The finale of the “The Bachelorette” aired on ABC on Monday night, ending a 14th season filled with the usual debauchery, steamy dates in destinations like Thailand and controversy both manufactured and real.
This season had more of the latter than usual. Unbeknown to the producers — and the bachelorette Becca Kufrin — until after filming was complete, two of the contestants had issues in their past. And one of those men, Garrett Yrigoyen, whose issue was a habit of liking offensive Instagram posts, survived the show’s drawn-out culling process to become one of the two finalists.
Millions across the country, some mourning the recent elimination of a fan favorite, a banker named Jason Tartick, tuned in on Monday night to see Ms. Kufrin’s choice. And when it turned out to be Mr. Yrigoyen, fans immediately began to wonder: Had the bachelorette made a choice she might now be regretting?
Didn’t see the finale? Didn’t see any of the episodes? Not sure what the fuss was all about? Here’s a helpful guide:
It’s been years since I watched reality TV. Remind me how this show works.
“The Bachelorette” is a spinoff of ABC’s popular “Bachelor” romance competition series, which first aired in 2002. In a process that lasts around two months, the main love interest goes through a speed-dating process with pool of 25 to 30 romantic prospects.
“The Bachelorette” hit screens in 2003, with Trista Rehn at the center. She chose Ryan Sutter, and she is now Trista Sutter; they are one of a handful of the shows’ couples who actually have had lasting marriages.
Ms. Sutter was the runner-up in the first season of “The Bachelor.” ABC frequently recycles contestants (usually the runners-up) from “The Bachelor” to star in the “The Bachelorette,” and vice versa.
During the show’s filming, the bachelor or bachelorette, and his or her suitors, all live in the “Bachelor mansion” outside Los Angeles. Cellphones are taken away. Through a series of one-on-one and group dates (including an all-contestant football game this season in which one of the men, an actual professional football player, broke his wrist), the bachelor or bachelorette narrows the field at the end of each episode by giving roses to each woman or man who survives the cut. No rose = go home.
There are always hometown dates with the finalists. Blake Horstmann, the runner-up to Mr. Yrigoyen this season, took Ms. Kufrin to Bailey, Colo., where she met his family and heard about the school shooting that took place when he was in high school. Mr. Yrigoyen — who had liked an Instagram post calling a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting a “crisis actor” — took Ms. Kufrin to Manteca, Calif., where he grew up.
The bachelor or bachelorette also goes with one or more of the suitors to the “fantasy suite,” the destination for the show’s only private moments.
At the end, the bachelor or bachelorette picks a winner. Usually, there’s a marriage proposal, but it’s not required. Sometimes there is a proposal and a twist. In the most recent season of the “Bachelor,” Arie Luyendyk Jr. proposed to Ms. Kufrin, only to dump her onscreen and make a televised proposal to the other finalist.
Hence why Ms. Kufrin, a 28-year-old publicist from the Twin Cities area, ended up this season’s “Bachelorette.”
What were this season’s offscreen controversies?
In the season premiere, Ms. Kufrin gave the “first impression” rose — signifying immediate interest — to Mr. Yrigoyen, a 29-year-old medical sales representative. Soon after it aired, insensitive Instagram posts he “liked” came to light. The posts mocked transgender people, undocumented immigrants, and left-wing feminists.
He also liked a jarring post labeling David Hogg, a student from Parkland who has become outspoken on gun control, as a “crisis actor,” a false accusation stemming from conspiracists who argue that certain mass shootings didn’t actually happen.
Mr. Yrigoyen deleted the posts and then apologized on Instagram.
“I am sorry to those who I offended, and I also take full responsibility for my ‘likes’ on Instagram that were hurtful and offensive,” he wrote. “I do not want my social media to define who I am, and I will take better care moving forward to support all walks of life.”
Another contestant, Lincoln Adim, 26, managed to get on the show despite having been charged in 2016 with groping a woman in Boston. He was convicted in the month before the season premiere for indecent assault and battery.
[The Bachelorette is hardly the first reality television show with a troubled contestant.]
Most recently, the romantic prospect Leandro “Leo” Dottavio, who was eliminated in Episode 7, was accused of having made crude comments on Instagram to some women. Mr. Dottavio said that no woman had accused him of making them uncomfortable but said he was “not a perfect person” and wanted “to take this as an opportunity to better myself and the treatment of women in my life.”
All of this raised questions about the show’s vetting process.
How did the production handle these issues?
In June, Warner Bros., which produces the show, said that it had not known of Mr. Adim’s arrest when it cast him and that a “well-respected and highly experienced” third party entrusted with the show’s background checks had made no mention of it.
The network had no need to deal with Mr. Adim’s past because he was eliminated in week 6. He did not appear in last week’s “Men Tell All” episode, in which men who have been eliminated gather to rehash the juicy events of the season.
But Ms. Kufrin had remained smitten with Mr. Yrigoyen since the first impression rose. At one point, she said he reminded her of her deceased father. He admitted to her that he had been previously married for two months. In Episode 7, the two explored the Bahamas by seaplane and Mr. Yrigoyen told Ms. Kufrin he was starting to fall in love with her.
Had the show known of his Instagram activity, there is a good chance he would not have been chosen to compete in the first place. In last year’s season, which featured the first African-American bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, the show came under fire for a contestant who was found to have written racially charged and sexist Twitter posts. After that, an ABC executive said the vetting process should be improved.
Warner Bros. declined to comment on Mr. Yrigoyen’s behavior or about any possible changes to its vetting process.
What does Ms. Kufrin think of all of this?
We don’t know much, though it is likely she does not share Mr. Yrigoyen’s social or political views. She attended the women’s march and supported Hillary Clinton in the last election. But Ms. Kufrin had been limited in what she could say publicly before the finale of the show aired, to prevent any spoilers.
She has made vague statements to various news outlets when asked about Mr. Yrigoyen’s past. “I want viewers to be open to everyone, and I want them to go through this season with me and watch my love story unfold with all of these men,” she told Entertainment Tonight.
On the “Men Tell All” episode, the cast avoided talking about Mr. Yrigoyen or Mr. Adim. Some of the men did joke about one contestant’s virginity, which created a stir.
So what do fans of the franchise think?
Interest in Mr. Yrigoyen had been high, though not necessarily because of his social media activity.
Mr. Yrigoyen consistently got more searches on Google than Mr. Horstmann, the other finalist.
Many expressed anger about Mr. Yrigoyen’s behavior on social media.
Others stood up for his political views, or at least thought too much was being made of them. One tweet in support received 1,000 likes.
And others simply expressed excitement over him and did not acknowledge his views at all.
What happens now?
Ms. Kufrin and Mr. Yrigoyen are due to appear Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Then it’s on to the ABC morning shows “Good Morning America” and “Live with Kelly & Ryan” on Tuesday. They will most likely be asked about Mr. Yrigoyen’s social media activity on one or more of the shows.
In Episode 4, Ms. Kufrin compared relationships to the sport of bobsledding, so she might already be prepared to deal with any problems.
“You have to be fast, you have to be precise, you have to be ready for the curves,” Ms. Kufrin says. “And hopefully it’s all worth it in the end.”