It was a cold Monday night on January 7, 2013, when I was flipping through television channels and stumbled upon a season premiere. The Bachelor opened with an energetic Chris Harrison as the host, eager to begin the show’s 17th season. Twenty-five women compete for one handsome bachelor. Through a series of dates, competitions, and vacations, the bachelor gets to know each of these women. Each episode, two women are eliminated, in hopes that the “bachelor” will end the season with his one perfect wife. For years I had heard mixed reviews of the series, but what interested me most was how I couldn’t seem to escape all the hype surrounding it. That Monday evening, I watched for two hours as twenty-five women began the journey to find true love.
Since 2002, The Bachelor has captured the hearts of American viewers. With views reaching 15 million in 2010, something about the show has captivated fans, making them want another season. Personally as I was watching the premiere, I thought it seemed scripted, forced, and unrealistic. The most recent “bachelor”, Sean Lowe, seemed very confident that his bride-to-be was about to step out of the limo and the two would have an immediate “spark.” However, as Sean met each contestant, he was greeted with a clichéd saying and an exaggerated smile, just as the previous contestant had before. To me, I was perplexed at how the show was able to maintain 17 very successful seasons with its redundant series of events, personalities, and forced romantic settings. Of course, spin-offs like The Bachelorette and The Bachelor Pad have revived the hype surrounding the show; making The Bachelor, a never ending endeavor.
After watching the premiere, I couldn’t help but wonder how The Bachelor has lasted so many years on primetime. I pondered the possibility that the entire romantic process was the key to true love. I thought that maybe after the drama and broken hearts, the bachelor ends up with a life-long, happy marriage. I quickly abandoned this theory after reviewing The Bachelor’s marriage history. Results have shown that 83% of these “bachelors” have called it quits, some weeks after the wedding. Out of 24 bachelors and bachelorettes, 4 remain married. Season 11 of The Bachelor ended even worse, with bachelor Brad Womack refusing to choose one of his two finalists. In season 12, Matt Grant and Shayne Lamas broke up just two months after the spectacular finale.
I think whenever someone has to audition to begin competing for someone they’ve never met, this fate is doomed from the very beginning. The entire process is pure chance at success. Throughout the series, the interactions between the “bachelor” and the contestants are very uncomfortable for the viewer. The two must touch on sensitive subjects and personal information as the bachelor tries to connect with the contestant on a emotional level. With an extravagant camera crew following the couples around, it seems like this emotional and intimate connection is very hard to achieve when it’s in such a public setting.
Perhaps Sean Lowe’s journey on The Bachelor 17 will shock the world and end with a successful relationship for years to come, but I highly doubt it. 24 girls will be sent home broken hearted, and one girl will have a 17% chance at hitting it off with her husband. After years of failed relationships and corny contestants, I truly wonder what it will take for The Bachelor to throw in the towel . The scripted redundancy of the show, over-dramatized scenes, and awkward silences are not the best ingredients for true love.