Before arriving at school, I’ve been told by older friends and seen on TikTok that “Bachelor Monday” isn’t just a popular pastime in college but belted into many students’ lifestyles. I heard that friend groups make well-read predictions about the contestants, decorate their living rooms, or sneak TVs into their dorms to prepare for Monday night. Most significant in my eyes, they’d bond during those two hours every week to build the best friendships.
Even though I have tried multiple times since my first time viewing it on the seventh-grade school bus, I could never get into The Bachelor. I guess I never found it believable enough to draw my attention. I don’t really see the appeal of the franchise, especially now with the spotlight being put on the lack of diversity, discrimination, and controversial host Chris Harrison stepping down. If you’re in the same boat, here’s a list of some more diverse options to obsess over with your best friends this semester.
I know everyone’s already watching, but just in case you’ve still never seen Zendaya’s career-defining performance and managed to dodge all of the social media spoilers, Euphoria is a college must-watch. It centers around a group of Los Angeles high school students with Zendaya’s character, Rue, at the center. The story follows Rue’s battle with addiction and the rest of the characters’ experiences with love, friendships, and family dynamics. The cinematography, acting, fashion, and make-up are out of this world. As this season’s storylines are especially difficult to watch, why not cuddle up with your besties and get through it together? It premieres on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBOMax, the perfect alternative to “Bachelor Mondays.”
- Real Housewives
As a certified reality-TV junkie, nothing will ever compare to the chaos of Andy Cohen’s Housewives franchise. There are currently 11 shows, each taking place in a different U.S. city, following a group of fabulously wealthy women and their families. The best part is, contrary to the name, they’re badass businesswomen with bold personalities and plenty of drama. The shows are staggered so there’s always at least one season premiering at a time. You and your group can decide if you want to watch New Jersey as it runs weekly on Tuesdays nights at 8 p.m. on Bravo during this semester or binge Salt Lake City’s latest season on Hulu. Whichever you choose, you’ll get the same reality TV fix that The Bachelor would supply but better. Following the lives of these women will become you and your friends’ top priority.
- Queer Eye
Another reality show that’s far more heartfelt and tear-worthy than The Bachelor is none other than Netflix’s Queer Eye. This show is a remake of the early 2000s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in which the hosts, five gay men, create a makeover for different straight men who would be referred to as a “hero” in each episode. The hosts specialized in five categories: fashion, grooming, interior design, food, and culture. The present-day version follows the same format but commits to working with heroes of all gender identities and sexualities. Netflix also welcomes Jonathan Van Ness as the first non-binary “Queer Eye Guy.” The stories the heroes tell and the breakthroughs the Queer Eye team helps facilitate will make you laugh, cry, obsess over Tan’s immaculate outfits and Antoni’s, well, everything! Queer Eye is a foolproof show that all your friends will die for.
This wouldn’t be a proper TV guide without shouting out the queen Shonda Rhimes. You’ve probably already seen her most notable work, Grey’s Anatomy and Bridgerton, but luckily there are a myriad of other projects within “Shondaland” that will be sure to pique your interest. Similar to “Bachelor Mondays,” ABC also runs “TGIT,” also known as “Thank God It’s Thursday,” where they run Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder back to back. If juicy workplace dramas are your thing, pick a show, two, or all three, and make Thursday your friend group’s night to watch. However, if you’re looking for something new, check out Inventing Anna on Netflix. This is Rhimes’ most recent show and my current favorite, which follows the fake German heiress Anna Delvey and her escapades through New York City as chronicled by New York Magazine. It’s shocking, attention-grabbing, and will definitely fit the bill.
I can’t say enough good things about this HBOMax drama. Similar to Euphoria, this show follows a high school friend group from Anaheim, California with a diverse and supremely talented cast. The students are younger and tamer than their Euphoria counterparts, but their plotlines are equally interesting to follow including love triangles, hot teachers, and a surprise pregnancy that makes GLEE look amateur. Sadly, it wasn’t picked up for a second season but this limited quantity does make it the perfect semester-long watch. Pick a night and watch the 16 episodes weekly. You won’t regret it.
Whether you pick a binge-worthy drama or a cuddly reality show, don’t fear. You and your friends will find success when searching for a compelling alternative to “Bachelor Mondays.”