''Bachelor''

Regally Blond

Andy's brain wins out over his raging hormones -- The Firestone family doesn't push, but the Bachelor gets their message to pick girl-next-door Jen over scheming Kirsten, says Liane Bonin

Andrew Firestone, The Bachelor | THE HAPPY COUPLE Sweet Jen got Andy's final rose -- not to mention a honker of a ring
Image credit: The Bachelor: Mitchell Haaseth
THE HAPPY COUPLE Sweet Jen got Andy's final rose -- not to mention a honker of a ring

Andy's brain wins out over his raging hormones

How great was ''The Bachelor'' finale?

Jen, who started out the show as just another doe-eyed blonde, emerged as the ultimate spunky Cinderella by wowing Andy's folks and making the best of several crappy situations, which are clearly her forte ever since that horrible bowling date. When Andy told her he hoped to build a house in the middle of his parents' acreage, which appeared so remote from anything approaching civilization, I expected someone from the set of that PBS frontier show to drop by with a pig bladder of spring water and a package of squirrel jerky. But she managed to grin and say ''Right here?'' in a mostly convincing, if high-pitched, way.

As if this weren't enough to prove she's a trouper, Andy had to drag the girl into a herd of alpacas, which look suspiciously like short camels, and I suspect they can spit just as well. Despite looking semidelirious due to her animal phobia, she let those big hairy beasts slobber all over her hands like she was a walking salt lick. For this alone the girl deserves a ring.

I also have a brand new respect for our Andy, who not only chose the right girl but gave Kirsten what-for about the not-quite-ex-boyfriend she had tucked away back home. When he said, ''I want to be honest with you'' as he dumped her sorry, scheming ass, the biting subtext in his glare was clearly, ''Not that you've bothered to be honest with me, you back-stabbing two-timer.'' Unfortunately, this seemed to go straight over Cruella's head, as she was busy mourning the loss of that platinum-and-diamond engagement ring and her very own pony.

Not that I didn't have some compassion for Kirsten, who might as well change her name to Kristen since no one on this show, including the fawning engagement ring salesman, seemed to be able to get it right. Watching her try to hold her own with Andy's sisters Polly and Hayley during her Firestone family visit filled me with a sense of awe, not only because the poor thing wasn't even aware of how vapid she sounded, but also because both of Andy's sensible older sisters were able to hold those frozen smiles on their faces for so long without breaking into hives.

I have to say, both sisters get extra points for finding so many tactful ways of describing Kirsten as a dimwit in their personal interviews. ''There was a lot being said, but not a lot of substance being said,'' is perhaps the kindest way anyone has ever described a babbling idiot, and I have every intention of using this at uncomfortable family dinners.

And even though Andy seemed ready to hand over his inflatable tire fortune whenever Kirsten batted her eyelashes at him, it was a great relief to see that his family had something other than vino and testosterone sloshing around in their brain pans when it came to seeing through her. Hayley couldn't bring herself to tell her little brother to his face that picking Kirsten would be tantamount to marrying Anna Nicole Smith, but she did manage to interrupt the girl's ''Andy's, like, super nice!'' diatribe just long enough to inform her that Andy isn't exactly rolling around in Faberge eggs and Picassos. Kirsten momentarily cocked her head to the side like a Jack Russell terrier, as if the idea of Andy having to work for a living completely dashed her summers-in-Ibiza fantasy to bits.

But as much as I liked all of Andy's family, the real credit for bringing Andy to his senses about Cruella was his brother Adam, who adroitly deciphered Kirsten's meandering ex explanation to realize the girl was keeping some poor sucker on a hook back home (memo to Kirsten: After the guy sees the show, he won't even accept your booty calls). When he broke the news to Andy, I honestly felt sorry for both of them. Not only did Andy's face squish up like that of a little kid who's had his incredibly great toy taken away from him, but Adam clearly realized that, should Andy pick Kirsten despite the damning evidence against her, he'd be forever doomed to the world's worst family holidays since Joan Crawford adopted kids. Luckily for everyone, Andy didn't let him down. But we should have known: How could he not pick the girl who could do the hippopotamus nose flare?

Who did you think deserved the final rose?

Originally posted May 19, 2003
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