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The Anatomy Of A ‘Bachelorette’ Scene: Clare’s Brutally Efficient Breakup With Brandon

- The Bachelor -
The Anatomy Of A ‘Bachelorette’ Scene: Clare’s Brutally Efficient Breakup With Brandon

I have to admit I spent most of this week’s episode of The Bachelorette hiding in my hoodie. Watching some men be asked to declare their love as other men are asked to display their (metaphorical and literal) balls was simply too cringe for me, especially when combined with Clare Crawley’s no-one-wants-me freakout and a one-on-one date that demanded that Jason spill his soul before a woman he just met (and cameras recording their conversation for an audience of millions). But, amidst all of the secondhand embarrassment, there was one moment that had me peeking out of my jacket, and that was when Clare sent Brandon packing.

The oldest Bachelorette (did you guys know she’s 39?) hasn’t yet had the most mature season, but she did channel some of the previous Bachelorettes when she demonstrated some serious prosecutorial skill in grilling one of her contestants about exactly why he decided to come on the show. It’s a common enough question, but when Brandon professed that he had done it for a chance to meet Clare specifically, it led to a total Swan Princess moment. I’ll show you what I mean.

The Courtship

Brandon and Clare’s conversation started off on a little bit of a sour note. After the red team won the strip dodgeball date, the blue team was sent packing in nothing but their skivvies (if they even kept those on at all). Despite that, Blake Moynes decided he was going to take Clare’s words from the premiere about breaking the rules for her to heart and show up to see if he could grab a little one-on-one time, too. Though it did earn him a rose later on, it didn’t go over well in the moment. Clare was taken aback and the men were straight up pissed, including Brandon, who led the charge with Jay to confront Blake.

After the sore loser was sent back to his room, Brandon was up next, but the vibe was still off when he started chatting with Clare. He admitted he was “still a little upset” by what had just gone down, but he also wanted to make the most of his time.

In a confessional, he admitted that he felt like had hadn’t made the best first impression after he “froze a bit” on night one, and he wanted to “redeem” himself by gushing about how wonderful Clare is. His first move? Telling the Bachelorette that she was the whole reason he came on the show.

The Interrogation

“I never thought I would do anything like this before, and when I found out that you were the Bachelorette, I just knew I had to be there,” he said. It’s a sweet start — if you can back it up. Unfortunately, Brandon couldn’t. Clare wanted to know what it was about her specifically that he was drawn to, and while some might dismiss this as just fishing for compliments, it also would have shown some light on what he was looking for in a partner and on what he values in a relationship. But Brandon fumbled the ball. He hadn’t been expecting any follow-up questions.

After a long pause, he improvised, “First of all, you’re obviously gorgeous … but other than that, to be honest with you, I don’t really know anything about you.” He tried to pivot to talking about her by saying that he knew she was from Sacramento and asking if she was born and raised in the area, but the Bachelorette wasn’t so easily fooled. Brandon said that he knew he had to be on the show so he could have a chance with her, but all he knew about her was that she was pretty and from Sacramento? Is that his type? Pretty girls from Sacramento? That may make a good song title, but it’s not exactly a solid base for building a relationship.

“Wait, so you said you knew that I was the Bachelorette and you wanted to sign up,” she said — and he confirmed — “but you don’t know anything about me?” Brandon was on the right track when he tried to cover by saying that he doesn’t know Clare yet on a “personal level,” but he only mucked things up further when he added that he also doesn’t know her “history.”

The thing about Clare is that she’s an open book. She has no problem with spilling her guts on TV, and anyone who has seen any season of any Bachelor show that she’s been on would know that about her. Brandon, apparently, hasn’t seen any of those shows. “You’re just so beautiful, and I wanted to get to know you,” he continued, seemingly confident that his charm and charisma would be enough to help him breeze past this speed bump. No such luck.

The Let Down

Clare’s face had visibly fallen when she asked, “Is there any other thing that made you wanna come on for me?” He “didn’t have a specific answer” to that question, and asked under his breath (presumably hoping the cameras would hear) if they could not talk about that. Clare could hear him, but clearly couldn’t believe his ears.

“Can we not talk about that?” she repeated, incensed. “That’s what this entire thing is. … I don’t think people have to know me on a personal level, but there’s a lot of guys here that say they like my drive, or they like what I have to offer, or they like that I stood up for myself. I mean, just, anything other than my looks.”

Brandon stutters that those men didn’t know that prior to coming on the show. He just wants the same chance to get to know Clare that all the other men are being given. But what he really means is he wants the same camera time as the other men. It's no secret that most people apply to be on the show for the chance at becoming famous — but you have at least be open to finding love, too (or at least willing to make a fool of yourself for entertainment's sake).

Because here’s the thing: You don’t have to research the Bachelorette before being on The Bachelorette. You don’t have to fall half in love with the lead before even stepping out of the limo. But I would imagine it would be hard to avoid all of the promo for Clare’s season — especially after filming was delayed by months and months and months — and you’d basically have to be blind to the franchise to have missed the clip where Clare tells Juan Pablo Galavis that she would never want him to be a father to her children.

Instead of looking for an opportunity to genuinely get to know Clare, Brandon felt the pressure to pretend he was already in as deep as guys like Dale or Jason. Trying to force a connection, he declared that he was there for Clare specifically when he should've just said he was there for a unique opportunity to find love.

There are a million ways he could’ve answered that first question: “My love life had come to a stand still so I decided to try something new.” “I had never seen the show, but I know that it had worked for Bachelorettes and their final picks in the past, and I thought maybe there was a chance it could work for me.” “The odds seemed stacked against us, but I applied on a whim and figured it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, because I love to make the impossible possible.”

But he didn’t say any of that. He said he came on the show because he saw Clare and thought she was beautiful. News flash, Brandon: There are a lot of beautiful women in the world who aren’t on TV, and all you have to do is slide into their Instagram DMs. Clare has made it very clear that she’s ready to settle down (remember all that talk about how she’s 39?) and wants to find her husband, not someone to go on a few fun dates with.

The Dismissal

As the disappointment rolled off Clare in waves, Brandon quickly tried to pretend they were still on the same page — this time by putting the onus on her. “I’m here to find love, and, you know, I’m here to find someone to start a family with of my own. And, you know, I know there’s moments between you and I where, you know, I know you feel it, too. Even where we haven’t had that one-on-one time, there are moments there. You know?”

Clare mmhmm’d her way through it all, and then shut him down as efficiently as she was able. “I actually don’t feel that way,” she said. “I was trying to see if there was something more than that for me here, and I just, I feel like I have a really great group of guys here, and I think I’m gonna have to focus on them, and I don’t think that I want to pursue this anymore. So is it OK if I walk you out?” With brutal efficiency, she showed him the door and a few polite words about how she appreciated him coming here, but it was obvious he’d fallen flat on his face.

Brandon learned his lesson the hard way, and that is that if you want to be on reality TV, you have to be a little bit better at playing the game — and if you want to woo a woman, you have to actually try and get to know her. In The Swan Princess, Princess Odette had to turn into a full-blown swan before Prince Derek realized she actually had a personality. On The Bachelorette, Clare only had to ask a single question to expose just how hollow Brandon’s declaration was.

Images: ABC screenshots

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