I have to tip my hat this week to Bachelor Data, because there was something nagging at me and I had to get into the numbers. Bachelor Data has been there to answer all of our questions, like “How many times an episode has someone said the word bitchbag?” and “By time, who is the main character of Paradise?” While I can’t populate cells in a spreadsheet and generate complicated graphs and charts, I can add three numbers and then divide the sum by three. Look at me, a li’l mathematician.
So what was I trying to find out? The average age of our engaged couples, and y’all, it’s bleak.
When it comes to the men, the average age is 35.6666666667.
And the average age of the women is 24.333333333334.
What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?!?!?
Listen, you love who you love, and when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible, and if you love something, let it go, and blah blah blah all that nonsense, but how are we watching couples with an average age difference of 11.3333333333334 years. Would you look at that? It’s me being a li’l mathematician again. The casting this season relied on the slightly older men of Clayshia’s season (who were picked for our oldest Bachelorette) and the very young women of Matt James’s season (who were picked to match his emotional maturity), and the result was a bunch of men in their 30s and older going after people who haven’t even attended their five-year college reunion yet.
And I guess I’m happy for the final couples, but boy oh boy, it’s hard to work up enthusiasm for all of them. Ladies, don’t worry if your man was born during the Reagan administration and isn’t interested in making it work, or can’t make it work, with any woman remotely near his age. Because if you’re over 25, that’s your fucking problem; get out of the way of the beauty queens and literal 23-year-olds. If you vividly remember the scandals of the Clinton era, and you know I mean Bill and all his bullshit, it’s time to put on some eye cream and fire up Bumble. The beach is not for you.
Let me be VERY clear — I am EXTREMELY happy for Riley and Maurissa. They are the first Black couple (where both partners are Black) to end up engaged on a Bachelor franchise, and Riley’s continuous attempts to fake Maurissa out were both bewildering and very cute. We’re here for Black love, even though we’re not here for them reminding us that they love to lick whipped cream off toes during their engagement. And all three women who made it to the final engagements were women of color!
But before we can get into these engagements, we’re still at prom?!?!?!? I feel like I just popped out of a board game with a giant beard after being trapped for decades. WHAT YEAR IS IT? Everyone is starting to realize that Abigail and Noah have been missing for a while, and Joe even says it wouldn’t be prom without someone crying. I don’t remember anyone crying at my prom. All the seniors took a “Dance Through the Decades” gym class, so we all did the “Thriller” dance at the end of the night. That was the vibe at my prom. Noah asks Abigail if they can continue their chat. The idea of calling a breakup “a chat” makes me want to throw up. “Mind if I borrow you for a chinwag about us going our separate ways?”
At this point, the conversation gets a little confusing because it’s not exactly clear what else Noah wants to talk about and Abigail is making the turn to anger in the stages of grief. She also inadvertently reveals the problem when she says she wasn’t the one initiating these conversations and Noah was constantly pushing her to open up. Yeah, girl … we saw that part. Noah says it’s time for him to leave Paradise, and everyone is pissed he didn’t come explain what was happening before he left. Which I don’t think he owes anyone? Mari says, “He just dumped her and bounced,” and yeah … that’s how it works sometimes.
Abigail leaves the prom, and everyone watches her leave while whispering to each other, “Didn’t they just win ‘Most Likely to Leave Paradise Together,’ that prize that none of us voted on but they won because it was narratively convenient for production?” Abigail says Noah is just running from how he feels and using his gut feelings as an excuse. Everyone else makes Abigail and Noah’s breakup about them, which feels prom-appropriate. If one of the most secure couples that never talked about their feelings could break up, is there hope for anyone else?
It’s time for the cocktail party! Wells enters and says that everyone should have had their important conversations at prom instead of sucking face. Maybe you should have left a little room for the Holy Spirit, because now it’s time for the Rose Ceremony!
Joe gives his rose to Serena, Riley gives his rose to Maurissa, Kenny gives his rose to Mari. Thomas gives his rose to Becca and tells her he doesn’t want Becca to have any what-ifs left on the table. James gives his rose to Anna and says he’s excited to learn any fact about her other than her name and hair color. Aaron gives his rose to Tia because everyone else has to adhere to his moral standards, but he can just make out with Tia at prom and send Chelsea home with zero guilt. And finally, Ed gives his rose to Mykenna because who cares, why not?
Chelsea and Natasha are going home. BACHELOR IN PARADISE. WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? TWO CERTIFIED HOTTIES AND ONE ACTUAL RUNWAY MODEL IS BEING SENT HOME?!???!?! We have made many mistakes in our time together, but this is the most baffling. Natasha for Bachelorette and give Chelsea a subscription to Raya. Do you have to pay for Raya? I don’t know. I’m neither single nor famous enough to get on Raya. I don’t even have a blue check.
The next morning, Dean and Caelynn are brought in to be our guest hosts for the finale week despite leaving Paradise before the finale and living together in a van. Also despite any on-camera training for Dean. Paradise is officially over. There are no more dates, no more arrivals, just SERIOUS CONVERSATIONS. You’re either leaving Paradise as an engaged couple or you go home alone. This part of Paradise is always phoned in. Give us something exciting to look at. Give us a mechanism to guide us through this segment. I want a giant doll to ask each couple to stand before her and confess their intentions. Give me a Squid Game!
Kenny and Mari are the first couple to sit down on a daybed and decide to go forward to the fantasy suites. Kenny is worried that Mari hasn’t done everything she wants to do because she’s only TWENTY-FIVE and just keeps asking her, “Are you sure you wanna do this?”
Then these fucking couples start dropping like flies. Becca and Thomas? He’s too good to be true and a little phony! Thomas tries to cry and he’s so very bad at it. BOOM! GONE. Ed and Mykenna? Ed is all in, but Mykenna is like, “I’m sorry, what’s happening now? Oh, no thank you!” Ed tries to talk Mykenna out of it and starts every sentence with, “Yeah … but?” BUT NOTHING! BOOM! GONE.
James and Anna? Well, James decides that his true love is actually Aaron and he wants to leave the beach with his San Diego bro.
I used to work at a little place called Cards Against Humanity, and the one card we simply could not figure out how to write that we all desperately wanted to work was “The complete lack of culture and excitement in San Diego, California.” That’s how I feel about both Aaron and James insisting that they have to leave with each other to go live their lives in San Diego together. It’s a card with half a joke I just can’t figure out. BOOM! GONE.
Aaron and Tia? He pulls her aside eight feet from where she was sitting and she straight up goes, “Wait … right here? You’re gonna talk to me right here?” Aaron dumps her in less than two minutes because his shuttle with James to the airport is leaving and he’s gotta get this done. Aaron is a nightmare, and I do not enjoy him. Tia says, “Fuck this place. Fuck dudes. See ya never, Paradise,” and I always enjoy her. BOOM! GONE.
Riley’s face during James and Aaron’s ride into the sunset is PRICELESS.
So we’re down to the exact three couples we all could have predicted were going into the fantasy suites. Riley tries to fake Maurissa out and says “I’m sowwy” when she playfully calls him so mean, and Serena and Joe tell each other they’re in love. Dean and Caelynn explain that things are about to get serious in the fantasy suites despite neither of them having been in the fantasy suites. Also, Dean says they might ask each other “are you ready to get engaged?” and Caelynn says yes. Sir, you better propose to that girl, because she can only live in sin in a van for so long.
Each of the fantasy-suite conversations is pretty tame. Serena and Joe just gush about how open and emotional they feel together and how Joe fell more in love with Serena seeing her handle the Kendall of it. First of all, isn’t that what every woman wants to hear? “You were totally chill around my ex, so that’s when I knew I liked you!” And secondly … Kendall ain’t gone, y’all.
Kenny says that no one expected him to get married or have children, and I would really like him to speak more on that. At times, he says “no one expected him” and at times he says “I never expected” and … I’d just like the 40-year-old man to speak on that. Mari says she’s totally ready to get engaged because she doesn’t want to go clubbing all the time. I would like her to say less about that.
Riley and Maurissa have the sweetest conversation in which Riley tells her more about his Sunday-morning fantasy. When Riley was 21, he imagined what his perfect Sunday morning would look like with his wife and daughter: His daughter would wake him up, she’d ask him for cookies for breakfast, and he’d sneak her one while his wife was still asleep and then they’d all play together. Riley’s love language is quality time, and he’s so ready to be a Girl Dad and a Wife Guy. The camera cuts to Maurissa and she’s sitting at the table in a wedding dress. She ready.
The next morning, everyone is feeling good … except Riley and Maurissa. HOW DARE YOU DO THIS TO ME!!! Right before he leaves, Riley says he’s got some more thinking to do and he might not be proposing by the end of the day. Maurissa breaks down, and the Bachelor producers are behind the camera positively salivating.
It’s time for the final Rose Ceremony and ritualistic proposal altar. First up is Kenny and Mari. Mari comes to the altar wearing a beautiful floral column gown and amazing hair. She tells Kenny that even though he banged Demi, she still loves him and their relationship was worth fighting for. Kenny says that even though he banged Demi, he basically fell in love with Mari when he first saw her. Their relationship had its ups and downs, but she changed his outlook on everything. He’s shaking as he gets down on one knee to propose, and she says yes! She might not know his last name, but she says yes!!
Up next is Riley and Maurissa. Maurissa is wearing a great blue jumpsuit that I might have to steal for all future award ceremonies and afterparties. They’re both nervous, and they’re holding each other by the forearm. Maurissa says that her life has been full of letdowns and disappointments and being in love is scary. But when she wanted to run away, that’s when Riley stayed with her and she fell in love with him even more. RILEY IS SMILING SO HARD LISTENING TO HER. He tells her that he’s been looking for that special feeling of goosebumps and butterflies and he’s felt that since their first date and he’s loved her since their first date. He fakes her out ONE MORE TIME, but then gets down on one knee and proposes! They’re engaged! Riley acts like he bought the ring!!
It’s time for our final couple. Joe and Kendall … I mean Serena. Do we have to? Do we have to even acknowledge this pitiful, last-ditch effort to wring some drama out of Joe and Kendall? Because whoever talked whoever into letting Kendall back on the beach one more time should be fined. Kendall is like, “I realized that I will always care about you,” and Joe is like, “Can we wrap this up? My 23-year-old girlfriend is coming soon.”
But Serena finally makes her way to the beach wearing a white satin gown. She is READY to be a bride. Serena tells Joe that she’s always been cynical about love and didn’t know if true love was going to happen for her. They got through their obstacles together (read: Kendall) and she’s ready to leave Paradise with him. Joe tells her that Kendall did show up, and Serena’s response is “You’re lying! Are you okay?” Joe tells her that Kendall showing up made him more confident in their relationship, and that sound you hear is Kendall launching herself into the sea. Joe says he loves her smile, her charm, her looks, “this whole thing,” and her accent. Forever always seemed scary, but with her, it feels right. He says she told him I love you first and now it’s his turn (good line) and proposes! They’re engaged!!!
And with a montage telling us that Abigail and Noah got back together, Becca and Thomas got back together, and Natasha has over 460,000 followers on Instagram, Paradise is over! See you all for Michelle’s season!!