Way back in episode two, I noted that Ben Higgins is drawn to emotional unavailability. He's comfortable feeling unloved. Being on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette allowed Ben to live in a fantasy world where he got to try out a bunch of women who all thought he was God's favorite boy. He didn't have to be intimate, because real, domestic intimacy is impossible in that situation. I worry now that Ben has a real person right in front of him who loves him and expects him to be a husband, he won't be able to step up. I hope my worries are misplaced and Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell have a long, happy future together. Congratulations and best wishes. They're each other's person (which I learned tonight is a Grey's Anatomy reference), which Ben made clear with his $95K engagement ring.
It's pretty amazing that even this late in the game, The Bachelor is still able to wring discomfort out of every situation. And so, without further ado, here are your last awkward moments of The Bachelor Season 20.
7. Jojo and Ben's reunion
Honestly, it wasn't as awkward as it could have been. Jojo had a few months to process getting dumped, and she was perfectly poised and diplomatic in her first time seeing Ben since he told her he didn't love her as much as he loved Lauren. But that history meant there was no way it wasn't going to be awkward. It's just too loaded of a moment. But she was empathetic and poised, and she also had something in her back pocket: she's going to be the next Bachelorette. That helped sooth the anger she felt. But we'll get to that.
6. Jimmy Kimmel's disruption
During the last few minutes of "After the Final Rose," Jimmy Kimmel interrupted the show to pretend to be a reporter from Parade magazine and ask some weird joke questions that fell flat. He acted out what goes on in the fantasy suite using Barbie doll stand-ins for Ben and Lauren, and it was the wrong time to go so bawdy. The oddest moment was when Kimmel asked, "When you get married, will there be a cake?" To which Ben answered, "Muffins." What and what? I don't get it.
5. Neil Lane, diamond dealer and love whisperer
You're telling me that Ben was so torn between Lauren and Jojo that he can't sleep for days and he finally makes his decision when looking at the plastered grin of a man he's never met before? The guy who just asked him incredulously if he even knew who he was going to choose? I think Ben felt bad he was wasting Neil the diamond dealer to the stars' time and made a decision just to be polite. Or, perhaps, he knew all along and it was just a ruse to make us think "wait, this is really the moment he decided?" Or perhaps Neil Lane is a wizard.
4. Ben's mom finds her son's love for two women "very disturbing"
She was so skeptical of the whole situation, and rightfully so! It was a very bad situation he'd gotten himself into, telling both of these women he loved them. The Higginses are good Christian people, and seeing their son in this weird, deceptive polyamorous relationship was clearly not easy, for Mom especially. Her son got himself in a very icky situation she didn't understand and she couldn't help him get out of it. And it had to be very disturbing to see as a parent. Her son was making himself look bad on TV.
3. The Bachelorette wasn't supposed to be white, but Jojo...is?
ABC President Paul Lee said in January that the next Bachelorette would most likely be "diverse." Apparently Jojo Fletcher was a "last minute decision" and it was going to be Caila Quinn, who is biracial, up until recently. I can't say for certain that Jojo isn't also biracial, since we saw a few weeks ago that her mother is from America, but I don't know where she's from, and Jojo's cultural heritage was not a point of conversation like Caila's. [UPDATE: Jojo's mother Soraya is Persian. "I'm proud of my mother's background despite what social opinions are," Jojo writes in her Bachelor bio. "It's important for me to stand up to people stereotyping Iranians."] But Jojo is a real estate developer from Dallas whose family lives in a gaudy McMansion, which is about as culturally white as can be. Jojo will be a much better Bachelorette than Caila, who is weird and not relatable, and I'm glad for TV's sake that it's Jojo. But it's disappointing that ABC made a public pronouncement about making progress and then reverted to the status quo.
2. Jojo's elimination
Ugh, so much of Jojo's elimination made my skin crawl. Ben made such a huge mistake telling both women he loved them. He got caught up that moment in Jamaica and trapped himself in a situation from which he had no easy way out. He acted recklessly with these women's hearts, and made himself look like not a nice guy. Kelsey McKinney, who writes about The Bachelor for Fusion, had some great tweets breaking down what Ben did wrong that say it better than I can. But Ben's misbehavior led to a situation where we were supposed to feel his pain, but we were all completely Team Jojo. It was extra brutal, because all of Jojo's speeches telegraphed that she was not going to be the winner. From "Ben always promised to not blindside me" to that unpleasant comment about wanting people to be jealous of her to Ben's clearly uncomfortable body language, it was obvious — as it was from the moment Lauren B. stepped out of the limo back in the premiere — that it was never going to be Jojo. Jojo was clearly pissed, too. She wanted to go off on Ben, but she restrained herself for the cameras. She should have wilded out on him, though. He would have deserved it.
1. Chris Harrison trying to force a wedding
As we got closer to the moment when Chris Harrison was going to reveal his devious surprise to Ben and Lauren, I started getting genuinely anxious. My heart was racing and I started sweating a little bit. I was saying "Oh please God, no, don't force them to get married right now. This is not how it's supposed to be. This is so awkward." You can't force somebody to get married! That's un-American! UGGGGGGHHHH. I hated how Chris Harrison kept teasing it, too. Like "we COULD have a wedding on our hands, maybe, maybe not, but we're going to try to pressure these people who barely know each other into getting shotgun married on TV when they have to fly to New York to do Good Morning America in like three hours." Could you imagine? And Ben's poor pastor Denny Wilson had his time wasted. I'm glad they said no. They've already offered up so much of their lives as entertainment. They don't owe us more. They earned some time to themselves.
And that's the end. Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell, together at last. It only took dozens of awkward moments to get there. What a long, strange trip it's been. I'll see you in a few months for The Bachelorette.