''Bachelor''

Jesse's Girl

Are Jesse and Jessica 2-gether 4-ever? Did Tara freak out off camera? And, most importantly: Do we care? asks Mandi Bierly

Jesse Palmer, The Bachelor: Jesse | THE REEL DEAL? Will Jesse and Jessica break the ''Bachelor'' curse?
Image credit: Jessica B. and Jesse Palmer: Craig Sjodin
THE REEL DEAL? Will Jesse and Jessica break the ''Bachelor'' curse?

Jesse and Jessica: Are they 2-gether 4-ever?

Today, I'm speechless. (Well, I would be if I didn't have to write this thing.) Not because I'm overly ecstatic or upset that Jesse chose Jessica, but because one minute after the show ended... I just didn't care. Don't get me wrong, Tara making the limo stop so she could vomit -- and the show cutting back and forth to blissful Jessica and Jesse -- was good, momentarily heartwrenching TV, but I found Tara's post-rejection composure unsettling.

Did she have a major freakout scene that producers cut out of compassion -- or was the idea that Jesse could be intimate with someone whose heart he was going to break days later enough to turn her into a robotic Stepford wife? Good for her for realizing crying over someone who doesn't want you isn't worth it, but it usually takes longer than 30 seconds to achieve that kind of clarity. And how about Jessica watching Tara's entrance from a window overlooking that obnoxiously candlelit garden? I can't decide if she peeked because she was afraid Jesse would change his mind, or if she wanted to make sure Tara would be okay. Here are a few other watercooler conversation starters.

Jesse's Moment of Clarity How convenient that it happened hours before he was set to propose (or not propose, but offer a woman a first-class ticket to New York so she can follow all of her dreams, only there with him). I respect Jessica for letting him know on their final date how unfair it was that she was being asked to hand over her heart when he couldn't. And how hard it is to go engagement ring shopping with someone knowing that they're looking at the same rings with someone else. But I would have respected her more if she would have asked him why he didn't know yesterday that she was the one, but today he does.

Tara's Chat with Nick Was anyone else a little taken aback by smiley Tara telling Jesse's best friend, Nick, that she'd drop everything for Mr. Palmer? (It's interesting considering that Jesse's mom and dad made a point of saying how career-minded she was: his father made it a pro; his mom made it a con.) And what's with dropping the bomb that she had been previously engaged to a likable but cheating dog so late in the game!?! (Did Tara tell Jesse that, or did it come from Jenny?) Kind of explains her father's theory of men being bastards. And why she'd want to take things slow and not fall for a semifamous football player just because all the other women were.

Jesse's Dad vs. Jessica I wish we would have seen this ''immature'' conversation he was talking about. Sure, her answer to his, ''What will you do if my son's glamorous lifestyle ends tomorrow?'' question seemed a bit idealistic, but then what are you supposed to say to that?

Jesse's Mom vs. Jesse's Dad Mom thought Jessica was the total package -- a good wife, a good mother. Dad thought there's no way she could have enough life experience to be prepared for marriage -- or marital problems -- at 21. Dad thought Tara was warm, engaging, confident, smart, spontaneous and totally into his boy. Mom thought Tara was all about finding herself and had no feelings for Jesse at all. I wonder if Dad will warm up after hearing that the ring's still in Jesse's pocket?

Jesse vs. Speaking Jessica was tortured with the use of the word ''journey,'' but Tara had to suffer through his reassuring ''I never second-guessed giving you any of my roses'' and him being so thankful that she was able to ''gut it out.'' At least she was spared having to hear him wonder if she would ''rise to the occasion or crumble and fail'' when she met his parents.

Jenny vs. Tara I don't think Jenny betrayed Tara by telling Jesse that she loves Tara, but could see Jessica making him happier. I don't see Tara doing holiday parties at Jenny's house if Jesse and Jessica are on the guest list either.

Jesse vs. Thinking for Oneself Yes, you're in a difficult situation, but trying to force your best friend to choose between two women he's known for 15 minutes is weak, dude. But let the record show that Nick picked Jessica -- at least for the camera...

''The Bachelor'' vs. ''The Bachelorette'' Jesse's mom said after seeing ''The Bachelorette,'' she realized people can find love on TV, and that it could happen to her son. Jesse said his dad was afraid he'd propose and get married ''because that's what the Bachelor does.'' Has the man never seen ''The Bachelor'' -- or Poeple magazine months after ''The Bachelor?'' Who thinks Jesse will break the curse and make it to the altar? Who cares?

Originally posted May 20, 2004