Just Gonna Say It: This Is Why The Bachelor Franchise Sucks So Hard These Days

Contributor: Melissa Mason

Look, it’s undeniable – The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have truly sucked of late. Every year, we hope things will be different and every year, we’re sorely disappointed. If I could pinpoint the season things took a nosedive, I’d say it was 2020 – and it had nothing to do with the pandemic and those heinous video dates.

As someone who loves to recap The Bachelor and loved the series well before that started to be part of my day job, it makes me sad that the Australian franchise keeps limp-dicking its way along, somehow getting signed year-on-year yet never quite nailing it. I want it to succeed! I want to watch people find love on television! I want the drama of a house filled with various personalities pissing each other off!

What I don’t want is what we’ve gotten over the last few years – a bunch of men and women vying not for love, but for social media fame. Some person from [insert other reality TV show here] we’re supposed to believe isn’t trying to level up their social media cred. Stupid gimmicks like two sisters!!!! Who are both white and blonde even though we are in the middle of the Black Lives Matter revolution!!!! 

You know what the series needs? Me, a nobody with a lot of opinions, telling them what to do. So I’m gonna do just that.

We want to see someone we actually relate to

Image: Network Ten

The original Bachelor franchise was based on this mythical rich/successful man who any woman in the WORLD would want to marry and procreate with. When The Bachelorette started, the idea was “THIS amazing woman doesn’t have a MAN!? How can that BE! We must FIND HER ONE”. Both concepts don’t fly in 2022. We don’t dream of marrying some rich guy with a six-pack, and we don’t adhere to the archaic idea that women need a relationship to matter. 

We just want to see someone relatable find love. Someone who WANTS to find love, at that. Not intense Megan FoxMGK love, but that best friend/life partner kind of love. The kind Osher has! Osher is the blueprint here, okay? Whenever he talks about his relationship, we all sigh. Just copy that.

I think the producers know we don’t really want to see some rich fuck sifting through women to find his assigned wife anymore, but they aren’t really getting that we want RELATABLE. We want someone who could be our actual bestie. Someone who, at the very least, doesn’t give off the stench of wanting to get famous/more famous. I won’t name names but sooooo many of the more recent Bachies reeked of it, even before they immediately launched side hustles/started selling supplements as soon as their contracts allowed it. It’s really off-putting when what you really feel like you’re watching is a person counting down the filming hours until the series is over so they can start cashing cheques. 

I think they’ve nailed it, at times. Angie Kent was a great Bachelorette, for example. Brooke Blurton, too. Controversial but I also thought Richie Strahan was a really good Bachelor, and Matty J, obviously. That’s not the definitive list, but basically it really felt like they were open to finding love – it would be unhinged to think anyone going on a reality TV show isn’t thinking about what it could do for their career, but there’s the person who does it with no interest in finding love, and the person who is open to it, you know? 

We want to see people in chaos mode

Image: Network Ten

Look, don’t lie. Half the reason you watch shows like The Bachelor is for the drama. We love the drama! We love chaos! Watching the way people interact is why these shows are so engaging. Remember the dogc*nt saga? That red-haired woman who got drunk at the cocktail party and started gasbagging on camera about God-knows-what? That guy who got the chicken outfit in Angie’s season and had a total man-tanty about it? This is the good shit, guys. We really do want to see the chaotic evil of human interactions.

I’m not talking about bullying, like ganging up on people and humiliating someone. I find MAFS hard to watch because there is a lot of that going on in that show. For example, I haaaated the way Abbie Chatfield was isolated by other women in the house because she was out here saying she wanted to have sex (ahead of her time, tbh). Anything with the intent of hurting someone else or making them feel shitty, huge nope. I don’t want to see it and most importantly, I don’t think we should be putting that shit on tv. It’s cheap shots, IMO.

I’m talking about the natural clashes you’ll get from putting a bunch of different personalities in one show, then adding champers.

I think producers get too anxious about encouraging or airing that stuff because we don’t tolerate bullying anymore, and that’s a GOOD THING, but not every clash has to involve bullying. We’re ALL annoying and no one gets along with everyone, and that honestly makes for good television. IDK, maybe this is a controversial opinion but I just don’t want to see a bunch of people in a house being saccharine-level nice to each other.

I want disagreements and butting heads and the interesting, early-days Big Brother vibes of people just naturally rubbing each other the wrong way. It’s why I always loved the “villains” who were just straight-shooters – not mean, not bullies, just upfront and honest and not afraid to rock the boat.

More of them, please.

We want actual diversity, not token diversity

Image: Network Ten

The best season we’ve had so far in terms of diversity has been, obviously, Brooke Blurton’s season of The Bachelorette. But here we are with four rumoured Bachelor leads and…. they’re all white fuckboys, as my pal and editor of this site Josie Rozenberg-Clarke said to me. Don’t even get me started on the women and men cast as suitors. It’s always the saaaame. Heaps of white, slim people and then a handful of other men/women who aren’t white. Oh, but they’re always slim – let’s talk about size diversity, which we never eeeever see. I can’t think of the last person in this franchise who was above a size 12. 

Just like we want to see stars that feel like someone we could be actual, real-life friends with, we also want to see people vying for love that could actually be, well, us. We want to see ourselves in the cast of hopefuls, and it’s honestly never really happened. Sure, if you’re a blonde size eight woman, you feel represented. If you’re a washboard abs 6’1 white guy, you feel represented. But beyond that, it’s usually a few people who get booted out by mid-season. 

Like surely it’s not that hard to approach and cast a diverse group of people. We know the producers reach out on social media to handpick some of the contestants, so just… literally approach some people who aren’t blonde and white. IDK man, it just doesn’t seem that hard to do.

We Want Bachelor In Paradise Back

Image: Network Ten

Fuckkkk I loved that show. The reason Bachie in Paradise worked so well was because of the possibilities. You plonk some ex-Bachie stars, who know the ropes of this show but also are often in need of the social media boost, onto an island and let them hook up with each other. The drama? Endless. The love matches? Surprising and exciting.

Remember how iconic it was when Tara Pavlovic and Michael Turnbull were dating, and he went off with some other new girl, and she spent the entire time drinking cocktails with Sam Cochrane and then falling for him instead? Then they got ENGAGED in the finale? That obviously went to shit (although she’s now happily loved-up and married to someone else), but during the series it was everything.

What about Alisha Airken-Radburn and Glenn Smith’s love story? Or Alisha’s much-shittier angsty love story with Jules Bourne (lol bye to that guy). Ciarran Stott hooking up with everyone in a five metre radius, Timm Hanly and Brittany Hockley’s short-lived romance… that series had it all, every season.

I think we’ve just moved on from the original Bachelor/Bachelorette to some degree and loved Paradise because we didn’t need to believe these people were there for love, the fact they wanted to protect their reputations/build their profile on national TV was part of it all. Sooo many convos along the lines of “are they being genuine or are they just trying to get through another week”, you know? It was the show that played into the influencer ambitions, as opposed to pulling the wool over our eyes like “oh no, these people want LOVE!”

Anyway, I’ll still be watching The Bachelor if it is four white fuckboys. I’ll just be way happier about it if it’s some lovely normal person who has a warm face and two golden retrievers, and they work as a landscaper and even though Susie and Bert (the retrievers) light up their life, they just want to find the right person to come home to each night for a cuddle on the couch and some feta pasta. 

Not to be specific or anything.

Melissa is a freelance writer, you can find her on Instagram here.