The Bachelor
Credit: The Bachelor: Paris: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Talk about a nail-biter! Halfway through last night’s two-hour season finale of The Bachelor: Paris, the big race was still too close to call. Then, suddenly, dramatically, a clear winner emerged in the battle to be the episode’s most overused word. And the winner was…”excited,” with a whopping 20 uses, edging out ”Paris” (17), ”great” (10), and ”amazing” (9). In fact, the way ”excited” was getting bandied about, I was wondering if the producers might cue up the Pointer Sisters’ ”I’m So Excited” after Bachelor Travis Stork, M.D., decided Sarah Tennessee would ”make the best doctor’s wife” (ABC’s words, not mine!) and presented her with a 2.2-karat diamond ring on a chain.

Travis’ decision, of course, turned fragile Moana into a hot sobbing mess, but was she really expecting a different result after coming completely unhinged during dinner with his family? I’m not sure what was more excruciating: the dead silence Moana offered when Travis’s sister asked what exactly she dug about the good doctor, or the I-see-my-soul-reflected-in-his-eyes psychobabble she hurled at his parents. You could actually see Big Momma Hair’s mind at work, wondering how she might score le restraining order on her son’s behalf. By the time the producers cut to Moana getting gussied up for her final date, I was worried she might start writing Travis’ name on her mirror in lipstick. Backward. With assistance from her little friend Tony.

addCredit(“The Bachelor: Paris: Craig Sjodin/ABC”)

That said, Moana got her backbone back and redeemed herself duringher last supper with Travis by declaring, ”I want you. I don’t need,but I would like you in my life.” And later, with her ice-maidenresponse to Travis’ parting comment that he’d miss her: ”I wouldcertainly hope. In circumstances like this, no one ever knows.” Oooh,suh-nap! That’s about as close to female empowerment as you’ll ever geton The Bachelor. I mean, it’s not like the producers would evercast a woman who might, I dunno, decide to simply head back homebecause the guy’s really no great prize.

Which, come to think of it, is exactly how I’d describe Travis.C’mon, we’re talking about a man whose idea of a good date in Paris isvisiting — wait for it — an indoor jungle gym. (Dude, ever hear ofthe Louvre?) Not only that, how about the way he tried to mislead Sarah(a woman he’s supposedly in love with) into thinking he’d chosen Moana– all in the name of good television! What he deserved was a smack inthe kisser, not another unappetizing kissing session with thekindergarten teacher.

Ah, well, maybe The Bachelor will get all feminist in anotherdecade or two, when Travis’ niece Whitney takes her turn in thespotlight. The little moppet certainly provided the episode’s comichigh point by drawing both Bachelorettes, then indicating: ”Moana isthe one I like best because I put an arrow by her and a heart.” Hey,kiddo, you’re not alone. But for the sake of Stork family harmony,maybe don’t let that slip the next time you’re hanging with your futureAunt Sarah.

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