Why I Both Dislike & Like the Bachelor Franchise

Roses used to be a symbol I associated with beauty and Valentine’s day — now they’re anxiety-provoking, thinking about who I’ve seen get their heart broken on "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" after not receiving the final rose. 

In high school, I watched "The Bachelorette" briefly during Andy Dorfman’s season. As you may or may not know, things ended between her and her husband to be. It was a bit disappointing to hear, but why was I disappointed? Did I really expect a relationship from reality television to last? Why am I attached and invested to couples I’ve never met? All of these questions are both valid and common amongst viewers of "The Bachelor" franchise—yet we continue to watch week after week. 

There are many reasons why I dislike "The Bachelor" franchise. I honestly can’t stand that they’re making money off of people’s happiness, or lack thereof. I don’t understand how someone is dating at least 20 people at the same time in the beginning of the show. How do you really get to know someone while dating so many other people too? Is monogamy not cool now? If so, I give up. I might just buy a tiny house and cat and swear off this relationship stuff. 

This show puts an unattainable facade on love. The dates they go on are outrageously expensive and unrealistic to us students watching from our dorm living room, slurping chicken-flavored ramen. How do you bounce back from a sunset cruise in Greece to Chinese takeout and Netflix after the show is over and you’ve found “the one?” 

As a Catholic, I find a lot of aspects of this show disappointing. Firstly, I think marriage is a serious vocation you should discern. Not everyone is called to marriage because you can also be called to the single life or religious life. A lot of people on this show are iffy about marriage, and that’s understandable, but also frustrating that they don’t take the time to think deeply about it before signing on to the show. The premise of the show is to find “the one,” yet some admit they’re not ready for that commitment. 

Additionally, the idea of “the fantasy suite” being this symbol of seriousness in the relationship implies that sex is the best expression of love, which I just whole-heartedly disagree with. Love can be expressed in relationships outside of physical contact. 

What I like about the show is that relationships are highlighted in a manner of importance. There’s a tendency now to be wrapped up in a hookup culture of kiss and ditch, but I think the show for me is a sign that people are frustrated with hookup apps, one night stands, and want more out of their relationships. A majority of the show is face-to-face interactions and conversations that are healthy for people to see.

Even if there’s drama, it’s good to see that they show relationships require some give and take and open-ness. 

Aside from that, my friends and I have grown closer by watching the show and reflecting together. It gives us a perfect opportunity to build community and talk about what we think a healthy relationship looks like, and for college men and women, I think that’s the perfect time to think about what you’re looking for in a potential partner.