I wasn’t fully following The Bachelorette despite the Canadian Content (in the moderately pleasing but not very interesting form of Albertan Jillian Harris), so I honestly am not sure whether the ending of the season was satisfying or not. It was certainly a dramatic, twisty episode, to the point that folks are once again wondering how much of these shows’ stories are created by the producers. Probably quite a bit, but it doesn’t require out-and-out rigging, just careful and selective editing and re-structuring of the timeline, plus properly timing the big events like the “surprise” return of Reid to the show. Plus the contestants, who presumably care more about making a good impression on the show than whatever happens after (they don’t have to marry, after all), want to do whatever will raise their profile and make for good TV. But I don’t really know whether the selection of Ed, the workaholic, counts as a culturally-fulfilling ending or an anger-making ending. Both types of endings work in their own way — that is, reality shows can make you happy about who won, or angry about who won, and both are equally good; the only type of ending that fails is the one that leaves you indifferent. But while my impression from comments online is that Ed is generally considered a work-obsessed, self-absorbed loser, that might actually be a satisfying ending at this particular cultural moment — no more artists or cool guys or snowboarding instructors. In hard times, practicality is what’s called for.
Of course the post-wrap-up episode might bring in some other wacky twist that will undo everything that’s been seen up to now.