Before I start this article, I just want to quickly state (for the record) that I boycotted this show for a very, very long time. Tons of my friends have watched The Bachelor religiously for years, and I refrained, because I thought I was better than that. I thought I should be watching shows with more intellect and more culture – ones that would broaden my horizons with universal truths, and share with me all the beauty in the world that I may not get the chance to see first-hand. Yeah, I thought wrong.
The Bachelor may not be highly intellectual television, but it is damn entertaining, and after losing my viewer-virginity this past season with Ben Higgins and his ragtag group of Mostly-Laurens, I fell in love. My own mother told me, “I have never seen you gasp harder than when he left Olivia standing there on that island, waiting to die as the tide rose slowly around her,” and I’ve since found a weird sense of pride in that.
If you’re still on the fence about this one, here are 5 mature reasons why you should probably just cut your losses and find an admittedly satisfying seat in the growing church that is Bachelor Nation.
1. The Editors Are Phenomenal
Reality television is entirely dependent on good editors. Their job description calls for feigning drama where there isn’t any, and severely exaggerating it where there is. They sludge through hours upon hours of footage to find the good stuff, and then they splice it all together with perfect timing to elicit a very specific reaction from the audience.
The editors on The Bachelor are geniuses, plain and simple. I’ve never seen a team that’s better equipped at doing everything in the aforementioned paragraph, and doing it with such flawless refinement that even though you know it’s not real, you get sucked in anyway. Hell, even my friends who studied television production in college are hooked.
Exhibit A: Watch this video of Olivia "Ocankia" Caridi, who all viewers know is a tad unhinged – but watch how the editors use non-consecutive clips, sound effects, and facial expressions, and then proceed to put them all together in a way that surpasses unhinged and heads straight for batshit insane.
2. You’re Part Of A Community
And said community is comprised of some of the most genuinely hysterical people I’ve ever had the pleasure of following on social media.
First you’ve got bloggers like Crick Watson, who do weekly break-downs of Bachelor episodes shortly after they air. This may sound boring to you, but I await Crick Watson’s posts almost as much as I await the actual show. Where a basic blogger would write, “Ben hits the ball with the bat; the ball nearly hits JoJo, but it misses her face,” Crick Watson writes, “Alas, he misses her, but somewhere on a deserted, rocky island in the Caribbean, O Face inhales deeply, causing the ball to come sailing south. She catches it in her jaws like the spawn of a crocodile and a well-trained golden retriever before setting it in a place of honor in the hut she’s constructed of palm tree branches and broken dreams.”
Then you’ve got the podcast Coming Up Roses, which is one of the most popular podcasts out there right now. Essentially, it’s a couple guys who are crazy into sports, but forego their game-watching to watch (berate) The Bachelor instead. They recap and provide commentary on the episodes with pure comedic gold (like looking up the Bachelor’s stats as a quarterback in high school and disclosing that he was in fact an athletic embarrassment) and ultimately, I'm obsessed with them.
And if that’s not enough, you’ve got thousands of people live Tweeting during the show. They’re all pretty great.
3. It’s A Lesson On What Not To Do
I now know all the following information about the following areas of life:
Polygamy is more drama than it’s worth.
Guys don’t respond well to bootycallesque visits in the middle of the night where you endlessly talk smack about females.
If a guy’s courting you with helicopters and hot tubs, he’s courting all the bitties with helicopters and hot tubs.
The person who doesn’t get visibly upset while confronting accusations is a sociopath.
The combination of isolation and endless supplies of wine isn’t great for your sanity.
You can be drop dead gorgeous and still poorly equipped for adult life.
For the sake of everyone around you, weed the words “like,” "amazing," and "literally" out of your vocabulary.
4. It Sparks Genuine Conversation
Yes, everything about this show is dumbed down to a straightforward black-and-white depiction. The contestants all have their identities, so they can be summed up with one phrase: the mother, the virgin, the crazy one, the flower-headed dentist, etc. People are labeled either good or bad depending on their actions and comments, and for the most part, everyone seems to agree that they either suck or they’re cool.
Consequently, because it’s so transparent, the show prompts a lot of debate. Much like a parable or fable, it’s filled with archetypes of people we’d meet out in the world, and due to its simplified nature, it creates an easy platform for us to decide what’s right and what’s wrong. Controversial topics like homophobia, antifeminism, and racial discrimination are regularly talked about in regard to The Bachelor, and these blogposts and tweets and texts become more than just a commentary on reality television. They become a commentary on real-life issues that need to be discussed.
5. It Sheds Light On Outdated Beliefs About Love
Sometimes things are so deepy engrained in our culture, we forget that they’re not inherent. Sometimes it takes a show like The Bachelor to reflect these cultural ideals back at you and make you realize, “Hey, that’s actually stupid," and yet the whole world still thinks it fits underneath the heading of "romantic." A few prime examples:
Marriage is the end-all to relationships. There are no goals after it, and there are no goals without it.
Girls just want to be courted and wifed.
Hide all your bad qualities. No, this’ll work out, I promise.
Only have sex with a few select people, and only if you’re thinking about maybe marrying them
You grew up on a farm? You must be hot, yet innocent and sweet, and have a great relationship with your parents.
Anyway, it's worth your time, guys, I promise.
Images: Ben Higgins/ABC; Bachelorburnbook/Twitter; Giphy (2)