The Bachelor: A look back at Jason Mesnick's season 13 shocker
For everyone out there who’s been complaining that Arie’s season of The Bachelor has been, shall we say, less than dramatic, ABC would like to see your skepticism and raise you a TWO-NIGHT, FIVE-HOUR FINALE EVENT. To quote the network’s announcement:
A SPECIAL TWO-NIGHT EVENT WILL ROCK BACHELOR NATION TO ITS CORE!
A ROMANTIC AND DRAMATIC THREE-HOUR LIVE SEASON FINALE ENDS IN A
RAW, UNCUT ENDING TO ARIE’S JOURNEY, ON ‘THE BACHELOR,’ MONDAY, MARCH 5
THE LIVE, SHOCKING TWO-HOUR CONCLUSION TO ARIE’S LOVE STORY WILL UNFOLD, ON ‘THE BACHELOR: AFTER THE FINAL ROSE,’ TUESDAY, MARCH 6
Did you hear that, rose lovers? Our CORE is going to be ROCKED! I, for one, can’t wait. This announcement got me thinking about the last time Bachelor Nation was left so core-rockingly shook: March 3, 2009, during the season 13 finale. You can read my full recap of that delicious disaster here, but let’s review the CliffsNotes version:
The Bachelor was single dad Jason Mesnick — who we first met on season 4 of The Bachelorette. He was ultimately rejected by Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas, but America lurved him so much, ABC decided to make him the Bachelor — marking the first time in the show’s history that a previous contestant was recycled in the lead role.
Nine weeks later, Mesnick had narrowed down his harem to two women: Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Rycroft and “Department Store Buyer” Molly Malaney. For their Last Chance Dates, both Molly and Melissa meet Jason’s son, Ty, as well as his parents. Jason remains torn, though, and so he asks his parents for help making the decision. That’s when Mother Mesnick steers her son toward the raven-haired Melissa. As I wrote in the recap:
Mama Mesnick, unlike her son, has a pretty inscrutable poker face. During her couch time with Molly, she’s not giving up anything other than a steely gaze — especially when Molly says she’s fine to move because “I can still have my career in Seattle.” Later, when a weepy Jason asks her for help with his decision, mom defrosts a piece of advice that she’s been keeping in the family freezer since the 1950s: “Here’s a young lady who says she loves you to pieces, and yet she has a career, and career’s important to her. But I think foremost for you, you want somebody who is family oriented, and who’s going to be there for Ty and you.” Yes, that’s right, Donna Reed: Never mind that your son is making his second (soon-to-be-failed) attempt to find a stepmom for Ty on a reality TV show — the real threat to his future happiness is that he may marry a woman who works outside the home.
Long story short, when the time comes to hand out his final rose, Jason decides to go with Melissa — but first, he has to say goodbye to Molly, which leads to one of the most legendary moments in the show’s history.
This move became known in the Bachelor universe as the “Balcony Cry,” and it is the bar against which all other Bachelor Cry Moments are now judged.
After telling Melissa he’s “completely in love” with her, Jason asks her to be his wife. And then, we cut to six weeks later.
On an eerily quiet After the Final Rose set (no screaming Bachelor fans waving signs and wearing novelty t-shirts were allowed at this taping), Jason admits to Chris Harrison that he “can’t stop thinking about Molly,” and he wants a proposal do-over. Team Bachelor is all, That’s great! But first you have to break up with Melissa on camera so the viewers at home can witness her humiliation first-hand. Miraculously, Molly — who has been waiting backstage this whole time — still agrees to take Jason back. “This is something I dreamt of, but I never expected to hear,” she gushes. Though Jason doesn’t go so far as to propose on camera, a little less than a year later he and Molly got married… while ABC cameras filmed the whole thing, of course. They celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary earlier this week and have two kids.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how “Mesnick” became a verb in Bachelor Nation, as in “What do you think happens with Arie? Do you think he pulls a Mesnick?” We’ll find out next week, rose lovers. (And if you want to know, spoilers abound online — but please remember that many fans don’t know and don’t want to know, so please don’t post spoilers in the comments.)
Start strengthening those core muscles, rose lovers — get ’em ready to be ROCKED.