The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Behind the Bachelor’s camera

Written by: Rob Van Winkle, CC2K Staff Writer

Analyzing the SE(X) factor

It only takes a scant few viewings of The Bachelor to see that it makes for stilted, banal television, but what of the experience of the contestants? Even though it appears to be merely a redundant and derivative cycle of events, leading to a finale with no surprise or variation, mustn’t it be true that those who live it are on the ultimate emotional roller coaster, with their lives forever affected by the time and effort put into finding love in such a public, combative way?

Believe it or not, this fat fuck was fought over by 25 women.

The answer to both is yes. However, this only makes the show worse.

Yes, the situation into which they (willingly) thrust themselves is undoubtedly a tempestuous one, but not for the reason anyone thinks. Think back on the last time you started falling in love. Even if it was love at first sight for both parties, there were still some frightening moments: fearing the onslaught of emotions; wondering what they meant when they said/did something that wasn’t expected; realizing their first flaw that is upsetting; etc. Imagine how much worse that would be if all this were happening over a six-week period, with anywhere from one to 24 other people vying for his/her beloved’s time, and all ostensibly going through the same things. What would happen then?

What would happen is that you, or anyone else in that situation, would get competitive. Subtle flirtations and non-verbal communication would be replaced with premature emotional outbursts and absurd declarations. Feelings and events would become so magnified in everyone’s mind, that there is no possible hope for those involved to have any real perspective over what is happening to them. This is what makes even what should be the best part of The Bachelor’s concept – watching real people compete with the ultimate prize being true love – so patently unwatchable: they are not feeling love, but rather the desire to win.

This manifests itself in many ways on the show. In some cases, you see very clearly that a contestant does not really feel all that strongly for the person they whose heart they are trying to win (in the first season, when he was down to the final two, one of the girls admitted to him on the evening before he was to propose that she was not in love, but rather in “deep like” with him), and yet they continue to fight with each other. In this case, the contestants are playing not to lose. This works fine when you’re entering a raffle for charity, or shifting over to the prevent defense when up by three touchdowns with only three minutes left in the fourth quarter, but when dealing with romance for Chrissakes, this can not lead to anything but disaster.

In other cases, you get contestants who get so into the contest that they allow themselves to fall so hard that they look absolutely fucking ridiculous. You get women crying, weeping, as they tell the camera that they have fallen completely in love with our hero. Even the biggest softie watching the show would have to take pause when they realize that the entire span of the series is six weeks. Who could possibly feel that way in that amount of time … especially when sex isn’t involved? In other cases, contestants are invited back, either as contestants or the new bachelor(ette), and we get to watch them go through the same exact series of “emotions” twice. Imagine entering this competition and getting eliminated (or dumped), then returning for another go round in which you say and express the exact same things … on national television! The results should certainly be unwatchable for them, and any viewer who thinks they are watching true romance should be cringing.

The last way this manifests itself is the strongest case I have for my thesis: these couplings don’t work. To date, none of the pairings created on The Bachelor has ever lasted. (In fact, for the most recent Bachelorette, they have chosen as their star the woman who won a previous season of the show!) The reason for this is twofold, and in both cases obvious. For the man, he has just spent six weeks with a large group of women who are all desperately trying to spend time with him. Fueled by the aforementioned competitive drive, they shove their breasts in his face and their tongues down his throat with the reckless abandon of a teenager with an Electra complex. Everything he says and does is obsessed over by each of them, as well as the producers of the show of which he is the star. He picks off the ladies one-by-one, and eventually chooses the woman who, let’s face it, he most wants to fuck. And then … nothing. The cameras go away, no one is interested in his every bowel movement, and there is no longer anyone fighting to get him alone. All he has is this one woman who now wants to be his equal, when just the night before he called all the shots. I imagine that this must be like the time just after last call at the bar, when the lights come on and you see what the girl you’ve been making out with really looks like. She might be pretty, but she’s nowhere near what you had hoped. For the women, all this happens in reverse. She has spent six weeks competing with a gaggle of other ladies, watching as he makes out with them and tells the camera how wonderful and hot they all are. She has survived all the backstabbing and kneebiting, and has come through it with the ultimate prize…which turns out to be a conceited douche bag. Imagine diving into the stands after the 756th home run ball by Barry Bonds, fighting all the other money-crazed fans, and standing up with it triumphantly in your hands, only to discover that the ball was actually foul. And hit by Quentin McCracken. That must be akin to what it must be like for the woman after the wrap party.

As for their lives changing forever, that must be true, but it doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) make this situation any better, or this show any more watchable.

“Here he is, Ladies! Line up to make complete blubbering assholes
of yourselves fighting for this oafish lummox!”

For the contestants on the show, they all get an enormous amount of exposure, and the opportunity to announce to millions of people that they are attention whores who will do anything to get a man. Undoubtedly, they will be besieged with letters from men even more desperate than they are, and as a result they will all end up with more boyfriends than they can ever handle (though, given that they are almost always hot, this should raise some red flags. Why would a hot woman need to prostitute herself on television for some fucking guy? Man, I bet grabbing a beer with an ex-boyfriend would make for some good times…). They will spend the next few years signing the odd autograph and posing for the odd picture with an obsessive fan of the show, and they will eventually fade into richly deserved obscurity. Soon enough, all they will have from the show is that vague nausea that comes from past humiliation, and a great turn in the drinking game “I Never.”

As for the stars, I imagine that their lives change an awful lot more, in that their exposure, and the experience of watching women fight over him, almost certainly makes it even easier for him to get laid. It’s a combination of a lesser degree of the same affliction that hits the contestants, as well as the fact that now he’s famous. Once the tabloids (inevitably) announce that the relationship is over, I imagine that getting fucked would be as easy for him as a supermodel at a Star Trek convention. The best example of this is the Bachelor Bob. Bob was an extremely ugly dude (if you ask me). He was fat, he had an afro, and was not classy in any way. But the women thought him funny. By the end of the show, he was so popular that once he and his winner broke up (gasp!), he was out hawking some bullshit CD, and allegedly dating a soap star.

This fucking infuriates me.

  First of all, none of these guys is bad-looking (except the aforementioned Bob). They can’t be, as they are going to be on television, and hot women have to be willing to completely disgrace themselves over them. Whereas on the sexual battlefield, with both parties on equal footing, the woman will always have the advantage (she can control her libido, and hence the terms of the “fight”), good looks certainly help bring some of the advantage back over to the guy.

Secondly, these guys are fucking loaded. In the beginning of the show, they were merely very well off (one dickhead was a vice-president in his father’s bank, and was opening his own restaurant), they soon had to find more exotic men to keep the show “exciting.” Thus, future seasons gave us bachelors who were millionaires: an heir to the Firestone fortune, an NFL (backup) quarterback, and a professional bass fisherman (the ESPN kind, not the Gorton’s Fisherman kind).

Here’s my point: a good-looking poor guy can probably get laid. An ugly rich guy can probably get laid too. A good-looking rich guy should be able to get every panty in the room wet simply by walking in the room. He does not need, nor deserve, the extra help that this show provides.

Like many guys, if I watch The Bachelor, I am imagining the sexual implications of the show. I wonder how far he gets with the women when he’s alone with them, and I wonder how soon after the final rose is handed out he finally gets to dick her. I don’t enjoy these thoughts, and I certainly am not rooting for him, but I wonder nonetheless. The thought that these men, already too privileged by half, get to spend six weeks on TV, and then a lifetime off of it, with women throwing themselves at him makes me livid.

In conclusion, dissecting The Bachelor is a lot like peeling a rotten onion; there are many layers, but all of them are fucking disgusting.

Sidebar to the Sidebar: What about The Bachelorette?

The Bachelorette is the same concept as The Bachelor, only reversed; 25 men fighting for one woman. One might think that this equation would make for a better show, but it does not. Simply put, while everything else stays the same, the mere fact that the contestants are men makes it more boring. The men that pass the screening process to get on the show are not the type of guys who will physically fight with each other, or foist themselves on The Bachelorette; two things that certainly would make it more watchable (though not better). Therefore, you just have 25 bland yet good-looking guys.

Here’s the thing: whereas women express themselves by emoting, guys prove their masculinity by not showing emotions. They remain stoic whenever they can, and take rejection as an excuse to tell everyone what was wrong with the woman anyway. In other words, all the drama inherent in the original concept (fake though it might be) is missing from The Bachelorette. So in addition to everything else, this iteration is even more boring than The Bachelor.

That’s all I have to say on this.