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A Beginner’s Guide to Watching The Bachelor

I was always aware of The Bachelor but until my sophomore year I’ve never watched an episode. When my roommate and friends began watching however, I felt inclined to try it. Fast forward to today: I am still watching. Though it’s a ridiculous show (no one will ever be able to tell me otherwise) even as a skeptic I think it has it rewards. Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far.

How Casting Works

One man (sometimes a failed fan favorite from The Bachelorette) is selected as the Bachelor. Then women across the country send in their casting entries including details such as the basic name, birthday, and hometown. Not to mention physical details like eye color, hair color, and weight. Some stuff about personality and you know favorite date conversation topics such as annual salary, whether or not they’ve ever filed for a restraining order and/or bankruptcy. 

What Happens Next

The casting directors pick an assortment of 25 girls and the women fly out to a swanky six-bedroom, nine-bath home in Agoura Hills, California. Jealous. On the very first night the women dramatically step out of their limos and must try to impress the bachelor (this season it’s Juan Pablo Galavis). Then they all go inside for the most uncomfortably forced cocktail hour ever. One girl gets a “First Impression Rose” and is saved from elimination (but not from the contempt of her fellow contestants).

So Now What?

Every week “Date Cards” come for the women. Some are for outrageous one-on-one dates and some are for group dates and there are even two-on-one dates (and that is every bit as awkward as it sounds). Then the final four women get hometown visits, the final three get overnight dates at exotic locations, and finally the remaining two get family visits where most everyone in her family is probably questioning her judgment. One woman will get proposed to (though some just get offers to continue dating) and the other will have gotten some nice TV time and maybe everlasting shame.

What’s the Deal With the Roses?

If the Bachelor offers a woman a rose she is safe from elimination and gets to continue on to the next week. On one-on-one dates there is an elephant-in-the-room rose on the dinner table and if the bachelor doesn’t give her it at the end she is going home. On group dates however, the rose goes to his favorite woman of the day and all the other women still get to compete, but knowing they were outshone.

Does This Even Work? 

Skeptics, the facts are on your side. In seventeen full seasons there have been two lasting marriages. The first is between Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney of Season 13 (though she was not the woman who “won”). The second began on January 26, 2013 with Season 17 Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici. So no, the odds are not in the contestant’s favors. On the bright side a lot of people probably learn what they do not want in a partner.

Why Even Bother To Watch Then?

Yes, it is a ridiculous premise and it does not yield results, but overall The Bachelor is fun entertainment. So try to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy it. Even the women on the show are aware of how outrageous, untraditional, and far-fetched the premise is.  If you need some more reasons, here you go…

It’s like the dating Hunger Games. Women go in with strategies, they make and break friendships, they fight for survival, and they all have interesting back-stories.

The dates are outrageous. From the scary bungee jumps to the romantic winter wonderlands or the wild neon parties there are dates to suit everyone’s tastes. But aside from the dates, the women themselves are interesting. It’s difficult to tell who he’ll pick because the women are so different from one another.  Their careers range from lawyers, opera singers, pediatric nurses, teachers, former NBA dancers, and beyond. There are some women who are athletic, spoiled, motherly, outgoing, shy, dramatic, humble, and plain old crazy live together.

The drama is intense. You know you’re into it too. Cocktail hours can get pretty heated and the cat fights and back stabbing are as entertaining as the previews suggest. Then of course there are the drinking games. Shot every time someone says the competition is harder than they thought it would be. Shot every time there’s an awkward silence. Shot every time there’s a Twilight-worthy stare down…okay, maybe not that one. But finally, no one has to know you watch it. My secret is out, but you can still pretend. Plus you’re entitled to watch some bad reality TV every now and then.

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Kristen Mouris

U Mass Amherst

Kristen Mouris is currently a senior English major and Campus Correspondent at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also serving as Associate Editor of English Society's literary journal, Jabberwocky. She is originally from Falmouth, MA. Her interests include hunting for new music, writing, and reading movie trivia.
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