By Michael Slezak
November 28, 2006 at 09:36 PM EST
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“This journey, thank God, has come to an end.”

Not my words, PopWatchers, but those of “Prince” Lorenzo Borghese, uttered at the end of last night’s typically depressing season finale of The Bachelor: Rome. Fair enough, maybe the guy was expressing genuine excitement that he and bland schoolteacher Jen (pictured, left) were about to leave behind ABC’s cameras and embark on a “journey” full of “emotions,” “strong feelings,” and “excitement.” But forgive me for not buying it, especially seeing how last night’s festivities were scripted down to the last excruciating detail. I mean, if not for the meddling hand of ABC’s producers, why else would Jen and Sadie’s dads — knowing Lorenzo was dating two women simultaneously — raise their daughters’ hopes by revealing that the Prince had asked each of them for permission to propose? Why else would Lorenzo’s mother invite both of her son’s potential fiancées (and their respective parents) to brunch at the same time?

More importantly, why am I getting worked up over a show that glorifies the idea of falling in love with the bare outline of another human being? In the world of The Bachelor, it’s always the vaguest personalities, the ones who don’t express a single quirky or interesting fact about themselves, who triumph. Which makes sense, I guess, if you’re heeding some artificial deadline to fall in love by the end of November sweeps. Isn’t it easier to project your fantasy mate onto a blank canvas than on one that’s already filled with color and contour?

In other words, Sadie, you dodged a bullet.

addCredit(“The Bachelor: Rome: Craig Sjodin”)

So wipe away the tears,and let’s have a good laugh at last night’s more ridiculous moments,the best of which was Lorenzo’s mom passing down an heirloom engagementring for Lorenzo to use in his marriage proposal. Except, well, that itwasn’t a family heirloom. More like a ring Lorenzo’s mom had designed afew days earlier with the help of some friendly local jewelers whoscored a nice bit of product-placement during the episode. “Why nothave a family ring that starts now?” she asked, which, roughlytranslated into non-TV-speak, means, “If you think for a second thatI’m risking a family heirloom to some skank reality TV contestant…”

Smart move, considering that Lorenzo opted to continue courting awoman whose father is inclined to shout things like, “I didn’t knowwhether to pull out my sword and charge!” with seemingly no awarenessof his use of a euphemism.

Other highlights from last night: Lorenzo, struggling to conjure uppositive adjectives about both his potential mates, finally settling on”overly polite”; Lorenzo’s dad noting (without a hint of irony) that”marriage is serious”; Lorenzo, bringing the evening to its romanticclimax by holding out the dodgy diamond to Jen, telling her he lovedher, saying she couldn’t have it, then having her try it on.

Sadie, on the other hand, will have to find comfort writing lettersto herself. When I first paused my DVR to read her missive, I wasconvinced the salutation “Sadie Anne Murray” read “Dear Anne Murray,”resulting in a moment of excited confusion that perhaps the perkybachelorette was related to the legendary Canadian songbird.Alas, it wasn’t the case, and while Sadie’s opening line to herself –“You are a daughter of God, and that makes you a princess” — left mescratching my head, I suppose it’s better than earning your princessstripes by marrying a tool like Lorenzo, don’tcha think?

Chris Harrison hosts the veteran reality romance series. Will you accept this rose?
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