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the bachelor

The Bachelor Finale: From Fairy Tale to Rom-Com

On last night’s Bachelor finale, Jake proposed to 23-year-old Vienna, the controversial contestant whose immature antics turned off a house of girls (and the nation). And it was certainly a shock to most viewers that seemingly vanilla Jake chose the louder, brasher, less conventionally attractive woman over Tenley, a soft-spoken former dancer — she did a hilariously cringe-worthy ballet performance for Jake which she called “my heart song” — who won over Jake’s parents the minute she batted her eyelashes (“that girl shits rainbows,” another girl said, accurately, of Tenley).

Where Tenley delicately pranced, Vienna bounded, stallionlike, toward the prize, throwing herself on the witless golden boy, who continued to encourage her advances much to the confusion of those of us instructed by our mothers not to chase boys. Vienna didn’t care about pleasing the rest of the girls, she cared only about getting time with Jake, and she made a notable enemy of Ali, the Facebook employee (and the new Bachelorette), who audibly seethed when Vienna was given a rose over one of her more docile friends. There were no rainbows in Vienna’s portrayal, just an impressive will, a 23-year-old who knew who she wanted and went for it, to the annoyance of women who’d been told, like us, that the man should be the pursuer. And though Vienna wasn’t the prettiest, or the woman with the most perfect body, she persevered in her goal of convincing Jake to love her by charming him with her forward nature, her playfulness, and her willingness to get down in the mud with him (literally … the soft pornlike sulfur-mud scene from last night was a revelation in cheesy Bachelor romance).

So if the Bachelor is normally a fairy tale, this season’s installment was more like a romantic comedy, in which the plainer but spunkier girl wins the day over the Tenleys and Amanda Joneses of the world. America might not have seen Vienna’s appeal the way Jake did, and we admit that we were disappointed in Jake’s choice initially, but he clearly found something special about her, picking her over the woman whose looks and personality perfectly fit into the Bachelor mold. And so we’ve come around to Jake and Vienna, and wish them well. Odds are they won’t last, but odds are that Jake wasn’t going to pick her in the first place, so who really knows. Now we’re going to watch Some Kind of Wonderful and wish we knew how to play the drums.

Photo: Mark Brendel/ABC