This Valentine’s day, after a year of isolation, global trauma, societal discontent, and the continuing pressures of everyday life, I speak for the masses when I say nothing sounds better than collapsing into the arms of a loving S/O and being showered with gifts and appreciation. However, for those unlucky and still looking for love, you can still engage in some healthy wish-fulfillment, turn to Hulu and pull up The Bachelor.
In fact, Bachelor Nation has a pretty significant presence at Lovett. With 26.5% of survey-respondents being consistent watchers and another 41% tuning in to a few odd episodes, a majority of Lovett students have at least a little bit of space in their heart for the show. Of course, there’s still the 32% who’d prefer grabbing extra practice with pre-calc to watching an episode, but they’re probably lying to the survey, or to themselves (sorry math department--not slamming your metier but let’s be real, I know even you guys are Bachelor fans.)
Senior Camille Summers considers herself a Bachelor fan, explaining that “it’s just interesting, sometimes cringe-worthy but that’s half the fun.” She’s been in Bachelor Nation for about four years now and, though she’s flitted between many seasons, she always circles back to see the hometowns episode--a fan favorite where the Bachelor/ette visits the families and hometowns of their remaining four suitors, for those who are unfamiliar. When she watches The Bachelor, though, it’s its own event. “It’s impossible to watch while you’re doing homework or something else because there’s way too much drama,” she said, “it’s just too distracting.”
Bachelor Nation touches the lives of many other students, though, and just a walk through the hallway is often enough to tell. In the past week, I’ve heard no less than four hallway comments as students have gushed over the latest episodes, ranging from disbelief about Victoria’s dramatics to proclamations of procrastination (“I didn’t even study for the Art History test, I just watched The Bachelor instead,” said one student to another walking past me.) And it’s not only the girls--apparently, there’s a secret Bachelor watch party for senior guys that takes place weekly during lunch, or so I’ve heard.
On the faculty front, Mrs. Copps says she’s seen a few seasons though she hasn’t kept up with the latest few. She watches it out of “pure horror and fascination,” and also to figure out if it’s “completely or only partially staged.” She’s seen the classics, even seen the very first season, but thinks that as time’s gone on, the show has gotten “maybe a little less wholesome than it started out,” citing the fact that earlier winners stayed together and had families at much higher rates than the couples now. She applauds contestants, though, as she “can’t imagine who would want to go on national television and bare their whole lives like that under so much scrutiny.”
As for my newspaper advisor, Mr. Newman, he’s never seen a full episode--maybe “part of an episode, half an episode, something like that”--but stopped because he felt he’d “seen what he needed to see.” While he’s never been overly-fond of reality TV--”I was never a Survivor guy or anything”--he has indulged in a few seasons of The Great British Bake Off and The Great Pottery Throwdown and has “really enjoyed those.” As the titles would indicate, Newman agreed “they are great, I suppose, in their own way.” He finds them “cheery and, to some degree, suspenseful.”
“I’m not above the reality show phenomenon,” he said, “and I can see how someone might get behind winning a husband or a wife instead of Star Baker, slightly higher stakes… that sounds crazy now that I’m saying it…” But he just “can’t relate” to the characters and events on the dating reality shows.
Though many, like Newman, are less than fans, about 55% of survey respondents would take the final rose over competing on Jeopardy--and who can blame them, being paid to get flown around the world, sit in luxury, and be courted for a few months sounds decent, no matter how you feel about the fake drama or the forced love.
For those who’d go on the show, most were in agreement that the dream date would be bungee jumping in Sweden, though 34% also voted horseback riding in Costa Rica, followed by 11% who want nothing more than a Costco run in rural America. The one date that sold almost nobody, though, was miming in Paris, with only 8% of the vote--and who can blame them, going on a date with someone who can’t speak to or touch you because of the invisible box they're trapped in does sound tragic.
Camille was one of the many who chose the bungee jumping option because “it seems most exciting, plus Sweden would be amazing.” Sadie Burge, an ardent Bachelor fan, chose Costco--”free samples” was the only explanation she provided.
For some, though, like senior Jacob Frank, you won’t catch them pulling up The Bachelor no matter how lonely they get this Valentine's day. “It’s not a good show,” Jacob said flatly when we spoke, and to that, I say fair enough.