Blake, Sam, and a slew of other hopeful ladies hoping for a chance of winning his heart. Here are 6 reasons we absolutely love and hate The Bachelor.
Another season of The Bachelor has come and gone on Australian TV. Whether or not you’ve been watching it, it’s been almost impossible to not know what’s been going on. All the news sites and blogs have been covering it in great detail, and you can’t have very many conversations around the office or with your friends without it coming up.
The Bachelor, and other shows like it, have such a polarizing effect on their audience. There are those who absolutely love it, there are those who absolutely hate it, there are those who absolutely love that they hate it, and those who absolutely hate that they love it. Men and women of all sorts of different occupations and life journeys found themselves over the last season glued to their screens, or actively involved in putting the show down. Even after the season is over, all eyes are still glued on the dynamic between Blake and Sam now after their break-up.
What we have, ladies and gentlemen, is an award-winning formula for captivating and controversial television.
Having talked to a lot of people about it over the last few months and reading all the conversation around it, I’ve been finding that most of the reasons that people hate it are also the same reasons people love it. And while I wasn’t actively involved in following it myself outside of the regular conversations with friends who love it and sites who reported on it, here are 6 reasons I feel are the reasons why people absolutely love and absolutely hate The Bachelor.
Because we love drama
We love drama, and The Bachelor is pure unadulterated drama. Its reality show format means that the people involved feel much more relatable than typical soap operas or period dramas, and it makes the chaos that much more interesting. When one girl is feeling led on or believing she has a chance with Blake, or whoever the male or female object of desire on the respective show, you just can’t look away. Their decisions make headlines. Their heartbreak feels real. The emotional rollercoaster is there for all who’d be willing to take a ride with the single man and the ladies.
I think one of the great things about story, whether entirely scripted or pseudo-reality like The Bachelor, is that it helps us explore those dramatic elements in our lives without having to go through those things ourselves. The millions of dollars the show makes every season is a testament to that. It’s that emotional reaction in us that drama brings out that makes men and women either love the show or hate it with a passion.
Because we love relationships
Relationships are fascinating. If you try to tell a story without them, what you have on your hands is a boring story. We love to see how people relate to each other, how they will or won’t come together, and all the other obstacles that come between us.
To see people adventure through the annals of friendship, courtship, dating, with the target of marriage, all within the span of a few short episodes – that’s some interesting stuff. It often takes us a lot longer to go through that process ourselves, complete with all the ups and downs, the great memories and the disappointments. The producers take the essences of what makes relationships happen and hit the record button. The time together that draws people closer, the issues that keep people apart, the insecurities that arise, the conflicts over opinion – all conveniently presented in another season of the show.
Because people aren’t always who they say they are
All these romantic dates, all these beautiful statements about who the girls are, all these great adventures and really special times. She’s feeling really beautiful, special, and so lucky to have a man like that in her life.
But we all know that he’s saying these things to all the other girls too.
I think one of the aspects of the show that can hit home is that we know what it’s like when people don’t always say what they mean, or are hiding some very important things about themselves. While the contestants on The Bachelor are fully aware that this man is dating the other ladies, what an awful thought to think that the special times they’re having with him, he is not just sharing with them.
I guess this is where elements like character and integrity are so important in our relationships. Their absence in the protagonist’s approach to relationships is another reason why we complain so much about the show, or another reason why we can’t look away.
Because we can relate to their experiences
What do you do when you have multiple options when it comes to who you want to date? How do you pick between two or more people? What can you say when someone is communicating interest in you, but you don’t feel the same way? What if you want someone who so many other people want too? What do you do when you feel invisible to someone you care about?
These questions and many more are some of the reasons The Bachelor in its very dramatic, very polished manner is relatable and interesting. Because we know what it’s like to go through some of those things. And perhaps it is the sub-conscious manner in which our minds and emotions react to what’s happening in the show relating to our own lives that is a reason why we love or hate it.
The great thing about mediums like TV, websites, games and movies is that they give us the freedom to explore deeper issues in our lives without feeling judged or belittled, and sometimes even without having to think too much about it. Maybe in some ways The Bachelor is so appealing because it allows us to do just that.
Because we’ll do anything for love… or money
A common criticism of the show is how desperate and insecure these women must be to willingly put themselves in a situation where they have a high probability of being rejected and heartbroken. Even moreso that they would be willing to do so with all the cameras recording, and the producers presenting each of them in a certain light.
Something it really shows us is that people will do anything for love. We all want it. To find someone to partner up with in your life is a pretty amazing thing. And some people are so open about their pursuit for it that they’re willing to subject themselves to being a contestant on a TV show for the chance they could find it.
That, or maybe they were just looking for another payday or 15 minutes of fame. Only the individuals involved could really say for sure.
Because it appeals to our desire to be chosen
Several very different women. One man. And all these women with the hope that he will see who they really are and choose them above all others.
All of us want to be chosen. We want to be someone’s first choice. We want someone to notice us. We want someone to find the things we find important to be important. We want to be cherished and loved.
Some women have told me before that sometimes men can become more attractive because so many people are after them. That means if you finally got them, you would be so much more valuable, because you beat out the other girls for attention. There are also other views that we want what we can’t have, and we don’t always find attractive the people we do. I’m always amazed at the amount of advice out there telling guys to make themselves less available in order to make women want them – to deliberately play hard to get to try to win them over. Maybe this is the reality of what the people on the show go through, and why we cheer them on.
At any rate, the desire to be chosen is so fascinating. And every week, people are captivated by the possibility of who The Bachelor may or may not choose. And in some ways, the show’s core premise reminds us all a bit of that desire to be chosen by someone else in our lives too. The level of comfort you have with that thought will probably determine your positive or negative reaction to what’s happening on the screen.
No matter your view, let’s not be so proud that we don’t actually stop to think about why this show is so successful and perhaps why it speaks volumes to us in our own lives.
Let’s see how my fellow nerds go when Beauty and the Geek starts up again, huh? Sometimes the nerd is the best option, amirite? 😉
What were your thoughts on The Bachelor? Did you watch the show religiously, or did you hate it every time the show came up in conversation? What reasons did you love or hate it?