My love/hate relationship with “The Bachelorette”: Last week, Disney’s Chip and Dale was more like ABC’s Clare and Dale

Madelyn Bonadio, Opinion Editor

As painful as this year’s season of “The Bachelorette”  has been, we can’t seem to peel our eyes away from this train wreck. Clare’s psychotic behavior mixed with the limitations of COVID-19 make this season truly unforgettable. The most recent episode, postponed from an election night with no concrete results, is probably one of the most unorthodox in Bachelor history. If you’ve been following along, you know Clare, the oldest Bachelorette ever, has fallen completely head over heels for Dale Moss, part-time Halloween costume model, in record time. All the other guys are simply background characters in what has now become “Why Clare Crawley Needs Therapy” and not “The Bachelorette.”

The episode begins with the other men, aka the show extras, discussing how Clare did not give out a rose on the previous group date. They battle with the existential question Why am I here? and blame Dale’s charming looks and personality, instead of Clare’s lack of desire. We then cut to Clare gushing about Dale in her 2011 Justice Password-Protected Diary; she talks about him like I talked about Shawn Mendes in sixth grade which (I can promise you) is not good. 

Things go so badly that our favorite host, Chris Harrison, has to step in and have a little talk with Clare. He gives her the biggest reality check of all time: the other guys are fed up and the show can’t continue like this. Clare proclaims she “respects the process” but, from what we’ve seen, I beg to disagree. She manages to switch the subject back to her unhealthy obsession with Dale, claiming that he’s her destiny and they’re a perfect match. Hmmm, I smell a future restraining order. Clare shocks Bachelor Nation with her total honesty, admitting that she only has eyes for Dale and that THE BACHELORETTE IS OVER?? How did she manage to pull this off without Chris Harrison stating “This is the most dramatic season of the Bachelorette yet!”? I’m starting to think Juan Pablo really dodged a bullet.

We switch back to the extras discussing their relationships with Clare (or lack thereof). The boy band manager, who looks exactly like what I envisioned someone of that occupation to  look like, claims he wants “Clarity from Clare.” I have to appreciate his alliteration, but I think he’s been spending too much time with singing boys. Mid-depression-session, Chris Harrison walks in and brings some bad news: there will be no cocktail party or rose ceremony. The guy that has a very geometrical beard who vaguely reminds me of a Roblox character looks so upset, I feel genuinely bad for them. On the bright side, however, Clare gets more quality time to seal the deal with Dale. 

As we wait for Dale and Clare’s date during the commercial break, I can’t help but wonder what terribly unfashionable and clashy shoes she will wear tonight. However, she comes on the screen looking INCREDIBLE! I don’t particularly like the woman, but I can admit she looks stunning in that red sparkly floor-length dress! Soon reality hits again and I remember how Clare has completely torn the Bachelorette process to pieces. She isn’t like the other girls, she doesn’t follow the rules she is contractually bound to. Clare begins to tell Dale all about her parents’ marriage and proposal—she doesn’t even try to be subtle. The couple moves on to the death of their parents; as saddening as this topic is, it is refreshing to see them talk genuinely for the first time. It’s scary Clare had previously claimed him the love of her life without knowing the name of his parents until this date. She finally confesses she is falling in love with him, but she is basically just putting the obvious into words. Shockingly, Dale responds that his feelings are mutual and they pull themselves into the most uncomfortable kiss I have ever witnessed. Dale continually pulls away but Clare simply cannot get enough. They then dance to a nauseatingly corny song and make their way to a makeshift fantasy suite. My poor innocent eyes did not need to see her dress on the floor as they wake up together to start a new day. 

Call Neil Lane! After three weeks of dating, the rules of the show dictate it’s time to get engaged. Faster than Anna from Frozen, Clare knows Dale is her destiny and is ready for a rock!  Clare’s extreme love for Dale means she has to break up with all of the other guys. Demonstrating worse etiquette than calling it quits via text, Clare fakes her way through the letdown. It seems like she might actually care a little bit, but the fans of the Bachelor nation know better. Imagine taking time off your job and quarantining for two weeks, just to be kicked out in favor of a guy with the same name as a Disney chipmunk. Clare is unapologetic, gushing over Dale and whining “I will not apologize for love” when none of her suitors made any such accusation. Poor guys, Roblox man even bought a book on Alzheimer’s so he could support Clare’s mother. They are crushed.

Will Dale pop the question or leave her in tears? Maybe both. Clare is dressed as an off-brand Storm Trooper with almond-shaped gel nails. As she stands by the best props provided by the La Quinta hotel, we see Chris Harrison enter the room. Could he be the bearer of bad news?  He says ominously, “Clare, there’s something we need to tell you.” Alas, it was a trick: his special message is that he is so proud of her. Silly Chrissy! Finally, Dale enters the scene and I could smell his overpriced cologne through my TV screen. Clare begins a speech before Dale can even start a proposal. She’s never had a man “who stayed” but she is talking as though they are already married.  Luckily, Dale delivers the goods: he gets down on one knee and presents the largest diamond ever seen in the Bachelor franchise. Dale tries to stand, but it takes Clare a hot second to push him back down and demand, “put that ring on my finger”. We are treated to a classic Bachelor ‘jump and straddle’ hug with perfect form.  It’s happily ever after, at least until we read about their breakup in an upcoming People magazine in February 2021.

With Clare and Dale on their way to make a salad together in an Airbnb, what are the remaining guys left to do? They are given a few hours to journal, bromance in the pool, and contemplate the serious issue of whether to stay or go. If only my words could reach them through the TV screen, “Stay! You are in for a serious upgrade!” There’s a new Bachelorette finishing her quarantine and exiting the signature limousine in a strappy green sparkly dress. Tayshia is fun, smart, gorgeous, and ready for love. We can’t wait to see her season begin and cheer her on in her journey to find love.