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, anchored a throwback season in which nothing much happened as he (relatively) studiously went about finding a wife.

Going into the finale, Arie had narrowed the field of his future wives down to two: the blond, laconic Lauren B., a quiet, shy woman whose every line on the show could be contained in one blog post, and brunette Becca, a publicist from Minnesota with an upbeat personality and confident manner who said comparing herself to Lauren was like “comparing an apple to a starfish.” Arie was expected to choose between these two women Monday night, but from the moment the episode began, with host Chris Harrison telling a live audience “whether he knows it or not, Arie is about to become the most controversial bachelor in history,” it was clear more was in the air.

What followed was a typical innovation, in which it aired unedited, dual camera footage of Arie breaking up with Becca weeks after their engagement because he still had a hankering for Lauren.

In this case, we got a spotlight on the atrociousness of the self-identified “good guy” and the narcissism and self-obsession inherent in a kind of individualism that treats doing whatever the eff you want as a moral act, instead of an abrogation of basic decency.

Arie wanted to break up with Becca on television, because he thought he owed her that, and it’s true, in normal adult circumstances, it ’s whole malarkey ethos, in which doing something sexually mercenary—dating a harem of women at the same time, for example—is reframed as a romantic quest.

Arie has to do this, dump this woman on television, because it just wouldn’t be “fair” to her if he didn’t follow his heart, the only heart that really matters.

cycles ago, I wrote about the season Arie previously appeared on, and the Bachelor or Bachelorette’s self-defeating habit of splitting the final contestants into the one who is “appropriate” for them and the one they are attracted to.

(This is also how the show is edited.) Inevitably, the Bachelor(ettes) doubt their tawdry chemical connection with its reek of sex, even though it’s much more reliable than any other bond formed in the distorting hothouse of a reality show, and so choose, in the parlance of scan onto Arie’s choice this season, because Arie didn’t appear to have chemistry with Lauren, so much as protective instinct, but in picking Becca, Arie did make the “logical”—his words—companionate choice.

Becca was a women he knew he could have an entire conversation with—truly, the low bar Lauren couldn’t clear—while Lauren was the blank slate upon whom he could sketch all his ardor.Then, after getting engaged to Becca, he was overcome with Bachelor’s remorse. She understands where Arie is going from the start, slips off her huge engagement ring—the cameras don’t quite catch it—and says, “I hope you find what you want.It’s clearly not me.” has turned crying into a kind of cat-and-mouse game, with it playing the cat and the contestants playing the mouse, but where the rules are: If the cat sees the mouse cry, it gets to eat its soul.Becca wants to keep her soul and so gets off the couch to go get her suitcase, telling Arie to go away.As Arie follows, looking for benediction, a clearing of his conscience, Becca does an impressive job holding onto the appropriate emotion: anger. Arie forces Becca to sit down with him on the couch, so he can clarify what she already knows.“This is a really shitty thing on your part,” she says to him, holding her face up to the ceiling, so her tears don’t spill over her mascara. They need the breakdown, the hurt, the emotion, all of the tears Becca is sobbing off-camera, in the bathroom, as Arie knocks and asks “Hey, are you OK? Under the guise of making her feel better, he has her say, “My future was ripped away.

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