By Tom Conroy, ,
Published May 16, 2015
On the season finale of “The Bachelorette” tonight, Jillian Harris, the 29-year-old interior designer from Vancouver, B.C., enthusiastically accepted the marriage proposal of Ed Swiderski, 29, a technology consultant from Chicago.
She chose Ed over her other remaining suitor, Kiptyn Locke, the 31-year-old business developer from Encinitas, Calif., who had seemed more noncommittal than Ed throughout the process.
In a surprise development (that was nonetheless hinted at in the coming attractions after last week’s “Men Tell All” episode), Reid Rosenthal, a 30-year-old realtor from Philadelphia who had been even more noncommittal than Kiptyn and had been sent home in the last regular episode of the show two weeks ago, returned to tell Jillian that he was indeed in love with her and wanted to propose to her.
Jillian, who had already rejected Kiptyn by that point, told Reid that she needed time to think, but eventually, under some prodding from the show’s host, Chris Harrison, decided to stick with Ed, her original choice.
Earlier in the episode, Ed and Kiptyn had met with Jillian’s family on the Big Island of Hawaii, and each had one last date with her. It was strongly implied that at the end of Ed and Jillian’s date, he managed to overcome the problem with “physical intimacy” that had led her to question their relationship.
It remains unclear whether that was the deciding factor.
Nonetheless, Ed’s previous performance issues came up throughout the two-hour finale. At least twice we saw the footage of him looking defeated and lying face down on the “fantasy suite” bed as Jillian gave him consoling pats on the back.
In the opening sequence, Jillian, in voice-over, said, “My fantasy suite with Ed was not exactly how both of us had planned.” As he was preparing to meet her family, he repeated his excuses from that night: It was a little emotional, there was too much stuff going on, too much pressure…
Fortunately, that episode hadn’t been broadcast at the time this one was taped, so he didn’t have to repeat those excuses to her parents, grandmother and cousin Tori (whose extraordinary cheekbones are the kind of thing a woman who is less confident than Jillian wouldn’t have wanted a possible fiancé to see before he’d proposed).
Ed did, however, explain his brief hiatus from the show (he was concerned about his career). After he left, he said, he “could not stop thinking about this woman.” He explained to the camera that the most important thing was that her family see that he was truly in love with her.
He went so far as to tell Jillian’s father, Glen, that he intended to propose to her, and asked how Glen would feel. “I’d be quite happy to see that take place,” Glen replied. “I’d be doing somersaults.”
Ed would be saying “I love Jillian” and “I want to propose to Jillian” in slightly different ways throughout the rest of the episode, whether in interviews or in conversations. One can imagine his exhaustion as the producers asked him to rephrase those facts just one more time for another establishing shot.
Jillian’s mother, Peggy, said she had 66 questions to ask Ed, as opposed to the 76 she had asked Jason during Jillian’s season on “The Bachelor.” For example, she asked him what they had that would make their relationship last. “Honesty and love,” he replied.
“Really good answers,” she concluded.
In a heart-to-heart with Jillian, her mother made a short speech that could have been titled “Funnest Canadian Vowels”: “I really feel that you feel very strongly aboat him,” she said. “That says a lawt. And awbviously he went to great lengths just to be with you agayn.”
“Leaving the house with Ed,” said Jillian in a bit of foreshadowing, “felt like I was leaving the house with my fiancé.” But she claimed that she was “equally as crazy” about Kiptyn. In fact, when she met up with him, their makeout session was more passionate than pretty much anything we’ve seen with her and Ed.
Saying hello to her family, Jillian was so excited to see them that you got the feeling that maybe the producers had reversed the order of the meet-and-greets.
As the family grilled him, Kiptyn talked about keeping work in proper perspective (as opposed to anybody we know?) and generally came off as much more fun than Ed. On the other hand, he lost out big time in the commitment department.
When Glen asked him if he was in love with Jill, he replied, “I’m getting there a lot quicker than I thought I would,” which is not what a father wants to hear from a prospective son-in-law. “I could see myself with Jill, your daughter,” Kiptyn said, then, after babbling awhile, concluded with “I could see myself marrying her.”
This was typical of the whole episode. In voice-overs and conversations, Kiptyn seemed to be straining to avoid saying in plain terms “I love Jillian” and “I want to propose to Jillian.” Like Ed, he must have been worked to exhaustion by the producers as they tried to get yet another declaration of his feelings with just the right balance of pledging and hedging.
The first apparent exception was an interview segment in which Kiptyn said that his conversation with Glen made him realize something: “I have a great girl here that I don’t want to lose. And, uh, it dawned on me: I am in love.” Since he didn’t use the name Jillian in that sound bite, a cynic might suspect that he’s one of the bachelors who have a girlfriend back home and that maybe he smiled so broadly while saying it because he was happy that without technically lying, he’d finally given the producers the quote they’d been pestering him for all season.
Contrast this with Jillian, who had no trouble saying exactly what the producers wanted throughout the episode (and, indeed, throughout the season): She was in love with two men, and then, when Reid showed up after she rejected Kiptyn, she was in love with two men again. Finally, she was in love with one man.
Jillian’s family seemed split on which guy they wanted for her. Tori and Peggy seemed to prefer Kiptyn for his upbeat and passionate attitude. Glen favored Ed for his willingness to state his love and intentions flatly. The grandmother said Kiptyn was “very nice” but had previously said that Ed was “terrifically good-looking.”
Talking to Tori one-on-one, Jillian brought up the fantasy-suite disaster again: Kiptyn, she said, showed “that passion that you want in a person forever. Like that…”
Tori cut in: “ ‘Oh, my God, I’m crazy about you, I want to rip your clothes off….’ ”
With Ed, Jillian said, she kept waiting for that feeling. “When I woke up in the morning, I was like, ‘Wasn’t that supposed to be different?’…I’m looking for a best friend, but I need to know that that other side is there.” (Do you think that years from now, Ed will still be turning to Jillian and saying, “Couldn’t you have given that a rest?”)
Summing up Kiptyn’s date, Jillian said, “I feel like my boyfriend went and hung with my family for a bit.” Note she said “boyfriend,” not “fiancé.”
Preparing for what could have been his last date with Jillian, Ed told the camera, “I love Jillian” and “I want to propose to Jillian,” although not in so many words, adding that the night would be crucial to winning her heart: “Tonight’s my last opportunity to show Jillian that I do want to be with her and I want to seal the deal with her.” (See “physical intimacy,” above.)
Sure enough, Jillian told the camera, “Our fantasy date was not exactly like we had planned,” barely even trying to rephrase the complaint.
In a rehash of Jillian’s last date with Reid, she and Ed flew in a helicopter over some volcanoes. The scenery got the two a little hot and bothered. “It was definitely heating up in there,” said Ed. Lots of shots of molten lava and jets of steam helped even the most literal-minded viewers get the metaphor.
Though things seemed to be going swimmingly during their picnic at a local waterfall, Jillian said, “There’s a part of me that worries that he’ll stress out like he did last time.” (Give it a rest, please!)
Ed invited her to his place, where we saw them embracing on the bed. As porn-y music started throbbing, Jillian said to the camera, “That physical, sexual chemistry was still there. It’s like that last piece of the puzzle that you’re looking for.”
As the camera pulled away from the hotel-room windows, we heard Jillian saying, “That’s a huge relief.” Cut to an erupting volcano.
Preparing for his date with Jillian, Kiptyn said that he was falling in love with her and that he could “see a future with her, which is a proposal, an engagement and a marriage.” (If he actually did propose, would he be OK if she said, “I envision a future that involves my saying yes.”)
Their date was on a speedboat. Jillian spelled out the metaphor for us: Her time on the show had been going very fast and was occasionally bumpy, but she was also excited that the show would eventually stop.
The couple made out some more on a black sand beach. “I can definitely say hands down I love Kiptyn and I think he loves me,” said Jillian, adding later, “Kiptyn is absolutely the best catch I think I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Back at his hotel room, where they were sitting with drinks in hand on a couch in bright light, Kiptyn continued with the hedgy-pledgy: He would be hurt if he lost her, he said. “I really do see a future for us,” he continued, revising his previous voice-over, “and when I say future, I think a marriage, a family and kids….I’m falling in love with you.” (One can imagine Chris Harrison’s suspense-building pre-commercial narration: “And will Kiptyn finish falling in love before ring time?”)
At first, all this “I could see…” stuff seemed to work on Jillian, who said she was thrilled that Kiptyn was finally opening his heart and was ready to commit. But when they went into the bedroom, the bright lights stayed on, the drinks remained in their hands, and no eruptions were shown.
Jillian helped keep the suspense going the next morning. Kiptyn was the perfect package for her, she said, and they had that physical attraction. But she loved Ed’s aura and his energy. But then again, he had left her and…well, you know (cut to that beached-whale shot of Ed in the fantasy suite). Finally she said, “I feel like I know who I want to be with now.”
“I love that I’m at this place that I’m at,” said Kiptyn in voice-over. “I’m making a commitment to Jillian to make her the happiest woman alive.” (Did that mean he was planning to reject her so she could be with Ed?) The shot of Kiptyn jogging shirtless on the beach, which was soon contrasted by Ed’s less-cut belly, would have settled matters if Jillian was all about appearances.
Ed made himself clear: It turns out that he loves Jillian and was planning to propose to her.
For some reason, Jillian dressed for the big moment in what looked like a wedding dress, and Chris Harrison walked her down an aisle to a flower-bedecked platform. “I don’t know how my heart is going to hold out,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Jillian’s voice-over signaled that the first guy to exit his limo was going to be rejected. It was Kiptyn! “I can’t wait to ask for her hand in marriage,” he said in voice-over. Aw. As he began his speech, he was hedging again: “Someday, I want to have kids, and I want to have a marriage, and I see those things with you.” But then, shockingly, he dropped the L-bomb: “I don’t know what to say. I love you, and I want to spend this life with you.”
So he had in fact finished falling in love just as he walked the ramp to her platform. Either that, or he was finally being a good reality-show sport and saying exactly what the producers wanted, no crossies count. The evidence for the latter is that after Jillian tried to let him down easy (“I’ve fallen in love with somebody else”), he let out what sounded like a big sigh of relief.
“This hurts a lot,” he said, not looking particularly hurt. “You know, I’m a man and I’ll have to get through this.” After he got in the limo, he claimed that he would have pulled out the ring but that he was waiting for her to say something back. In conclusion, he said, “I’ve never had my heart broken before”—this was one of the things that made Jillian nervous about him all along—“but today I’m definitely heartbroken.” A smile played around his lips and eyes as he rubbed his face where tears would be.
Jillian, who had shed enough tears for both of them, composed herself as she waited for what she thought would be Ed’s limo. Instead, a cab pulled up, and Reid popped out, dressed in “I just ran from the airport” clothes.
“I had to pull multiple strings to get back out here,” Reid said, in case we suspected that the producers simply asked him to come back to add intrigue to the finale. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re perfect for each other. I don’t know why I couldn’t tell her I loved her, because I do. I’m going to tell her how I feel, and then I’m going to propose to her.”
“Oh, my God,” said Jillian as he approached her. He started his pitch, and she began to cry. He told her that he knew he was crazy but he had to come back, because he had been an idiot to think that she would understand what he felt without his saying it. “So I came back to tell you that—to tell you that I love you, and hopefully you feel the same way.”
After Jillian said that letting him go was the hardest thing she’d ever done and that she had been falling in love with him too, he improved on a line he had used before being eliminated: “I’m like a four-year-old. I told you I like you this much. I love you this much.”
More back-and-forth followed until Jillian got to the point: “You know what’s going on here right now, right?”
“I think what was going on here right now without me was wrong,” he said, then hit his knees, pulling out a jewelry box and saying, “Jillian, I love you, and you’re somebody I could spend the rest of my life with.” Although she smiled, she said she had to think about it, and she fled indoors.
After the commercial, we saw a shot of Ed, apparently circling the block in his limo. Jillian asked Chris Harrison how she was supposed to make a decision. Chris, wisely or not, told her to trust her feelings, saying that if she was excited about Ed’s proposal and she loved Ed, that was enough. As the music swelled, Chris said, “There’s no question what you need to do.”
Jillian gave Reid the bad news relatively gently, stressing that she was in love with somebody else and thanking him for coming back all the same. In his exit ride, Reid said that he had no regrets. In fact, he looked even less choked up than Kiptyn.
Enough heartbreak, back to the romance. In voice-over, Jillian and Ed rhapsodized about each other. “I am so excited for Ed to walk down that path towards me,” said Jillian, “so that I can tell him that I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
“Jillian,” Ed said, “you may not know how much you have impacted me, how you’ve changed me as a man and helped me reprioritize my life.” (At least he didn’t say that net-net, she had helped him become more proactive and implement best practices.)
But first, Ed continued, he needed to know if she loved him. “Without a doubt,” she said. “I’ve been waiting to tell you I love you for so long.” They kissed, and she added, “It was so hard not to tell you that I love you.” Cynics’ hearts began to melt. And then she hopped with excitement when he got down on one knee, and she squealed when he showed her the ring. Cynics’ hearts melted some more.
After saying yes, she leapt into his arms and asked him, “Do you have any idea how much fun we’re going to have?” Martina McBride’s “I Just Call You Mine” swelled up on the soundtrack, and she gave Ed the final rose. A montage of their highlights together followed (with, thankfully, no erectile-dysfunction footage), and the show ended with the two of them talking to the camera together. She turned to him and said, “We are going to have the funnest wild ride!” then corrected herself: “Funnest isn’t a word.”
“It is now,” said Ed.
Even if this wasn’t the funnest season of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” ever, we can see a future in which we will watch the next season.
Along with the usual eliminations, “So You Think You Can Dance” celebrated its 100th episode with some special performances. In a homage to Judy Garland (and a benefit for the Dizzy Feet Foundation), Katie Holmes sang “Get Happy” while strutting and kicking her legs in front of a line of male dancers. Hok and Jaimie (from season 3) returned to perform their “hummingbird and flower” routine, which won a choreography Emmy for Wade Robson; Travis and Heidi (from season 2) reprised their “park bench” routine, which won the Emmy for Mia Michaels. In the viewers’ votes for this week’s performances, Melissa and Ade were, unsurprisingly, kept out of the bottom two by their contemporary routine, choreographed by Tyce Diorio, which portrayed a couple confronting breast cancer and moved the judges to tears. The bottom-two girls were Kayla, who had won raves for her Broadway and zombie hip-hop routine, and Janette, whose partner, Evan, had born the brunt of the judges’ criticism. After Janette was sent home, producer-judge Nigel Lythgoe said that she was the one he had hoped would win it all. The bottom-two guys were Jason, who hadn’t quite kept up with Kayla in their two routines, and Brandon, who had received both positive and negative reviews in his duets with Jeanine. Jason was eliminated.
On “Big Brother” this week, with Jeff and Laura nominated for eviction, a majority of the houseguests seemed to be uniting with Ronnie and against Russell. When Jeff won the power of veto competition (revealing unexpected addition skills), he took himself off the block, and Ronnie surprisingly replaced Jeff with the popular Jordan. Realizing she was in serious trouble, Laura told the others that Ronnie had lied when he’d said that she’d told him that Russell was on her side. Though Laura succeeded in uniting the house against Ronnie, she was voted out, 8-1. Jessie won the head of household competition (shooting balls toward a honeycomb-like target), his second HOH victory. He nominated Jordan and Michelle, saying that they were both such bad players that he would have a good chance of winning the power of veto competition and could then replace one of them with someone he really wants to kick out of the house. We were left to assume that was Ronnie, who was befuddled by Jessie’s move. Meanwhile, hostess Julie Chen called our attention to the “love triangle” that had formed among Natalie, Lydia and Jessie. Kevin summed it up to the camera: “Lydia’s into Jessie, Natalie’s into Jessie, and Jessie’s into Jessie.”
Opening with a scene of Ayiiia getting a tattoo that read “Live & Learn,” “The Real World: Cancun” mostly focused on Joey’s unrelenting efforts to get her to leave the show. He yelled at her and posted signs all over the hotel suite telling her to go home. “I love projects,” he told the camera. He redoubled his efforts after Emilee walked in on CJ naked in bed with his new love interest, Amanda. When CJ went out into the living area to express his annoyance, Ayiiia intervened, saying, “Let me see your piglet.” (That’s the girls’ nickname for a personal part of his body.) So Joey piled on Ayiiia. The fight upset Ayiiia so much that she went into a bathroom and cut herself with cuticle scissors. It turns out that she’s been cutting herself since age 13 but she thought she had recovered. (She confided to the camera that she likes tattoos because they’re a socially accepted form of self-mutilation.) When Emilee told Joey about Ayiiia’s problem, thinking it would make him back off, he became even more abusive to Ayiiia. Meanwhile, Jasmine had a date with a co-worker named Pat, who was acting distant. Then she heard a rumor that he had slept with the aforementioned Amanda. Lest this seem all too depressing, MTV ended the episode with a rest-of-the-season preview hinting at even more in-house turmoil and another girl-girl hookup.
On “Brooke Knows Best,” Brooke, Glenn and Ashley found a stray dog on the beach and took some glamour photos of him for the signs they posted all over the neighborhood. When no one came to claim the dog, who they named Nemo, Hulk Hogan and his friend Knobbs came to dog-sit while Brooke and friends went off to Key West (where Ashley picked up a guy and spent the night with him, though what they did during the night was the subject of debate). Caring for Nemo threw Hulk and Knobbs into a homosexual panic. First they thought the dog’s leash was too girly; then they got too friendly with a male couple walking their own dog. Sleeping in Glenn’s room, which was decorated with photos of buff men, made Knobbs so nervous that he had to go into Hulk’s room and throw himself on him. Fortunately, Nemo’s owner claimed him before things went too far.