By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Sep 18, 2019 at 4:56 AM

It all began with such promise. The VERY energetic live audience was all whispering and shimmying in excitement. Harrison was only promising a good time, not THE MOST DRAMATIC AND SHOCKING FINALE IN THE HISTORY OF THE VISUAL MEDIUM. I had a full bottle of wine. It was great. 

Then three hours passed, concluding with the wrong guy being named "The Bachelor." And worst of all, I had nowhere near enough wine remaining to cope with this decision. It was the opposite of great.

Indeed, the worst kept secret in the land was finally revealed Tuesday night as Peter the Pilot was named ABC's next "Bachelor," an inspired decision ... if what you wanted to inspire was yawns. Granted, some of this was out of ABC's control; it's not their fault that Mike, the people's choice, ended up meeting and dating a pop star. And there are worse choices out there. I mean, I suppose Blake, Luke P. or the racist from Rachel's season were all technically options. Plus, we've learned twice over just the past year that you can't judge a season by its star.

I thought Colton's season was going to suck, and it ended up kind of great (though I credit the fence for most of that) while a large chunk of Bachelor Nation assumed the worst of Hannah B.'s season only for her to turn into a sassy and independent fan favorite. The show's not really about them after all; it's about the contestants and finding fun drama for them to play with.

But ... (*sighs*) ... this guy? 

Is anybody REALLY thrilled by the prospect of watching Peter the Pilot go on tons of dates and investing time into his love life? He seems nice and pleasant; you'd be happy to see "The Bachelorette" pick him as her winning choice because he seems like a decent guy with a delightful family. But as the star of his own show, as a person to follow for more than 24 hours of your life spread across two to three months? As odd as this sentence sounds, the guy who boinked three times in a dusty-ass centuries-old windmill just isn't that exciting.

Harrison even tried to say during his introduction Tuesday night that "he's not like other Bachelors," only for his next sentence to be rendered inaudible by the sound of an entire nation spit-taking in unison at that BOLD statement. I rewound the segment – and what makes him different from the rest of the tall, generically handsome, well-off white dudes who've been selected for the role? He lived close by the Bachelor mansion. WELL CALL HIM A GAME CHANGER, CHRIS; HISTORY'S BEEN MADE HERE TONIGHT. The guy wasn't even the most interesting "Bachelor" candidate named Peter. 

I can already predict the first episode of next season: an ad campaign featuring the phrase "ready for takeoff" or "spreading his wings," a plethora of windmill-related jokes that will make me want to do my best Don Quixote impression and try to murder a windmill, continued outcries and laments that it's not Mike as "The Bachelor." And again, I get that he's currently off the market. (THANKS A LOT, DEMI LOVATO!) But he's still the better, bigger personality – plus this problem could've been avoided if "The Bachelor" didn't refuse, over 23 seasons and 17 years, to cast a black star. The show's audience is desperate for new personalities, perspectives and experiences – look at the blissful and rewarding reactions Demi and Kristian received last night, even in a relationship that the show awkwardly bent and contorted itself to include – and instead they went with boring more of the same. 

In conclusion, I'll be there watching come January next year – but contestants, it'll be up to you to both win Peter's heart and win over the audience's with this season.

Anyways, that's the recap; thanks for tuning in! (*Puts finger to earpiece that I have in for some reason*) What's that? There was what? Oh, there was a whole two hours and 50 minutes of "Bachelor in Paradise" season finale before all of that Peter nonsense, too? (*pours another glass of wine*) Let's do this.

As for the proper finale of the show, just about everything went the way you'd expect. Hannah and Dylan went off on their date, determined that they're happily in love and went off to the fantasy suite. Katie and Gerard Butler went off on their date, determined that they're happily in love and went off to the fantasy suite. Demi and Kristian went off on their date, determined that they're happily in love and went off to the fantasy suite.

And Clay and Nicole ... didn't do that.

Clay, who came into their date perma-clenched, said that he needed to take the night to think about their relationship and their future, and Nicole was unsurprisingly NOT PLEASED. While everyone else was hot-tubbing and cuddling, Nicole was looking at dramatic fireworks alone and possibly plotting Clay's death. Cut to the next morning, and while every other couple was throwing around Neil Lane diamonds on the beach, Clay instead told Nicole that he's not there yet with her. Instead, he proposes that they leave together and date more in the real world, but Nicole's had QUITE ENOUGH – and that's the end of that. Literally – they weren't on the After the Rose special either. Even Cam showed up for that. Even Whitney was there – and she wasn't even technically on the show.

I get why Nicole would be disappointed – it sucks to know that you're more invested into a relationship than your partner, especially in front of America – but I'll never understand this show's NEED for people to get immediately engaged. You've spent several weeks in a fake world going on fake dates; maybe it's not the worst idea in the world to date in the real world, maybe live with each other for a bit, to find out if you're actually compatible together? That's especially the case for Clay and Nicole, since they live in such disparate parts of the country (Chicago and Miami)  and would require massive life changes for both parties in order to make it work. Maybe Clay's a slob or sleeps loudly or just is generally insufferable to live with; these seem like things you'd want to know before committing to each other forever!

But nah, it's all blown up, with Nicole riding home sad and Clay riding home wanting to drop by a pub. Fair enough.

As for the rest of the couples, they each walk across the beach, give their vows and happily propose – all with the same repetitive shots and the same repetitive conversations with Harrison. It's like I'm watching the middle of "It: Chapter Two" all over again! Katie and Gerard Butler put a ring on it, giving the producers one final chance to give Gerard Butler a cute lower third ...

Yes, because nothing says "I'm a mature adult" like getting engaged on your sixth trip onto a reality show. I give them an hour.

As for the rest, Dylan and Hannah obviously get engaged – even with Hannah coming up with some last-minute concerns about meeting parents and not wanting to be burned. I'm happy for the kids – though I am concerned that Hannah at some point will tire of Dylan talking about her like she's a deity on a golden pedestal. OR maybe she won't tire of that. Actually, that sounds great; can I get me a Dylan to tell me I'm great every single day?

Demi and Kristian also put a ring on it, making them the first official gay couple the show's ever portrayed. And while I've had my qualms about how it came along, I'm happy the show went with it – and even happier that they portrayed the relationship in such nuanced and thoughtful ways. Considering they're the only couple that's had any time out in the real world, I bet they've got the best chance of actually surviving. GOOD FOR THEM! Wait, does this mean Demi's done on the show and can no longer come back? BREAK UP IMMEDIATELY!

Anyways, it's off to the aftershow – complete with the entire cast, minus Clay and Nicole because Clay might still be drinking away his miseries at a Mexican cantina. Cam's there wearing a shirt that says something – probably supposedly clever – but we will never know what because the camera didn't pan down and also nobody cares. Dean's gone full J.R. on "Dallas" with some wavy long hair and a bolo tie – complete with an engraved C for Caelynn, we can assume. Or maybe it stands for "caravan life," who really knows. Kristina gets a, uh, temperate reaction at best, while ... IS MIKE WEARING A GOD DAMN ASCOT?!


Anyways, after a quick recap of the season (aka a bathroom break), Harrison runs through some of the show's lesser drama's from the past two months. Remember when Tahzjuan called Haley a pigeon? No? Well, that definitely happened – and got rehashed Tuesday night to a raucous audience of clearly canned laughter. We get one final dose of JPJ's worst hour as Harrison tries to get to the bottom of his rage against Not John Krasinski. JPJ sticks with his theory that Not John Krasinski's using his podcast to sleep with fans – and weirdly enough, when he actually presses him on if he's done that before, Jordan and company run in to prevent Not John Krasinski from answering. Huh, I guess we'll never get to the bottom of this mystery. Thoughts, guy who somehow isn't "The Bachelor"?


Elsewhere, Jordan and Christian are still yapping at each other from the piñata punch-out during the season. I'm still upset that I didn't get individual reaction shots from every cast member during that moment, because SOMEBODY had to be laughing and cackling the way the rest of America was. (Probably Demi.) Speaking of which, she drops the line of the night and possibly the new official motto of the United States of America: "Act civilized – this is a TV show." Also Caelynn is amazingly pumped about living that van life with Dean – we'll see what she says after her 20th bath in a Walgreen's bathroom – while Connor and Whitney are apparently still a thing, though Whitney gets relegated to unofficial cast member status and has to sit amongst the unwashed in the audience. STILL MORE PRESENT THAN NICOLE AND CLAY!

But now we finally start digging into the meaty drama, beginning with Tayshia and Hannah reigniting their mini-feud when the latter was teasing along Dylan while flirting with Blake – who she had a secret rendezvous with at her hometown before the show. However, Hannah clarifies that his flight down to Birmingham was merely to have a conversation. Uh huh. Sure. Guys like Blake definitely fly across the country to just have conversations. SEEMS VERY LEGIT AND NOT AT ALL NAIVE!

Jordan, oddly enough, comes in as the voice of reason, saying that this was the first season he can recall people pre-coordinating before the show and meeting up pre-filming – and it clearly didn't work out great for anybody, so maybe everyone should cut that out. COULDN'T AGREE MORE! And apparently Cam does too – but then Onyeka murders him by pointing out that he wanted to go to her pre-"Paradise" party and he definitely would've done the same as Blake if he had the chance. Oh Cam, your entire existence on this show has been the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" theme song. Even when you finally say something good and right, you're brutally slayed. Kids, I hope we've learned a valuable lesson from this sad, sad man: Don't be a white rapper. 

This is just a tease, however, for the big drama: Blake. Just ... Blake, in general, and all the hot mess he brought upon himself this season (as well as all the free advertising he brought Stagecoach; seriously, I hope he got paid). Blake sits in the hot seat, where he's asked about his trip to Birmingham (he was just going to talk which sure, Jan) and, of course, his messy encounter with Caelynn and its aftermath. Caelynn actually admits that a lot of her part of the drama on the beach was that she felt ignored, so she blew things up – despite the fact that they both agreed they weren't going to make a big deal out of their Stagecoach rendezvous on "Paradise." Yet everybody kind of ignores that to pile onto Blake about posting their text messages to Instagram – after she lied, defamed his (admittedly very defamable!) character and put him in a precarious situation to protect himself. 

Mike says Blake should apologize – and at this point, yeah, dude, listen to America's Bachelor and just take the loss already. But I nominate that we launch them both into the sun. Blake was a gross player who was WILDLY naive thinking that posting Caelynn's text messages wasn't going to result in online bullying and slut-shaming. (Are you new to the internet?) But at the same time, if you don't want people to flash your embarrassing receipts, maybe also don't lie about them on national television and force their hand out of self-preservation? In conclusion: INTO THE SUN FOR BOTH OF YOU! But first, Dean comforts Caelynn behind the scenes and ... Kristina comforts Blake? You two are the strangest pair, and I can't wait for you to be the worst, most awkward "Bachelor" married couple. 

But at least they weren't the worst couple on this particular episode! That honor goes to Katie and Gerard Butler, who – surprise! – weren't doing so great after "Paradise." Wow, what a shock.

After a quick chat with some past "Paradise" married couples and their new babies (plus Krystal and an unsettlingly beardless Chris, for some reason), Katie comes out to talk about the state of their relationship. Well, first, they do a gender reveal for Carly and Evan's baby, but the less said about that the better because gender reveal parties are a scourge upon this nation. In short: Congratulations, you're having a Wells! Now stop coming on "The Bachelor" because you guys feel like alumni dropping by a college party five years after graduating. 

But back to Katie. She comes out and her voice is shaking, and her face is sad, and she says she's always exhausted all the time, and she has to put in so much effort into their relationship for so little in return, and she's got a darkness now that she's never had before and YOU KNOW WHAT I'M STARTING TO THINK THIS RELATIONSHIP'S NOT GOING GREAT!

Harrison then brings out Gerard Butler, who must've been in a soundproof booth for Katie's segment because he's all smiles and pleasantries. But that doesn't last as Harrison basically asks Gerard Butler if he'll ever be able to love Katie the way she needs. OOF! Oh, Harrison notes, and did you notice Katie's not wearing her ring? GERARD BUTLER MOST CERTAINLY HAD NOT! So they're done – and even though Gerard Butler says the right things on the stage, outside the studio, he harrumphs at Katie being so brutally honest on national TV and springing an attack on him. The conversation ends with them literally going their separate ways, so fair to call this relationship's time of death. WELP, GERARD, THERE'S ALWAYS A SEVENTH TRY!

But let's end this on a happy note. Dylan and Hannah are still happily in love – while I'm still happily in love with the producers cutting over to sadboi Blake whenever Hannah talks glowingly about being withDylan. Demi and Kristian are happy in their relationship as well, giving each other lovely speeches and even lovelier rings. (Nice Neil Lane clearly ADR-ed plug, Harrison!) Demi also calls Derek one of her favorite people, which is nice. BUT DOES SHE KNOW THAT HE HAS A PODCAST!?!?

Speaking of which, John Paul Jones gets a happy ending too as Tayshia admits that, after the show, she realized she made a grave mistake letting JPJ walk so she flew out to Maryland to get him back. And so did a camera crew, because obviously. Even so, it was adorable, and despite the fact that nothing about these two seems to match up, they're a delightful match. Though JPJ, a quick pro-tip: Don't go down on one knee, especially on television, unless you're proposing. The Shakespeare monologue was cute, but I think you gave Tayshia a heart attack – and not in the way you intended. 

And then Mike was named "The Bachelor"! Wow, what a lovely way to end the season; truly everything worked out! (*Sighs yet again*) Well, a boy can dream – or at least he'll have to. See you January for "The Beige-elor."

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.