Almost every Bachelor couple breaks up, but most of them at least pretend to give it a shot. They go on Good Morning America, pose for the paparazzi a few times, and then a couple of months later end up on the cover of Us Weekly announcing the split. Peter and Madison, though, are finished after professing their love for one another just two days ago. Late Thursday night, both announced the breakup alongside the requisite Instagram posts about being grateful for “the journey.” (Nobody dumped anybody, of course—you’re only allowed to break up with someone on the show. Afterward, you simply “mutually decide not to pursue your relationship any further.”) I get it: I also would not want to be quarantined with a woman I was pretending to love for the cameras.
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I want to start by acknowledging the incredible group of women that I had the privilege of getting to know this season. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I learned so many lessons from all of you that I will carry with me. Madi, thank you for your patience and unconditional love. You’re the epitome of a woman who carries herself with grace, stands by what she believes in, and loves whole heartedly. That love is something I feel so grateful to have felt and will take a piece of that with me always going forward. Madi and I have mutually decided to not pursue our relationship any further. Believe me this was not easy for either of us to be ok with, but after a lot of honest conversations, we have agreed that this is what makes most sense for the two of us. The love and respect I have for Madi will continue to endure. Hannah Ann, you set an example for women everywhere a couple nights ago. You are such a strong, confident woman and you deserve all the love in the world. I accept full responsibility for my mistakes in our relationship and wish you only the best. This has been an emotional experience and I am so grateful for the outreach of support that I have received from friends, family, and Bachelor Nation in the last few days. Thank you to all of you! This is just a another chapter in my story. One I will never forget and one I will always cherish ❤️
Even in the realms of Bachelor relationships, the supposed relationship between these two seems to have been particularly fake. They claimed on television that they’d met up only once since the end of filming—a meetup that was filmed—and then broke up two days later. I don’t think we can call people meeting up a total of two times “a relationship.”
So The Bachelor ends with no winner. Hannah Ann, who received the last rose and an engagement ring, was dumped on TV; Madison, who was brought back into Peter’s life in an attempt to put a bow on a season in which the Bachelor dumped his chosen fiancée, is now single too. It’s the second season in a row that ended with an engagement, an un-engagement, a televised segment in which the lead pretended to give it a shot with the runner-up, and a short-lived, fizzled relationship. Hannah Brown and Tyler C. pretended they would try to be together after her relationship with Jed went south on the last season of The Bachelorette. But Hannah and Tyler C. just kinda half-promised to go on a date with each other. (He started dating GIGI HADID like a day later.) The last time we saw Peter and Madison, they said they were in love with each other. We can’t even really say that Tyler and Hannah broke up—they weren’t even claiming to be in a relationship. But Madison and Peter at least pretended.
So who actually won the show? The answer is clear: Barb, Peter’s mother, who stole the season finale by refusing to stop dumping all over Peter’s relationship with Madison. At roughly the same time her son and the woman Barb hated posted their breakup messages to Instagram, Barb herself posted a video of her and her friends singing “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Perhaps it was a cheeky celebration of her least favorite person leaving on a metaphorical jet plane; perhaps she just posted it because she likes posting videos of her and her friends singing on Instagram. (The social media strategy of moms is always difficult to parse.)
In a world where Peter and Madison were actually trying to live their lives together, Barb was a villain, an overprotective mom unwittingly causing harm to her son by shooting down his chances at happiness. She literally told Peter and Madison that “everybody knows it’s not going to work.”
In reality—not reality TV—Peter and Madison were just trying to smile for the cameras, and Barb was completely right about everything. Her repeated claims that Peter and Madison would never make it in the real world were obviously right—remember, Madison is a teetotalling virgin; Peter became famous for having sex on television. Of course they weren’t going to last. Somehow, the most dramatic parent to ever appear on this show was the most rational person in the room—and then she danced about it on Instagram.
If you’re not a Bachelor watcher, you probably think we’re dumb for spending months of our lives thinking about a show that culminated with such a sham. But no—we love yelling about how fake and doomed the relationships are, and we mainly watch to meet the characters along the way, and Barb was an all-timer. She got to scream out the same things we were screaming in our living rooms—except on television, at her own son, while everybody else smiled for the cameras. She knew this person her son was pretending to love made zero sense for him, and in the end, she made sure that he did not BRING HERRRRRR HOOOOOOOOOOOOME.