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March 11, 2014

Last night's season finale of The Bachelor was both surreal and shockingly real: For the first time in the show's 12-year history, the show's final episode (and subsequent "After the Final Rose" special) anointed the protagonist Bachelor a bad-boy antihero.

Before he gave registered nurse Nikki his final rose (but not an engagement ring), Venezuelan-born retired soccer player Juan Pablo endured no small amount of controversy. From calling gay people "more pervert" [sic] to slut-shaming a contestant who romped in the ocean with him, Juan Pablo had certainly been playing by his own rules. And ABC, for the most part, let him dig his own grave.

As a series of smart, sensible women decided to leave The Bachelor of their own accord, says Linda Holmes at NPR, "the show actually allowed their eligible bachelor, who represents the prize for which all these contestants are competing, to be portrayed as (1) not too bright, (2) kind of self-centered and boring, and (3) coarse and vulgar."

For a show so set on portraying a perfect vision of romantic love, the fact that ABC decided to turn on its Bachelor is pretty groundbreaking. "Generally," says Holmes, "the near-universal desirability of the Bachelor/ette is sacrosanct." Holmes continues:

The true story is that somewhere, somebody who makes The Bachelor decided that they needed a different framing for the season — one in which their bachelor was kind of...a jerk. They made a choice to cut him loose. To throw him, in reality show terms, under the bus." [NPR]

Read the rest of this fascinating piece at NPR. Samantha Rollins

2:44 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert made his way onto the Republican National Convention stage last week, dressed in his Hunger Games-inspired Julius Flickerman attire and carrying his stuffed weasel, Caligula. On Monday's Late Show, he tried the same stunt in Philadelphia with the Democrats. "It might have been my fault" that the Democrats didn't fix their divisions over leaked hacked Democratic National Committee emails before the Democratic National Convention started, he said at his desk in his live post-convention special. "Truth be told, yesterday I went down to Philly to bask in the coming Democratic conflict. You know, I see it as something of a blood sport."

After walking around and making fun of various aspects of the Democratic convention arena — and Chuck Todd's goatee, with CNN's Take Tapper — Colbert said "the one thing left to do was the one thing Democrats really didn't want me to do: Mount the podium where Hillary will be crowned." Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats would not let him on the stage, even when he enlisted the help of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Maybe they watch Colbert's Late Show.) But Colbert/Flickerman is nothing if not determined, and also just the slightest bit crafty. Watch his mighty, inexplicable struggle to get on stage below. Peter Weber

2:08 a.m. ET

Almost a year ago, Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel sat down with a real relationship therapist to work out their fictional feud, in which Damon is always invited on Jimmy Kimmel Live and never actually brought on stage, leading a lonely existence in Kimmel's smallest green room. On Monday's show, Kimmel said that, with Damon's new Jason Bourne movie coming out on Friday, he and Damon gave couples therapy another go. "Apparently you have to go to therapy more than once for it to work," he deadpanned. The late-night host and Hollywood star's session with psychotherapist Paul Kundinger did not start out well. "There's a lot of anger coming across," Kundinger finally said, suggesting art therapy. Kimmel and Damon agreed, and surprisingly, the exercise did end the feud for at least a few seconds as Damon and Kimmel broke character — and made ABC's censors get creative. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:55 a.m. ET
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

The Solar Impulse 2 plane made history on Tuesday when it landed in Abu Dhabi, the first flight to make it around the world without using any fuel.

The plane first took off from Abu Dhabi in March 2015, and over the past 16 months traveled 25,000 miles, stopping 16 times. The plane is covered with 17,248 solar cells that transfer energy to four electrical motors that power the propellers, and it runs on four lithium polymer batteries at night. "The future is clean," one of the pilots, Bertrand Piccard, said after landing. "The future is you. The future is now. Let's take it further."

The plane completed more than 500 flight hours, but was delayed a few times, including in Cairo when Piccard became sick and after some batteries were damaged on the journey from Japan to Hawaii. Read more about how the pilots were able to handle the cockpit's cramped conditions and temperature shifts at The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

1:26 a.m. ET
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

As people watched the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, they were furiously Googling everything from "Bernie Sanders" to "Did slaves build the White House?'

Google released data on the top trends at the end of Night 1, and Sanders was far and away the most searched of the speakers and performers — Michelle Obama came in second, Elizabeth Warren third, Cory Booker fourth, and Paul Simon fifth. Throughout the day, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was trending, but after Sanders gave the night's closing speech, there was a 650 percent increase in searches for "Citizens United." The other trending questions had to do with Michelle Obama's speech ("Did slaves build the White House?" and "Who built the White House?") and Sanders' age ("How old is Bernie Sanders?"). Catherine Garcia

1:17 a.m. ET

The Democrats' major goal at this week's Democratic National Convention is "to unify the party and present themselves as the safe and steady alternative to the forest fire in cufflinks that is Donald Trump," Seth Meyers said on Monday's Late Night. But before the first speaker even took the stage, "things got off to a terrible start." First, Hillary Clinton picked Tim Kaine as her running mate. "The only way Hillary could have been safer is if she picked a Volvo wearing a bike helmet," Meyers said, underwhelmed. "As attack dogs go, Tim Kaine seems like one of those who licks the burglar's hand while he's stealing your candlesticks." At least, he said, Kaine's Spanish language skills are "guaranteed to get under Trump's skin."

Then Meyers tackled the Democratic National Committee's hacked email leak, suggesting an anti-Sanders bias at the DNC and leading to the ouster of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "At this point, emails are to Hillary what snakes were to Indiana Jones — 'Emails, why did it have to be emails?'" Meyers said. "The entire purpose of this convention is to unify the party, and these emails only serve to further the rift between the Hillary and Bernie supporters." But Clinton just fanned the flames, naming Wasserman Schultz as honorary chairwoman in her campaign, after passing over more progressive, Sanders-like V.P. picks. "Basically, Hillary said, 'Have you been feeling the Bern? Why not try some Nova-Kaine?'" Meyers said. Democrats should be thankful that Sanders took the high road, he added, and you can watch his "closer look" below. Peter Weber

12:35 a.m. ET

Samantha Bee didn't like Donald Trump's VP selection, Gov. Mike Pence, any more than she likes Trump himself. On Monday's Full Frontal, she took an initially skeptical look at Hillary Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine. After last week's Republican National Convention, "who did Hillary tap for VP as I was in the shower trying to wash the fear pheromones off?" she asked. "Aha, some white guy. Damnit woman."

"You had a historic chance to shut white men out of the executive branch," Bee chided Clinton. "You could have turned the men's room into a pedicure-and-Gilmore Girls-screening room. We want transformation and excitement! Instead, it feels like Hillary is trying to set America up with the son of a coworker she barely knows." Then she let the "Nilla Wafer" speak for a bit himself. "Oh, god, this guy is a walking hug," she said, but not in a bad way. "Would you look at that? Tim Kaine has so much humanity, it's actually flowing into Hillary. He's human enough for the both of them!"

Bee was initially "meh" on Kaine, but she seems to have changed her mind over the weekend. "Guys, it is possible that Hillary nailed this?" she asked. "The woman that could ban all guns and still manage to shoot herself in the foot? Her safe, boring slice of white bread is actually kind of exhilarating, like a Ferrari minivan with airbags. I can't wait for the far right, and the far left, to tell me why he should be in jail." Watch below, but be advised, Bee uses some NSFW language. Peter Weber

12:15 a.m. ET

Michelle Obama's powerful Democratic National Convention speech ended with a standing ovation and thunderous applause, but no one was as impressed as her husband.

"Incredible speech by an incredible woman," President Obama tweeted from his @POTUS account. "Couldn't be more proud and our country has been blessed to have her as FLOTUS. I love you, Michelle." All together now: Awwwwwwwwww. Catherine Garcia

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