Game of Roses

I’m an avid Bachelor fan, as evidenced by the countless articles I've written on here about the franchise, but the best part of watching the show is getting to dive into each episode afterwards. One of the best parts of being a member of “Bachelor Nation” is getting to see other members’ reactions to the stories unfolding on and off screen. And while I love being on twitter while watching the show on Monday nights, those two hours I get to watch drama unfold are just the beginning for me when it comes to Bachelor related media I consume.

man holding remote, sitting on couch with woman, popcorn Photo by JEShoots from Pexels

I listen to a few Bachelor podcasts, but the one that completely revolutionized the way I view the show is a podcast called Game of Roses (GOR). GOR breaks down The Bachelor like it is a professional sport, analyzing the game play of the contestants. They present the show as what it is: a competition for screen time which translates into a social media following. They have created a whole vocabulary, a new language with which to analyze the show. My personal favorite is the PTC (Personal Tragedy Card), which is when a contestant reveals past trauma, often resulting in a rose and thus ensuring more time in the game. Another phrase used often by GOR is 4TRR (For the Right Reasons), which is defined on a merch design of theirs as an adjective that “describes a player who adheres to a structural rule of the game, that the only goal of participation is to find love, and any monetary gain, increase in IG followers, fame, or general clout is purely incidental.” The phrase itself is often used on the show, and the concept is crucial to being a good player; you cannot obviously be playing the game because being genuine is a key part of getting far. 

In moments when the show is on hiatus, the coverage does not stop. By nature of how much of the game takes place on social media in this era of the franchise, there is still plenty to cover. GOR, on their instagram, shares social media plays with the hashtag #PPOTW, Power Play of the Week. Not only does GOR examine how social media plays a role and how contestants continue playing the game off screen, they also dive into past seasons and explore the evolution of certain aspects of the game. Through their deep dives, I’ve learned so much about the show and its evolution which has furthered my understanding of the show and its place in American culture.

ABC/Craig Sjodin

As I’ve written about previously, The Bachelor is an inherently flawed show as it is a reflection of the society in which we live, and GOR does not shy away from this. They are not afraid to examine the ways in which the show perpetuates sexism and racism. They tackle these issues head on, and use the show to have greater conversations about ways these issues still exist in our society and permeate through even reality television.

GOR examines The Bachelor from a lens that allowed me to fully realize why I’ve always gravitated towards the franchise. While I believe wholeheartedly that some things can just be fun, intellectualizing The Bachelor has made the show a million times more fun to watch. I’ve also become somewhat of an expert Bachelor viewer, more able to predict eliminations and even the order of roses just based on editing. I still have plenty to learn and the nature of the game is ever changing, but I’m so glad to get to watch it all unfold from, as GOR would say, “the Pit.” 

Red Roses Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon