The Bachelor: A Review

by Claire Zajaczkowski

The highly anticipated “Fantasy Suite” dates are quickly creeping up on this season of The Bachelor, so I find it an appropriate time to recap some of the drama that has led up to this highly anticipated episode. Last week’s episode, another fun display of the absolute absurdity of the nature of The Bachelor in general, offered a preview into how “real life” might look if Nick Viall were to pick each of the final four to be his wife, when he visited each of their hometowns and was grilled by just about all of their parents and siblings.

My favorite part of the hometown dates is the recurring doubt expressed by protective parents and often older siblings of the multiple girls vying for one man’s “heart”. It’s as if these family members had no idea what their children or siblings were signing up for! The Bachelor does not keep its unconventional [yet somehow normalized by reality TV] polygamy a secret. In this year’s Canadian hometown date, one father was surprised when Nick asked for his blessing to propose to his daughter, Vanessa. Nick was, in turn, a little thrown off by the fact that this particular father did not immediately respond with a yes. Rather, he returned with a question for Nick that reminded him of the reality and irregularity of this situation. Yes, Nick had asked all of the other parents for their permission to potentially ask their daughters to marry him. Typically, most parents expect that when one man is asking for their permission to propose to their child, that their child is the only person they are considering proposing to! This father’s concern is understandable, but again, what were they expecting from a man who “dated” thirty women at once?

Some less significant but equally hilarious moments of the hometown dates from this particular season include when Corinne, 24-year-old business owner from Miami, Florida, bought Nick an outfit costing more than $3,000 and then introduced him to her nanny so as to give him a preview of what “life with Corinne” is really like. There are the heartwarming moments in between the craziness as well, like when 29-year-old Vanessa’s special needs students became emotional to see Vanessa again and made a scrapbook commemorating she and Nick’s [albeit short] relationship. There was also, as expected, ample entertainment in watching Nick visit Hoxie, Arkansas, where 25-year-old Raven lives and works as a boutique owner. They celebrated Raven’s southernness by literally playing in the mud and earned some bonus points for the terribly scripted and acted scene involving Raven and her brother trying to fool Nick. It was hard to be excited about 31-year-old Rachel’s hometown date in Dallas since the news had already broken that she is officially the new Bachelorette. Way to spoil the ending, ABC, but there is cause to celebrate as Rachel is one of the most intelligent, poised, and overall likable people that will have ever been the Bachelorette. Not to mention that Rachel will be the first black Bachelorette; there has never been a black lead of one of The Bachelor franchise shows, so Rachel as the next Bachelorette pick is providing some comfort that the show is capable of incorporating some much-needed diversity to their cast for more than the purpose of pleasing critics.

There are plenty of trashier elements of the show that are constantly inviting criticism, so it isn’t the easiest to just pick a few. In this case, I just find it unnecessary and melodramatic of the family members to truly make fools of themselves by acting as if they don’t understand the premise of The Bachelor at all. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid fan of The Bachelor and none of its shortcomings will ever prove enough to make me stop watching the show. Sometimes, though, the best part about it is pointing out the flaws which make it all the more entertaining.