The fall of the house of “The Bachelor”

Jen Joseph

Dear readership, I come before you today with the most genuine realness imaginable when I ask: is it time for NBC’s “The Bachelor” to end? Most regular viewers of “The Bachelor” seem to be in agreement that the show has gone a bit off the rails in recent seasons. As someone relatively new to the “Bachelor” scene, I became invested in Hannah Brown’s season of spinoff series “The Bachelorette,” when it seemed like the show was doing an impressive job at tackling the emotional abuse of one of its contestants, Luke P.

However, in the show’s attempts to engage in more serious conversations, it accidentally revealed a major fault of the show: its insincerity.

As most viewers of these sorts of shows know, much of what we see is either fake or staged. Certain people have to talk about specific events, some characters (for lack of a better word) are given more screen time than others, there needs to be drama, etc. But when the show itself tries to tackle these topics, like abuse or sincerity or truth, it ends up coming across as deeply hypocritical on the producers’ part, and more importantly, it takes you out of the show.

Part of the specific appeal of “The Bachelor” is getting to live vicariously through the characters going on dates in romantic locales, sharing smooches with sexy bois, you get the idea. But when there’s so much producer interference, you can no longer pretend that the events you’re watching are real.

As a recent example, an early episode this sea-son spent half the run-time on the drama on “champagne gate.” The events went as follows: Kelsey tells folks she was saving a special birthday bottle of champagne for a year to share with Peter. A different girl, who is being painted as the show’s “villain,” opens the bottle instead. Apparently another bottle was put right there “by accident” and Hannah opened it. A fight ensues between the two women. This is the point where I raised my hands and said, I’m done, I’m out, fuck this show. Even a 5-year-old would be able to recognize this blatant producer meddling.

Many fans thought this sadism was funny, but for me it gets to the point where the drama is no longer fun and starts making you hate every character involved. “The Bachelor” only works if you can take it at least a little seriously, but now when watching the scenes where I’m supposed to care, I just can’t. My heart burns with hatred for every character this season, including the dashing lead Pilot Pete, who’s about as spineless as a household garter snake.

Even if future seasons of this show and its inbred spin-offs manage to return some form of audience sympathy, I think the trajectory of the show might still be tainted if producers refuse to understand the fundamental appeal of their own show.