What the F is up with “The Bachelor” & America’s Love Affair with this show?+comment
And then there were 3…
Try as I might, I can’t stop watching “The Bachelor.” It’s like tv heroin – I’m hooked on the junk. It does make me feel better than I’m not alone. Since the show started in 2002, ABC has given us 15 Bachelors (well, 14 since Brad is going for round 2) and 6 Bachelorettes, and America has been captivated by every single one of them.
Though the show is structured to end in a marriage proposal, it has only resulted in two actual marriages (Trista & Ryan and Jason & Molly). I say ‘only’, but really, 2 out of 21 (or 20) isn’t bad. What the show has given us in abundance is bikini shots, more exotic locals than a travelocity commercial, and enough tears and drama to give the cast of “Days of our Lives” a run – making it a 9 year ratings juggernaut for ABC. Aaron Spelling would be proud.
So what is it about this show that is so addictive? When it started, I think there was something uniquely compelling about actually getting to watch the process of someone meeting, falling in love with, and then proposing to the person they would spend their life with. Now that we know that most ‘engagements’ have about the same shelf life as milk, I think we can all agree that no one is watching the show because they think they’ll see two people finding their soul mate.
But still we watch it, because we want the gossip, the drama, and voyeuristic thrill of watching people falling in “love.” Not real love, of course. More like summer camp love. I went to summer camp in junior high and fell madly in love with Jason Murphey. I saw him every morning in the cafeteria. I perfected the art of timing my journey to the orange juice station just when he’d get there so I could awkwardly say hi. Nothing like morning cute guy sightings to get my 7th grade juices flowing. When we slow danced the Saturday night before I went home, I thought I was living in my own John Hughes movie. It was perfect. We became pen pals and I was nuts about him… until school started, and then I didn’t really care anymore. Jason was sooo last summer. I think TV romances have about as much long-term possibilities as summer camp romances – if your summer camp counselors (or in this case, producers) encouraged heavy drinking and sex.
And how much reality is there in this reality TV show? Have you ever wondered what it is really like to be one of the 25 women vying for The Bachelor’s affection? If so, I have some good news.
I went to college with a woman who was on one of the seasons of “The Bachelor.” To protect her identity, I’m not going to say what season she was on, but I’ll tease you with this… she made it all the way to the final rose ceremony.
That’s right, I have someone who can give me the ultimate inside scoop. So I called up my old college friend and asked the questions we’ve all wanted to know. Is every woman really a ball of tears or will an IV drip of booze and pressure do that to the most cynical woman? How many women on the show end up having sex with the Bachelor? Do the all the women actually fall for the guy? How much alcohol is everyone drinking? How do the producers affect the outcomes? What was dating like after the show?
As we get down the final two, I’ll be writing about my conversations with my friend, and what it’s really like to be on this reality show. If you have any questions about what life is like on “The Bachelor”, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to get them answered. Stay tuned…