Every Monday as 8 p.m. rolls around, it is once again time for my guilty little pleasure, The Bachelor—I tell my husband not to talk for the next two hours, and should the phone ring he will have to answer it and explain that I won’t be available until after 10 p.m., or maybe tomorrow.
There have now been 19 seasons of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, depending on the time of year, and I’ve enjoyed them all. During some seasons, I have even joined in aThe Bachelor or The Bachelorette viewing party. A group of us get together, each week at different friend’s house. We have dinner and then settle in front of the TV, spellbound by the antics and all that fantasy.
Some seasons, guys with ulterior motives like wanting to promote their singing careers try to come off as honestly searching for love, but they are always foiled in the end. Sometimes guys with girlfriends left at home make it on the show. The girlfriends arrive unannounced just in time to spoil their boyfriends’ chances with the reigning bachelorette. Those scenarios add to the drama.
And all the overnights—what’s really going on behind closed doors? There’s always something titillating happening. That’s why I haven’t missed a season.
My husband loves to interrupt my reverie by laughing at the, as he calls it, “scripted show.” He takes pleasure in informing me that this is not reality, it is planned entertainment, much like a sitcom. He relishes in breaking my fantasies. Now you understand why he is instructed not to talk for two hours during the show. If I could only banish him to another part of the house, so much the better. But for some reason, he has nothing else to do at 8 p.m. on Mondays except interrupt with a running commentary of the phoniness of it all.
Unfortunately, I just learned by watching Ali Federowsky, a former bachelorette, who is now a regular on E! News that the producers ask the bachelor/bachelorette whom they would like to keep. If the bachelor/bachelorette is indifferent, the producers choose the rest of the remaining hopefuls. That certainly broke some of the fantasy for me. I thought that decision was solely left to the bachelor/bachelorette. But it also explains why Ashley S. got as far as she did this season. That spacey girl, who imbibed way too much during each cocktail party, must have been planted by the producers. While alone outside with our bachelor, she looked through glazed eyes at the moon and said, “It’s so weird to me. And we’re just sitting here. That’s weird.” Then she told our bachelor how much she loved him and it’s only week four! She never made it to week five. I guess she was too much, even for the producers.
This season stars Chris Soules, better known as Prince Farming. His popularity from the Andi Dorfman season made him frontrunner as the next bachelor. Last season, he got as far as the hometown date. I think that rang the death knell for our farmer. Andi, a cosmopolitan lawyer, probably couldn’t see herself settling down on a rural farm. The one important thing she might have overlooked was that this farmer was a millionaire and not only owned the farm, but had a very large house planted right in the middle of all those acres of property. She probably could have continued to practice law. Doesn’t anyone in Iowa need a good attorney? At the finale, Andi picked Josh Murray, leaving our farmer to return empty-hearted to his vast agrarian empire.
Not so fast! Chris Soules won the hearts of the American female viewership. The producers were not going to leave this boy down on the farm. They dressed him up, sent him to a gym to build up those biceps for all the shirtless close-ups, anointed him Prince Farming and sent him off to the Bachelor Mansion to find his Cinderella. You can’t give the female viewing public any better fantasy than that!
But wait! Jimmy Kimmel crashed Prince Farming’s first date. OK, the prince and his date, Kaitlyn, go to Costco (not too romantic) to shop for a dinner they must cook for Kimmel. The late night host doesn’t leave them alone after his dinner and joins them for a threesome in the hot tub. Prince Farming is trying to put the moves on lovely Kaitlyn, while Kimmel sucks on chicken wings in another corner of the hot tub. Three really is a crowd!
This past week, minus Jimmy Kimmel, thank goodness, Prince Farming takes a group of girls on a camping trip. The girls must set up their tents and cook their own food. Ah, not fun—or so laments Kelsey. Upon being informed that this date was going to turn into an overnight camping trip, Kelsey confesses to Prince Farming that camping sucks. I go along with Kelsey on that notion.
I much prefer the dream date with Jade as Cinderella and Prince Farming as…Prince Charming. Yes, he does make a good Prince Charming. After all, he’s thoughtful, appears to be genuinely looking for love, he cleans up real fine after the camping trip and he can even dance. Jade was lucky enough to get this enchanted date after being interviewed and picked from all the girls by Prince Farming’s three blonde sisters. Now the other girls were jealous of Jade, naturally.
Jade was given a pair of Neil Lane diamond earrings she would get to keep after the date. She floated out of the bachelorette mansion in a stunning water colored (right out of a Monet painting) ball gown and was whisked away in a gleaming white Rolls Royce (I have always wanted to sit in one of those) to her fantasy date with Prince Farming. The other girls, especially Ashley I., are left drooling and damning Chris’s sisters, who now are likened to the mean stepsisters in our Cinderella theme.
All fantasy aside, the grit continues the next morning. At first the fantasy continues. Large white boxes decorated with satin ribbons are delivered to a group of girls. Upon opening the boxes, the girls are thrilled to find white wedding gowns. They don their dream dresses and jet off to Prince Farming, but reality screeches in. They wind up vying for our Prince by competing, knee deep, in a muck obstacle course. All those fluffy, white gowns become filthy as they race through the mud. The winner, Jillian, gets the evening fantasy date in a romantic rooftop setting, but Jillian rambles on and on. Prince Farming looks perplexed and worst of all, bored out of his mind. Hence, no rose for Jillian. She is sent packing.
Next, during the traditional cocktail party, each girl gets a last chance to steal the prince away for a little one-on-one in an effort to make a good impression so he will keep them around for next week’s episode. Ashley I. confesses to being a virgin like she has committed a cardinal sin. Our prince appears taken aback. When did it become a sin to be a virgin? I think I missed something—probably an entire generation.
OK, so there is some fantasy this season, but a little too much muck, grizzle, bear butts and Jimmy Kimmel’s chicken wings. And what’s with smooching every girl, even in front of other girls? That’s crass! It’s getting hot and heavy and we’re just up to Episode 5, which airs tomorrow night. Prince Farming, you’re used to more rural settings where you don’t have to worry about other people being around when you want to be romantic, but think about it, you’re not down on the farm now.
Don’t get me wrong, Chris Soules is an amiable enough fellow, and at 33 years of age he appears to honestly be looking for his wife.
As for me, I return each Monday anxious to see what will happen next, and always with the same directive to my husband: “Please, just give me two hours of uninterrupted silence.” I know all too well that my request invites the usual derisive running commentary and I will shush him through the camping trips, muck races, bare behinds, helicopter rides, glass slipper scenarios and island escapes.
It’s my guilty little pleasure and I’m just too much into the fantasy to look away.
The Bachelor airs on ABC every Monday at 8 p.m.
Barbara Anne Kirshner is the author of Madison Weatherbee-The Different Dachshund.