When scripted shows get on in years, the creative process tends to involve more trends, gimmicks and over-the-top ridiculousness, often diluting the essence of what made the show good enough to last that long in the first place. But in the case of reality shows, particularly The Bachelor, things get a lot more interesting once all bets are off and normal behavior is for outcasts. This latest season has been no different, and current bachelor Ben Higgins has been at the center of some shriek-worthy moments, and was absolutely the cause of a few.
To celebrate tonight's Season 20 finale of The Bachelor, we thought we'd look to the past recent months to bring back the craziest and most uncomfortable bits that this latest season had to offer. The only roses being handed out here squirt water when you get too close.
10. Amber And Becca's Return
Choosing between 26 different things is a difficult task, whether you’re talking about vehicles, shirts, cheeses or, in this case, potential life mates. So Ben’s life didn’t get any easier by having another two contestants added to The Bachelor’s pool of ladies, especially when they happened to be Becca Tilley and Amber James, two of the contestants who were eliminated during Season 19, when Chris Soules was the Bachelor. Now, previous contestants had returned in the past, but never two in one season when both are still so fresh in Bachelor viewers’ memories.
Truth be told, their arrival in the premiere was probably crazier than anything that either of them went through in the coming weeks. Becca just seemed like she wasn’t really into Ben (or anything), and Amber treated Ben as if he was a celebrity rather than someone she could attempt to have a human connection with. Neither one of them made it to the end the second time either.
9. Leah Threw Lauren Under The Bus And Drove Over Her
On every season of The Bachelor, this happens: Someone is chosen (i.e. edited) to be “the villain,” and someone else brings it up to the Bachelor, who gets defensive of said Villain and then sends the messenger packing. Ben, ever the rebel, flips the script by listening and considering people’s thoughts on resident baddie Olivia, and when he left her on an island during a date, it got wheels turning in Leah’s head.
After that particularly awkward group date when the women
were attacked by swam with wild pigs, Ben and Lauren’s chemistry became apparent, and Leah schemed that she’d have a better chance if Lauren got sent home. And so she spent part of her one-on-one date with Ben lying about changes in Lauren’s behavior when he’s not around, and later denied it all when confronted by a sobbing Lauren. Leah, we’re giving you and your never-let-the-truth-stand-in-your-way attitude an A for effort, if not for anything else.
8. Lace Can’t Get No Respect/Eye Contact
With alcohol flowing like the tears of past contestants, the first night at Bachelor Mansion is always a lock for drama and awkwardness, as evidenced by the tacky introductions and strangers all trying to out-mean-girl everyone else. Rarely, however, is the drama actually targeting the Bachelor himself. Enter Three Sheets To the Wind Lace, who confronts Ben about not making eye contact during the rose ceremony. This poor guy just met 28 beautiful women – yeah right, “poor guy” – and the girls are probably lucky if he even remembers their names.
But for Lace, it wasn’t enough to get a rose, and instead of thanking her lucky stars Ben didn’t hold alcohol consumption against her, she pulled him aside and gave him hell for “not looking at her once” during the ceremony. Sadly, we lost Lace only a few weeks and 10,000 “I’m not crazy”s later, when she realized the competition was bringing out the worst in her, making her more self-aware than 99.6% of Bachelor Nation.
7. Caila Got Dumped
If there was a posterchild for “15 minutes of emotionally brutal fame,” it would be Caila, the final contestant to get eliminated before the finale, and someone who’d only recently declared her love for Ben. The elimination wasn’t via rose ceremony, as it normally goes, but rather during an impromptu conversation that Caila clearly thought was going to end in Ben declaring his love and whisking her away to eternal bliss. But instead, he dumped her on the spot and destroyed all kinds of dreams.
Not only did he break up with her, but he did it while saying he couldn’t find a way to tell her he loves her, despite thinking she can be described as his “perfect wife.” That’s a bottom-tier consolation, and it’s made all the worse by this break-up coming just days after Ben and Caila did the dirty in the Fantasy Suite during their overnight date.
6. Ben Met Amanda’s Kids, And It Got Way Too Real
Children tend to complicate things on The Bachelor, as you can’t have as much schadenfreude for Bachelor contestants when a child’s well-being is at stake. And though this scenario usually involves seemingly well-adjusted kids introducing themselves over an instrumental that’s probably called “We’re a Complete Family Now,” Amanda’s kids broke the mold. Her adorable toddlers showed up for a beach reunion with Mommy and did not immediately warm to Ben, who does his part to be the “cool potential reality TV stepdad.”
Then the ride home happened. We’re treated to not just a tantrum and Amanda’s apologetic reaction to it – who was she apologizing to, anyway? – but also a super-awkward bedtime routine. Nothing says calm and relaxing like Mom’s new boyfriend and his camera crew. And when Amanda put the screaming kid down and shooed everyone out, her eyes betrayed her for just a second, and I really wish she would have said what every parent was thinking and told Bachelor Ben and his Bachelor cameras to GTFO.
5. The McDonald's Commercial Posing As An Episode
When you're with the person who might be your one and only, and you want to make your hometown date really special, you probably avoid buildings with giant golden arches and broken milkshake machines. But then, there probably isn't a corporate sponsor with staked interests in where you go on dates. And so, Ben took Amanda to good ol' Mickey D's for a late night date that could take total advantage of the McDonald's 24-hour breakfast menu, and french fries could be used in awkward Lady and the Tramp reenactments.
As if things couldn’t get mcstranger, Ben’s exclusive experience for this date was joining Amanda for some hot and steamy conversations…with hungry people through the drive-thru headsets. Yes, this was the purposefully rare date that not only ended in minimum wage labor, but was also one of the most blatant examples of product placement imaginable. I’m still not convinced it happened.
4. JoJo's Hometown Hijinks
Easily taking the title of most awkward hometown date of the season, Jojo’s date was a hot mess from the beginning. She showed up to a dozen red roses and a long love letter. As she read it, she realized they weren't from Ben but from her ex-boyfriend Chad. But if Ben thought Jojo’s tearful phone call to Chad was the worst thing he’d have to face that day, he’d never seen the show.
Once at Jojo’s family’s house, Ben was confronted by her older brothers, who said that Ben is brainwashing the girls. Being that this family is quite familiar with reality TV (brother Ben was on Eva Longoria’s show Ready For Love), it wouldn’t surprise me to find out the brothers took some direction from the producers on giving Ben a hard time. But Jojo’s mother chugging champagne straight from the bottle was a thing of beauty and likely all her own.
3. Olivia Has Her Cake And Dances With It, Too
They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that clearly isn't true when what happened aired on TV and can live forever on the Internet. When the group headed to gambling mecca, Olivia thought that this would be the best time to reveal that her “hidden talent” was awkwardly escaping from a cake and following it with a kicks-and-shimmies dance that made it seem as if she’d lost a lot of oxygen while inside the cake.
And even though Olivia claimed that she isn’t prone to embarrassment, this dance was the exception to end all exceptions, and it was obvious from the other contestants’ grinning faces (and Ben’s horror) that her attempt at being sexy fell flatter than a poorly mixed cake that no one can pop out of. It didn’t stop her from getting a rose, but it probably stopped a lot of women viewers from considering similar acts.
2. The Twin 2-On-1
The Bachelor’s version of the Thunderdome, the dreaded 2-on-1 date sees two women enter, with only one leaving. I personally love the 2-on-1s, because some amazing drama has come from them. Bachelor Ben doubled down this season, taking advantage of the group’s trip to Las Vegas – hometown of twins Haley and Emily - to decide it was a good time to take both sisters on a date, which included a walk around the city and a visit to their mom’s house.
Ben chats up their mom about the girls’ personalities and their differences, and peeks into their childhood bedrooms – complete with pictures of Haley’s ex-boyfriend all around hers, which she runs around trying to hide in the most awkward way. Then, adding insult to injury, Ben has to break up with Haley in front of her sister, AND THEIR MOM! I don’t know who I felt most sorry for.
1. When Ben Dropped The L Word All Over The Place
For 20 seasons of The Bachelor, women have said “I love you,” and Bachelors have responded with “Thank you,” “That’s nice,” and “And I love spending time with you!” But though the rules may imply you shouldn’t use those three little words until a diamond is securely on the finger, they don’t apply to our hero Ben, who melted all the hearts on his Jamaican date with Lauren when his response to her declaration was, “I’ve known for a while I’m in love with you as well.” Just end the season already, right?
And Ben is all “you hang up first, no you hang up first,” with Lauren as he left for his overnight date with Jojo, saying that his heart was with Lauren, but he needed to explore things with Jojo. And that exploration included hiking, swimming in waterfalls and, when Jojo decides it’s her turn to tell Ben how she really feels (she loves him), Ben comes back with, “Jojo, I love you too.” Whaaat? He told not just one, but TWO girls he loved them? Something tells me somebody had some ‘splainin to do when this one aired.
And now we begin to put together our paper chains to mark the wait until the premieres for both The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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