Welcome to the finale of what proved to be anything other than the "usual" season of The Bachelorette. Lots of people hated this season, and I don't think anyone loved it. As always, I had my usual love/hate response.

I haven't read any reviews of the finale yet (so I don't accidentally steal someone else's ideas), but I have read comments by other posters and I've read the titles of the reviews. From what I can tell, there are a lot of people out there who found the finale very disappointing and have come down hard on Jen.

I'll grant you that the first two hours of the finale were painful and often boringly repetitious, as the producers put the players through all the traditional steps leading up to the rose ceremony. But, although the live "After the Final Rose" show didn't give us the "fairy tale" ending that diehard romantics wanted, I found it interesting. Certainly it was more "real" than previous Bachelor ATFR shows, where the players continued to pretend they cared about each other until after the show was over. I'm not saying the live show was great TV. As always, it was tacky and exploitative, designed to cause maximum discomfort on national TV for three people who didn't want to be there. But, like any good train wreck, I couldn't help watching.

I would have been much more disappointed in the finale if I'd been expecting a happy ending. But, anyone who logs onto the Internet has heard rumors for weeks that the relationship between Jerry and Jen ended soon after filming was over. So, despite Chris Harrison's hype, I wasn't "stunned" by the outcome.

And, unlike many Internet posters, I don't hate Jen. My take is that Jen really thought she was ready to get engaged again, but unfortunately didn't realize until after filming had started that she wasn't yet ready to make another commitment. I can't criticize someone else for being clueless about themselves, when I've been incredibly clueless in my own love life too many times. In fact, I give Jen props for facing the pressure and disappointment from viewers and the producers, and doing what she had to do.

On to the recap...

John Paul Meets Jen's Parents

The show starts tonight with Jen bringing John Paul and Jerry to visit her family in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio....As our introduction to Cleveland, we are treated to a panoramic view of the city, and reminded that Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.....We see Jen waiting for JP in a restaurant near the romantic banks of Lake Erie....Jen's conversation with JP is mostly unmemorable.....They talk about how nervous they both are, and JP tells Jen (and us) for the first of many times tonight that he has fallen in love with Jen.....JP also gives Jen a gift of diamond drop earrings.

JP asks Jen if she has any concerns....Jen says to JP that she wants to create a life with someone, not step into a life that's already been created....JP assures Jen that, if Jen wanted, he'd be he'd be willing to sell his business and start over. He tells Jen that it's not about the money, it's about unconditional love, and the rest are just accessories.....Frankly, I haven't been a fan of JP's up until this episode, but tonight JP says and does all the right things.

Next, it's on to meet Jen's father, mother, and brother....It's scary, Jen's brother really does look a lot like Wendell.

Jen's mother loves JP.....She tells the camera that her first impression of him is that he's gorgeous.... Then JP scores additional points with Jen's mom by bringing her a present—a very large vase.....The vase isn't exactly my taste, but it's exactly the right present for Jen's mom....She tells the camera that flowers die, but the vase is something she'll have forever, and no matter what happens, it will be something to remember JP by.

Jen's family sits around the table trying to pretend that this is just a casual occasion that just happens to include cameras, lights, and producers everywhere....The conversation is mostly about JP's and Jen's first impressions of each other—pretty innocuous stuff...But during the whole conversation, Jen's brother Jason looks at JP as if JP is scum. Kinda scary.

We also learn more about JP started his business....It turns out that JP took the money his parents gave him to buy a car when he graduated from high school, and used it instead for the down payment on a house, which he then fixed up himself and sold for a profit, and then reinvested in several other homes....(Wouldn't you hate to be one of JP's four younger brothers, having to hear about this paragon of an older brother?).....Needless to say, this story goes over very well with Jen's parents.

Then JP (which now stands for Junior Paragon in my mind) asks Jen's dad if he would mind if he talked to him outside...JP tells Jen's dad that he's falling in love with his daughter, and asks if he would have the blessing of Jen's dad if he asked her to marry him...Jen's dad does everything but pull out a checkbook and ask how much he thinks they'll need for the wedding...Okay, I'm exaggerating. But, Jen's father does like JP a lot.

Then JP shows what a brave man he is, and goes off to talk alone with Jason.....Among other things, JP tells Jason that Jen has all the qualities he is looking for in a wife, and that if he and Jen got engaged, he would treat her like a princess. (Personally, after the Prince Charles/Princess Diana marriage, I'm not sure that "treat her like a princess" is such a good description anymore.)....Still, JP must have said something right, because Jason no longer looks like he wants to kill him.....After JP and Jason come back, it's time for JP to leave...As JP says good-bye, he once again says the perfect thing to Jen's mom, and tells her he felt like he was at home for once in this situation, so it was comforting to be there....However, JP (finally!) shows that he isn't absolutely perfect, because with a touch of arrogance, he says to the camera that he wonders what Jerry is going to talk about with Jen's family, because they have nothing in common.

After Jen walks JP out to the van and kisses him good-bye, she goes back into her house to hear more from her family....Bottom line: The parents are a "Yes."...Jason admits that JP really likes Jen and is serious about the whole thing, but tells the camera that he doesn't think that Jen would be happy with JP.

Jerry Meets Jen's Parents

The next day, Jen meets Jerry in downtown Cleveland, this time at an Irish wine bar...Jen and Jerry immediately lapse into their usual mode of conversation where Jen wants more information from Jerry, and he gets defensive....It turns out that, after several dates, Jerry has never really told Jen what he does for a living. (Red flag—Isn't that usually a first date topic?)...And, no surprise, Jerry doesn't understand why Jen is concerned about his job, and says he hates talking about things like what they're going to do (in the future), and doesn't want to bring those questions into their relationship...But, Jen reminds Jerry that her parents are going to ask those questions of her, and she doesn't want to seem dumb when she doesn't know the answer.

Jerry gets pouty, but finally tells Jen that he's the director of a gallery.....Then Jen has to pry it out of Jerry exactly what he does as a director of a gallery...(Not surprisingly, Jerry doesn't include that fairly recently he was a doorman at a jewelry store who appeared on Real World New York.)....After some more conversation, Jen and Jerry leave for Jen's house, and Jerry asks if they can stop somewhere along the way so that he can buy flowers for Jen's mom.

Jen and Jerry greet Jen's family.....When Jerry gives Jen's mom the flowers, I had to chuckle, because Jen's mom puts them in the vase that JP gave her the night before...Jen shoots her mom a look as if to say, "What the h*ell are you doing?" but Jen's mom just ignores her and smiles....Unlike JP, Jerry is uncomfortably nervous, but Jen's family tries their best to make the situation more comfortable...The family sits down at the table, and, yup, one of the first questions they ask Jerry is what he does for a living....Because Jerry had rehearsed his answer with Jen earlier, he is pretty smooth. But, when Jerry is asked if he's an artist, he hems and haws and finally says: A little bit. I thought I was, and then, you know, I said, "Forget it."

After dinner, Jen's mom invites Jerry into the family room to look at pictures of Jen when she was growing up.....Good move--Jerry is always better with women than with men....He assures Jen's mom that he is serious about Jen, and would be willing to move to Chicago to be with her...Jerry talks about how he's willing to take the risk to pursue a relationship with Jen, and by the end of the conversation, Jerry and Jen's mom are holding hands on the couch as they talk about Jen....However, later, Jen's mom tells the camera that she's not sure that there is a future for Jen and Jerry where the feelings are as strong as they are now.....Soon after, it's time for Jerry to go, and Jen walks him out to the car...As usual, Jerry is feeling very insecure, and says to Jen, "Well, go clean up the mess I may have created (with her parents)...Jen assures him that there is no mess.

Back in the house, Jen sits in the kitchen with her family and asks them what they think of Jerry. Bottom line: They liked Jerry, but liked JP better, and aren't sure they see a future for Jen with Jerry...You can tell during the conversation that Jen really wants her parents to see what she sees in Jerry, but they don't....Jen admits that she has more attraction to one guy (obviously Jerry, although she doesn't say his name), and that her feelings for the other are more like, "This is the (guy I should choose)"....Jen explains that her feelings for one are rational and the other are irrational...Then she talks about the fact that she thought she would be scared at this point in the process, but she also has doubts, and she didn't expect that....Jen's family asks her if she'd have a different perspective if she hadn't gone through this before...Jen replies: Yeah, I think I would have been like, "Let's just see what happens."....As Jen leaves, we hear more of the same about how she is confused and scared.

The Blondes Meet Jerry and JP

After commercials, Jen is in New York and says she's just as confused as ever, so she's asked her two blonde clones, uh friends, to help her. Abby and Michelle are going to meet separately with JP and Jerry so they can give Jen their opinion....(Warning to Jen: These are the same two who fixed you up with Keith, and we know what a success that was.)...First up is JP, who they meet at a restaurant that looks like it's set for breakfast or brunch, although none of the three ever touch the food.... JP repeats what we've heard before about Jen having the qualities he's always looked for in a wife, and that he has fallen in love with her...Michelle reminds JP that there is a 50/50 chance he might not be chosen....JP answers that he would be devastated, but that's part of love. He says, "If it was easy and everyone got what they wanted, it wouldn't be worth much, would it?"...After meeting with JP, Abby and Michelle decide that if they could mold a perfect guy for Jen, he would be the one.

Next Abby and Michelle meet Jerry at another restaurant.....Jerry, as usual, is nervous, and asks Abby and Michelle to be nice to him....They ask Jerry if he loves Jen, and, as usual, Jerry dances around the question....Jerry: Is it love? I'm a guy. That's a tough word for us to throw out....The women tease him, "You were throwing it out the first night."....Jerry tries to change the subject and but the women don't let him off the hook....Jerry finally says that he has yet to say to Jen that he loves her, and that's something he wants to share with Jen before he shares it with everybody else....Abby says to Jerry:. I have the feeling that you definitely like Jen a lot, (but), you're not sure. You want to give it a try, but if she walked away from you tomorrow, you necessarily wouldn't be devastated....Jerry protests that he would be upset, and his feelings for Jen are more than just liking her. And, any questions that they have are questions that could only be answered in time....After the meeting, Michelle tells the camera: Jerry is coming into this more realistically and somewhat more guarded with his feelings, which, to me, is impressive, and more sincere. But, at the same time, we're encouraging Jen to open her heart and take a risk, and we're not sure if Jerry's ready to reciprocate that.

After the meetings, Abby and Michelle go to Jen's apartment to give Jen the scoop....They tell Jen that JP is definitely head over heels for her. They think Jerry is cute, but his answers are a little wordy....(No kidding.)....Abby's main concern is that Jerry couldn't spell out his feelings for Jen. He just kept on saying that, "Whatever happens at the end of this, we'll figure it out."...Michelle says again that JP is wearing his heart on his sleeve and asks Jen if she feels the same way....Jen tells them that she's confused and scared and doesn't know what she wants....Later, Jen tells the camera that Abby and Michelle didn't offer any new information.....Jen: They didn't really enlighten me in any way. I have a hard decision to make, and they didn't help me one bit....Uh Jen, don't you think that's a little harsh? Isn't it more that Abby and Michelle didn't tell you what you wanted to hear?

Here's the bottom line as I see it. Jen knows that JP is everything she's supposed to want, but she just isn't in love with him. She knows that there are lots of problems with Jerry, but she finds Jerry more physically attractive and exciting than JP, and keeps hoping that someone is going to give her some information about Jerry to help her justify choosing him. Unfortunately, Jen's issues with Jerry are so glaring that no one who cares about Jen is going to tell her that he's the right one for her, so she's all on her own if she picks him.

The Gals Go Shopping and Jen's Meltdown Continues

I felt really bad for Jen during this next segment. Choosing a dress for the final rose ceremony and picking out an engagement ring should be wonderful happy experiences. Instead, Jen is feels miserable and is hating every minute....First, Jen meets Abby and Michelle at her apartment to go shop for a dress for the final rose ceremony....On the way, and during dress shopping, Jen (endlessly) tells Abby and Michelle how unhappy and scared she is, but she does manage to pick out a dress....Then it's time to look for rings, and Abby and Michelle are excited about it, but Jen is dreading it. As much as I was tired of hearing the same comments from Jen about how unhappy she is, I really did feel sorry for her....For example, as Jen walked into Harry Winston to pick out rings, she said in a voiceover, "Every girl dreams about ring shopping and getting an engagement ring and that ring that you're gonna have for the rest of your life, but I'm thinking about two guys that are potentially gonna give me that ring. It's just not the way I had pictured it."

Thankfully, there is something intoxicating about beautiful jewelry, and Jen perks up for a bit, and picks out a large oval diamond ring, and says she loves it...Unfortunately, the glow doesn't last long, and Jen tells the camera, "Right now, this is, like, making me sick. I don't know. Who am I hoping that this comes from? I did that before. I wanted this to be right."....As Michelle describes it later in a voiceover, Jen was panic-stricken while they were ring shopping...Still, Jen is a trouper and doesn't break down while they're at the jewelry store.

But, as soon as she is alone with Abby and Michelle in the limo, Jen loses it, and breaks down crying, saying (among other things),"I'm scared! I'm sad! This just sucks. I just wish I never would have done this. I don't want to come in and hurt anyone. How do I say, 'Oh, you know what? Thanks for falling in love with me, but I don't love you?' I'm sorry that I'm not somebody who just takes a leap of faith and goes with the moment. I did that. And it [Bleep] me. I'm not gonna do that again."

Jen's Final Date With Jerry

Next we seen Jen accept dinner from a takeout delivery guy....She tells the camera, " I'm exhausted. I'm confused. I'm emotional. But I have two great guys, two dates left, and tonight, maybe I should just enjoy it and go with it versus thinking about things too much."....Jen and Jerry sit down to eat takeout pizza, and I wish I could report that their conversation covers new ground, but it doesn't.....Jerry tells Jen that he's crazy about her, and the last thing he wants her to question is whether or not he's in love with her...Jen tells Jerry how bad she feels that she can't tell him what he wants to hear and is still unsure of how she feels.....Then, the two of them go back and forth on this theme for awhile...After some long, but only moderately passionate kisses, Jerry leaves.

BTW, I finally saw a better description for the chemistry (or lack thereof) this season between Jen and any of the guys. I think Jen is attracted to both JP and Jerry, but there has been none of the "I can't keep my hands off you" chemistry that I would expect from a couple in love. But, one review I read last week pinned it down to specifics—Jen has yet to French kiss with any of the guys this season, except when Fabric stuck his tongue down her throat (which doesn't count because it wasn't mutual). And, as far as I can tell, there was no French kissing on the finale show, either. What's with that? Maybe Jen just doesn't like to French kiss. Or, maybe it's a sign that Jen isn't THAT physically attracted to either guy. And, does the lack of French kissing indicate that neither of these guys has even gotten to second base at this point? Have we gone back to the 50's? How can Jen (or the guys) even think about possible marriage if they have shared so little physical intimacy with Jen? Did the virgins secretly convert the guys and Jen to their "saving themselves" philosophy? In any case, I see a big red warning flag here.

Jen's Final Date With JP

The next evening, JP comes over to Jen's apartment for takeout. It appears to be sushi on the menu, although, I don't think either of them touched a bite all night.....JP asks Jen: What are your instincts knowing me as a person?...Jen answers that she has no questions about JP, and that she doesn't worry that he'll be a different person when they get into the outside world...Then JP lays in on the line one last time, and tells Jen that he has fallen in love with her...Later, Jen and JP spend some time in the hot tub, and they both look very happy and content (but still share only "moderate" kisses.)

The Men Shop for Rings

It's the day of the final rose ceremony, and we see a faked scene of Jen getting out of bed, and looking pensively out of the window with a coffee cup in her hand. She seems more at ease than she has since she got back to New York. The transition from "just shy of mental breakdown" to being at peace seems kinda sudden. We certainly haven't been shown anything that would account for the change. Maybe Jen's meds finally kicked in.

First Jen muses about Jerry, while scenes of the two of them play on the screen...Then, we see Jerry get out of the limo at the jewelry store....Jerry sits down with the same woman (Carol) who helped Jen pick out rings earlier....For some reason, Jerry feels the need to tell Carol at great length about how wonderful Jen is and what he wants to show Jen in the engagement ring....Carol is very patient, but gets down to the business of showing Jerry rings as soon as she can get a word in edgewise...The first ring Carol shows Jerry is the three diamond ring, symbolizing the past, present, and future. Jerry immediately decides that that is the right ring....BTW, it's not the ring that Jen picked for herself, and we never hear Jerry ask which ring Jen liked best.

Next, we're back to Jen looking out the window, this time musing about her time with JP...We then see JP pull up to the jewelry store, sit down with Carol, and get right down to business....Carol shows JP the rings she showed Jerry earlier, but then JP asks if she has any rings with bigger stones....Carol shows JP two additional rings, one of them being the large oval diamond that Jen had picked out earlier...JP quickly picks out the same ring that Jen picked. (And, as far as we know, wasn't told that that ring had been Jen's choice). This time Carol mentions the price of the ring--$50,500.

Getting Ready for the Rose Ceremony

Next up are the traditional scenes of the two men and Jen getting ready for the rose ceremony in their separate hotel rooms....As Jen puts on makeup and gets her hair done, she agonizes yet again that it's going to be hard to be happy about potentially getting engaged knowing that she is also going to make someone terribly unhappy...We see Jerry shaving, wearing sleeveless undershirt, saying that he is looking forward to proposing to Jen, because he wants to see if this is something he and Jen can turn into a "beautiful fairy tale" and have a future together....JP comes into the bathroom wearing just a towel, showing that he is not just a desk jockey, but also takes the time to work out. Nice....JP says to the camera: The worst thing that could happen tonight is for me to put everything out there and get nothing in return. On the other hand, without facing that fear, I couldn't live with myself. The rewards are far much greater than any hurt I could ever get....Then we come back once again to Jen, Jerry, and JP as they get into their respective limousines, and continue to comment on their feelings and their hopes for tonight.....Jen gets out of her limo first, and walks into what looks like a large lobby with a beautiful tile floor, and a white podium in the middle, with a plate containing a single rose. I liked this setting much better than the "flowers gone wild" look of past Bachelor seasons...As she walks in, Jen says, "This entire experience is about fate. It was tough, but thank god I did it, because I really do believe that things work out and things happen for a reason, so I'm not looking in the past anymore. I want to move on, I want to get married, and I want to settle down and have children, and I'm really optimistic that that's going to happen."....Hmmm, somehow in the last few hours Jen has undergone a complete personality change.

Jen Says Good-bye to JP

A limo pulls up to the building, and we find out if the rumors are true about who Jen will send home. Yup, once again the National Enquirer got it right—JP steps out of his limo. As he walks up to Jen waiting for him, we see hear more comments from JP, including his final comment, "Putting a ring on Jen's finger will make me the luckiest man in the world, and it means everything to me."

Jen smiles at JP and JP tells her she looks beautiful. It's obvious to me that Jen is about to say good-bye to JP, but he apparently doesn't notice, and plunges into his speech to Jen, as Jen tries to look at him with a smile on her face....Here are some excerpts from his speech: Coming into this, I could have never imagined that I would meet someone that had every quality that I could ever imagine my wife having. And the fact that I found that in you is so amazing. I have developed an unconditional love for you. Completely. I want to show you something.....JP takes the ring box out of his pocket and opens it.....JP: I see you as the woman I want to marry. I see you as the woman that I want to marry today or as the woman in 10 years. I have found the woman that I could spend the rest of my life with.

Jen then replies to JP: I think that you are incredible. And I think that you have every quality that I look for in someone. But it's—just something is just not there. It's just a gut feeling. I can't explain to you....JP tries to console Jen by telling her he totally understands...Jen goes on: I want you to be happy, and I want you to know that I will always remember this and all the times that we had together...JP says to Jen: This is very tough. What were your turning points? What were your doubts? Or what were your concerns?...Jen replies: I don't think I ever had doubts when it came to you, ever. I've never questioned you. It's just there's that gut feeling. That thing that's like, "Oh, my god. This guy is great. He has every quality that I'm looking for. I just don't know if it's there forever."....JP: I understand. And I just want you to know I put my heart out there. And I can walk away with that....Then Jen walks JP to the door, and JP gets back into his limo.

In the limo driving back to his hotel, JP tries to be philosophical but finds it difficult....Here is a sampling of his comments....JP: We had everything there--everything. Then she [Bleep] pulled that [Bleep]. I feel angry and I feel upset, but all's fair in love and war. I put everything out there for Jen, and gave her anything and everything she possibly imagined in a husband, and offered her this fairy-tale ending. Jen let the wrong guy go. And so it's her loss, not mine. Jen made a mistake. I think, six months from now, she'll regret it. Jen's gonna wake up, and she's gonna be 32, looking for a husband. Looking for someone that she knew was there and passed up. And it'll be too late at that point. It was so perfect. She let it go.

Jen watches JP's limo pull away, and as she walks back to the center of the room, she says: I've been through this experience before, and I've been so scared that this can fail again. But I'm not scared anymore. I came into this to find love and to fall in love. It's just getting there--it's been a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Jerry's gonna be here in a little bit, and I can't wait to see him, and I can't wait for this moment to happen.

Live "After the Final Rose" Show

ABC did something very smart this time around. In past seasons, the ATFR show has been an afterthought, an anticlimax to the real event, the final rose ceremony. This season, the producers integrated the live show into the taped finale by not showing us Jerry's proposal and Jen's answer to Jerry until the live show.

As in past seasons, the ATFR show is held on a simple stage set, with just a few chairs onstage, and a large video screen, and a small (but enthusiastic) live audience.....Chris Harrison comes out to wild cheers from the audience, and announces: We are live from Hollywood tonight. For the first time ever, the fate of the final rose is yet to be determined. As you just saw, Jen rejected John Paul's proposal. Then, Jerry, also asked Jen to marry him. We'll show you his proposal a little later. What happened when he got down on one knee? It's been months since Jerry popped the question. He and Jen are both backstage. She has finally made her decision. You'll hear her answer live, when he hears it.

Chris: But first, John Paul is here. He's looking for answers. Tonight, he confronts Jen for the first time.....Chris introduces JP, who is greeted with huge cheers and applause from the audience. JP looks great, and doesn't look particularly sad or brokenhearted, despite Chris' hyped introduction.

Chris greets JP, and says that the audience's enthusiastic welcome should make it a little easier....Chris says he knows that JP has questions....Chris: (But), before we get to that, let's look at never-before-seen moments between you and Jen....Most of the new footage on the tape is additional comments from JP's limo ride home, several of which are very perceptive. Among the comments: You know, I have no clue what (Jerry and Jen) have in common. I think the biggest hurt is (that I thought I could read Jen). And (I was) so wrong about it. I think I'm more disappointed in the fact that (Jen is confused) about what she wants.

Chris asks JP about why he felt fooled by Jen...JP: The fact we talked about so much deep stuff of me possibly moving to Chicago. Or her coming to Oklahoma City. (But) to be realistic about it, I knew what I signed up for. She had to make a decision. And I have to live with it.....Chris then says to JP: Going into that last night, you truly expected (Jen) to accept that proposal....JP: The way I did the whole show, I never thought about her relationships with (the other guys). It ended up being my downfall. I never thought about Jerry. Going through it, it was just me and her....Chris: That's the way you should go through it. Having to do it all over again, you wouldn't change that, would you?...JP: I wouldn't change it at all.

Jen Answers JP's Questions

Next, Jen comes out on stage, to big applause, and gives JP a big, warm hug.....Some commenters have said that they thought Jen looked fat. Uh, I don't think so. If Jen has gained weight, it only means she's gone from a size 2 to a size 4....But, I do think that Jen's outfit was too tight. Jen wore a flowered satin top, and black skirt. The top had thin white straps that gave it the cheap "bra strap showing" look I hate so much.

Chris tells JP that this is his chance to get some answers from Jen...JP asks Jen at what point she knew that she was going to pick Jerry....Jen tells JP that he saw (when he watched the show) how confused she was, and that ultimately, it did take her right to the end before she decided....JP admits to Jen that when he left, he was so angry and upset that he wondered whether he'd been strung along, and it was Jerry all along....Jen tells JP that it was really hard for her not to (be able to) tell JP everything she was feeling. But, she hopes JP doesn't feel that she led him on.

Then Chris asks Jen: You said JP was everything you were looking for in a husband. What changed?....Jen replies: Nothing (changed). (JP does) have all the qualities I am looking for in a husband...The audience cheers and applauds loudly here—it's obvious they agree...Jen goes on: It's just, you can't help it--either that spark is there or it's not. And ultimately, it wasn't there. Not that it's taking anything away from you as a person....JP handles this well, and says he understands. And, he goes on to say: I want to be with someone that is head over heels for me the same way I am, and, for that fact, I'm glad it didn't work out (between us).

Chris then asks JP if he regrets asking for Jen's dad's permission to propose...JP replies: I don't regret it one bit. Those moments, I thought this was supposed to happen. It didn't. But I can walk away and sit here today, (and) understand that I did everything I could. And no regrets.

Chris ends the interview by asking JP if there is one more thing he wants to know....JP asks Jen: Did you come into this whole situation really looking to find the right husband?...Jen replies: Yes. 100%. I wouldn't have done this otherwise. Bottom line, I want to get married. I wanted to fall in love. And I really, really wanted this to work. I was completely committed. I hope you know that. I think you were a gentleman and you were so wonderful to me the whole time...Chris tells JP that he hopes he got some of the answers he was looking for....JP: Some of the answers...Chris goes on: And from the reaction of the crowd, you're not going to have any trouble at all.

Jerry Takes The Stage

After we return from commercials, it's Jerry's turn on stage....Chris: As you all know, Jerry's just minutes away from hearing Jen's answer to his proposal. It's been a stressful couple of months for him while he's been waiting....After that introduction, Jerry comes out on stage to enthusiastic applause....Jerry doesn't look good. For one thing, he has cut the top of his hair very short. Granted, I was never wild about Jerry's previous "preppy teenager spiky" look, but his new cut isn't flattering. Even Chris kids him, "I never thought I'd say this, but you've gotten ugly since the show"....But, Jerry is right back at Chris: Yeah, and you get more and more handsome.

Chris starts his introduction: You and Jen, unbelievable chemistry. (Unbelievable? C'mon Chris. They didn't even French kiss for gawd's sake.) Instant attraction. You really fell for this girl. Something nobody knows here--you wrote a love song. Your friend recorded this song. What you don't know, we put it to pictures. Here it is.....Well, I'm no Dick Clark, but I don't think Jerry's song is going t make the hit parade anytime soon. Jerry's friend's voice is okay, but neither the words or the lyrics are going to win any awards. Still, the song is kind of sweet, but at the same time awkward, because it is so off the mark in terms of what finally happened.

After the song and accompanying video, Chris asks: Where did that song come from? I didn't know you had it in ya....Jerry: Neither did I. Thank you, Jen. I came back home (after the show). And, I was on such a high. I collaborated with my friend and this beautiful song came. And I thank you for putting it on.

Chris: You've got to be dying right now. You've been waiting months for an answer. What are you feeling right now?...Jerry: I'm excited. Where is she? Can we bring her out?...Jerry goes on: The hardest thing for me, really--I had to sit back and watch her go through this by herself. And the last few months, she's been going through a lot of scrutiny. I wish I could have been there to hold her hand. She's an amazing girl. And I'm looking forward to seeing her.

Jerry's Proposal to Jen

Chris: About a half hour ago, America watched as Jen rejected John Paul's proposal. But what we haven't shown you yet is Jerry popping the question. That's because Jen wasn't ready to give him her answer until now. I'm sitting here with probably the most nervous man in America right now--Jerry. Before we do, let's look at your never-before-seen proposal to Jen.

The tape starts with Jen walking toward the podium to wait for Jerry....Jen: I have battled with different emotions, every, single day. I'm scared. I have seen the other side of this. I know what could be in store. And that's a really big fear for me......We also hear from Jerry in the limo, riding to the final rose ceremony: Tonight, I want to say to Jen that I've grown to fall in love with her. She's made me see a side to love and to my heart that I may not have been able to see or experience before. I've always dreamt that asking somebody to marry me was gonna happen only one time in my life. And I hope that this is that one time.

Jerry walks up to Jen and tells her she looks like an angel....And, as always, they start their conversation by telling each other how scared they are....Then Jerry starts his proposal speech, which I'll give you verbatim: You are beautiful. You have an incredible smile. I want you to know that I came into this experience. I took a leap of faith. And I said, "Hey, let me do this crazy thing for myself and learn a little bit about me. And, maybe at the end of the day I get to know and meet a beautiful girl." And then, I walked up those stairs and met you for the first time. And then, I felt this undeniable chemistry between you and me. And you turned out to be the most incredible thing in my life. I realized that I was supposed to meet you. And destiny has played a huge part in the two of us finding each other. And we've got a huge opportunity to find out what that means. I know how I feel about you. And I was worried about it. And I've been scared. And I've been nervous. And I've been reluctant. And I've been hesitant. And I've been difficult. And we've gone through the whole emotional roller coaster together. But the one thing that I realized in all of this is that when you are gone, I miss you. And I don't wanna walk away from here without you. So, with that said....

Jerry starts to get down on one knee when Jen stops him and says "Wait, wait."...Jerry: Whoa. There's just a little bit ....Jen: Yeah, that's fine. Go ahead, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to stop you....Jerry: What were you gonna say?....Jen: I don't wanna leave here without you, either. Were you gonna do what I think you're gonna do?...Jerry: I was gonna ask you if would accept a ring from me, with the thought of us exploring this love because I see you as somebody that I could spend the rest of my life with. And then I was gonna get on my knee.....Jen: All right. I totally ruined everything....Jerry: You didn't ruin anything. But you stopped me for a reason and I hope it's not because you have any doubts....Jen: None, no doubts...Jerry: So, with that said--Jennifer Schefft--If I don't ask you this, then I'm gonna walk away regretting not asking you. Jennifer Schefft, will you marry me?....Jen: I've 100% fallen for you. But I've been here before. And I just wanna make sure that we do it right. I want you to keep that (ring). And I want you to give it back to me if you feel the same way about me down the road that you do now....Jerry: I know now. And I'm ready to propose to you again someday, so....Jen: I just wanna make sure that we do it right. And I so want that ring and I want this to work. And I hope you know how committed to this and to you I am....Jerry: I'm not going anywhere.

Jen Gives Jerry Her Answer

The tape ends with huge cheers and applause from the audience....Chris: Unbelievable. I'm freaking out. And I'm just sitting next to you...Jerry laughs and leans over to Chris and says, "Hold me."... Chris cracks up and says: You're okay. All right, man. You have been patient. You have waited. Jen says she's ready to give you an answer. You have the ring. Are you ready for this? Good luck, sir.

Chris invites Jen back on stage....Jen comes out and gives Jerry a big hug...But, when Jen sits down, she leaves a space between herself and Jerry—not a good sign.....Jerry then greets Jen with, "Long time no see."....Hmm......Jerry says to Jen: I guess the big question is, what the heck am I supposed to do with this thing? <Pointing to the ring box in his pocket.>

Jen then says: I think that you know, I was so committed to this. And I really tried to make it work. I think that we talked a lot. And we saw each other. And, I just think--I think that we both came to the realization that we were just better as friends.....At this point, Jerry scratches his nose with the third finger of his left hand, a gesture that has been widely interpreted as giving Jen the finger. I heard Jerry yesterday on a radio talk show and he was asked whether he was really giving Jen the finger. Jerry hemmed and hawed in his usual way, and finally said he was giving a greeting to Fabrice. You draw your own conclusion.

Jen says to Jerry: This is so awkward and awful....Jerry reaches over and gives Jen a big hug, and says: Come here. I love you for that. And I said it before, I love you for reintroducing me to a part of my heart I haven't felt in a long time. And I'm ready to love again. I'm open to it. But I respect you for knowing more about the situation than I did. It's been hard. And I'm sorry that I couldn't have been there for you more than I have been. And I hope that on some level I can be there for you forever. And I just want us to define whatever that is....Jen says to Jerry: You have been there for me. You have been my friend. You have been good to me but....This dialogue between Jerry and Jen goes on for a bit longer then Chris chimes in: I know you guys have a lot more to talk about. But, I have questions. Everyone in America has questions right now, as we're falling off our couches, stunned....Oh c'mon Chris. Stunned? Rumors of a quick breakup have been around for weeks.

After another in the endless series of commercials, we return to find Jen and Jerry still on stage with Chris....Chris: We're live. And just minutes ago, Jen rejected Jerry's proposal. They are here with us to continue to discuss this....Chris asks Jen: (At the final rose ceremony) you said you were 100% committed, 100% into this, had no doubts. What happened between then and now?...Jen says to Jerry: I was 100% committed. I really went into this wanting it to work. And I really did feel a connection with you. And I needed more time. We did have time. We spent time together. We talked and we had fun....Chris cuts in: Tell us. This is something America doesn't know. What happened? Your first rendezvous went great when you got together. What happened (after that)? Was there breakup? A fight?...Jen: There wasn't a fight. There wasn't anything. We kept trying to see what was going to happen. And ultimately, I think we both decided that it would be better if we would just be friends.

Chris breaks in again: I don't know if both of you decided. I think (Jerry) came here planning to get married.....Jerry: Friends is cool. That's fine....Jen says to Jerry: I feel like that's how you felt, too....Chris asks Jerry: Did you feel she was committed to this relationship as much as you were?....Jerry: Considering the circumstances Jen gave it everything that she could. And I don't want you to force.....Chris interrupts: Is this honestly? Or are you trying to protect her?.....Jerry says to Jen: It's hard. But at the same time, I could never ever want to tarnish this experience. I don't want to take back anything we've had. I've been able to watch you from the sidelines and see what you had to go through. This is not a normal circumstance. We cannot stretch a six-week romance because there's other people that want us to. Unfortunately, unlike other relationships, there's many other people involved that don't want us to be together. And would much rather talk about other things. And rather throw rumors in there. Unfortunately, I've had to read about those rumors. And I've had to watch those things, too. If anything, I was just wondering if there was anything I could have done differently to make you feel better?....Jen: No. You were great to me throughout this whole thing. In my mind you have been wonderful. I just think--I guess you can't force love. And you can't help who you fall in love with....Jerry says kiddingly to Jen: Did you say yes to John Paul?....Jen: I didn't.....Jerry laughs and says: What did I miss? Where is this guy?

Then Chris gets serious again and asks Jerry: Do you feel like you understand why you just got rejected? I might be a complete idiot, which is probably true. But I don't get it.....Jen: There's not one reason. Jerry didn't do anything wrong. I just think we both—at least that's why I got from you , too--we felt this is an intense situation....Chris asks Jerry: Do you think you know why?...Jerry: I think deep down inside I know why. Jen had gone through this before I did. And that little feeling, that little hesitation is enough to not say yes to the rest of your life. I do not want to be a mistake to you. I do not want to be anything that you have ever regretted. And you will never be that to me.

Jerry then says: At the very least, I was hoping to come away with this, with some peace of mind...Chris asks Jerry: What do you need to ask to get that peace of mind?....Jerry asks Jen: Are you happy?...Jen: I'm not happy that this didn't work....Jerry: (But) are you happy?...Jen: I think I will be. I'm ready for this chapter to sort of end. And I'm ready to move on. But I'm not happy that all of this happened and that it didn't work. I wanted a happy ending. I wanted this day to be so exciting...Jerry: This is not a bad ending, either. It hurts and it's hard. But at the same time....Jen cuts in: It wasn't the ideal ending for either one of us. Going to the show, this is not how I wanted it.

Chris then says to Jerry: You were literally thinking about moving to Chicago....Jen says to Jerry that she didn't think he was looking for jobs (after the show was over)...Jerry says kiddingly: Wendell offered me a job, a home. Wendell, will you marry me?...Jerry: I hope when I come to Chicago we
have to have cup of coffee together....Jen: Of course. I think we'll be friends. We like each other....Chris: Seriously, you think you will talk after this?...Jen: Yes. I do. I hope so.

Questions from the Audience

Next, the audience gets their turn to ask questions. The first question is for Jen, who is asked, "Without sounding so harsh, what is it going to take to satisfy you so that you can find the guy that you're looking for?"....After some hemming and hawing about how amazing Jerry, JP, and Andrew are, Jen answers, "Either it's there or it's not. You can't force love. You can't fall in love with somebody just because you want to. I'm just looking for that feeling (that it's right and there is no doubt in my mind."

Chris then asks Jen:: Are you worried about people resenting the fact that you got engaged to Andrew on one season of The Bachelor and then got to do your own show?....Jen: I'm sure people are going to resent that. (But) I can't apologize. I just have to be honest with myself, not please someone else.

Next an audience member asks Jen and Jerry if they had good sexual chemistry....They both laugh and Jen says, "No comment," but Chris presses it....Chris: The first date after the show ended, hat was a good one, right?...Jerry says, "Yes."...Then Chris asks, "Was there no chemistry and it went on from there?"...Jerry replies, "It wasn't about chemistry," and kiddingly adds. "It was a bad Thanksgiving dinner....Chris: Was that what it was? A little food poisoning? Too much talk about Thailand?....Hmmm, for some reason, Jen doesn't find this funny...Chris: So, Jerry, answer the woman's question. Was sex a problem?...Jen: I would really like not to discuss that.

The next question is for Jerry: You don't seem very angry. Why not? And do you think you will be (angry) tomorrow?....Jerry gives a long answer, basically saying that it's been several months between the time the show ended and now, and he and Jen have had their dialogue. He can only be grateful for what Jen has shown him as a person. He's hurt and upset. But, at the same time, he can't say he didn't see it coming. It was one of those possibilities. So, he guesses he's okay.

Jen Faces Questions About the Rumors

This time, Chris asks the tough questions, and says to Jen: There are rumors flying everywhere. That. That you're already in love. That you're already dating. One rumor is that you're already dating your boss. What's the story?.....Jen: My boss is my boss. He's my friend. I'm not dating anyone. And this is not about anybody else....Chris (in the best line of the night): No fishing off the company pier? ...The audience laughs, but Jen gives Chris a look....Undaunted, Chris goes on: There's also rumors about Andrew Firestone....Jerry, to try to rescue Jen, pipes in: I'm dating Andrew. Sorry Fabrice....Everyone cracks up.

There is one more question from the audience: Jerry, America thinks you're hot. We thought you had found the perfect girl in Jen. How does it affect your ability to love and trust again?...To paraphrase Jerry's somewhat convoluted answer: Jen never took away Jerry's love and trust, she reintroduced that to him. And for that, he's grateful.

Coming Up on the Next Bachelor

It turns out we won't have to wait very long for the next Bachelor. The new show starts March 28 with Charlie O'Connell, an actor (and brother of actor Jerry O'Connell)...The show will once again be set in New York City, where Charlie lives....Promotions for the show have told us that some traditional elements of the show will be discarded, such as the first formal rose ceremony.

It looks like this time around the producers have returned to the sleazier roots of the first Bachelor seasons. Charlie O'Connell has been depicted in the tabloids as a party boy looking for a good time, and not necessarily for a wife. And, from the previews, this Bachelor will be more lustful than this past season with the rather prim Jen Even in the previews I thought I saw some French kissing.

I don't know if I'll be doing weekly recaps for the next season of The Bachelor—or if Jokerette will even ask me. But, if I do, I'm going to change my style to more of a shorter review rather than a detailed recap. A number of readers have told me that they appreciate the detail in my recaps, but frankly, it takes hours longer to write a recap than it does to write a review, even though I have a transcript of the show to help me. Also, since it looks like the upcoming show may be tackier than the last couple of seasons (if that is even possible), my comments will probably be more "pointed" than in the past. Heck, The Bachelor has always been the show we love to make fun of, and the upcoming season could provide us the most material yet.

Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!