Yes, The Bachelor is entertaining television most of the time. Yes, the rose ceremonies can be very dramatic (though really, do they need host Chris Harrison to tease us with “the most dramatic rose ceremony EVER” every single episode?) Yes, watching two people fall in love can make for good television.
But what about the 24 contestants who are asked to leave as the show plows its way to the season finale? For them, The Bachelor is a roller-coaster that ends with them vomiting on themselves as they get kicked off the ride. Sounds fun, huh?
Stand Out or Cross Your Fingers
Each new season of The Bachelor begins with 25 women vying for the affections of one man. Right off the bat something doesn’t seem right about this. Is there any other time in life where this situation would naturally occur? (Other than in the fantasies of high school boys daydreaming in French class)
Mr. Bachelor feels good about his chances, of course, because he’s the ONLY guy there. The girls, meanwhile, are put in a tough situation from the beginning. As 1 of 25, their chances are slim. They either need to do something off the wall to get attention, or cross their fingers that they can make a connection with the Bachelor in the few minutes that they have together.
That’s what makes the first few episodes of this show so cruel. The idea is that The Bachelor can find true love among these 25 women, but with only an hour or two of face time for each lady, it’s more about who makes a shallow connection than a deep one. Time and again you hear women who exit the show in the early stages complain that they just didn’t get enough quality time with the guy to leave an impression. In the real world, you just go on another date. On The Bachelor, you go home.
Open Thyself and Prepare to be Wounded
As the pool of bachelorettes dwindles to single digits, the women are forced to open themselves up even more to potential heartache. During these middle stages, The Bachelor has typically sent home all of the girls he is not attracted to, and he begins looking for girls to connect with on a deeper level.
This is an easy thing for the Bachelor to do, after all, no one is going to be sending him home. But it’s a tougher chore for the women. They’ve got to open themselves up, knowing the odds are high that they’ll be dumped in a week or two. Some women can’t bring themselves to do this, and as a result, they are sent packing. Others open up completely, letting the Bachelor know how committed they are to him, and how much they want to spend the rest of their lives with him. Most of these girls are sent home too. After all, there can only be one woman on his arm when the final credits roll (until “The Bachelor: Polygamist Sect” gets green-lit in Hollywood)
The Best or Worst Day of Your Life
When the season finale arrives, the Bachelor has two woman in love with him. As anyone who watches Jerry Springer knows, this is not uncommon. But what it is uncommon is both women are aware that their man is two-timing, and yet they are forced to be okay with it. Such are the rules of the show that they signed up for.
Each woman wakes up on the final day knowing that this day could be the best, or the worst, day of their life. Think about the two possibilities lying ahead of them:
Either I am going to be proposed to on National TV … OR … I am going to be dumped on National TV.
Either the love I have for this man is going to be requited … OR … He is going to tell me that he loves my roommate more.
Either my heart is about to be held and taken care of by the guy I love … OR … My heart is about to by crushed, shredded, and lit on fire by the guy I love.
The Cycle of Heartbreaking Goes On
It’s brutal if you think about it. But as long as ABC keeps producing the show, there will always be 25 women (or 25 men on The Bachelorette) willing to get their heart destroyed for that 1 in 25 chance that their love will be returned. Is love worth it? As cruel as the show is, I suppose many would say “yes”, love is worth it.
And it’s not all tears and heartache for the girl who gets dumped at the altar. There is a silver lining for her if she wants to take it. Like Deanna Pappas, a former Bachelor dumpee, the jilted bachelorette can sign on with ABC to star in “The Bachelorette”. 1 girl, 25 guys, and a whole lot of broken hearts.
What better way to deal with the rejection of being dumped on national television than doing the same thing to 24 other guys?