Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why You Can't Find True Love On 'The Bachelor'

Love is patient; love is kind, and love is 5’5, 120 pounds and wears a skimpy black Versace dress… well it is on The Bachelor that is. While most people find love the old fashion way—at a coffee shop, in line at Costco, or at a sports bar with dollar-you-call-its, some people find love in a more well… public way. On ABC’s The Bachelor 25 women fill their glasses with pinto grigio put on strapless skintight dresses and fight for one man’s attention with hopes of falling madly in love all for America to watch on their televisions. While the bachelor is surrounded by these 25 bikini models (every guy’s dream) he will sadly only end up with one woman who he will propose to at the end of the six weeks. He will weed out the drama queens, the one’s that eat more than a salad at dinner, the one’s that kiss and tell, and the one’s that don’t show enough cleavage. The woman with the honest morals, vibrant personality, and a caring heart who reads books and wants to travel the world yeah she won’t win but her best friend will—you know the one with big breasts and does yoga half naked every morning. Yes, she will indeed suite the bachelor’s needs just fine and she will definitely be “wifey” material. It’s not the fact that the bachelor usually chooses the woman who is completely wrong for him that alerts viewers the most, it’s the fact that The Bachelor expresses to viewers that it is perfectly normal to fall “in love” with someone in just six weeks time. While lust can be immediate, love however cannot. The Bachelor is focused on the idea of finding true love, but the elements of the show keep him from doing just that. The unrealistic dating scenarios, short six-week time element, and the sense of competition keep the contestants, and the bachelor, from finding true love. 
While most successful engagements follow the timeline of friendship and years of getting to know each other, The Bachelor decides they can skip through all the small steps—you know like getting to know each other’s personalities, and instead stick the women on a romantic tropical island where sparks are bound to fly and send each woman on romantic once in a lifetime dates with the hunka-licious bachelor. The Bachelor doesn’t mess around either; these dates are far from the typical dinner for two at the Olive Garden. The Bachelor speaks to the woman’s soul and plans the perfect date each woman will never forget. On season 14, episode 2 of The Bachelor, bachelor Jake Pavelka, and date Ali Fedotowsky, take a private helicopter ride to Palm Springs for the afternoon. On season 18, episode 3, bachelor Juan Pablo danced with his date, Chelsie Webster, at their own private Billy Currington concert. Fancy, huh? The dates on The Bachelor may be extraordinary for viewing purposes, but on most occasions they are not typical dates that even the bachelors themselves would take their dates on. Each date is planned out to a tee by the show’s producers to make the dates more enjoyable to watch. There would not be nearly as many viewers if the dates took place at a Red Lobster or a Pizza Hut. Viewers want to see the romance and enchantment of each lavish date, which means they have to play up each date as extravagant as they can. These dates don’t only trick the women into thinking that they’re falling in love, but it tricks the viewers at home to thinking that the love they are viewing might in fact be real. These dates give the women, and the bachelor, a fake sense of love. While contestants would like to think that if they end up with the bachelor this lavish lifestyle of exotic trips, fancy candlelit dinners, and free wine will continue, it all stops once the show ends. In most cases once the final woman is picked the lavish lifestyle she thought she would continue living is gone and replaced with reality—no more television romance. The women connects the lavish lifestyle they live on the show with the bachelor himself resulting in the misinterpretation of if they actually “love” him or if they are just in love with all the perks that go along with being with him. These extraordinary dates make the women feel like they are in love, but instead they are just in love with the lifestyle.
With a majority of daters, their true feelings, personalities, and desires are not brought to the surface until later in the dating process. Love should take time and in most cases it does. A relationship should be based upon trust, loyalty, and an emotional and physical connection all of which takes time, years even, to fully develop. While six weeks may seem like a long time if you are going on an all-liquid diet, for finding love it is incredibly short. During the first six weeks, the woman is usually an angel. She wants to come across as sweet, sexy, and laidback, it is not until a few months into dating that the woman stops coming over in Victoria’s Secret G-strings and instead switches to Fruit of the Loom briefs--oh the comfort. It is not until a relationship hits the stage of showing each other their true selves that the L-word should be tossed around. The women, including the bachelor himself, do not have enough time to express their true selves, and they most certainly will not express their true selves with cameras rolling, especially when their mom and dad are watching from home. They want to come across in a positive light at all times because they are being filmed. Because each contestant is putting on an act for the cameras, the bachelor can have no way of knowing who each woman really is and how she really acts.  He can’t truly fall in love with any of the women because they are not acting how they normally would. The same goes for the contestants looking at how the bachelor acts, which is all an act for the cameras in order to come across as a more charming man that he actually is.
It also becomes difficult for the bachelor to find true love on the show because the majority of the contestants treat the show as a competition. Their goal is not always to find true love, but instead to beat out the other women and be seen to viewers as the best overall women of the bunch. To them, being the last woman standing is not an accomplishment because they get to marry the bachelor, but instead an accomplishment because they beat out 24 women. Because of this competitive drive, each contestant tries even harder to be the best candidate even if it’s just an act. They know that if they do or say something that is not in the best interest of the bachelor they will be sent home, which is why the majority of the contestants agree with every word the bachelor says regardless of their true thoughts. On most of the dates viewers will notice the uncanny similarities between the bachelor and his date—he likes baseball, so conveniently she does too. One false move or disagreement and she just cost herself a chance at being number one. Being the last woman standing means you were the sweetest, the prettiest, and most importantly—the only one that didn’t get dumped on national TV. The contestants want the title of being the best woman out of the group, which is why they put on an act to be the most desirable so they will be picked. The bachelor doesn’t get to know each contestant for who they really are, but instead gets to know who is the best actress.
With this competitive streak planted in some of the contestant’s heads, it makes it hard for the bachelor to know if the women he is choosing are here for him or if they just want the fame and to “win” the show. Many contestants on The Bachelor have had their intentions questioned, such as Courtney Robertson from season 16 who even had The Bachelor’s producers questioning her motives. But really can you blame her? Many of The Bachelor’s contestants have used their appearance on the show to get ahead in their careers. Take a look at season 14’s Ali Fedotowsky who is now the host of 1st Look on NBC, a correspondent for E! News, and a judge for Miss USA 2012. Emily Maynard has also made a name for herself. The bachelor winner of season 15 is now on magazine covers and considered a fashion inspiration in Hollywood. While some of the contestants on The Bachelor may be looking to fall in love, this is not always the case due to the high number of fame increases with past contestants.
ABC’s The Bachelor is incredibly entertaining to watch due to the drama and steamy late night kisses, but as far as the contestants and the bachelor actually finding true love? Not so much. The unrealistic dating scenarios, short six-week time element, and the sense of competition keep the contestants, and the bachelor, from finding true love. These elements may or may not be the reason that out of the 18 seasons of The Bachelor only one couple, Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, have actually tied the knot. While national TV may seem like a great place to find love, that might not always be the case on The Bachelor.



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  1. I appreciate your critique on the shows facade and the appealing nature of fantasy dates that presumably end upon their induction back to reality. I also like that you thought about the competition aspect of the show and how the aims are not necessarily about falling in love but about trumping over 24 other women and "winning." I would be interested in the ideas and mentalities of viewers to understand the culture of watching, because the show is successful in its 18th season it has to be doing something right, even if it isn't love.

  2. I find your post very relevant to the recent Bachelor finale with Juan Pablo. During the finale, Juan Pablo was harassed repeatedly because he did not propose or even say "I love you" to Nikki, the woman he chose. What I found most interesting, was the fact that SO many people were harassing his decision not to say the L word. Even the host, Chris Harrison, harassed Juan Pablo over the fact if he was or was not in love with Nikki. Juan Pablo's response to all of this criticism was the simple response that he was not "ready" to say the L word and that he did not believe that it was right to propose to someone only after six weeks of getting to know someone on-camera. Although I personally agree with you (and Juan Pablo) that you cannot find love in six weeks that will actually last a lifetime, I also don't quite understand why you would agree to be the Bachelor/Bachelorette knowing that you most likely will be receiving grief from the media for NOT falling in love and proposing at the end of the six weeks. It's sad that this is the case, but they are fully aware for what they signed up for, which is one of the most unrealistic "reality" television shows broadcasted in America.

  3. I agree with most of your criticism and like your perspective but I do think love can be found on the bachelor. I 100% agree that almost most of the relationships have been misrepresented lust for love. Although the lavish lifestyle does not continue the moments they share and create together gives the couple a significant connection and opportunity that almost no one has. I do agree that Love is thrown around to create an interest for the "viewers" I mean who wants to watch a show about finding love and that is based on love and no one ever falls in love. would be a pretty dull show so yea every season they do have to "fall in love" for the viewers purpose. Like this years bachelor, Juan Pablo, who did not find love but lead us to believe he did for the sake of the show.

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