As another season of “The Bachelor” comes to a close, star Juan Pablo and his new girlfriend, Season 18 winner Nikki Ferrell, are lighting up the press circuit with their budding romance, but as Pablo settles into life in the limelight, “The Bachelor” continues to misrepresent itself as a matchmaker. The show consistently misleads its contestants and viewers by creating a false image of what real relationships are like and focusing on grandeur rather than reality.
The people who compete on the show are seeking their 15 minutes of fame or a platform to launch their own entertainment careers. Pablo, the show’s most recent love-seeker, has managed to use his time on the air to get his name in the news as much as possible, inciting reports of an unhappy relationship and negative comments about gays. His most recent stunt was a video montage of his favorite moments with Ferrell. While seemingly heartwarming and romantic, viewers should not forget that somewhere out there are scripts for 24 other possible videos featuring Pablo with the women he rejected.
The franchise has a depressing track record when it comes to creating sustainable, healthy relationships. Most seasons end in nauseating marriage proposals, but few have resulted in lasting matches. Between the 18 seasons of “The Bachelor” and the nine seasons of “The Bachelorette,” only five couples have lasted, including Pablo and Ferrell, who have only been together for a few months.
Aside from suspect communities in Utah and individuals labeled Patient Zero by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monogamous people do not date 25 people at once.
The competition among potential mates sends an incredibly unrealistic message about relationships and how to treat potential partners. Relationships should not be predicated upon the idea that love is a contest to land the most attractive person possible and that everyone around you is your competition. The franchise also desensitizes its millions of viewers to misogynistic behavior. Pablo has become one of the most hated bachelors in the history of the show and after treating many of the women on the show, like they were disposable, he deserves the harsh title.
It was clear to viewers early on who Pablo would select, but he continued to date and schmooze the remaining women, especially during the Feb. 25 episode that featured the fantasy suite. Rather than forgo his night in the suite to be with his “true” choice, he opted to spend it with some of the other contestants. Pablo’s actions display his sliminess when, during the finale, he refused to acknowledge any deep emotional attachment to Ferrell, driving home the perception that he sought fame, not just romance.
In reality, most couples buy candy at 7-Eleven before a movie because tickets are too expensive. Most couples are not treated to private Train concerts, nor do they spend hours on a yacht just because the day ends in “Y.” These outlandish portrayals lead people to believe that extravagance can be substituted for a real human connection, something the show rarely delves into.
It is sweet when someone gives you a rose at the end of a date, but the gesture tends to lose its meaning when he also gives roses to 20 other people within the hour. It also bites when he decides to stop throwing roses your way. Once again demonstrating the show’s lack of empathy for its contestants, the franchise knowingly put former contestant Melissa Rycroft in an unfortunate position when she was dumped by star Jason Mesnick and forced to watch as he picked the runner-up three months after he had proposed to her.
The beauty of the competition is that it takes the most distraught, emotional character, sends them to a spa and trainer and molds them in the image of the very person who broke their heart. “The Bachelor” has a beautiful consolation prize for the person left broken and rejected on a beach—throughout 18 seasons, there has always been a beach and someone crying on it—because the loser gets to go on the next season to try to find love again. The cycle continues and the end result is the “Hunger Games” of relationships: Boy dates 25 girls, dumps 24 of them, and the last girl dumped gets to pick up where the boy left off. Some viewers may look at the show as entertainment, but they fail to realize that the people on the show are not characters, but rather real people with emotions that are constantly trampled.
The only upside is that once the contestants go through the emotional trauma, they might know better than to expect grand romantic gestures. Not many men store a dozen roses conveniently just offstage.
“The Bachelor” needs to close its satin curtains for good and drop ammonia on its rose bushes. It is an offensive show that consistently sets contestants up for failure, emotional distress and public humiliation. The show is an inaccurate portrayal of relationships and negatively impacts societal views of dating. Instead of sending people to a mansion or a yacht—because who wouldn’t fall in love on a yacht?—drop two people in a car for three hours with a screaming baby. If they can make it through that, maybe they have a shot.