'Bachelor' contractually obligated to be a jerk

Jasonmesnick_thebachelor_s13_240 Can you blame The Bachelor for a change of heart? No, but many disgusted viewers are holding single dad Jason Mesnick responsible for how he acted on his heart's wishes.

For those who missed the controversial finale Monday night or just want to relive the excruciating moment when Jason told his chosen fiancee, winner Melissa Rycroft, that he was dumping her because he still had feelings for runner-up Molly Malaney, check out Zap2it's Bachelor recap.

The Jason-haters appear to fall into three camps:

1) Those who want to string him up for giving Melissa the boot on national television
2) Those who blame him for being a fickle-hearted douchebag who shouldn't have been on the show in the first place since he obviously doesn't know jack about love
3) Those who find it irresponsible that he confused his child Ty by introducing him to women who weren't guaranteed to be part of his life

Jason acknowledges that the first group's hatred is legitimate, since he's filled with self-loathing for his actions as well. But he says that he had no choice. ABC and The Bachelor contract made him do it.

Melissa_thebachelor_s13_240 "That was part of the deal. I signed up for it in my contract," he says in a People interview. "Your relationship is --- good and bad --- in front of everybody. If I could have, I would have seen Melissa the night before. It killed me. It kills me now."

The Star-Ledger's Alan Sepinwall makes a good argument that yes, Jason is a jerk, but he's just like all the Bachelor jerks who preceded him. Timing was everything. If Jason had dumped Melissa on the actual finale, we would have seen her weepy limo ride earlier. And, unlike previous Bachelors who eventually broke it off with their final picks, Jason had the bad luck to have his change of heart before the After the Final Rose reunion.

Somewhere in Texas, Brad Womack is doing a happy jig. But Bachelorette Trista Sutter -- the only one in the franchise to marry her pick -- isn't too pleased with how Jason handled things.

Vote: How should Jason's love life play out?



Do you still blame Jason? Should ABC get blamed for holding Jason to the contract? Should every Bachelor contestant get blamed for agreeing to perpetrate such a ridiculous farce on TV? Should the viewers get blamed for fueling the ratings, making ABC continue with The Bachelor formula for ratings success and dating disasters?