Spoiler alert: Do not read if you are still watching Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette.
I sat there with my hands clutching my head, rocking back and forth. I was pretty sure I was groaning as I felt my fingers pull at my hair. A show had actually caused me to literally pull my hair out.
My best friend did not think this was strange. I am pretty sure she felt the exact same way I did. When I eventually pulled my head out of my lap, I saw that she kept shaking her head with a look of distaste on her face.
What caused this level of angst in my apartment? It was the finale of The Bachelorette. To be exact, the source of my torment was Rachel breaking up with Peter.
I am a veteran of The Bachelor franchise. I have seen at least ten seasons of it. I consider myself a hardened viewer at this point. Never have I felt such angst watching a reality TV show (don’t get me started on how many reality shows I have seen in general). It was like Jo and Laurie all over again (why, Louisa May Alcott, why?).
Basically, Rachel had a choice between two men. One she was head-over-heels in love with who was pretty much perfect, but there was one catch: he wasn’t ready to get married in six weeks (wait, are you telling me that seems too soon to you, too?). He wanted to commit to her, but he valued a proposal too much to do it for the sake of live television. Then there was the other guy. Her family didn’t like him that much, and she didn’t seem to love him nearly as much, but he was a sure bet. He was definitely going to propose to her on a windy hill in Spain.
Who does she pick? You guessed it. The cheesy guy that she didn’t like much, but she knew would give her a shiny ring. So I had to watch a painful conversation between two people who basically wanted the same thing–a serious relationship together–but one person was too wedded to a vision of a TV proposal to let that dream come true. She was basically willing to sacrifice a great ending that she didn’t envision (becoming the girlfriend to a great guy instead of getting engaged) to a mediocre ending that she did (a lackluster proposal to a suspect guy that she thought was ok).
Where is the writing lesson in all of this? Be flexible, especially with your endings. You might think that you have a simple, uncomplicated happy ending, but then you discover a more ambiguous, complex ending for your novel. Don’t take the easy route or stick to what you have planned. Allow yourself to be challenged and create the correct ending to your story. (If you are looking for an example of this in fiction, How I Met Your Mother‘s ending is an example of a disaster you want to avoid. The writers should have been willing to change the planned ending!)
Do you watch The Bachelorette? Were you as upset as much as I was? Please tell me in the comments below so we can commiserate.