Even former 'The Bachelor' contestants are slamming ABC for the manipulative way it handled Monday's finale

ABC/HuluArie is very bad at making decisions.
  • ABC aired part one of the season finale of “The Bachelor” Monday night.
  • The episode stretched three hours, and the finale hour showed footage of an “unedited” break-up.
  • Fans and former contestants on the show criticised the way it was filmed, and how the break-up was handled by ABC.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Monday’s “The Bachelor” finale.

“The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison didn’t lie to us about how intense the finale would be.

Monday night’s three-hour finale of “The Bachelor,” part one of two, was actually the most dramatic finale in the show’s 15-year history. But it’s also faced criticism for its masterful manipulation of a woman’s pain. People are not happy with the way the finale’s big break-up was filmed, including former contestants, bachelors, and bachelorettes, who tweeted things like, “This is just awful … why are they filming this?”

The way the finale was handled suggests that ABC, after a season of low ratings, was desperate for a hit. And many thought the finale took things way too far.

All season long, Arie Luyendyk Jr. seemed to struggle to appear interesting on camera. His language was repetitive, with his default being, “I love that,” or simply repeating what the women said. It was obvious that Arie was not the right choice to be the bachelor, and that the producers and ABC were struggling to make him interesting.

In the finale, Arie finally gets interesting.

In the episode, he proposes to the season’s winner, Becca, and all seems swell. But host Chris Harrison consistently reminds viewers throughout the night that something very dramatic is going to happen, and with 90 more minutes of airtime left, everyone knew something was up.

Turns out, Arie decided he made the wrong decision weeks after proposing to Becca. On camera, in footage that Harrison said was “unedited,” Arie ends his engagement with Becca. He tells her that he’s going to try to have a relationship with Lauren, the runner-up.

Becca was completely set up, and had no idea Arie was going to dump her. She thought she was sent to Los Angeles to film footage of the progress in their relationship.

It’s unusual for couples from “The Bachelor” to get intimate airtime after their season is over, unless it’s for a special about how great everything is going. But ABC and “The Bachelor” producers made the most of it. The final hour focuses on Becca’s emotional trauma.

“Are you f—ing kidding me,” Becca says to Arie when he breaks off the engagement. Becca was applauded for her reaction by fans – maintaining her cool but putting Arie in his place. But clearly, this was not the reaction the producers were hoping for, and the way the rest of the episode is set up pushes her toward a more emotional reaction.

In the episode, Becca asks Arie to leave multiple times, and he won’t. At one point, Arie does leave the house while Becca is crying in the bathroom. Then he goes back inside the house, knocks on the door of the bathroom, and asks if she is ok.

“I told you to leave,” Becca says. “What are you still doing here?”

The way this break-up is shot (cameras following Becca and Arie separately) and how long it is, was so painful to watch that people on Twitter – even former contestants who are still active within Bachelor Nation – were begging for it to stop:

The entire break-up took up the last hour of the episode, with Becca shown crying for twenty minutes.

And Arie’s pressure to get her to feel better does not come off as sweet, romantic, or respectable. This episode felt less like “The Bachelor” and more like an episode of Lifetime’s “UnReal,” which satirizes the exploitative nature of the former.

During Monday’s episode, Becca – at the studio with Chris Harrison and a live studio audience – watches the footage. When it finishes playing, Becca says, “brutal.”

Then Harrison tells her she’ll face Arie and Lauren in person in the second part of the finale, airing Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

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