At the turn of the new year, my friend had asked me to record The Bachelor for her on my system so she could log in and watch. I didn’t think anything of it. Up until the turn of 2018, I had never watched an episode of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or Bachelor in Paradise. I gave not one ounce of consideration to the franchise that has my female peers often in a tizzy. It just was not for me, but in my opinion, the franchise has become a phenomenon that has eclipsed the sole purpose of the show and given the contestants a platform to expand their careers after the show.
When the show first aired way back in 2002, I was 11 years old and at no point was this show appealing to me. I was watching reality television (hello The Real World) but aside from that, dating shows were not of any fascination. As time has passed and there have been continuous seasons of The Bachelor & The Bachelorette, especially with the rise of social media, interest in the shows has been more about the contestants than the stories being told.
I decided to sit and give the show a look because I had nothing better to do and figured it couldn’t be as bad as watching Love & Hip Hop. I wish now that I could go back and tell past me to not press play. I wish I could get two hours of my life back from watching the trainwreck known as The Bachelor. As of the publishing of this article I have only seen 1.5 episodes of this show because I could not will myself to watch any more.
My judgment on the show is based on what I have watched and any clips I have seen on the internet/discussions my friends have engaged in.
The idea of being the bachelor is not bad, especially in today’s day and age. You have 20-30 girls hand selected for you by a team of producers, shove them all in a house and you get to pick and choose which ones you want to spend time with. Here’s where the show goes wrong for me. Shouldn’t he be living in the house with the girls? Seeing how they live, their domestic skills, whether these girls are down to earth or always “on”? While I get that the bachelor is supposed to be dating these girls and taking them on these luxurious dates and trips, this is the same person who’s supposed to fall in love with a girl after 10 weeks and propose to her. Wouldn’t you want to live with the person you’re supposed to marry before you ask the big question? The process is rushed and often times feels forced. Seems a little backward to me. That’s the first flaw I find with The Bachelor.
Also, why is every bachelor they pick someone who is straight out of a modeling catalog? Where are the normal American dudes? That’d be more interesting than seeing some of these picture-perfect dudes the franchise has grown accustomed to. We talk about how women are portrayed in the media, etc. whether they’re too thin or too fat, etc. but men always look like they are professional models. Talk about giving the everyday dude a real shot at finding love. Where are the dudes with a normal body fat percentage or “great personality” as many would say to describe a generally unfavorable dude? I know, the casting of the bachelor, and The Bachelor, in general, is not geared towards getting dudes to watch. Fine, I can live with that, but I think they could tweak their casting formal a little bit.
My next issue with The Bachelor/Bachelorette is that it’s giving people unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. More than likely, you are never going to have your dates furnished by corporate sponsors, get taken on a shopping spree like these girls do on their one-on-one dates and are given thousands of dollars of jewelry. My understanding of these contestants (also because a girl from my high school served as a producer on the show for a number of seasons) is they’re all fame hungry individuals looking for their “big break” and reality tv is their foot in the door. Whether their true intentions are to find love or not, I don’t believe that they are genuinely on television to find true love with a complete stranger. They may be there for a vacation, to fall in “lust” with the bachelor of choice, or use it as a platform for self-promotion.
Regardless of the reasons, I believe that The Bachelor has evolved from a show about women trying to find their true love, into women attempting to secure their spot on another reality show or sell “Flat Tummy Tea” on Instagram. For the girls who tune into The Bachelor religiously each week over the course of a number of years, it’s given them a false sense of hope about how relationships should work. If a guy doesn’t tell you he loves you after 4 weeks, or 10 weeks, your life is “over.” That’s not how relationships work. I can’t fathom people who go on social media and will say that certain contestants from the shows are “#relationshipgoals” when no one should be striving for a relationship formed from reality television. Are there some success stories, sure, but those seem to be the exceptions to the rule, more so than the rule itself. These dates are all fantasy. ABC and The Bachelor are selling women a fantasy.
If I’m going to be completely honest, the only drama on the show is when the women are interacting with each other and over analyzing every little thing that is happening around them. If I wanted to watch that, I’d go back to college and hang out with a bunch of sorority girls. That is essentially what The Bachelor has devolved into. They’re catty, judgy and often mean-spirited. On top of that, the hysterics are often always over the top. These girls lose their absolute minds if they don’t get a one on one date or if they’re not given enough time to talk to the bachelor. Here’s a hint: stand your ground and make yourself interesting. If some other girl tries to talk to your man, would you back down in real life, or would you fight for your time and your man? It’s as if all social norms go out the proverbial door and they create new rules and habits.
I could easily recommend a thousand better reality shows, but The Bachelor has found its audience and sticking to their same tired formula.
Feature image via Arie Luyendyk