Monday night's finale of The Bachelorette was the show's 11th, and the 20th in ABC's Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise — and Kaitlyn Bristowe finally chose between Nick Viall and Shawn Booth.

This recent season elicited more interest than Season 10's snoozefest, partly due to the network's ratings-grabbing decision to kick things off with two Bachelorettes, and also because emerging Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe dared to hook up with a few bachelors, something The Bachelor men have been doing with their gaggle of female suitors since the series' inception.

What happened? Well, [SPOILER alert, in case you're saving the show on DVR yet still clicked on this article, you beautiful weirdo]: Kaitlyn accepted a proposal from fan favorite Shawn Booth, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Connecticut (not all princes wear crowns). Nick Viall went home alone, probably to resurface in some later season of the ABC juggernaut.

"The minute you stepped out of the limo, I felt something with you I cannot describe — and I don't think I've ever felt before," Kaitlyn breathed, smiling up at Shawn. After her lengthy (and probably producer-mandated) monologue, Shawn got down on one knee, and now they're in the running to be the seventh couple in Bachelor/Bachelorette history who've stuck together.

The odds are so comically low that, on July 27's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy made the couple swear on a stack of US Weeklys that they'd pay him $1000 in the event a breakup. "Because, quite frankly, my heart can't take it anymore," the host joked. Even the most casual observer is familiar with the reality series' trappings: the soft-focus lighting, the roses, the perennial concerns that "some people aren't here for the right reasons." Its conventions have become so engrained into our pop culture vocabulary, there's even a parody series, Burning Love (which is on Hulu and you should definitely stream at your earliest convenience).

Today is the first day of the rest of Shawnlyn's lives, and they'll try to make a go of it... while the public takes note of every possible sign that they're verging on a split. Variety reports that last night's finale drew 8.1 million viewers, and the show's been a consistent enough ratings workhorse that future seasons seem imminent. Viewers keep getting drawn into the rusting mechanism of the Bachelor / Bachelorette's manufactured fairy tale narrative, fueled by a mix of skepticism, schadenfreude and, yes, soft pink gushy hope that love will win out in the end. After all, for every regrettable Juan Pablo and Nikki Ferrell match, there's a possible Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter success story. And who doesn't want to believe in forever?

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