Re-capping tonight’s painfully stretched two-hour season finale of Bachelor Pad is like trying to put an exciting spin on a story about going to church on Sunday. There’s no way to present it with a fresh take. If you’ve even been to church in your life, you’ll find if you go this coming weekend the creaky format has not changed much from what you might remember. And if the last reality show you watched was the finale of the very first season of Survivor way back in 2000, you could have turned on Bachelor Pad tonight and been puzzled by only two things: why no one had a bandana on their head and where all the tiki torches were.
We like our comfortable formats, don’t we? Be it Sunday mass where we repent weekly for our discretions, or watching a tv season full of beautiful back-stabbers lie, plot and connive against one another, only to have a final, singular “through victory comes virtue” moment that is supposed to buy back all the sins these nasty little people have committed (or have been edited into looking like they committed) in all the weeks that came before.
We may proclaim to want change, but really we are hard to be torn from our steadfast, singular ways.
Bachelor Pad proves that the reality show is the Warren Beatty of television formats. It will age slowly, change in appearance rarely, remain sturdy in the public eye, and go through as many hot women as it possibly can before it finally gives in and settles down.
If you care to read on, there will spoilers ahead.
Let’s just get this out of the way: the two couples left in the running by the end of the tedious first hour were Dave & Natalie and Kiptyn & Tenley. Why Kiptyn and Tenley who, by winning the dance competition, chose the seemingly stronger couple to go up against in the finals and eliminaed Kovacs and Elizabeth made no sense at all. Elizabeth’s “prom queen” antics made her a ripe candidate for lots of tomato-pitches during the “jury of previous cast-offs” segment, and Kovacs’s obvious lack of interest in Elizabeth while using her through the entire show just to get to the “Super Six” made him come off like a low-life who didn’t deserve a single penny of the $250,000 pay out.
Incidentally, since the show ended, Kovacs and Elizabeth are no longer a couple. And Elizabeth has gone back to dark hair. If she managed to catch any episodes of the show, I’m sure she’s hoping it will keep her from being recognized on the street… or in potential job interviews.
Kiptyn and Tenley made a fatal mistake inviting Dave and Natalie to the final showdown. Dave and Natalie are not any more likable than anyone else on the show, but it was clear from the start they were both more interested in winning the money than they were in finding love, before and after they paired off as a couple. During their final “face the jury” segment, they weren’t even hiding the fact that they basically only had a mild romantic interest in one another and that their “relationship” may or may not extend beyond their checks clearing.
Yep… had Saint Kiptyn and Tippy-Toes Tenley hauled the shanty relationship that was Kovacs and Elizabeth out of the mansion and onto the studio stage, they might be the ones sitting on a quarter of a million dollars. Personally, I think it was the “Tenley” half of the couple that did them in during the final vote. What about you?
A few other things to relish in the second hour of tonight’s episode. Finally…. FINALLY… Grandma Gwen got a small “quantum of solace” after being bashed repeatedly about her age and intelligence throughout the season. She really called David out for his remarks about anyone in the upper-ends of their thirties appearing on dating shows. As someone who is currently in the upper ends of his thirties, I am happy to hear her take David to task for his stupid comments, as if finding love matters less the older you get.
Though if Gwen is really looking to find a soul mate, she really ought to spend more time in the real world and less time in the casting lines.
Still, Gwen is practically the only resident of the Crab Shack to come out looking as untarnished as she did going in, and I’d like to take her out for a drink sometime. If you’re reading this Gwen… I personally think you ought to be be the next Bachelorette. I find it hard to believe the majority of the women watching these dating shows is much younger than you are, and I think they would be ready, happy and willing to invest in watching an entire season of a near forty year old woman still willing to take dramatic (albeit, not that smart) risks to find true love, or at least to earn enough notoriety for a spot on the next revival of Hollywood Squares.
And K-R-I-S-I-L-Y is still giving her “pissed-off and mopey” look to camera. Is this all she can do? I’m new to these relationship shows. Does every season have a “sourpuss” character? That Bonnie Hunt-esque supporting “love buzzkill” you just pray will find a nice guy who is SUPER-interested in insects and Star Trek conventions?
So it finally came down to Natalie and David – the last-standing couple, and here’s where Chris Harrison presented the amazing final “twist.” Both Dave and Natalie were forced to go into seclusion and decide if they wanted to “SHARE” the quarter of a million dollars or “KEEP” it all for themselves. They were then to return to stage and reveal their answers. If they both decided to “SHARE,” they would split the money. But if one decided to “SHARE,” and the other decided to “KEEP,” than the “keeper” would get the entire $250,000. And finally, if they both voted “KEEP,” neither would receive a penny and the jackpot would be split amongst the 17 Bachelor Pad singles voted off before them (in case you’re wondering, thats $14,705 rounded down and before taxes, for each loser).
I have two things to say about this: First, the idea that I watched every episode of this show only to discover at the end that there’s a possibility that none of the surviving competitors could walk away with the cash prize that has been teased relentlessly since minute one of episode one… and that it could possibly end up in the hands of a bunch of “losers” who weren’t smart enough to last until the finale is a total, giant cop-out.
Secondly, though it may not have had a huge audience, there was a game show on GSN back in 2002 called Friend of Foe which used the exact same premise for their final round. So not only is this “final twist” a buy-back of what has been teased week after week, it’s not even original.
But really… was there going to be any other outcome? Both David and Natalie had already proved how low they were willing to go for money, so the best move at this point would be to finally prove some generosity and willingness to take a “chance on love” or at least a chance on not willing to admit they were partnered with a complete asshole.
BUT… I say this… had one or the other actually voted “KEEP” and ran off with the entire quarter of a million, leaving a devastated partner behind, Bachelor Pad could have achieved the one thing it never did for its entire run… some headlines. It had the potential to showcase one of the biggest, nastiest, most soulless screw-overs of the past TV season, but sadly, the last wish of Bachelor Pad is some sort of phony redemption. “Forgive the past transgressions… in the end we all only strive for happiness.”
I don’t buy it. I feel dirty. I need to go to church. When I’m there, I’ll pray that if Bachelor Pad comes back for a second season, the network will bless it with a budget that allows weekly challenges more extravagant than Twister and water balloon tosses, a more diversified age spread amongst its competitors, and more than six weeks to make a name for itself.
On to the “Bristol Palin” season of Dancing with the Stars. I bet on Shannen Doherty last season. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Let’s see how I do this season. See you next Monday.