The Bachelor, Back to Reality?

**Spoilers ahead if you have yet to finish Colton’s season of the Bachelor**

This Bachelor season was like one that nobdy has ever seen before. Why? Because it was the closest season to real life. The Bachelor is really not about the relationship at the end; it’s about the break ups. Watching this season of the Bachelor helped me feel better about my dating experiences in a way I did not expect. The premise of the show is not believable to me, but I can’t say it’s not entertaining, so I watch it anyways. This past season showed me that the way I’ve experienced break ups is so much more common than I previously thought. I’m not alone. Even before the wild season finale, we witnessed four break ups that did not follow the show’s ridged schedule of rose ceremony goodbyes.

For example, Sydney did not feel she was getting enough of an emotional connection from Colton to stay on another week. Demi wanted security and Colton wasn’t ready to give up the whole game for her. In the backseats of limos, we watched as strong, intelligent women were reduced to ugly tears, asking “Why not me? What was wrong with me? Where did it go wrong?” And that’s where the reality of the Bachelor lies. Hearing women I thought were so much better and more beautiful than me think the exact same things I’ve thought and get told the exact same things by a Word Template of a man opened my eyes.  In part 1 of the Finale, Hannah G. is on the couch, being told how great she is while simultaneously being dumped, and she says, “That’s what I do. I make everyone better and then they don’t want to stick around.”  imageThe producers couldn’t have orchestrated this; it was real because that is what happens to people every day. Here this gorgeous, bright woman is left feeling the same way as us “regular” people. The feeling of untouchability among the contestants, usually perpetuated by the show, falls away This normalizes the feelings we all tend to have after being broken up with. You feel abandoned and rejected after a break up. The representation of it on television is admirable because it connects us to those that we might otherwise compare ourselves to and assume have it easier in break ups.

Hannah G. didn’t do anything wrong; it just didn’t “click” and, honestly, what is more real than that? Shocking even Chris Harrison, we also saw the Bachelor get dumped by the one woman he insists he loves! Cassie told Colton that she cared for him, but couldn’t commit to domestic life at 23. Her tears were no less valid in her choosing to let him go. Outside of ending a relationship due to cheating or abuse, which everyone agrees are unassailable reasons, the decision to break up hurts like hell because there’s not an objective right or wrong. It can feel like you’re causing someone unnecessary pain after wasting their time and energy on you. Colton has had multiple moments this season where he’s sent women home and then faces the camera asking, “Did I just make a mistake? What am I doing?” looking for reassurance from us, the audience. Image result for cassie and colton breakupThe isolation that’s felt goes two ways because after making what feels like such a permanent decision, what-if scenarios take over and you’re left feeling victimized by your own choices.

The Bachelor allows us to connect our personal dating experiences to those of people who otherwise feel far away from the normal marker on the spectrum of human behavior. For once, we can see ourselves in the contestants. Instead of stretching reality, this season of the Bachelor finally achieved its goal of illustrating the very real and very brutal feeling of having someone say, “I’m just not feeling it”. The cameras keep rolling for the awkward silence that inevitably ensues. And in this almost spiritual awkward silence, viewers reflect on the roles they have played in their own past relationships and the break ups they’ve had. Yes, superficially, the Bachelor is meant to be light entertainment. However, in these subtle moments, it succeeds at making its own viewers uncomfortable, presenting a mirror up to us as we shout our criticisms of the contestants at the television. It asks us, “But, in the end, are you any different?”

Sources

https://heavy.com/entertainment/2019/03/are-cassie-and-colton-dating-sti... https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a26799706/bachelor-finale-colton-u...