Honest look at “The Bachelor,” it’s drama not love

Kathryn Williams, Editor-In-Chief

It’s February, a time when love is in the air and when many of us are tuning into the Bachelor. Some of you may roll your eyes, thinking how stupid the show is and that it is a waste of time to watch. In full honesty, I would agree with you, but I still watch it every week. Why do so many people watch a show of perfect-looking people arguing over a generic guy? I don’t think love is really the answer.

Some may genuinely hope that two people will fall in love and live happily ever after. But the statistics are against them. According to an article in Women’s Health published in November 2021, there are 14 Bachelor nation couples that are still together. Keep in mind, this is after 25 seasons of the Bachelor, 17 seasons of the Bachelorette, and other shows such as Bachelor in Paradise. 

Take former bachelorette Clare Crawley for another example. She was on the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, 2 seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, and Bachelor Winter Games. How many times do you have to go through that to realize the promise of love is a facade? The Bachelor franchise is not widely successful at producing love that lasts. 

This isn’t surprising. How is someone supposed to fall in love with a stranger in six weeks? Not to mention, in a heavily controlled environment where the cameras are always rolling and everyone has their hair and makeup done. The Bachelor “bubble” bursts when they leave the show and contestants see their partner for the first time as they truly are.

We get hooked on “the most dramatic season yet” time and time again, even though the contestants seem like variations of the same person. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve mixed up Clayton (season 26 Bachelor) and Colton (season 23 Bachelor). Seriously, if you haven’t seen them yet look it up. It’s like when you let someone copy your homework but just change it a little so it doesn’t look suspicious.

To put it simply, most if not all of us watch the Bachelor for the drama, and ABC knows it. I suspect the show is scripted, that the bachelor is told to keep bad people on to generate views, and that editing is done strategically to create “villains” that the audience goes crazy about. 

Does the Bachelor franchise value drama at the expense of the well-being of their contestants? Bachelor Matt James (season 25) had an emotionally charged  conversation with his estranged father, diving into James’ childhood trauma and his father’s pattern of infidelity.

Rachel Lindsay, the first black bachelorette called the episode “disturbing and disappointing” on her Twitter. Matt James was the first black bachelor and many, including Lindsay, viewed this episode as an exploitation of a stereotype often faced by the black community. “If the Bachelor franchise has shown us anything, it is that they don’t know to protect people of color, they only know how to exploit them,” said Lindsay on the Bachelor Party podcast. 

The Bachelor franchise has made efforts at increasing their diversity in casting and addressing social justice issues in their episodes, but there is still work that needs to be done.

With all this being said, millions of people still watch the shows because, ethical or not, the drama sells. Every week my friends and I throw up our hands in frustration and say “see you next Monday.” Every season Bachelor franchise contestants sign the contracts, we give ABC views and social media booms, the money flows in, and the cycle begins again.