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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