Bachelor reunion appalled that Brad decided to not become yet another Bachelor failure

After Brad Womak rejected both women on the finale of The Bachelor 11, he had to atone for his sins, appearing on the “After the Final Rose” show to justify his decision to reject the show’s stupid premise.

I made fun of Brad yesterday for his monosyllabic vocabulary, but really, his decision proves that he’s probably the smartest, or at least the most together, guy to ever appear on the show. And the reunion implicitly made that argument. First, Trista and Ryan showed up with their new baby, and host Chris Harrison then introduced Bachelor 6 engaged couple Byron and Mary, who said they’re getting married in November (suggesting that the reunion was taped earlier this year).

The host introduced them as “another happy Bachelor couple” and “another of our bachelor success stories,” but he was being really disingenuous: they’re the only Bachelor couple. Every other couple broke up. Trista and Ryan met on The Bachelorette, which is technically a spin-off, but still, between the two series, there are just two couples that remain together. The host made it sound as if only two of the many couples the show has produced were guests on the reunion.

That’s significant because although the show has managed to do nothing but produce 11 broken relationships out of 13 seasons, Chris Harrison–and the studio audience, desperate to live vicariously through someone else–acted as if Brad had somehow betrayed America by not pretending to be in love with these women selected by producers and casting directors. From the very start of the reunion, Chris Harrison was in full-throttle dick mode, saying, “tonight, Brad has some explaining to do.” He said things like, “How does that make you feel as a man?” “Did you feel like a jerk?” “You just blew through 25 beautiful women.” “Do you find it hard to believe what he’s saying when in fact, what he did was walk away?”

The women were upset, too, and confronted him. DeAnna asked “how you had two girls and you couldn’t choose one.” False dichotomy, anyone? Ultimately, Brad seemed to imply, albeit indirectly, that the process of dating two people at once didn’t work for him, especially since it forced him to string people along (which is what the women seemed most upset about, understandably). Brad told Jenni that he thought of the other woman when he was with each of them, and he realized “how unfair it was to both of you that I’m sitting here and having these feelings. … I think that I basically showed both of you the utmost respect by walking away, by not selling out, by not giving a false promise.”

But false promises are apparently all The Bachelor, its host, its producers, and its reunion studio audience actually want.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.