Written by Morgan Jeitler. 
Graphic by Emma Robinson.

Once a week, I, like many others, gather my friends and my wine and plop on my couch to watch what juicy betrayal or break up comes next. My friends and I root on our favorites, laugh at the contestants’ buffoonery (cough, cough, remember when Kiarra ever so confidently pronounced ‘lingerie’ absolutely wrong?), and secretly cheer when a villain is brought back on. 

The Bachelor, our beloved show, is in its 24th season and has been on television for 18 years. 18 years! The show chronicles a man’s journey for love in the most unconventional way: simultaneously dating 30 women. The audience, #BachelorNation, enjoys watching the inevitable drama unfold from the comfort of their own home. The producers set up one-on-one dates, group dates, the juicy fantasy suite, pool parties, and the rose ceremony. Women steal their bachelor from other women and compete, sometimes literally (pillow fighting, anyone?), to steal their man’s heart. 

Not only are rules set up by the producers, but, over the years, certain norms for each of the activities have emerged. For example, at the one-on-one dinner, it’s customary for the contestant to share a vulnerable moment or hardship from her past with her date. Dating, which is generally an organic process, is capitalized on and totally structured by the series’ producers.

It’s a great idea, too. Some of the best drama on television thrives on vicious love triangles (read: any soap opera ever), so why not take it one step further by bringing in real people with real lives?  Even though the question of what’s real and what’s not is always, I repeat, always looming in the background, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously (aside from the contestants themselves) and gets its audience thinking about love in a lighthearted manner.

The show’s overwhelming romantic atmosphere and the contestants’ daring proclamations force us to wonder – why do we take love so seriously? 

Of course, The Bachelor is a hyperbolic representation of this, but still, I think people are drawn to the show because it in all its glory gets us laughing about the very thing people lose sleep over, sob over, and often look for: love. When I think about it, I’m not all too much surprised the show’s lasted nearly twenty years: we will always want a reprieve from the exhaustion dating brings and The Bachelor offers just that.

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