“I need you to know I’m here for the right reasons.” Fans (and hopelessly addicted detractors) of ABC’s The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette) dating franchise are all too familiar with that phrase and its endless variations, used by contestants suitors as shorthand for “I’m not in this for fame, I’m in this for love…or some close approximation.”
Naturally, the “wrong reasons” criticism has been leveled at Justin “Rated R” Rego in the wake of his abrupt Bachelorette exit on Monday night’s episode, which occurred after relentlessly giggly Ali Fedotowsky accused him of courting her while allegedly having a girlfriend named Jessica back at home — and backing her accusations up with incriminating voice-mail messages…supplied by Jessica herself! (Oh snap!)
Yesterday, Justin took to his Facebook page to encourage us to conjure up feelings of sadness and sympathy on his behalf: “I was not in a relationship before I went on the show and I am still single now,” he said. “The producers of The Bachelorette took this experience that was supposed to be an amazing moment that I will never forget, and made it into a living hell for me.” Justin typed a lot of other words that you don’t give a hoot about, but suffice it to say he used the “you can’t believe everything you see on TV” defense, stated that he left the phone messages in question when he was “very confused,” and then went on to say that Jessica “helped” him deal with the “devastating” foot injury he sustained two weeks before Bachelorette taping. “She showed me a side of her that I had never seen before, a side that I would call close to perfection in my eyes,” he said. “For the first time I felt that Jessica was showing me the characteristics of someone I would want to spend the rest of my life with.” Dude, if this is your defense, then perhaps the defense should rest.
Then again, even if Justin wasn’t in it “for the right reasons,” why are folks so upset? And in the wake of this franchise’s extremely poor record of converting on-camera “love” into successful post-show relationships — check out our handy photo gallery for evidence — what exactly are “the right reasons” anyway? Before you answer that, let’s look at what some recent Bachelor/Bachelorette participants have gotten from their stints on the show.
* Melissa Rycroft scored gigs as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, a correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America, and co-host of the aforementioned Bachelor Pad.
* Jillian Harris found a role as a designer on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
* Jesse Palmer is a commentator for ESPN (also Disney-owned) and TSN.
* And Travis Stork is one of the four panelists on the syndicated advice show The Doctors.
* Alas, my PopWatch cohort Mandi Bierly reminds me that sometimes actor Charlie O’Connell didn’t really see his fortunes rise after his Bachelor season, but you can’t win ’em all. (“I enjoy the O’Connell brothers!” Mandi adds via IM. “I want that noted!”)
But still, looking at these stats, you have to wonder what the show’s endgame is anymore: A marriage proposal or an ABC talent deal? In light of that fact, do you watch this franchise rooting for true love and the “fairytale ending” so often referred to on the show? Or do you view the show as shamefully enjoyable, thoroughly disposable entertainment — its marital track record be damned! And finally, are you outraged when contestants sign on for a Bachelor stint looking for self-promotion as much (or more so) than true romance? (As Wes once sang, “Love don’t come eeee-zaaa-aaay.”) Sound off in the comments section, and do share if you’re aware of any other former contestants finding success in porn pop culture since their Bachelor(ette) “journeys” came to an end.
More on ‘The Bachelorette’