Despite the #MeToo movement, an anti-feminist premise and the general decline of reality shows — fans of the TV program “The Bachelor” remain incredibly devoted to it. And couldn’t take their eyes off it last night.
The final episode of ABC’s 22nd season — yes, you read that number right — of “The Bachelor” aired Tuesday night, and fans had all manner of feelings about it.
For those whose lives take place outside the orbit of this program, the premise of the show (and its many spinoffs) is this: Several potential “candidates” (as many as 25) compete for a single individual’s hand in marriage.
Contenders are systematically eliminated as the season progresses — it took nine weeks this round — until only one man and one woman remain. They then get engaged, for real, as viewers either cheer or jeer.
Shown above is Arie Luyendyk Jr. — and his “end of the show” fiancée, Lauren Burnham.
It will shock few that these reality-show marriages usually don't last, at least not for long. After 21 seasons of this program, only one couple has remained together, as Fox News reported — and most couples split before a full year has come and gone.
So why do so many folks — 7.8 million for Tuesday's finale, as Deadline reported — remain passionately, almost rabidly devoted to a show that so openly snubs virtually everything that not only feminism but also traditional romance, engagement and marriage stand for today?
Here are a few (potentially uncomfortable) truths about women's seemingly inexplicable love for this "reality" show (and if you've got others, send 'em! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org):
1.) Watching other folks' personal dramas on TV is far easier than looking in the mirror and dealing with one's own.
2.) The whole "princess thing" is a thing. Watching other women being treated as royalty — complete with extravagant dates, luxury trips, and expensive jewelry, even if it's played out on screen in front of other people — can be a distraction from the drudgery of the workplace (for some people) and the relentless demands of family life (for many more).
3.) There are tips, tips, tips. Gaining some dating strategies by watching how other women deal with competition when the stakes are high has its benefits.
4.) Then there's the "inside look" effect. There is something weirdly satisfying about being able to peer into other people's lives. Often, the viewer knows a lot (or at least something) about these people (on the show) that those players don't know or don't realize about themselves.
5.) There's the camaraderie involved. Women will be out of the loop if all their friends and family are watching — and they aren't. That black hole can get a whole lot bigger when everyone else keeps talking about the details, yet nonviewers don't have a clue what's going on.
6.) Thumbing one's nose at feminism feels good sometimes. Yup, it's true, and nope, not taking it back.
7.) Mindless distractions aren't a luxury these days. With so much chaos in the world — and often in our own neighborhoods and family lives as well — even a one-hour distraction from the intensity of it all can help people feel a little bit better.
8.) Vicarious romantic fulfillment is better than nothing. For single women still looking for the right partner, or for those in unsatisfying marriages, putting oneself in the winner's shoes can feel pretty delicious.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.
(photo credit, homepage and article images: ABC)
Last Modified: March 7, 2018, 1:29 pm