Bachelor Finale – Part 1

The niceties and nuances of the market economy are phenomena that I understand to about a 3rd grade level; and that’s generous. Seeing as the only invisible hand that the vast majority of middle schooler’s know is the one that cleans their dishes while they watch The Suite Life of Zack and Cody after dinner; and supply and demand is understood exclusively in terms of candy in supermarkets around Halloween, it is safe to say that my understanding leaves a lot to be desired. After a quick peek at the performance of the Dow Jones yesterday, I thought some light reading might help me better tailor some of my investments to current market conditions. Am I currently regretting reallocating my entire portfolio and funneling it into Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. in January of this year? No. Let me explain. My foray into the mind-numbingly boring world of economics literature unearthed one of Adam Smith’s lesser known spinoff works The Wealth of Bachelor Nation. In the introduction, he lays out the absolute advantage of U.S. labor productivity after the Bachelor finale each season (i.e. the same labor and resources can produce greater quantities of a product when The Bachelor is not on T.V.) Think it’s a coincidence that the Dow Jones experienced its largest ever point loss on the same day as The Bachelor Finale Part 1? Nope, traders were selling like wildfire to dedicate the rest of their day to scrolling Bachelor Reddit. Think it a “Democratic hoax” that labor productivity increases by an average of 235% after March 10th each year? Nuh uh, it’s amazing what an individual can achieve when their brains are not corrupted by tens-of-thousands of windmill memes. The Trump administration is considering stimulus in the form of a payroll tax cut. Think again. The Bachelor ends tonight and come Wednesday, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is gonna be BACK (to maybe a third of its former value…)  

It has been an unpredictable and turbulent past couple of weeks in The Bachelor, but as always, once a season, “the longed-for tidal wave of justice rises up and hope and history rhyme.” Seamus Heaney’s tidal wave of justice was a 200-foot tsunami last week when Victoria F finally got shown the door. Even Lady Justice cast aside her blindfold and put both hands on the fricking scale to get her out of there and give Peter a legitimate shot at finding a soulmate… and then there were two. Madison and Hannah Ann. Two ships in the Monday night vying for one man’s heart. Let’s jump in:

Chris Harrison was marketing this episode as “the most exciting viewing party ever,” tacitly confirming that he wasn’t at my AFC Championship viewing party freshman year where the RA made me pour out two cases of Keystone Light while helping herself to the concomitant party snacks. It certainly was an enjoyable episode, but Chris, you lose a measure of credibility when the most memorable moments from were Peter’s mother croaking about her unconditional love for one of the candidates she met 15-minutes before, and Hannah Ann bottle-feeding an orphaned kangaroo! Peter began the episode with the rather cryptic line: “Central Australia reminds me of falling in love with someone.”  If a boundless red desert, inhabited by some of the deadliest creatures on the planet, and made famous by a large rocky outcrop reminds you of falling in love, then maybe this is a factual statement… certainly I would describe his relationship with Madison as “hyper-arid” at this stage, but that’s about the only parallel I could draw!  

Peter’s parents and younger brother, Jack, were in Australia to meet Peter’s two eligible bachelorettes as well, and they regaled us with a series of conversations that dominated the early proceedings. Hannah Ann went first, and for about the 24th time this season, claimed that “today is the most important day for us.” By all accounts, Hannah Ann crushed it with Peter’s parents although I was quite disappointed that she had decided to take up the mantle, vacated by Victoria F, of resorting to tears whenever conversations started grazing on more emotional pastures. Whoever her speech writer was was on fire with the gushing allusions to their future life together. “There’s a difference between having a connection to someone and having a connection to the future.” Textbook. “This is about more than just feelings, it’s a future.” Hand churned, still warm butter. Hannah Ann’s favorite movie: Back to the Future; her favorite TV show: Futurama; her favorite rapper: Future. I think you get the idea – she can see them having a future together.

Leaving trades firmly behind him, Peter’s brother was more of a “Jack of all blades” with all the knives coming out during his one-on-one conversation with Peter discussing his past exploits and socializing habits. “Obviously you’re very physical in relationships, would you be fine not having sex with anyone until marriage?” – Jack, first of all, a gentleman never tells (unless it’s Peter talking about his fantasy suite performance with Hannah B on national television), but give your brother a goddamn break here. You’re not Madison’s dad asking “what are your intentions with my daughter?” Maybe ask him what he likes about their personalities or some other softball question, rather than making him explain how he loves to test free-agency after Madi has just signed a contract-til-marriage with a strict no sex clause. “You get back from a trip and you’re line-dancing and non-stop and out at the club.” I kind of got the sense that Peter had left Jack at the bar alone one too many times during his decorated career as hometown heartthrob and this was finally Jack’s chance to get a measure of revenge?

This episode was tough to watch as a staunch defender, early adopter, big bettor, deeply-in-lover and Sonic drive-thru-regular of Hannah Ann’s. It is abundantly clear that his feelings for Madison massively outweigh those he harbors for the Knockout from Knoxville! Peter won’t tell Hannah Ann to her face that he loves her and it is obvious that the impending deep chat he has to have with Madison is top of his mind. Madison’s visit was far more turbulent than Hannah Ann’s, largely because what the two have to lose is far deeper and more profound than Hannah Ann and Peter’s flash in the pan romance. Their conversation was very genuine, and I struggled to take a side in this one. On the one hand, Madison feels very strongly about her personal and religious convictions, and on the other, Peter is a conflicted and heartbroken character who doesn’t know what he wants.  “I’ve been there, believe me, I know how hard it is for you” was Peter’s most compelling line, and one that I think allows him to empathize more deeply with Madison’s position (still he could have just waited a couple of nights). Maybe this is all a long con for Peter to try and spitefully break as many hearts as he possibly can? Ending the season with Peter announcing it was all a revenge tour would be just the tasty twist that Chris Harrison has been promising us this whole time! Somehow I don’t think this will ultimately transpire 😦

Peter’s parents were very interested in Madison’s faith during their one-on-one interviews: “I understand that you’re very religious. Peter is very spiritual too.” Madison’s celibacy is clearly a major issue for them (maybe they know how unpleasant a horny Peter is and want to avoid it wherever possible?), something that exposed their deep hypocrisy when they sat down with Peter to discuss the two girls simultaneously. Peter’s mother wailed that “Hannah Ann is an angel on earth” whereas “Madison is not there for you” and then claimed that “All I can do is pray that God enlightens him” to choose Hannah Ann. Make up your mind lady, do you want religion to be in the mix or not?! God sent Hannah Ann down from on high in a blaze of glory, but Madison is too religious? Peter’s mother is more infatuated by Hannah Ann by a factor of 100 than Peter is, a point that he is trying to make repeatedly but that falls on deaf ears. His mother tries to fall back on the old “a mother’s intuition is never wrong,” which is a fair point until you remember just how wrong this intuition can be in guessing many beers you had at that house party freshman year of high school (3.5x not a big deal). His brother thought he should weigh in too: “I’m seeing a totally perfect girl on one side, and then Madison on the other.” Alright Jack fucking Preacher, you wouldn’t be fit to lace Madison’s boots so put your too-short, skinny chinos back on and kindly fuck off. What was most interesting about this extended exchange was that the family were effectively encouraging Peter for settle for the sure bet, rather than following his heart. I never in a million years would have anticipated that it was Hannah Ann who incited the croaky “bring her home to us.” What did she do? Peter’s mother fell for Hannah Ann harder than the actors in a Life Alert commercial!

These final episodes are often characterized by simply not having enough material to fill two episodes. As a result, the dialogue is prolonged (never a good thing given our lovely contestants’ often spotty command of the English language) and there are long stretches where absolutely nothing happens. The two dates Madison and Hannah Ann went on both had an unerring sense of inevitability about them – Madison was going to make some waves, and Hannah Ann was going to be swept up in the residual wake!

Madison’s date was a helicopter tour of Uluru, followed by a romantic desert drink of sparkling apple juice (one of them finally has sclerosis of the liver!) Who knew that Peter was the world’s authority on Uluru, but he was rattling off facts and statistics about the intimate geological details of the feature and its surrounding landscape. Peter, you didn’t have to say that the big fucking rock is spiritual just because every step Madison takes she takes with Christ. To this end, I’m surprised that Peter hasn’t tried to convince Madison that some other, more personal geological formations aren’t also bestowed with blessings from on high. Might work better than his current methodology?

The long and the short of their seemingly endless conversation was that Madison doesn’t know the phrase “If you love something you have to let it go” because if there was ever a time to deploy it, this was that time. Instead she went for the battle allusion: “being a great warrior and a good fighter is knowing when to surrender.” I think this might be the phrase that adorns the French Military crest, but could be mistaken on that one.  

The producers making Peter go back to the spot where Madison cut him loose the next day for his date with Hannah Ann is a tough bounce. The kangaroos that they were visiting turned it from a tough bounce into a decidedly more cute and fluffy bounce for Peter and Hannah Ann. The proverbial elephant in the room was Madison’s departure the day before, something that Hannah Ann was able to pick up on: “Looking into his eyes, something was off.” While Madison was willing to throw in the towel, Hannah Ann was singing a rather more Churchillian tune when she declared: “I don’t ever want to stop pursuing you” – She will pursue him on the beaches, on the landing grounds, she shall pursue him in the fields and in the streets, pursue him in the hills; she will never surrender.

The producers have given up on Hannah Ann to such an extent that she had to light her own candles for her and Peter’s strange evening hotel room conversation. The template was repetitive: Hannah Ann soliloquizes, then gazes deeply into Peter’s eyes looking for something; anything; a glimpse of reciprocity before ploughing on with her next deep profession of her love for him.  Alas, absolutely nothing from a Madison-less Romeo. As much as it pains me to say it, Hannah Ann Sluss is looking more and more like it’s going to be Hannah Ann Under-the-bus with a white-knuckled Peter at the wheel doing anything in his power to get Madison back! Who the hell knows?  

Let’s see what happens tonight, I feel like it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

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