The Bachelor, as a TV show, as a dating experiment… as a whole… isn’t particularly smart.
But of course, you know that.
Putting women in a house, pitting them against each other in the tireless pursuit of a single man and cherry-picking quotes to make sure they fit a certain character profile isn’t necessarily making us smarter, making the world better, nor does it make us any kinder.
And yet, the ratings argue we don’t particularly care. Trash TV? Ha, yeah, we’ll watch it. Scripted catf ights? Oh, for sure, we’ll roll our eyes, but only during the ad breaks. After all, if our pupils are facing the back of our heads during the drama, we miss the drama, and no one wants lost drama.
For some, it’s trash TV serving as the ultimate guilty pleasure. For others, it’s just that, with a sprinkling of healthy piss-taking alongside it. Because there is something to be said about looking at the construct that is reality television, peeling the layers back, being smart about considering what’s put in front of us and not mindlessly falling victim to the producers’ carefully crafted masterpiece.
Michelle Andrews and I de-construct all this Bachelor-related drama on Bach Chat. Post continues…
And so, with the new season of The Bachelor upon us, the story arcs, the characters, the scripts are more pronounced than ever. The season is enveloped by a totally different mood, where three mean girls – a self-described “clique” – demand more airtime than the love story Channel 10 purport to be the real end game. And although drama has always had its place within the confines of the Bachelor mansion, this year it’s pervasive – like every episode will be dogged by the very worst stereotype of catty women.
So can we complain? Perhaps not, if we’re still watching it. But we can look at it, pick it apart, and use it for much smarter purposes than was intended.
Take Jennifer, for example. The 27-year-old marketing manager has been dubbed the Queen Bee of this season. She’s spoken of her habit of “intimidating” people and the “brazen” nature of her personality. She’s ignited two fights in two episodes. She wants to be the “entertaining one”, the one that keeps us watching, she says.
“I absolutely love that I’ve been painted as a villainous character,” she told Confidential this week. “… I will gladly take the name.”
By her own admission, Jennifer is here for the notoriety, not love. And acting up to that villainous throne has seen her illuminate something ugly we have all experienced in our real, non-scripted lives: gaslighting.