Tuesday night, on the season finale of Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?, our reigning Most Boring Couple in Recent Bachelor History headed to Vegas for their respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. In case you need a quick recap of the series, it’s been Bachelor Season 20 contestants Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell’s seven-episode journey from “We’re getting married America!” to “Wow, you didn’t know I was allergic to coconut? I’m a little unsure about our rush, televised engagement” to “Let’s call the whole thing off.”
But there they were in Vegas for the finale, in the aftermath of the “no more wedding” declaration. Neither Ben nor Lauren had told their friends that the wedding was off (because it wasn’t) and instead led us into 45 minutes of the same conversation (Wedding is on! Wedding is off? Wedding is on? Wedding is off?) punctuated by an appearance by the world’s saddest male stripper and a scene in which Ben and his bros get fertility tests together. It was exactly the kind of Vegas activity you’d expect from Ben, the human equivalent of a mysteriously moist, off-brand saltine. And then, of course, he and his beloved concluded this sad-sack trip by … again agreeing to get married. We’re right back where we started.
It’s always been surprising to me that Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell were given a spinoff show, even if it’s in the financial interest of both the franchise and the contestants to extend the post-show attractions for as long as possible. Even though Ben’s season was widely watched and highly discussed, in reality it was very boring. That’s because Ben and Lauren are themselves incredibly boring — so boring that even a single one-hour wedding special would have been a stretch. Staying interesting for eight episodes? Of their own TV show? That’s a Herculean task.
In all fairness to the Borings, it’s actually pretty hard for any post-Bachelor couple to be that interesting. Post-show life is easier for the rejected contestants, who can just keep making bids for love on various lower-brow arms of the franchise until they eventually ascend to Nick Viall heights. But there’s decidedly less drama in just living your life as a happily married couple, and there’s little tension in gracefully accepting a breakup and disappearing from the public eye.
Which means that the fate for most winning couples in a post-Bachelor life is to become totally, almost indistinguishably dull. However, if you look closely, some boring couples are, in fact, more boring than others. So are Ben and Lauren the most boring of all? Let’s investigate all the ways other contestants might have out-boringed them.
Have a Boring Wedding Special: Ashley Hebert Rosenbaum and J.P. Rosenbaum (‘The Bachelorette,’ Season 7)
Ashley and J.P. had a separate televised wedding special. Their wedding was in California. The bride wore white. The groom said it was love at first sight. Former Bachelor contestants Molly and Jason Mesnick attended. Chris Harrison officiated. It was called … The Bachelorette: Ashley and JP’s Wedding. They have since moved from New York to South Florida, where they live with their recently born son, Fordham.
Don’t Have a Wedding Special: Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried (‘The Bachelorette,’ Season 9)
Des and Chris got married — but America didn’t get to see! The reasons were all very mysterious. At the time, Chris Harrison explained on his very special Bachelor blog that “We came very close to working out a deal for a special that would’ve included Chris and Des’s wedding, but things just didn’t work out in the end.” Which might be Harrison-ese for “Chris and Des are so boring the ratings would have been awful,” or “They asked for too much money.” Either way, the only thing more boring than having a boring wedding special is being too boring to have one at all.
Promise a Life of Drama, but Then Just End Up Being Happy: Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert (‘Bachelor in Paradise’)
Jade and Tanner’s relationship rose from the dysfunctional ashes of their post-Bach time. Both regular-season rejects who ended up on Bachelor in Paradise (a.k.a. Reject Island), the two found love in a seriously hopeless place and then, hey, actually got married. With a start like that, their eventual appearance on Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars seemed like fate. Their relationship was going to be nothing but arguments and Us Weekly headlines about their arguments — you know, the good stuff. But surprise: they have emerged happier than ever and are building a house together. They also both like animals. Cool. Also boring.
Be Totally Normally Happy, Outside of the Public Eye: Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter (‘The Bachelorette,’ Season 1)
Hey, has anyone heard from Trista and Ryan recently? Are they doing OK? Oh, yes, they are doing just fine. That, and lulling me into a gentle nap.
Start a Band: Bob Guiney (‘The Bachelor,’ Season 4)
There are so many ways to make a bid for continued relevance post-Bachelor — tell-all books, being involved in Kris Jenner dating rumors, calling off your wedding, excelling at Instagram. Or, uh, this: Bob Guiney decided to extend the shelf life on his fame by starting a daddish band called Band From TV. They are available for all corporate events.
I’d like to take some liberties with Tolstoy here and suggest that all boring Bachelor couples are boring in the same way. They are seemingly happy, they stay low-key, they occasionally pop up on family-friendly shows or push a product on Instagram. What makes Ben and Lauren so extra-special boring, though, is that with their eight-episode TV show, they have opted to continue their public lives in a way that suggests those lives are interesting. The audience in turn invested eight weeks of their lives on the promise of that interestingness. But even with the producer-manufactured drama assist, and spicy-sounding plotlines like a budding political career, couples therapy, conversations about enlarged testicles, Vegas trips, and the hammer of an on-again-off-again wedding — somehow Ben and Lauren are still more boring than Ashley and J.P. in the Florida suburbs with a baby.
Why did we do it? Why did we watch? What boring spell did they cast with their dull wands? I don’t have the answers to those questions. Instead, I find myself asking even more boring ones: Will they continue couples therapy? Will Ben be able to have children? And when, for the love of god, is the wedding special going to air?