"I don't like this one bit. Shouldn't have filmed."
That was beloved Bachelor Sean Lowe's reactionary tweet during The Bachelor's finale on Monday night, when Arie Luyendyk Jr. blindsided Becca Kufrin by breaking up with her a little over a month after proposing in Peru. The unedited (sometime split-screen) scene was brutal to watch, and angered fans as Becca was lead to believe she was about to spend the weekend with her fiancee during a "Happy Couple Weekend" organized by the show's producers.
And yet, Lowe watched the entire scene play out. It seems we all did, as the until-now lackluster season saw its highest ratings in both overall viewers and in the all-important adults 18-49 demo rating. We may have been watching through our fingers, but we were still watching.
Ahead of the polarizing breakup, franchise creator Mike Fleiss tweeted about the decision to air the scene "unedited," writing, "You are about to witness true television history. The first completely unedited scene— EVER!!!"
So yes, the "raw" and unedited conversation between Arie and Becca was unprecedented strictly because of its lack of bells and whistles. But it was also unprecedented in the franchise's long history in the way it was set up to begin with.
"Happy Couple Weekends" are nothing new for the show's couples; they're a rite of passage.
Basically, the show sets up top-secret dates in Los Angeles while the season is airing so the engaged couple can see each other.
"The show does a great job of trying to get us to see each other," previous Bachelor Nick Viall told E! News after his season ended (he proposed to Vanessa Grimaldi, though they broke up months later). "So we got to see each other every two-to-three weeks for like four to five days at a time. Not ideal, but it was consistent."
Having camera crews film during that time, however, is another story. When asked by a fan if the show ever films the couples during this time, Bachelor Jason Mesnick (who knows a thing or two about changing his mind) said, "Not typically."
While the leads the do occasionally film on their iPhones (Hi, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth's infamous Snapchat scandal!), usually the show's cameras are not there.
"They don't FILM happy couple weekends..." season 12 Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher tweeted. "WHAT ARE THEY TELLING BECCA!?" She then added, "Unless they started this cute 'update' thing after our season."
And maybe that is the main issue: Airing the breakup felt unfair to Becca.
"I don't want to use the word blindsiding on Becca, but she obviously clearly thought she was there for something else," Robert Mills, ABC's senior vice president of ABC's alternative programming, said to Entertainment Weekly "She was indeed stunned."
But Mills defended the decision to air the breakup, calling it a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, explaining viewers needed to see it happen rather than "depending on Arie as narrator."
And it seems like Bachelor Nation might use the unedited storytelling device moving forward, with Mills saying, " I think seeing things real and realizing these are real couples...absolutely, we would incorporate this more in the show."
The Bachelor's After the Final Rose airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.