Before I changed my guilty pleasure on Hey! VINA to “chronically over-using emojis,” it was “binge-watching shitty reality television.” And let me tell you, I looooove a good reality television program, especially of the romantic variety. I’m not sure if it’s the temporary escape from the real world (contrary to the genre’s name), or the sheer entertainment value, but I truly love me some obviously-scripted, heavily-produced, glitzy reality dating programs. Especially The Bachelorette, but also The Bachelor, which is currently airing.
People who know me find this borderline-obsession with The Bachelor franchise slightly out of character for me. I’m no intellectual by any means, but I do tend to gravitate towards more artistic endeavors and have been known to scoff at the occasional Top 40 playlist or Blockbuster movie.
So, why do I not only tolerate The Bachelor, but actually enjoy it? Lemme tell ya:
IT’S ALMOST TOO REAL
We know not everything about the show is authentic. The contestants are almost always in some state of inebriation, the producers behind the scenes are eliciting emotional reactions with their interview questions, and the whole thing seems to steer pretty far from conventional dating…but does it really? I would argue that it actually mirrors the tragedies of modern dating to a tee. The trials and tribulations that the contestants experience on the show are often extremely relatable.
The unknown expectations (“Is she here for the right reasons?”), the battle with non-monogamy (a certainly relatable experience in modern dating), and the publicity of it all. We all live our lives publicly online, and our relationships tend to be broadcasted to anyone who will listen or watch. The Bachelor is like modern dating on speed. And it’s hard to look away.
THIS SEASON BOASTS SOME PRETTY INCREDIBLE CONTESTANTS
Um, the women on this season are AWESOME. Gone are the days of aimless, vapid women looking for their 15 minutes of fame. The contestants this season are the most diverse and accomplished contestants in the history of the show. Plus, almost all of the women are business owners or other #bossladies who have focused on their careers for years and are now ready to find true love (lol).
And okay, okay, maybe they’re also lookin’ for their 15 minutes, but at least when they get sent home, we know they’ve got something super cool and important to return to. Except for the aspiring dolphin (or shark?) trainer…I’m not sure what her plan is.
IT’S LIKE SPORTS FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE SPORTS
Like football season, a season of The Bachelor gives viewers something (and someone) to root for, and also provides an excellent opportunity to get together and bond with our friends. Some people even go as far as creating Bachelor fantasy leagues to guess which lucky lady will receive the final rose. I’m not quite that intense about the whole thing, but it’s still fun to bond (or bicker) with my friends over who our fave contestants are, and see who goes home each week.
All of that being said…
IT’S NOT WITHOUT ITS FLAWS
The thing I dislike the most about The Bachelor franchise is the dismissal of other gender identities and sexual orientations. Can’t we have a season with a bisexual suitor and contestants of varying gender identities? I’m kind of bored of the heteronormative narrative the franchise has pushed down our throats TBH, but I hope one day we’ll see a more diverse cast. Plus, it still can’t pass the Bechdel Test, but maybe that’s in the nature of a dating program. Who knows what the women discuss off-camera. In the past, the franchise has also been overwhelming White. And skinny. And it still sort of is.
But I have to give them props for the racial diversity in their casting this year. It’s getting a little better, and not only are the women more racially diverse, but they’re total badass lawyers, business owners, teachers, and other career-women who us normal gals can actually look up to.
What do you think? Are you as obsessed with The Bachelor as me? Would you use it as an opportunity to bond and spend some QT with your vinas? Tell me in the comments! Also, tune in every week for my Bachelor re-cap!!