The Bachelor: Rooted in Its Ways

ABC
ABC

This season of marks the 20th season on the air of The Bachelor, including its sister show, The Bachelorette. Each time we gather before our televisions as a few dozen single men and women compete to win the heart of the Bachelor or Bachelorette. While we will agree with many that cite the show’s lack of diversity as something that needs attention–more on that later–in light of such a milestone, and looking purely at the show’s format, I think it’s pretty clear that this show is here to stay–whether you like it or not.

And I do like it. There’s just something about watching a dozen women fight over one man that’s too entertaining not to enjoy. No matter what is happening in my life, I can turn on my TV every Monday and experience beautiful–albeit unrealistic–dates and more than a handful of catfights that always make me grateful I’ve got good friends and a bottle of wine. I also can’t help but like the predictability of the series and the comfort that provides.

I love that everything that happens during those two hours is very unlikely to happen in my day-to-day lif. I’m both jealous and relieved I’ll never go on a group date in which I’ll have to do something absolutely insane (like swim with giant pigs in the Bahamas). But after 20 seasons of this reality show, I’ve stopped to wonder whether or not we could see any changes in the future. My guess is that we will not, considering the success The Bachelor has enjoyed thus far.

Last season, ABC executives challenged the traditional “plotline” of The Bachelorette. During the first episode, there were two Bachelorettes and the men decided who stayed on for the duration of the season. To say the least, it was weird. Not only were Kaitlyn and Britt extraordinarily awkward around one another–and why shouldn’t they have been–as they were competing to be the star of the same reality TV show. Once Kaitlyn was voted the official Bachelorette I thought the show would return to normal, but it never quite did. Just when I were getting comfortable, Britt and her very staged relationship–with an ex-bachelorette contestant who left the competition once Kaitlyn was voted in–reappeared sporadically throughout the show.

ABC
ABC

I assume this was to please viewers who preferred Britt over Kaityln, but the votes should have defined who got screen time, not a ploy to maintain high ratings. The fact that The Bachelor has returned to its traditional “script” is proof that the series is comfortable and more successful as it originally began. While some series strive for change, it’s clear The Bachelor does not.

With that said, there is one segment of the series that has always been criticized. The diversity…or lack thereof. It’s true the show lacks diversity in appearance, race, and other such characteristics, but I’ve come to realize that much of this has to do with the qualities the Bachelors are looking for in a partner. People tend to have a type they are attracted to, which is why we often begin to see a trend in appearance among the final contestants. So, if the show really wants to diversify itself, which I think it should desire, the best bet would be to pick a non-White Bachelor. Such a change is not one that would alter the show I know and love, but one that may just give the series a larger audience, which would ensure many more years to come for The Bachelor.

But for now, this guilty pleasure is perfect for me just the way it is. So grab that wine and get comfortable. We’ve got a lot of drama to watch.

Are you good with The Bachelor‘s format or do you want things switched up? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!

The Bachelor airs at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and OMNI 2.