I Watched an Episode of The Bachelor, and I Was Surprised by What Happened

That’s right, I watched an episode of The Bachelor, the show featuring dozens of women vying to be engaged to a man on network television. It’s both incredibly archaic and quite modern at the same time.

What compelled me to spend my time this way? Well, I subscribe to two YouTube channels–Jimmy Kimmel Live and Ellen–that frequently talk about The Bachelor. For some reason I’ve been watching Ellen’s staff recap episodes of The Bachelor, so a few days ago I decided to just go ahead and watch it so I could see what they were talking about.

I have a distant memory of watching the show with a girlfriend many years ago, and my impressions of it were (a) that a LOT of alcohol was consumed (no judgment–I drink on occasion–but alcohol seemed to fuel the show rather than just take the edge off, (b) the whole fantasy-suite sex situation seemed odd, and (c) getting engaged after such a limited process seemed really fast and uninformed.

So I was pleasantly surprised by certain elements of the show…and there were some things that continued to feel weird. Here are my takeaways:

  • 2 hours per episode?! People spend 2 hours every week watching this? Even Survivor, my guilty pleasure, is only 1 hour each week. I ended up fast forwarding through some of the makeout sessions (there are a lot of them) and playing the episode on TiVo quickspeed, which is awesome.
  • I like that there’s structural flexibility to the show. For example, in this episode, one woman removed herself from the show, and Colton told another woman that he wouldn’t be picking her (to help her save face in front of the other women).
  • That said, there’s also a very odd structure to the show. In the episode I watched, there was a day-long one-on-one date (Colton picked the woman) followed by a day-long group date (Colton and around 8 women), followed by another day-long one-on-one date (Colton and a woman not selected for the group date). Why such long one-on-one dates instead of more, shorter dates of that nature? That seems like a better use of time.
  • There was a lot less alcohol than I expected, and I thought that increased the quality of the interactions. The other episode I vaguely remember watching years ago got pretty sloppy as a result of all the drinking, and the result was more sad than entertaining.
  • There was a LOT of making out. One of the hooks of this season seems to be that Colton is a virgin, so maybe the producers give more screen time to the physical interactions? I just didn’t find it particularly entertaining. I bet I forwarded through at least 10 minutes of just makeout footage. One of the scenes with Hannah G was pretty hot, though. Also, do the women not mind that they’re each taking turns kissing him, sometimes back to back?
  • Again, maybe this was just selective editing, but there were very few conversations that didn’t center on the romances themselves. Like, women telling Colton how they feel about him, and Colton saying how he feels about them. That’s fine, but I wish there was a little more substance to the conversations so we can see how they’re actually connecting (more than just physically).
  • Despite the powerful position he’s in, Colton actually comes across as genuine, likable, and a little overwhelmed. He really seems like he’s on the show to find love. There are situations that he could have taken advantage of (like the woman throwing herself at him even though he wasn’t interested in), and he didn’t.

Perhaps most surprising is that I actually care about what happens next! I like Hannah B and Cassie, and I might just tune in next week to see what happens.

Have you ever watched The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or shows like them? What’s your impression of them?