Growing up, I would hear my stepmom spouting off random names, saying things like “Did you see that so-and-so had an individual date with the bachelor?” or “This girl went and kissed this guy but then went on a date with another guy and kissed him!” I got very familiar with not hearing from my stepmom and dad on Monday or Tuesday nights, as those were sacred nights. Of course, I’m talking about Bachelor/Bachelorette Mondays and Bachelor in Paradise Tuesdays. However, as of this fall, I am the newest member of the exclusive Bachelor Nation.
According to E! Online, The Bachelor began in 2002 featuring Alex Michel and only six episodes where various women competed for Michel’s love. The Bachelorette quickly followed in 2003, featuring Trista Rehn, the first runner-up from the first season of The Bachelor. As the years went on, the seasons grew longer, the introductions more kooky and the proposals more frequent. Michel’s season did not include a proposal at the end, but in 2021, it is always expected to come at the final episode of the season. Fans became known as the Bachelor Nation, taking over social media on Monday nights.
A spin-off show began in 2014 titled Bachelor in Paradise, where a rotating group of previous Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants travel to Mexico to date each other and hopefully find a lasting relationship, according to Bachelor in Paradise Wiki. This is the show I reluctantly joined the Bachelor Nation with, going against the many criticisms I had heard about the show.
The most recent season began on Aug. 16, just as I was preparing to move to Tallahassee. When the second week aired on Aug. 23, my roommates started watching and instantly drew me in. I quickly learned a brief history of each contestant returning to the show, as each had a complicated relationship with their presence on the show. Many criticized the show for being too cheesy, insincere and an unlikely environment for people to actually find love. However, as I watched the show, it did really seem like some contestants had found true love. My favorite contestants at the beginning were Grocery Store Joe Amabile, Demi Burnett, Abby Heringer and Kenny Braasch. Each contestant swiftly takes on an archetype when they join the show, some coming in like the sweet, former grocery store owner Chicago boy or the venomous, man-stealing villain.
The drama of the show is unmatched by any show I have watched before. I have always loved reality television, constantly keeping up with Survivor and Rupaul’s Drag Race, tuning in here and there to Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Amazing Race. But on Bachelor in Paradise, it is a crowd of people who love being on television dating each other and playing up every interaction for the camera. As the latest season went on and relationships grew stronger, screaming matches were had and backs were stabbed. Contestants went behind others’ backs to make out with another person’s prospective boyfriend or girlfriend. Others took the group dating aspect of the show very seriously, constantly browsing the playing field.
If you are someone who loves gushy romance and spicy drama, I highly recommend checking out Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. The next season of The Bachelorette premieres on ABC on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.