Millions of people tune in to watch The Bachelor every Monday night; some justify it as a guilty pleasure, others say it offers an interesting glimpse at society, and some folks are just straight-up superfans.
Amy Kaufman falls into all those categories, which is why she covers the show as a reporter for the LA Times and is releasing a book about it this March.
“I’ve been a fan of The Bachelor for well over a decade,” says Kaufman.
And while she loves the show, Kaufman acknowledges it has a somewhat archaic format. “The franchise continues to cultivate a following in the midst of a cultural moment when liking a reality show about 35 women vying for one man seems somewhat counterintuitive.”
Still, there’s something aspirational about The Bachelor. Perhaps it’s the trips contestants take around the world, the over-the-top dates, or maybe it’s just the concept of finding “the one” on reality television that gets people.
But finding “the one” isn’t as glamorous as it might seem on the show.
“A lot of viewers imagine that The Bachelor mansion is really glamorous, but contestants who have stayed there tell me it's not particularly fancy,” says Kaufman.
In fact, it’s not bougie at all.
“They sleep in makeshift bunk beds, all share one bathroom and live out of their luggage,” she says. “Except for the first night and the last night (if they make it that far) everyone has to provide their own wardrobe, hair and makeup styling,” says Kaufman.
This means that the women have to invest in their own wardrobe and styling products to be TV-ready every day. If you roll outta bed with raccoon vibes like some of us – that’s a hard feat to manage.
The conversations that happen in the house are almost completely produced, too.
“So many of the group conversations we see unfold in the house–often on a big couch in the center of the room–are staged,” says Kaufman.
“While the cast members aren't reading from a script, producers will often suggest ‘girl chats’ or ‘man chats’ during which the contestants gather around and begin chatting about a predetermined topic of conversation,” says Kaufman.
The show’s drama may be produced, but Kaufman aims to get to the root of why that drama is still so emotionally gripping to viewers.
“I think there's more to our obsession with the show,” says Kaufman.
“Even in a time when we're moving away from so-called traditional courtship… many of us still crave an old-school ideal of romance,” she says.
Kaufman explores this theory and more in her forthcoming book “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure” which will be included in Joymode’s Bachelor watch night bundle, or in stores and online March 6th.
Whatever your feelings about the show might be – it’s undeniably interesting to a huge portion of the population… even if Arie is kinda a wet blanket.
Book your Bachelor Backyard Movie night for the finale here, or if you don't have outdoor space reserve the watch night here.