Ben and Courtney get engaged, break up, still together, ugh

The Bachelor 16 ended its weirdest season ever with worst-ever Ben Flajnik doing what spoilers said he’d do and proposing to Courtney Robertson–and then breaking up with her, and then getting back together. While Ben gave back the engagement ring on After the Final Rose, they seemed distant, and I can’t imagine that a final break-up announcement is that far away. Surprise.

Part of the blame, as always, lies on the series, which seems to ensure that couples will break up by keeping them apart for months and months. That was exacerbated this time by Ben watching Courtney on TV and wondering just why no one had ever warned him about who he was really dating. Ben was as contradictory and confusing as always, saying that while the show filmed, “I wasn’t being tricked, I wasn’t being fooled.” But why break up then?

Ben apologized for abandoning Courtney while the show has aired, but swore “on my father’s grave … I haven’t cheated on Courtney,” and said tabloid images that suggested otherwise were “past photos” and “friends from San Francisco.” And Courtney, as tabloids reported, was ever-supportive, going out and trying on wedding dresses to try to deflect tabloid attention from Chris and/or get more attention. Chris Harrison summed it up well: “You guys clearly are very weird.”

Ben’s mother and sister actually liked Courtney, and the whole two-hour (TWO. HOURS. STAB. TV.) finale worked toward his inevitable rejection of Lindzi, who wasn’t exactly the loser, nor did she seem like a significantly better option. After Ben rejected her by telling her he was in love with her–nice move, dude–she got really pathetically desperate and said, “If things don’t work out, call me?”

Ugh. For The Daily Beast, I’ve run down a few reasons why this season was so horrific, from emotional abuse to Ben’s hair to Ben. But mostly it’s Ben.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.