Is Peter Weber the most boring Bachelor ever?
|Toronto Star 16 Feb 2020 at 12:50|
But has there ever been a Bachelor so dull that the ABC dating show has devoted more plot to contestants interacting with each other than with the star attraction?
That’s been the case with Peter Weber, the California pilot who currently wears the “Bachelor” mantle.
Week after week since the season began, Weber’s paramours have sparred, sometimes over ridiculously inconsequential things like a bottle of champagne.
It’s no coincidence the show’s producers stacked the cast with women prone to crying jags and/or aggression, turning Weber’s dates into almost a side show.
And even the dates have been torqued: Weber’s ex, “Bachelorette” Hannah Brown, was brought in to stir up jealousy on one; on another, Weber and companion Victoria Fuller were serenaded by her ex-boyfriend, country singer Chase Rice — an awkward noncoincidence that came as an unpleasant surprise.
There are a couple of factors at play here.
One is that Warner Bros. and ABC picked the wrong man. Producers claim to take the wishes of fans into account when choosing the “Bachelor,” but the clear fan favourite was Mike Johnson , a “Bachelorette” co-star of Weber’s who would have become the franchise’s first Black Bachelor.
Why did they pick Weber, a 28-year-old airline pilot who seems nice but bland, over Johnson, a 32-year-old air force veteran with smarts and personality to spare? My guess is, at least in part, they thought Weber would be a titillating choice since his claim to fame was having sex with Brown four times in a windmill during their “fantasy suite” date.
It’s the same principle that seemed to motivate the choice of Colton Underwood on a previous “Bachelor” season — whose calling card was the fact he was still a virgin — despite a vociferous backlash.
Never underestimate the producers’ appetite for prurience.
The other factor is that the older the franchise gets and the more competitors crop up, with shows like “Love Island” and “Love Is Blind” stealing buzz, the greater the impetus to employ behind-the-scenes manipulation to goose the drama.
Is a contestant uncertain how she feels about the Bachelor? Fly in her father, who opposes the relationship. Next thing you know, she’s breaking up with him, which is how we ended up with that heavily promoted moment last year when Underwood jumped a fence and ran off into the Portuguese countryside.
Is the Bachelor having doubts about the woman he proposed to? Have him blindside her with a breakup and film the whole thing, making sure he stays in the room when she asks him to leave, which is what happened with Luyendyk and Becca Kufrin in 2018.
We seem to be building up to another drama-fuelled finish on the current season — if viewers can wait that long. Last Monday’s episode, on which Weber picked his final four after all the troublemakers had been sent home, was dull as dishwater.
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The kisses have been deep, the conversations shallow.
But viewers are in for a finale that’s “shocking, riveting, gut-wrenching,” according to series host Chris Harrison.
“There is something that comes to light, something that happens that just kind of turns everything on its head,” Harrison told media at the Television Critics Association press tour last month. “It is a wild twist at the end … The most dramatic? I hate to say that, but it truly is in a very different way.”
For his part, Weber called the last week of shooting “the hardest week of my life. I keep saying it was unexpected; I couldn’t predict what happened so that’s the reason. I didn’t do it on purpose or anything.”
There’s a promo video out that shows Weber, engagement ring in hand, being told by Harrison about “something all of us just found out.”
Weber looks dejected. “It’s just like the last thing I needed to hear right now,” he says, apparently so overcome that he had to lie down on a bed, still in his proposal suit, with concerned producers clustered around. Then we cut to his tearful mother pleading, “Don’t let her go … Bring her home to us.”
It remains to be seen who the “her” is, although the spoilers are already piling up online.
At the moment, Weber’s choices are Madison, a highly religious 23-year-old who’s saving herself for marriage; Kelsey, a 28-year-old who can’t seem to speak to Weber without being on the verge of tears; Victoria, a 26-year-old who can’t seem to decide if she wants to hang out with Weber let alone marry him; and Hannah Ann, a 23-year-old whose letter about Webber’s most lovable qualities contained i’s dotted with hearts.
It doesn’t seem likely to end well, but perhaps that’s a moot point anyway.
At this stage, the most valuable function of “The Bachelor” is supplying cast members to its more entertaining summer spinoff, “ Bachelor in Paradise .”