Elizabeth Wurtzel’s ‘The Bachelor’ Recap: Emotional Blather Galore

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Elizabeth Wurtzel's 'The Bachelor' Recap: Emotional Blather Galore

You have to remember, Juan Pablo is a professional.

By Elizabeth Wurtzel

It’s time for another episode of The Bachelor, America’s pre-eminent reality show for romantic group dates, high-profile rejections, crying pharmaceutical saleswomen, and rendering the phrase “true love” utterly meaningless through ceaseless repetition. This season, we have asked Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation and Bitch, to confront our favorite national circus nightmare. Join Elizabeth each Tuesday for all of her opinions on the squabbling and hot-tubbing that’s fit to air on ABC. 

You have to remember, Juan Pablo is a professional. He is not just a bachelor: he is The Bachelor. He wants to win. He wants to be somebody's boyfriend, and then some lucky girl's husband. Or else, why would he go through this? Yes, it may look like he has it made, with a house full of women vying for his body and mind and heart, but really: Who needs it? They all demand a lot of attention. Each woman needs to believe she will succeed to keep at it. That's a lot of prompting and prodding. That's a lot of listening. And listening. And listening to emotional blather — emotional blather galore. (They should rename this show The Bachelor: Emotional Blather Galore.) Juan Pablo is only one man. And right now he is dating four women — four women who happen to live together. Like I said: He is a professional.

This week Juan Pablo met with the ladies' families. This seems premature: Usually that is something you do when you are in an exclusive relationship. But Juan Pablo is in an exclusive relationship with four women, which is possible because this is reality TV, not real life. So mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and assorted collateral relatives welcomed Juan Pablo into their homes for dinner. They drank white wine and interrogated him on the third-degree sofa, after a hearty meal of something like rump roast. As a person who has never watched any of the previous seasons of The Bachelor — or any of the shows about housewives or addicts or Kardashians — I am still shocked by it all. I get that Juan Pablo and his bachelorettes are kissing for the camera, but it surprises me that their families are willing to have private conversations — staged though they may be — for an audience of millions. These are people in their fifties and sixties who did not grow up with life lived out loud — except of course for the Loud family on PBS — and yet they somehow don't mind. Or they enjoy it. Turns out everyone wants to be a star. 

This is particularly surprising because the families all seem great. The women vying for Juan Pablo come from good homes in Kansas City and Sarasota and Atlanta. Reality TV is a heartland phenomenon at heart. If you are wondering if there are salt-of-the-earth people left in America with two-story houses and blooming, manicured gardens who sit on the back patio by the pool and chat after dinner, meet the parents of The Bachelor. A couple of the families give Juan Pablo a hard time: They don't like that he is dating four women, and one of them is their little girl. Amazingly, all of the parents don't have that concern. But they don't: The same thing that made their baby girl prom queen will see her through this. 

The women on this show believe in fairy tales, because they have had lucky lives. They don't meet men at bars or online, because they expect Prince Charming to show up with a glass slipper in his coach led by gleaming white horses. Why would they not? They are beautiful white girls. They have plans to be swept away. They all are on the verge of telling Juan Pablo that it's love, as if it is all going to work out. Of course, there is a 75% chance it won't.

Imagine that kind of optimism. 

These women ought to be astronauts exploring the rings of Saturn. They should be arguing death row cases at the Supreme Court. They should be making things right in Syria and Ukraine. They should be taking Detroit out of bankruptcy. The odds don't scare them: These women are capable of anything. 

Image via ABC.