Arts & Culture

The Bachelor: Jason Mesnick Breaks Our Hearts

Jason Mesnick, the single father from Seattle, won over female hearts all across America last spring on The Bachelorette when he lost to the surprise pick, snowboarder and walking fashion-faux pas (pink shoelaces, anyone?) Jesse Csincsak. It was clear, to … Read More

By / March 3, 2009

Jason Mesnick, the single father from Seattle, won over female hearts all across America last spring on The Bachelorette when he lost to the surprise pick, snowboarder and walking fashion-faux pas (pink shoelaces, anyone?) Jesse Csincsak. It was clear, to me at least, that Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas was not really looking for a nice guy to settle down with, but rather a fun, adventurous dude. Granted, DeAnna was a Greek Orthodox girl from Georgia, but, in my mind I was wondering how she could pass up the nice Jewish father.

The outpouring of female interest in Jason led to hundreds of women calling into ABC to request that he be made the next Bachelor. And it worked: on January 5th all of the many adoring and mostly female fans got their wish. Jason started off with 25 beautiful women, many of whom had watched Jason get his heart broken by DeAnna and felt like they knew him already. Take, for example, stalker Shannon who seemed more enthralled by getting to meet a pseudo-celebrity then actually developing a genuine and organic bond with the man himself. She, along with many of the other women, seemed to come on too strong (there was one woman who admitted she’d made an Oprah-inspired "vision board" covered with pictures of Jason so that she could visualize their life together). There was also my initial favorite Jillian, a bubbly brunette from Canada who caught Jason’s attention with her theory on how you can tell everything about a man by what condiments he puts on his hot dog.

But, in the end, there were only two women left standing hoping to get that final rose. In one corner stood Molly, an initial front-runner who shared the first overnight date with Jason in a tent early on in the season. It was clear Jason was digging her. She was extremely confident and poised seeming always to be reciting words she had memorized from a "How to Win the Bachelor" handbook, rather than speaking from the heart. In the other corner stood Melissa, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who laid her heart on the line and admitted to always being the "dumpee." Melissa was cute and petite and seemed to be the most genuine and least psychotic of all of the women.  Most viewers seemed to be rooting for Melissa – myself included.

Now what happens next is all a blur. ABC chose to make a few very strategic – and in my opinion, very selfish  and inappropriate – choices all in the name of drumming up viewers.

For the last two months we have awaited the much-hyped return of DeAnna, which was promoted like crazy in ads for the show. Every week I tuned in wondering which week would be the week DeAnna would magically appear and beg Jason to take her back, throwing a monkey wrench into the whole scenario. Instead, they saved DeAnna for the last 15 minutes of the finale, and all it amounted to was a mere five minutes of DeAnna proclaiming that Jason should follow his heart ("or let his heart lead him" as she all-so-profoundly stated). So with that Jason, chooses Melissa and all is right with the world. He sends Molly on her way back to wherever the heck she is from to wallow in her waspy-ness. Molly shows more emotion in the limo ride after he lets her go, then she does in the entire time she was with Jason, and this is only because she lost. She even tries to play into Jason’s insecurities by proclaiming "that she thinks Melissa isn’t right for him and is likely to break his heart the way DeAnna did" but Jason sends her home anyway and gets down on one knee Neil Lane diamond ring in hand for Melissa. All was right in reality-TV land and the Jewish dad we all fell in love with finally found true love.

That is … until the obligatory "After the Final Rose" followup/reunion show. In a matter of minutes, Jason Mesnick went from the most adored man on television to scum of the earth. Jason solemnly reveals that after six weeks post finale spent with Melissa, he is having doubts and has been thinking of Molly constantly. Without a studio audience present "to protect those involved" (the producers’ words, not mine) Melissa is brought out for Jason to break up with in front of live television.

Now, with all of the sleazy talk shows in which lovers confess their infidelity, there is something fake about it all. This definitely did not seem artificial. Melissa seemed truly devastated that after six weeks of dating off camera Jason is breaking up with her because he wants to choose Molly. Now, the whole excitement behind reality television is that real people can watch other real, non-paid actors live out their lives on television often times putting themselves in humiliating and vulnerable scenarios sometimes for money. But something didn’t feel right about watching this. It was too much. This nice, sweet girl thought she found Prince Charming and had her entire extravagant courtship down to the romantic proposal only to have it later snatched viciously out from right under her on camera. In my opinion it was cruel on the part of ABC and Jason to bring Melissa on television to have her heart broken for the all the world to see. Her life became a side show and we all had a front row seat. It was absolutely despicable to do such a thing. I can understand Jason having a change of heart and wanting to end things with Melissa (after all, none of the Bachelors in all thirteen seasons have managed to make their courtship last), but to do this on television was simply cruel and unnecessary. On a personal level, this just echoed the sentiments that I already knew (from years of dating experience) that not all Jewish boys are Good Jewish Boys. And they are no less incapable of breaking your heart.

Adding insult to injury, after Melissa (awesomely) called Jason a bastard, asked him never to contact her again, and stomped off the set, Molly was brought out. Jason told her he was still in love with her, she admitted she still had feelings for him, and then they made out. On the couch. On television. Five minutes after the guy had just dumped his fiancee. And yet they expect us to believe they hadn’t been in contact at all since the show ended. Right.

Well, Mr. Mesnick, looks like you have a lot to atone for on Yom Kippur this year.