Jason, Molly marrying on TV; Chris Harrison talks about Rozlyn scandal, Bachelor break-ups

Despite the awkward beginning to their relationship, Bachelor 13 couple Molly Malaney and Jason Mesnick will do what no other Bachelor couple has done before them and get married on TV. Their wedding will air as a two-hour special March 8 that will, of course, include all of the preparations and opportunities for product placement.

The only other televised wedding the franchise has produced was Bachelorette‘s Trista and Ryan, who sold their wedding to ABC for $1 million. No word how much Molly and Jason will receive, though I doubt it’s anywhere near that much, just as I doubt their wedding will draw as many viewers (17+ million) as Trista and Ryan did.

Last summer, Chris Harrison told me there would be three weddings in the next year to come out of the show, though as I pointed out when I talked to him a few weeks ago, one of those couples broke up a few months later. This led to a somewhat testy exchange, which was ironic because the conversation I had with him and several other TV critics first focused on this season’s controversy and accusations of producer manipulation.

As he does consistently, Chris defended his show’s honor while expressing disbelief that he has to do so. With us, he basically blamed the accusers. “The great thing about having the truth on your side is we just get to sit back and watch Rome burn. Because when you’re out there and you’ve got like 50 different stories that you’re trying to weave and you’re making stuff up and you’re throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, eventually it’s going to come back to haunt you, and it has. Unfortunately, this fire that Rozlyn continues to put gasoline herself–I don’t know if she’s in it for the fame, the fortune. It’s unfortunate because now the producer’s name is out there, now his picture is out there. We were intentionally vague and I was intentionally soft on her that night. We made that choice: don’t beat this girl up. … It wasn’t a big deal, let’s just go our separate ways.”

“Now, unfortunately, she’s kind of forced our hand,” Chris said, and then went for some aren’t-men-stupid-idiots sexism: the producer “got distracted by a shiny object, as many men do–we’re not the brightest.”

I asked him what her motivation was. “God, I have no idea. You look at her past, she seems to me like the type of person, and we all know these people that make pretty bad life choices. And now you see a history of bad life choices, and you also see a history of not taking responsibility for anything you’ve done. … I have no idea. … I’m not sure what her endgame is, but I’m sure we’ll see on the pages of something.” He said that he’d welcome the chance to interview her, “If she’ll do it, I promise you, I will put it on the air.”

Comparing Rozlyn’s story to a child’s lies, Chris said, “At some point, don’t you just think the simpler story is the truth? … Are there really 50 layers of conspiracy? Are we that bright? Legally, do you know the implications of what we’re being accused of doing?” Then someone interrupted so that line of questioning went away, not that we were going to get anywhere.

Chris handles all those questions well, with a vaguely condescending attitude that suggests he’s been asked to justify and explain why someone gets wet when it’s raining. But when I asked him, “isn’t that just inevitable now, that couples just” break up, he got irritated, or at least more irritated than I’ve ever seen him.

“I don’t think it’s inevitable. I hope not. That’s like saying everyone who gets married, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get divorced–which might be true.” I said that it’s inevitable that couples who met on The Bachelor would break up, and he said, “So you’re saying that Ryan and Trista are destined to get divorced,” he said, as if I’d just said the sky was full of unicorns.

Another critic said “they’re the only ones,” and Chris said, “We have Charlie and Sarah, Jillian and Ed, Jason and Molly… That goes to show you, it has nothing to do with the show. Relationships, they break up. We had nothing to do with Tiger Woods either; it happened, but who would have thought? We can only be blamed for so much.”

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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.