, this is from an outsider’s perspective, but I would venture to guess if Peter looked back at his season, he would say the same thing.
And listen, I don’t know what it’s like to be in his shoes – literally and figuratively. As fun as it seems to date 30 people, there’s certainly a pressure to make sure you want to spend the rest of your life with one of those 30 people. Sure, they’re attractive; some of them play an instrument, a quarter of them have likely done modeling, some may even have very well-respected jobs in the healthcare industry, but you can’t force a “genuine and real” connection, which is only the first step.
This brings me to the first episode (don’t worry, I’m not breaking down all twelve – could you imagine?). Peter stands in front of the notorious Bachelor Mansion and greets the contestants; five (give or take) of which are former pageant girls – they all give their one liner – some of which they’d been practicing from home, some were given to them by a producer. CRINGE.
Smiles. Hugs. Awkward laughs – you get the picture.
Camera pans to the last girl to come out of the limo – we see legs – we see a sparkly dress – we see more sparkly dress – we see [DRUM ROLL]…… Hannah Brown. The former Bachelorette. He’d given her a pin – his pilot wings, which she brought back. Fine, okay, cute move, producers – he’s shocked, they exchange pleasantries, and that’s that. Or is it? Of course it isn’t.
We start on Peter’s first group date and we see the shadow of a girl and the shadow of a windmill… honestly for those that didn’t watch the show, I’m sure you heard about the damn windmill. Hannah and Peter had sex in one four times. So, who better to join the girls for their first group date than Hannah herself – a girl Peter is clearly not over. She tells the contestants they need to reveal stories about their first time having sex or maybe it was to share stories about their funniest sex-adventures. Either way, that’s not important. After she’s done with her spiel, she goes backstage into a room and her and Peter have a chat. She starts crying saying she’s not sure she made the right decision. He’s confused. They get close. Like REALLY close. Okay, yeah, she’s basically sitting on top of him. Mascara is everywhere. He’s rubbing her arm continuing to vocalize the fact that he’s confused. She’s saying nothing. He eventually asks her to join the girls in the house. She gets up to look at herself in the mirror (seriously, so much mascara) and stays silent for a bit before ultimately declining his offer. Peter cancels the group date because it’s just too much – sorry, ladies!
Throughout the season, Peter gives his energy to the girls, but it becomes clear pretty quickly who his top four will be and it becomes equally as clear that crying is his love language and the girls catch on. I mean really, during some of the one on one dates, a girl would just start crying out of nowhere and we’d hear Peter say something like, “she’s so deep. This is exactly what I needed to see out of her.” Peter, what? Nothing happened – she just cried.
Fast forward to the final two. No, let’s do final three because I think Victoria F’s behavior is important as we’ve all been there in some capacity.
Victoria – a stunning girl with beautiful skin, big brown eyes, silky brown hair, super fit… and very insecure. Throughout the season, she gave us a handful of ‘what the fuck?’ moments. From her debut on the catwalk after saying she was “so shy”, to shaming Peter for bringing up a concern he had about her splitting up marriages. Every time he had questions or concerns, she would recoil, get defensive and place the blame on him… oh, and of course, cry. And listen, I would never mock someone for crying, but I swear, this season, it seemed like the girls figured out it was the secret ingredient and kept unlocking it when they felt uneasy.
The hometowns week between Peter and Victoria wound up so tumultuous that he didn’t even meet her family, but she extended the smallest olive branch before he had to make his decision on who to eliminate, and she was saved. Just in time for fantasy suites.
Fantasy suites – maybe the most dramatic week, but definitely not. We have three very different girls… okay, not WE, Peter. The first is very religious and is saving herself for marriage – she also decided to tell him she wouldn’t be able to continue their relationship if Peter slept with the other girls… reminder, the world knows he slept with the Bachelorette four times (visualize a windmill). The second is Hannah Ann – a sweet Southern Belle with short brown hair that wants to please Peter in whatever way she can, including with tears. And the third – Miss Victoria F; I feel I’ve given her enough attention so we’ll move right along.
Big surprise – Peter sleeps with the other two women. Madi gets pissed, but she stays when Peter offers her a rose. He dumps Victoria F (finally) and gives Hannah Ann the other rose.
He’s MADLY in love with two women at this point and it’s now time to meet Peter’s family – this is where it gets juicy.
Wait, let me give you all some context, or remind previous viewers of the trailer we saw all season… Barb (Peter’s mom) crying as if someone was taking all of her hair products away, wailing, “Peterrrr, briiiing herrr hoooome.” Naturally, the viewers thought she was talking about Madi as she’d met the family at the beginning of the season, but noooo, Madi’s second meeting with the Weber family didn’t go… mm, it didn’t go well. Mom was pissed that Madi didn’t want her son sleeping with other people.
Hello, Peter likes line dancing – he’s a wild boy. She did, however, fall in love with Hannah Ann, after knowing her for an hour or two?
So, when Peter goes to discuss the dates with his parents, his protective mom makes sure he knows that Hannah Ann is an angel sent from heaven to marry her son and that she is the ONLY choice, which inevitably pushes Peter towards Madi even more.
Okay, guys, sorry, I’m trying to speed through this as much as I can, but damn, there’s a lot to cover here!
After the girls meet the parents, it’s time for two more dates before Peter gets down on a knee, proposes, and hands out the final rose.
Madi explains that she can’t move forward – that their lives are too different – their morals are too different – that she loves him deeply but doesn’t see any way a marriage can work. Finally, some sense has been spoken.
So, she leaves and Peter is absolutely devastated – proper gutted, however, he doesn’t tell Hannah Ann anything when it’s time for their date. She can sense something’s off, but he doesn’t tell her. In fact, he doesn’t tell her that Madi left until he’s PROPOSING. He actually threw in “and Madi left” at the beginning of his proposal. Anyway, she says yes – they spin around – they look in the camera and say, “We’re Engaged!” and then we cut to the parents’ living room. He tells the fam he took everything they said to heart and went with Hannah Ann… mom’s overwhelmed with happy tears at this point – is it clear where he found his affinity for crying?
Once the family wraps up their emotional FaceTime call with their new “angel” we jump forward in time, to the happy couple meeting in some living room in LA… oh wait, did I speak too soon?
Peter tells Hannah Ann he can’t give her his full heart; as much as he wants to, it’s still split between her and Madison (translation – only Madison). Hannah Ann clearly sensed it was coming because she handled herself extremely well – she gave the ring back and went on her way. Peter and Madi meet up – Madi says she made a mistake and they should try again – Peter’s all in and then we cut to the LIVE SHOW.
You guys… I’ve never seen such insane behavior from a parent on live television.
Chris Harrison interviews Peter and both of the women. Barb is actively clapping and rooting against her son and rolling her eyes as Madison’s talking. She actually tells Peter his relationship with Madison will fail… to be fair, they did only last 48 hours after the live show, so she wasn’t wrong, but wow – watching all of that made it so clear why Peter didn’t know who he was or how to choose a life partner. Because his mom made all the decisions for him.
Could either of the couples have worked long term? Who knows… but it’s very obvious love does not conquer all. Love is the glue that holds relationships together. There are so many other ingredients in the bowl – throw in compassion, compromise, communication, physical connection, consistent support. Ooh, wait, maybe I’ll stop there and trademark the 5 C’s.
Point is, these shows display how easy it can be to fall in love and how much work it can be to turn that love into an actual relationship that will withstand the test of time, and how offputting it is for a mom to actively show disdain for her child on national television.
So, what’s our lesson here? Be a Kris Jenner. Be an Amy Poehler in Mean Girls. Be supportive of your loved ones and scold them in the privacy of your home. And apply the 5 C’s. You know, the lesson is whatever you want it to be. I’m not giving you a test, although maybe some of you would opt for one during this quarantine.
I love you all – be safe & don’t flush wipes… even if they’re flushable!