Why do audiences love the The Bachelor so much?

By CLAIRE BEAVER | March 1, 2018

EISTRETER/CC BY-SA 3.0 The rose is a common trope in the TV show The Bachelor. which is now in its twenty second season.

I prided myself for a long time on never watching The Bachelor. For some reason, not watching that show made me feel like a better person, like I didn’t need to sink down to the level of trashy TV and getting involved in the lives of people I didn’t know.

This, of course, changed. 

The Bachelor was born in 2002, prime time for reality TV. It competed against shows like Survivor, American Idol and Real World, among others.

In all its variations, this show has lasted for 34 seasons, 22 of which have been The Bachelor. Thirty four full seasons of women and men alike competing to find true love in front of millions of viewers.

The premise is insane; how can we possibly enjoy watching so many people delude themselves into competing against one another for one person, whom they barely know? Truly, I don’t have an answer. All I know is it’s completely addicting in all of its absurdity.

You root for your favorite girls, you’re hurt by the drama and the backstabbing, and you truly want the Bachelor, whoever he may be, to find love and live happily ever after.

This season of The Bachelor is focused on Arie Luyendyk Jr., a racecar driver and son of a two-time championship winning Indy 500 driver. He is 36 years old and, honestly, pretty milquetoast.

Arie was a contestant on the previous season of The Bachelorette before he was kicked off the show toward the very end, as all of the Bachelors are before they get their own seasons. 

Arie has almost no discernible personality traits. He reuses the phrases, “I love that” and “That’s incredible” so often that you can see the disbelief in the women’s faces. 

If the romance doesn’t pique your interest enough to tune in, the drama between the competing women will. 

This season, the most dramatic and controversial contestant was Krystal Nielson. She constantly talked about the other women, was by far the most competitive and was by far the most entertaining.

On a season known for being exceptionally boring, Krystal’s pettiness brought something special.

It baffles me how popular this show is. People are talking about The Bachelor everywhere, and you absolutely can’t look at the internet until you’re caught up. Otherwise spoilers abound and the episode is ruined.

It’s so interesting how invested we as viewers become. Even toward the end of the season, where we are now, when we still essentially know nothing about the Bachelor or the contestants.

We get to see them laugh, cry and profess their feelings over the course of a few weeks, yet we don’t know what Arie’s favorite show is or what kind of music he listens to. How does one become so invested if the contestants barely reveal anything?

Even further, how do the contestants even know if they’re in love? They never touch upon the hard topics that are necessary in maintaining healthy relationships, such as politics, potential children, where they will live after they accept the proposal and countless others.

They get flown all over the world and go on dates set up by a crew of hundreds. They fall in love with the scenery, the passion, the moment. But they don’t fall in love with each other.

Being an optimistic person, I get fooled by the tears and confessions of love and the heartbreak of the contestants that Arie decides to withhold the rose from. 

A personal favorite this season was Tia, a girl from Weiner, Ark., who was kicked off last week after making it to the final four contestants and to “Hometowns,” the episode in which the girls bring Arie to their homes and have him meet their parents. She sobbed when Arie sent her home, as she truly believed that he was the one.

Frankly I believed it too. Then I turned off the television and remembered that you can’t fall in true love over the course of a few weeks.

The entire premise of The Bachelor counts on us as the viewers to suspend our disbelief and forget that every single moment we see is scripted. The producers want us to believe and so we do. We believe because it’s fun and it’s easy and maybe, just maybe, they really will come out of this in love.

Of course, our logic tells us otherwise. As does the fact that only seven couples from both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette actually stayed together after the cameras stopped rolling and they were dropped back into normal life.

Does this mean love is a lie? Of course not. Does it mean that you won’t find it on national television? Probably — much to my chagrin.

Does it mean we won’t tune into the finale on Monday, March 5, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC and find out who Arie chooses? Definitely not. 

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