BIP: The Last Hope for the Bachelor Franchise

For anyone who is not an avid fan, let’s break down some history. Since its creation in 2002, The Bachelor has kept fans hooked to their TVs every Monday night. The Bachelorette spin-off in 2003 doubled the franchise while allowing a fan-favorite The Bachelor contestant to get her chance at love. However, the spin-offs don’t end there. Bachelor Pad (2010-2013) features various contestants from previous The Bachelor and The Bachelorette seasons in which they must compete in elimination challenges while also finding love among the cast for the chance to win a cash prize. Once this spin-off saw it’s ending after season three, Bachelor in Paradise (2014-present) took its place and quickly became a fan-favorite. A winter ode to BIP was The Bachelor Winter Games with its first season in 2018 but has not been announced for a returning season. 

BIP takes place at a secluded resort in Mexico where a variety of past contestants from all different seasons go on dates and try to secure a rose to be safe for the next week. After the initial cast gets settled and romantic connections begin to form, either two men or two women enter the resort each week, causing previous connections to be challenged and new connections to be formed. Each week alternates whether the men or the women get to hand out roses and those left without a rose get sent home. Viewers are treated to two episodes a week for this series. 

(Ashley and Jared's engagement; Photo by ABC)

“So, what? BIP just sounds like another spin-off. If I don’t like The Bachelor, why would I like it in paradise?” 

Everything about this spin-off is better than the original. I’m at the point where I will watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and get to know the contestants because BIP is more exciting to watch that way. Yes, this is definitely a marketing tactic that The Bachelor has employed throughout its duration. Yes, I am definitely falling for it every season. If your favorite contestant doesn’t find love, of course you’re going to root for them going on BIP and having another chance.

The thing is, BIP really does work. Although couples do have the opportunity to propose, there is less pressure to leave paradise engaged than there is on the regular seasons, at least from a viewers’ perspective. Many couples leave just as a couple and continue to date. There are six couples still together from the previous five BIP seasons: three of which are married, one engaged, and two still dating. Compare these results to four couples still together after 23 seasons of The Bachelor and seven couples still together after 15 seasons of The Bachelorette. The ability to explore relationships more organically than simply one person dating 20 contestants is demonstrating what this franchise claims to be about: finding love. 

Another thing viewers love about BIP is its humor. Of course, BIP is not immune to the usual drama that comes with the franchise, but the editing is often done in a humorous manner. More of the laid back, platonic conversations and connections are shown between contestants. Having two full-length episodes a week rather than one allows this spin-off to feel less rushed getting through all of the dramatic storylines. There is extra time to loosen the mood and allow the entire paradise experience to be explored, rather than just the villain of the season.

Speaking of villains, BIP also acts as a redemption series for many contestants we love to hate. Take Krystal, for example, a contestant on Arie’s season of The Bachelor. Her edits often made her out to be catty, obsessive, and narcissistic as fans rooted for her elimination week after week. Her appearance on BIP was not as wholeheartedly welcomed as many other contestants, but as her relationship with Chris (“Goose”) blossomed, fans saw a different side to Krystal. She became soft and vulnerable as she was continuously validated in her relationship, instead of feeling like she needed to be defensive and in constant competition with multiple women. Their wedding aired during the most recent week of the current BIP season, and it was a truly special moment.

Although The Bachelor franchise has its many ups and downs with a specific culture amongst fans, Bachelor in Paradise continues to be a hallmark of the show. It will be a truly sad day when BIP is no longer renewed. I predict that, if BIP were to ever be canceled, ratings for the whole franchise would decrease. I think BIP will continue so long as there are new The Bachelor and The Bachelorette seasons with new contestants to fall in love with (or hate). And if you love BIP, you’ll love Love Island even more.

 

*All of my data regarding the franchise was found on the Wikipedia pages for each spin-off.