Brace for Bachelor Nation


Photo from ABC.

My hand reaches for the black mouse pad on my laptop while my brain screams “No!” One short tap and my life will delve into drama, the drama that “The Bachelor” provides. My hand continues its procession forward toward my laptop as my brain protests. Finally, my fingers tap the mouse pad and “The Bachelor” recap begins to play. Despite my suspicion of the show’s premise, I continue to watch the Bachelor, just as so many others do, but why?

The Bachelor is supposed to be the story of one man finding love. This man has 25 to 40 beautiful women competing for his hand in marriage. To stay on the show, each woman must receive a rose at the revered rose ceremonies. Without a rose, the women often leave in tears and hysteria as their hopes of love are crushed. This is the story of “The Bachelor.” Now we ask why this story draws millions of viewers in every season. 

I have grown up around the Bachelor. In eighth grade, I stayed home sick and decided to lay in bed all day so I could watch “The Bachelor,” specifically Sean Lowe’s season. My friends were always sharing their favorite contestants in the hallway, and I was ready to join the “club.” I watched a few more seasons and then took a break. While I was not actively watching “The Bachelor,” it was everywhere. Every Monday night, while the weekly episode aired, the Twitter Explore page recounted the drama of the night. The last few seasons seemed to hold social media’s attention. I knew all about Hannah Brown’s night in the windmill and the religious debate that followed without watching an episode. Then I came to SLU and heard about a new Bachelor watch party popping up every Monday night. Many people watch “The Bachelor” just to have a conversation with the legions of other people who watch.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, one can make the argument that a few, rare people watch the bachelor for the romance it provides. Despite the suspicion that the romantic interactions are faked, the contestants seem to be convinced they can find love. Every week there is another girl admitting she thinks she is falling in love, while the bachelor (this year, Peter Weber, or Pilot Pete) repeats that he really likes her. As more drama unfolds, reaffirmations of trust are made. Despite all the trust that is exchanged, suspicion lurks around every corner as one man tries to find love in a sea of girls. As the season draws closer to the end, watchers pick their favorites and cheer for love to prevail.

The last and most important reason to watch “The Bachelor” is the drama on the screen. With every new bachelor comes a new crowd of girls vying for his attention. This leads to drama including catfights, tears and yelling. The drama we see may be manipulated by the producers, but it provides for an entertaining evening. 

Despite the degrading nature of the show toward females, “The Bachelor” remains a pillar of reality TV. It has been popular enough to demand several spinoff shows, including “Bachelor in Paradise” and “The Bachelorette.” For better or worse, “The Bachelor” and it’s spinoffs are here to stay, at least for a few more seasons. When watching “The Bachelor,” it is important to remember that you do not condone the actions on screen and instead take it for what it is, the guiltiest of guilty pleasures.