Give “The Bachelor” a chance

“The Bachelor” is not a perfect show, but who says it has to be?

Courtesy+of+the+official+%22The+Bachelor%22+Facebook++page

Courtesy of the official "The Bachelor" Facebook page

By Shona McMorrow, Collegian Columnist

A year ago, I had never seen an episode of “The Bachelor.” I rolled my eyes at viewing parties and those who discussed the events of each episode as if it had any actual meaning. It wasn’t until I tuned into the premiere of “Bachelor in Paradise” this past summer that I realized how wrong I was. My sister advocated for the show; she agreed with my criticisms, but her response was, “It’s really entertaining.” She was right. I was hooked and watched the entire season, ready for the premier of “The Bachelor” this past January.

Fans are well aware of the criticism the show faces from outsiders, and for the most part understand. The fact that the drama on the show seems fabricated and exaggerated is a fair point, but that is what makes the show so loveable. It is fair to be entertained by something so ridiculous, and it is clearly working for the show. The moments trend on Twitter during its airing and are discussed on talk shows the next day, along with fans just going about their everyday lives. I find myself discussing the episodes with people at random.

It is easy to brush aside the people who go on this show as attention-seeking or unintelligent, but with the popularity of the show, the contestants are actually pretty smart. For some, it may help to boost their career in a world where entertainment and influencers reign, and the contestants certainly know this. Even more impressive is their ability to get on the show at all, a process that ends in only 30 people making the cut. If they don’t land the man or woman of their dreams, they now have some recognition, as well as a potential second chance at love through “Bachelor in Paradise.”

What makes this show that different from other reality shows? Why is one form of entertainment acceptable while another is not? Maybe for some it’s the love aspect of it. Before I became a fan, I was wary of a show depicting 30 women competing for one man’s attention. It just didn’t quite sit right with me. However, the women on the show are not forced to be there, and their reason for the journey they are on is just as valid as any other person’s. Additionally, the people watching this show are mostly adults who are not going to suddenly change their views of love and marriage, nor are they going to be brainwashed into some patriarchal and heteronormative standard of dating.

The show has also made some strides recently with its first same sex couple on the sixth season of “Bachelor in Paradise.” While the couple didn’t stay together after their engagement — not many in the franchise do — it opened up conversations of inclusivity on the show. The show didn’t hold back in depicting the relationship of these women, airing moments in which the women were very open about their own struggles and journey of understanding their sexuality.

While I originally thought the show had misogynistic undertones, I now see the female comradery in it all. The women on the show form friendships just as the fans watching do so. Bachelor viewing parties are held every Monday in which groups of friends dedicate a weekly time to enjoy each other’s company and share a common interest. Tuesdays are filled with people discussing the show and even a slight mention may spark a long conversation with a friend, a peer or a stranger.

The show certainly isn’t perfect, but I’ve never heard anyone claiming it to be. We all find different things entertaining, and for some, a cheesy dating show is one of those things. It’s something to watch at the end of the day, unwind and just give in to the ridiculousness of it all. It may not be for everyone, but with 24 seasons and three versions of the show, it is doing pretty well. I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.

Shona McMorrow is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]