If you know me, you know one of my obsessions is ABC’s The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad franchise. Each year I gear up, ready for the hilarious yet lame, and ultimately (after After The Final Rose) heart-breaking end to a couple I’ve fallen in love with (I’m looking at you Emily and Jef. There’s still hope for you two yet…). I am neither proud nor ashamed to say that I still remember the very first Bachelor, Alex, who paved the way for the soon-to-be 18 bachelors who have followed him, as well as nine Bachelorettes and three seasons of Bachelor Pad! The genius that is Creator/Executive Producer Mike Fleiss has continuously produced a show that, while it doesn’t always live up to the “epic season” beloved host Chris Harrison always claims it will be (I fall for it every time, Harrison.), the show continues to entertain and even inspire (thank the Jesus for Trista and Ryan, and a few others who have followed them).
Since its beginning in 2002, the entire Bachelor family, or every contestant to ever appear on each show, has acquired the moniker of “Bachelor Nation”. On any given day, you can hop on Twitter, search the term #bachelornation and you’re sure to find out the latest goings-ons of some of your favorite Bachelor babes and beauties. There are those who are loved, those who are hated, those you love to hate and even hate to love. (Michelle Money, I don’t know how you did it, but you won me over, girl!) It’s really just one big, incestuous, dysfunctional family.
While I don’t know any of these people personally and I understand the difference between stalking and being curious, my heart fell Tuesday night when I read that a favorite contestant of mine and all-around beloved sweetheart, Gia Allemand from both The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad, was reported to be in critical condition at a New Orleans hospital. Gia had kept a low profile as of late and as far as the media was concerned, all was assumed to be well. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, TMZ.com broke the news that Gia had been pronounced dead. “Wow.” That was all that could be said. And then the questions started. But while “we” were wondering what could possibly have gone so wrong, a family, a boyfriend and all those who knew her had lost this amazingly beautiful woman from their lives.
I’ll be honest when I say, watching the camaraderie that surrounds the contestants after the shows are over is a really lovely thing and only makes me want to go on the show just to have those friendships afterwards! Yes, I have a life (and friends) but there’s something about these people and the connections they’ve made that seem, I guess, special. They support each other, they laugh at (and with) one another and they travel in groups when there’s something to be celebrated. And this is one moment when that camaraderie is needed the most. Already the outpouring of support and prayers for Gia and her family have taken over social media and news sites. Today, every person associated with the franchise — even the fans — became a part of #bachelornation and as a whole, we are grieving. It really doesn’t matter if you knew her or not. What matters is that she’s in everyone’s prayers.
We may never know what caused Gia to make the decision she did, but one thing’s for sure she will be missed dearly. And while the Bachelor family isn’t always the classiest bunch, you can be sure that they’re all deciding how exactly to honor one of their own. And that, we can only hope, will be the most memorable thing they do.
Tonight you’re in my prayers, Gia. May you finally find your peace.
Look for me next season when Juan Pablo is sure to garner possibly the highest ratings of the franchise as the 18th Bachelor. Obviously, I’m the best possible candidate for the once-professional soccer hunk but alas, I’m removing myself from the competition (people, I’m kidding…) and will be blogging with my equally Bachelor/ette-obsessed Bostonian friend, L. The commentary between the two of us every Monday night is never short of belly-achingly funny, so we’ve decided to make our convos public. Sorry, we’re not sorry.