I may have dulled my senses with hours and hours of The Bachelor this season, Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi's response to fan criticism is soothing exactly zero of my concerns. It's already a pretty big red flag when you've been "out" as a couple for about a week and are already having to issue these kinds of responses, but it was incredibly necessary after that episode of After The Final Rose that I know we all watched. You might have been expecting the newly-engaged pair to be enthusing over each other and how excited they are to finally go public as a couple, but instead what we saw was Nick and Vanessa being awkward AF on the show, causing a lot of fans to raise their eyebrows as to whether or not the Bachelor couple were happy together.
They already did the hard part on TV, where they dated, or competed with, 30 women at one once; now it's time to kick back and enjoy each other. Or, if you're Nick and Vanessa, now it's time to go on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and try to convince fans yet again that you're happily in love.
The interview was actually between Nick and his Dancing with the Stars partner Peta Murgatroyd, so the reality star's fiancée wasn't even seated with him. Vanessa answered Ellen's questions from the audience, as Nick stared on impassively. Here's what she said when asked if she thought they were awkward on ATFR.
Having watched this dynamic play out with dozens of post-show Bachelor and Bachelorette couples at this point, these canned responses really don't bode well for the continued happiness of the engaged couple.
But just look at how much more engaged Nick is with Murgatroyd when she's talking than he is with Vanessa as she defends their awkward dynamic. In fact, to the untrained eye, Nick and Murgatroyd actually seem like more of a couple, and not just because they're sitting next to each other on the couch. The vibe between them is easy and friendly, whereas the interactions between the actual Bachelor couple feel tense and strained, just as they did on ATFR.
I hope I'm wrong, and that Nick and Vanessa are happily in love and doing that important work of building a foundation together. But what I've seen of them on television so far doesn't give me a lot of hope that their relationship is going well. Then again, Nick and Vanessa have always prided themselves on being able to have those tough conversations and coming out as a stronger couple because of them. Just because things look tough to the untrained eye (I admit it, you guys, my eye isn't trained) doesn't mean that they don't love each other.