Being a pop culture nut, I have enjoyed my fair share of reality TV. In order to stay on top of everything that is hip and current in today’s culture, it is necessary to survey the reality TV scene, to a certain extent. That being said, one legendary reality TV show that I have never truly clicked into has been the Bachelor. That changed last night when my girlfriends convinced me to watch the finale of the 20th season. Of course, Bachelor news was trending like crazy all throughout the last week. Today, with the finale over, the Bachelor is EVERYWHERE. So, it seemed like a good time to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised with my Bachelor experience.
At first, it was really hard to get into the show. It was SO cheesy, my stomach ached. Working at E!, I know who Ben Higgins is. I know some details about the season through reading various articles. But, I didn’t actually watch Ben interact with girls on a consistent basis on the show. My friends had to give me a recap of the entire season, so I could get into the finale. I couldn’t help but get sucked into the drama. Ben said I love you to two different girls?! Isn’t that against the rules?! Did Mom just throw shade at one of the finalists?! Why does she insist on wearing shorty shorts to every outing?! After watching the finale, I can understand why there is a nationwide obsession with this show. After watching one episode, I wanted to start a drinking game where you take a swig of wine every time one of the contestants stares blankly off into the distance.
I have my concerns about the show. Obviously, I’ve seen the horrible track record of long term relationships from the series. I like to believe that people go into the Bachelor experience with an open heart that’s ready for love, but the premise is so extreme, it’s hard to imagine there being a high success rate. In particular, in this finale, Ben says I love you to two separate women! And one of them inevitably will have to get dumped! For the winner, that’s not the best basis to start a relationship off of. Additionally, the Bachelor season runs for 6 weeks. I don’t believe that 6 weeks is anywhere near enough time to get to know someone on a significant level, period. But within Bachelor world, you aren’t even spending 6 consistent weeks with your main man. You’re getting bits and pieces whenever you can manage to steal them away from other women. This isn’t a healthy way to start a relationship either! In the finale, one of the finalists JoJo pulls Ben aside and implies that she’s upset that she has to “compete” for his love with the other contestant. In my head, yes I felt bad for her, but I also felt bad that she had instilled trust in this silly system.
But, all in all, I believe the Bachelor is good reality TV fun. Ben is absolutely adorable, as are all of the other Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants I have ever seen. They get very attractive contestants to appear on the show, which works with the fact that as Americans we love to watch pretty people on TV, period. It’s an excellent formula from start to finish. I can understand why the energizer bunny keeps going and the public interest hasn’t waned. Additionally, watching the show provides a fabulous reason to hang out with your friends and forget about your problems! Last night, my friends and I made a delicious spread of appetizers, drank a fabulous rose, and had one of the best mondays we’ve had in ages. I know we’re not alone in the way we enjoyed the action. Viewing parties took place all over the country! The way that the team behind the show has created “Bachelor Nation” is something that others shows should aspire to do.
Though I don’t agree with the set up when it comes to establishing long term love, I think the Bachelor is certainly an interesting social experiment. Watching the finale last night made me intrigued enough to watch at least the first episode of the new season of the Bachelorette. I can’t say I’ve been fully converted to Bachelor fan status, but I have much more of an open mind towards the show. In the world of reality TV dating shows, I have seen a full spectrum of programs, from trashy to classy. I sat through Bret Michaels Rock of Love on VH1, which was the bottom of the barrel in terms of over the top drama. If I can find enjoyment in that, I am happy to give the Bachelor more of my time in the future.