After weeks of drama, controversy, moonlit swims and tears, this week The Bachelor signed off on its most recent venture into television love. But the eighteenth season of the franchise (not counting the various Bachelorette seasons) was unlike no other.
Producers were proud to cross into new ethnic boundaries with a “minority” bachelor. Read: tanned and English as a second language. Minority? Really? Venezuelan Juan Pablo, a former professional soccer player, was hardly a red-headed Afro-Asian with a physical disability.
But yes, he was hot. Until he opened his mouth. Well, no. The accent was pretty hot too.
And the first few episodes made for a few good drinking games – usually involving taking a shot every time someone said “Juan Pablo.” But even tipsy, viewers weren’t going to get much from this bachelor.
Apparently, he didn’t have any deep conversations with the ladies. Of course, no one has had a deep conversation on camera in the last eighteen seasons. However, the contestants swear they have occurred. But not this time.
Juan Pablo was all about Juan Pablo. He talked about himself but didn’t ask about his date. He couldn’t empathize with the ladies and often hurt their feelings. He’d get physical on a date and then refuse them a rose. Even Chris Harrison, who stepped in repeatedly, couldn’t talk any sense into this boy who has the emotional depth of a puddle and maturity of a toddler. According to the host, Juan Pablo “doesn't care about your point of view. He’s set in his ways.”
It’s likely an ethnic thing. He’s a traditional Venezuelan boy. He grew up in a country where men have the most power – politically, socially, ethnically, religiously. Venezuelans also tend to be very outgoing and physically demonstrative, even in casual conversation. It doesn’t mean anything. And they lean toward tradition, nuclear families.
So his comments regarding bisexual or homosexual men being “more pervert” were likely a combination of his upbringing and a language barrier. And his inability to explain his actions was due to a clash of cultures.
Consequently, I – like many viewers – didn’t hope for a love match. Throughout the season, I was channeling my inner Nancy Reagan – Just say, “No.” – and prayed the ladies would come to their senses and run. Fast.
Host Chris Harrison has said that choosing this Don Juan was not a mistake. While he may be the show’s most “hated” bachelor according to several media outlets, he’s also created the most buzz for the show in years. Which made him a great choice.
And which also suggests that although they’ve claimed that the show is about love and they are trying to help someone find the perfect mate, producers are finally admitting that this TV love thing isn’t working. They just want the shock value.
So Juan Pablo? Don’t hate him because he’s beautiful. Or stubborn. Or dense. He’s just being Juan Pablo. And that’s tough enough.