I watch the Bachelor.
Now, before you judge me too harshly, let me explain myself. I started watching the show a few years ago with my brother. It was kind of our thing. I’d Skype him while I was at college, and together we’d watch the latest episode of The Bachelor on Hulu. He and I got a huge kick out of watching the drama unfold week after week. We would pick a “winner”, and undoubtably come to regret that decision a week later. We’d make fun of outfits, comments, and personalities.
Let’s face it. It’s just fun to watch people fight, cry, whine, and fall in love on TV. We all know that’s true. I mean, come on, Jerry Springer is still airing, right?
This most recent season of the Bachelor, though, was…something else.
The man they chose, Juan Pablo, was entirely different than most guys they have chosen in the past. He was almost entirely Venezuelan, evident through his obvious struggle with the English language. (Yes, that is mostly why I watched this season. ESL love.) He was also an athlete, a former soccer star. As the season progressed, we saw just how different he really was though. His controversial style of “bacheloring” was considered less than desirable by the women, the producers, and, by the end, the fans of the show.
The outcry after the season finished was unreal. The fans, producers, and women ripped him apart in the live show following the finale. The talk over the internet about how terrible a man he was also rang out across every social media.
I find that the world might need a quick reality check when it comes to this show and this man. Maybe you don’t care about Juan Pablo or the Bachelor, but I would ask you to stay with me. There’s an important thought to be considered in all of this. Here are my 10 Reasons Juan Pablo Is NOT The Villain We Want Him To Be.
1. The Bachelor is a reality dating show. Yeah, that’s right, reality.
Reality shows are confusing. We watch them thinking we’re seeing every conversation. We feel that we are apart of their lives. The problem is we’re aren’t. The people behind the show twist and wield a show they think will produce the highest amount of viewers and money. Juan Pablo said some terrible stuff, sure. So does everyone. Just not everyone gets those terrible things picked particularly out from all the good things and then thrown on TV…on repeat. We should keep that in mind.
2. He sincerely struggled to speak English.
When there were only three girls left on the show, one girl called Juan Pablo out for being fake. She felt that he’d never really gotten to know her. That he was just enjoying the ride and ignoring who the women really were. On and on she attacked him as he sat quietly taking it all in.
Juan Pablo’s response when she finally took a breath? “It’s okay.”
Well, that completely infuriated her. No women likes to be told that “it’s okay” when she’s mad and leaving him. See though, the problem is he had no idea how to diffuse the situation with elegant rhetoric. Give the guy a break. Could you diffuse an angry individual in your second language? Let me tell you, my Arabic is not up to par for a challenge of that magnitude.
3. The women on this show were not damsels in need of rescuing.
The viewers watched as women cried. They watched as hurt women said their piece in front of the camera as they got sent home. Who else are you supposed to look to when your favorite girl gets sent home? Oh, that’s right – Juan Pablo, the evil heartbreaker. Let’s just take this moment to consider the fact that these were strong, independent women able to make their own choices and see people for who they are. They do not need the viewers of the Bachelor coming to their rescue to say, “What a bad, bad man.” They were all head-over-heels infatuated with the man at one point then, when they get dumped, they get upset. Calm down everybody, it’s just a bad break up.
4. Juan Pablo is young and immature, not malicious and vindictive.
There’s no arguing the fact that Juan Pablo acted incredibly young and immature throughout his season of the Bachelor. He took advantage of the fact that he had some twenty-five girls all there for the single purpose of falling in love with him. He kissed them when he felt he wanted to, he promised them things that would never come about, and he kept his feelings always on the surface level.
Notice something though, I’m describing most people who are not ready for a serious relationship. They enjoy where they are and experience life the way they see fit. It was not a malicious desire that Juan Pablo had. He never thought, “Oh, let me just go rip out these women’s hearts.” He just was silly and naive. We’ve all done something like that at one point or another.
5. He is just a man.
I feel like the guy got beat up for “leading women on” when he wanted to make out with the women. I’m sorry, he’s just a guy. Twenty some women sign up for this show to win his heart. I think, if the women consent, he has the right to kiss them and it shouldn’t be a big deal. I’m not sure why we would expect him to do anything other than that.
6. The show and its producers clearly abandoned him.
Throughout the last few weeks of the Bachelor, it became increasingly apparent that the producers wanted to have nothing to do with Juan Pablo and his controversy. Chris Harrison, the show’s host, distanced himself from Juan Pablo at every opportunity. Chris would joke with, comment on, and ridicule him at every opportunity in front of the nation as the drama unfolded. It was like watching a man tied to the stake and someone pretending to toss the torch at him over and over again. Unnecessary.
7. Juan Pablo had a different set of priorities going into the show.
You can’t expect a man who has different goals to fit the typical mold of the Bachelor. It just isn’t going to happen. Your typical bachelor is supposed to fall madly in love with a woman, sweep her off her feet, and propose. Juan Pablo’s goals were to meet a woman who would make a good step-mom to his daughter, and meet someone with whom he could envision his life. That is a big difference on a show like this. And different is never okay, so we must consider the difference as villainous, right? I think that’s just how our world works sometimes.
8. He was always being compared to Sean.
The bachelor that preceded Juan Pablo was possibly the kindest, sweetest guy that’s ever been on a reality show. Sean was this strapping, blonde man (Yes, I know. Grown men aren’t blonde. What can you do.) that really only had the best intentions for the women on his season. He was set on finding the love of his life, and honestly, I think he found her. A redeeming love story for the Bachelor.
Juan Pablo never had a fighting chance.
9. He and Nikki are happy.
If you did watch this season of the Bachelor, you are familiar with Nikki, the woman Juan Pablo ended up choosing. To the world’s great surprise, he did not propose to her, but instead told her that he wasn’t in love but knew he wanted to continue pursuing a relationship with her. (Or at least that’s how he would have said it if his English was a little better.)
The show tore him (and Nikki) apart for this shocking move. “Aren’t you in love?” “Nikki, aren’t you devastated?” “Juan Pablo, how could you do such a thing to this beautiful woman?”
Despite all the pointed questions, Nikki sat glowing next to her man. It was like it was the two of them against the world. Keep in mind that Nikki’s personality was always intense. She never struck me as someone who was going to be okay with being treated poorly. The world needs to remember to not take away her backbone just because we don’t understand her choices. And, on that note, just because Juan Pablo didn’t propose doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for her. He wants to take it slow. The world cries out how stupid and shallow the show is for speeding up a “love” story, and here are two people just wanting to make it a normal love story. Let them be.
10. He’s human; Don’t make him into a super villain.
Just because Juan Pablo is on TV doesn’t make him any less human. Nor does it give you the right to say terrible things about him and to him. Celebrities get torn apart by the world because, for some crazy reason, the world feels like they have some God-given right to judge them and be critical and cruel. They are just people making their way though life pursuing what they love (or for the love they hope to find). Stop putting these people up on pedestals just so you can try and destroy them while they are up there.
I know you might find it silly that I am writing about the Bachelor, but this particular circumstance made me stop and think.
If we can make a villain out of a TV personality that we “hate”, what else are we making villains of in our lives? Do we choose to look at a situation only the way others want us to look at it? How many times has our judgement been clouded simply by the manipulation of facts and opinions? I sure know I’m guilty of it. Sorry, Juan Pablo, I’ll try to do better next time.
Thank you, reality TV, for the reality check.
Disclaimer: You’re allowed to judge me for watching the Bachelor.