To call the notion of twenty-six young women vying competitively for one bachelor’s affection (over the course of a six-week romp in front of millions, with the goal of achieving one of the most sacred institutions we know as humans) insane is an understatement. And yet we love the Bachelor…unapologetically love to love the bachelor. In fact, lovers of this franchise have all but formed their own nation in unity (wait, actually they’ve done that… #bachelornation.) But let’s be honest with ourselves; it’s an unrealistic concept with highly-predictive outcomes and overall the same show season after season. As the 20th season of the franchise comes to a close, let us reflect: just what is it about The Bachelor that has us treating our Monday nights as sacredly as a day of sabbath?
The Bachelor is America’s season-long stay in the Fantasy Suite. Let’s face it, romance isn’t what it used to be. (And frankly, my husband blames easy access to internet porn for a number of reasons for the decline of chivalry in males, and he’s probably right.) But The Bachelor lets us forget about that for a couple hours every week, and we get to live vicariously through perfect women who get to go on perfect dates with the perfect guy. I mean, my husband’s no slouch, but he’s never surprised me with private access to a Major League Baseball stadium, and I can’t remember the last time Kevin Hart and Ice Cube picked us up in a convertible to chauffeur us around on a date. It’s all very unrealistic, but aren’t most fantasies?
Because when relationships are new, they’re the most exciting. You know…those butterflies you get from your first kiss…and The Bachelor gives us that times a dozen, and then all over again season after season. It’s like The Bachelor franchise is our spouse and he’s keeping things fresh and interesting year after year…instead of just shouting from the couch for you to pick the restaurant once every couple of months and leaving the door open when he pees. Our Monday night husband knows how to keep the romance alive.
They know to throw in some crazy. I’m sure the producers realized they had Bachelor gold during Season 20 the first time Olivia unhinged her adorable muppet jaw, and then again when she cried to Ben about her cankles just moments after he announced the tragic death of close family friends in a fiery plane crash. Okay, ABC, we know what you’re up to. The “crazy” keeps the story interesting, it keeps the girls extra catty, and adds a layer of drama that is necessary to the success of the show. And it’s super predictable every season that there will be a couple of crazies in the house to mix it up. But as many jaw-dropping moments they bring on, (no pun intended, Olivia), the Bachelor Nation wouldn’t have it any other way.
It satiates our innate thirst for competition. Like any sports fan, the thrill is in the game, and that’s what The Bachelor brings to the table. And it becomes personal. So many women can easily find someone we relate to on the show, and then we find ourselves not just rooting for them, but turning into a mega fan, slathered in body paint, holding a “JoJo is #1” foam finger and screaming at the TV when Ben tells her he loves her. Yeah, it’s that intense. We wanna see these girls “win”…not just the bachelor’s heart…but also “the game”.
Finally, it’s the sense of community. It’s like knowing everyone else is watching The Bachelor is the equivalent of not having to drink alone. (On a related note, I’d like to see the consumption statistics for every Monday night once it hits wine o’clock on ABC.) The chatter alone in the Twitterverse has even prompted the necessity of a live, weekly recap show to air immediately following the already feature-length show, bringing our minimum time commitment to a ludicrous/glorious two plus hours every Monday night. But that’s how much we’re obsessed. With the amount of active conversation out there on social media, ABC program directors are 100% justified in carving out an entire chunk of primetime each week just so we can watch people react to what they just watched.
And what does this all boil down to? It leaves us wanting more. So, on this day after the final rose, us Bachelor fans now need to fill a pretty significant void until JoJo gets her chance to break some hearts of her own on the next season of The Bachelorette.
Luckily, Dancing with the Stars starts next week.