The guilty pleasure in watching The Bachelor

By ARIELLA SHUA | February 13, 2020

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MARIA EKLIND/CC BY-SA 2.0 Season 24 of The Bachelor returns with even more dramatic indulgence.

It’s been just over a month since I’ve started following Peter Weber on the season 24 premiere of The Bachelor. There are two parts of that sentence that truly freak me out. 

First: that The Bachelor has had 24 seasons. Huge accomplishment for ABC, Instagram handles and the few couples that continued their love off-screen. Big loss for America, which treats this like a reigning cultural phenomenon.

Two: I’ve been following Peter and his mission for love for several weeks now. It’s reached the point where I’m upset when I miss an episode.

The Bachelor, which debuted in 2002 and spawned multiple spin-offs, follows one man on his journey to find true love. How does he find it? He dates 30 different women, all at once, dumping them when he (or the producers) decide that he’s just not into them anymore. In between dates, the bachelor tells Woman A he’s in love with her and makes out with her for long, long minutes on-screen, right before swapping her out for Woman B. I mock the show for, well, pretty much all of those reasons.

But here’s the thing: it’s fun. The producers know what they’re doing, and they’ve made an addicting show. Sure, it’s ridiculous, but that’s the beauty of it. As the contestants drink their wine, so should you — ideally with friends and lots of snarky comments prepared.

At this point, season 24 is halfway through Peter the Pilot’s journey toward romance. He’s no stranger to the world in which Chris Harrison, the bland, unnecessary host, is the only consistent entity. 

Last year he competed in season 15 of The Bachelorette, where he got third place. Fortunately for him and his ex — Bachelorette Hannah Brown — they are now both thriving and making ABC tons of money individually.

Episode seven is a little more than halfway through Peter’s season. Six girls are left at this point, and he’s got a great connection with them all. Two drama queens (Tammy and Sydney), one GIF machine (Mykenna) and one Victoria (P.) went home last week. Who will get a rose tonight?

The episode starts with Madison, one of the front runners who I low-key didn’t realize existed anymore. She and Peter have a perfectly lovely one-on-one date. The other girls try to gossip about her but don’t have much to criticize, just noting that she’s very religious. 

Madison doesn’t see that as a problem and brings it up to Peter herself. Peter says that he struggles with faith but promises that it’s important to him. He tells her he’s falling in love with her and gives her a rose, so she moves on to the next episode.

In a true romance, the story would end there. Peter would bring Madison home to meet his family, they’d have four kids and they’d drink hot chocolate in a snow-covered house. It would be the perfect Hallmark movie.

But this is not that romance. So Peter meets up with his second date, Natasha. Natasha is dumped, and Peter ponders his decision alone, holding a rose on a balcony in front of an entire orchestra. Presumably, the producers made that decision for him.

Next is the one-on-one date with Kelsey, popular for crazed crying, mocking other girls and champagne revenge. If you don’t remember these moments, that’s fine, because Peter doesn’t seem to, either. 

The two connect on some unknown level. Unfortunately for viewing purposes, his date with Kelsey is nice, and she gets the rose.

Finally, we reach the last part of the episode: the three-on-one. This is what happens when a reality TV show prioritizes drama over romance, despite trying to appear as though it does the opposite. 

The other three girls, who had thus far been drinking wine, are invited to not really do anything. They meet Peter in front of a hacienda and then break off to talk to him.

Here’s the rundown: Hannah Ann wrote Peter a list of reasons she loves him and dots her i’s with hearts. Victoria F. tells Peter, “Every time we’re together, you’re always in a mood,” which he does not take well. Kelley, who’s just there for the bucket list experience, tries to show that she’s into Peter, but he gets upset when she says they have fun.

The reasonable reaction would be to send Victoria F. home because the two constantly fight over nothing. However, Peter has been reasonable throughout the episode and can do it no longer. He pretends he’s cutting Victoria, but then he gives her the rose. Kelley is sent home, which is a shame. She didn’t care about Peter, but she loved that free vacation.

And that’s that! If you’ve never seen an episode of The Bachelor before, I’m not going to recommend it, because that’s a rabbit hole best avoided. But if you’re looking for a stress reliever that works every single time, you can’t get much better than this. Don’t watch it if you don’t need this distraction, but if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure, now you have a cheat sheet to jump into next week’s episode. 

On the other hand, if you are a Bachelor fan, please join the group chat I made to discuss it.

Finally, here’s the line of the episode, delivered by Kelley: “I think Peter has an easy choice today. I mean, look at me. I’m an attorney. The other girls, what are they?” Truly an inspiration. With an attitude like that, I’m betting she went to Hopkins.

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