It's time for 'The Bachelor' to stop with all the 'drama'
On Monday night's episode of ABC's The Bachelor, one contestant, Victoria, told bachelor Matt James that another contestant, MaryLynn, had bullied her. Shortly thereafter, MaryLynn tried to speak with Victoria about the incident. What transpired was awkward, dramatic and frustrating, all at the same time.
When MaryLynn attempted to sit next to Victoria on a sofa to chat about the incident, Victoria flatly refused, saying, "I don't want you sitting next to me." This was just a small part of what made this exchange between the women so uncomfortable.
While it's not unlike The Bachelor to hype the friction between the ladies, what made this particular situation so frustrating is that viewers weren't privy to what exactly Victoria meant when she said that she was bullied. What did MaryLynn (allegedly) say or do? This was never made clear, and a little context would have been most helpful for viewers.
What has been made obvious is that Victoria is the villain of the show, disliked by viewers and fellow contestants alike since night one when she declared herself "The Queen," going so far as to wear a crown every chance she gets. She openly voices her sustain for the other candidates often, and usually right to their faces.
It's clear that many of the women on the show, along with viewers, were hopeful that Victoria would be let go by James during that night's Rose Ceremony. But, when another suitor nearly fainted during the event, the ceremony was halted, with a "To Be Continued" slate popping up on-screen.
However, previews for next week's episode do feature Victoria, so for now it's clear she's not going anywhere.
Because the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has been around so long, this kind of drama feels a little like par for the course. But should it be?
If the real goal of the show is for Matt James to find love, why cast someone like Victoria? Why give the spot to her when it could have been filled by someone who is maybe less dillusional about the whole process?
To this end, why is it that in every season of the series, it's up to the suitors to scratch and claw to get time with the Bachelor/Bachelorette? Should it really be this much of a competition? Why not give everyone as much equal time as possible, if, again, the ultimate goal truly for the Bachelor/Bachelorette to find the perfect match?
For example, this latest episode featured the ladies taking faux wedding pics with Matt, but a number of them didn't get a turn because suddenly they had to go do a sort of wedding combat mission in the woods. Is it fair to Matt to keep cutting off his chances to interact with the women this way?
It feels like there are a few ways to fix some of this. Like, why not do a type of speed dating round on the first night in which each woman gets five minutes to tell Matt about herself. Yes, they do sort of have this when they first get out of the limo, but a second round when they're not trying to 'gimmick' their way into his brain so he remembers who they are, might be good.
And, if this is really about someone finding true love, stop having the suitors competing physically against each other so much. Sure, it's fun to watch in some ways, but there are other ways for them to compete without having them strike each other. And this goes for the men as well. On Tayshia's season of The Bachelorette, the men literally wrestled each other but the most compelling competition on that season was one in which they each created an art project showing how they believed their future with Tayshia would unfold. It was a competition but it was very individualized.
In the end, it's hard to believe that anyone can find true love in this highly manipulated environment. It's true that some have, but it's hard to watch and not feel bad for all of them about 90% of the time.
Circling back to Victoria and her antics, some on Twitter have suggested that she's an actress who's been hired by the producers to stir things up. Others say she's just an actual narissitic person who is more focused on the competition aspect than anything else. Whatever the case, shame on those behind-the-scenes for involving her at all.
On a much larger level, women criticizing and undermining each other is not such a good look right now. Actually, it's never been something to be celebrated.
In fact, wasn't it just back in March of 2020 that former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay appeared on Pete Webber's season of The Bachelor during the Women Tell All episode begging viewers to stop sending horrific social media messages to the contestants?
Ironically, during this segment about anti-bullying, multiple viewers, on social media, called out the producers’ hypocrisy for featuring a bullying public service announcement minutes after this episode featured several cast members yelling at one another and making snide comments about others.
Clearly, the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has proven golden for ABC having been on the air for nearly 20 years, but now that the world seems to be in place and time when it's painfully obvious that so many have come to abhor hurtful speech and actions toward fellow human beings, is it maybe time to rethink the methods employed to create the 'drama' on the series?
For a show that supposed to be all about love, there seems to be a lot of time spent showing what hate really looks like.