Why Everyone is so Obsessed with the Bachelor

What is it about love in reality TV shows that draws us in?

The Bachelor franchise (or “Bachelor Nation,” as it is called by fans) is interesting in that it has been successfully maintained for over a decade even with accusations of being outdated and manipulative. Producers have been able to adjust to meet the bare minimum of these complaints in order to stay afloat for 25 seasons of The Bachelor and 16 seasons of its female counterpart, The Bachelorette.

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Two years ago I made the conscious decision to start watching The Bachelor. I knew that I was choosing to watch something superficial and stupid and I was equally aware that I would likely get completely addicted. I began by watching season 22 as it aired, led by a mid-twenties former football player named Colton. The season had its dumb drama and its semi-believable love stories, but overall it wasn’t anything particularly special. Yet, as I predicted, I became addicted. Since then, I’ve watched the subsequent two seasons of The Bachelor and two seasons of The Bachelorette, maintaining my addiction. Throughout all of this, I was aware of the reason why I was so interested - I loved the idea of turning my brain off for two hours every week and laughing at stupid people making stupid mistakes on national television. I think that’s the draw of any reality TV show, but the Bachelor franchise has done extremely well in creating a spectacle that provides the perfect amount of stupidity and drama.

Clare Crawley Photo by ABC / Craig Sjodin

Along with that, social media has built a huge part of the Bachelor world. Fans have created accounts that predict winners and losers and post-life updates for contestants that became popular during their time on the show. In response to this growing popularity, The Bachelor producers added more fuel to the fire by creating a third show called Bachelor in Paradise, featuring favorite contestants from recent seasons “falling in love” on a beach in Mexico. 

Overall, the “love” part of the Bachelor world has not been successful (only one bachelor in all of the 25 seasons actually married the woman that he proposed to at the end of his season), but fans know that this show doesn’t produce love, it produces drama. And, when people are exhausted from a long week of work, watching men and women acting idiotic on national television can be exactly what they need. 

 

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