The Bachelor
Credit: Adam Larkey
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

Well, I thought Bachelor Matt was going to pick Chelsea… right up until his parents, Tony and Trish, said they could see him more with Shayne. In my mind, his parents’ blessing was all Matt needed to seal his happily ever after with his 22-year-old cuddle monkey. By the end of the finale, Shayne had won me over, too. And you know I hated that.

Let’s just get right to the final rose ceremony, shall we? I realized, as I watched the first limo pull up, that I was taking deep, calming breaths like Chelsea. Such a proud moment. Matt attempted to put us Chelsea at ease with a compliment: “You’ve worn some amazing dresses, and this has to be the best.” Actually, Matt, she’s looked better, but you’re a leg man, so I see why you said that. Mercifully, he didn’t wait too long until he dropped the “I can’t give you everything you need” bomb. But what hurt the most, I’m sure, was the shrapnel: “At times I thought you were the one, many times.” How is hearing that, or how much you’ll be missed, helpful? I loved that Chelsea stopped and fought with Matt as he walked her back to the limo, but I think her argument that Shayne was the fakest one in the house was a little desperate. She should have nailed him more for saying that his only “but” with her is that it took her a “long time” to open up to him. That’s such crap. A) You haven’t known each other a “long time” and B) The woman took off her panties on national television for you. She put herself out there, okay. Just tell her the truth: She’s not warm and cuddly, and you want a woman who is. That’s allowed. I think Chelsea’s “guarded” nature is what ultimately did her in with Matt’s parents as well. Though Trish was happy to see Matt being himself with Chelsea, she questioned whether she was seeing the true Chelsea. And to be fair, Chelsea spent all her time explaining why she was or wasn’t guarded and didn’t get to reveal anything about herself. (Well, other than that she’s a good guesser: She had Matt’s brother Simon on her side from the moment she correctly identified “wellies” as rain boots.)

Shayne’s London date went surprisingly well. Though she started off spilling wine on herself, she pulled it together for the meal. When Matt’s father asked her how old she was, she handled it with humor, which we know this family values: “I’m actually 12,” she said. You have to admire how Shayne handled Simon. She asked him for his honest first impression of her, and then didn’t jump in and get defensive when he admitted that initially, he had no idea what Matt saw in her other than the obvious blond beauty. But Simon had to admit that he’d underestimated her. She didn’t shy away from difficult questions and was warm, open, and genuine. Those qualities impressed Matt’s mother, who said she felt instantly at ease with Shayne. I think in an odd way, Shayne’s laid-back vibe is a match for the British reserve, and could be why Matt’s parents said they choose her over hyper Chelsea. (Though, I’d have paid to see one-on-one time with Shayne and Matt’s dad.)

After the jump, is “Monkey, will you marry me?” the most romantic proposal in Bachelor history?

addCredit(“The Bachelor: Adam Larkey”)

In the end, it came down to Chelsea’s energy versus Shayne’s warmth and total devotion to Matt (which he preferred to describe as “not having a selfish bone in her body”). He told Shayne that he’d looked into her big, brown eyes and thought it was too good to be true: An Englishman falling in love with an American movie star. But she made him believe that’s she’s just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her — okay, I’m paraphrasing. There’s been laughter, fun, kisses, and “there’s been monkey,” he said. He knows they’ll always be there for one another, he added, before dropping to one knee. Seeing Shayne lose her balance was awfully cute. As was her (rehearsed?) comeback: “I will marry you under one condition, that you will never look at another woman for the rest of our lives…. because you have looked at way too many during our relationship.”

It’s no wonder Shayne made Matt repeat the words “I love you” again and again. On their last night together before the final rose ceremony — after she dreamed about Matt proposing to her while floating through the sky like an angel (or, you know, parasailing) — she’d given him what she called the most amazing gift he’d ever receive from her. It was a photo of her, laying on the beach, next to an “I love you” she’d written in the sand. You could see she really wanted Matt to say the words then. But all she got was “Without a doubt, I’m falling in love with you.” (Chelsea’s post-helicopter-ride present, “Matt’s California Survival Kit” complete with breakfast-in-bed cereal, earned the same response minus the “without a doubt”… telling?)

So, do you agree with Matt’s choice, or do you agree with Chelsea that he’s a fool? Did you notice how when Matt would speak about his feelings for Chelsea into the camera, he always seemed to struggle for words? Do you think that’s because he truly cared for her and couldn’t voice how much he wished their relationship had been perfect, or because he had to find the right words to make us believe that’s what he was thinking? And lastly, how much did you love those subtle cutaway shots from the gorgeous beach to the Hilton hotel sign?

Episode Recaps