Like most people, I enjoy my fair sure of naughty TV pleasures. But few provoke as much guilt as the dating-show trainwreck that is The Bachelor and its gender-flipping brethren The Bachelorette, the latter of which premiered its latest incarnation—starring reputed prosecutor Andi—last night.
Which got me thinking: is my deep-seated shame in watching this show justified? Or could this heaping, stinking pile of trash serve a legitimate purpose in my life?
Here me out, haters, because I think the show may indeed be good for me and, yes, for all of womankind.
Aristotle Would Love The Bachelorette (Maybe)
As the great Aristotle said (no, really), the human urge for emotional catharsis is frequently met through the medium of art. And as a piece of pop-art, The Bachelor is a profound cathartic exercise for the modern woman.
The show takes the shit-storm of emotions we feel during relationships, exaggerates them, and offers them up for all to feast on. It invites us to engage with every awful feeling associated with relationships, and to process them through the proxy of our innocent, beleagured bachelor or bachelorette.
Isn't Every Love "Journey" a Little Twisted?
Take the cruel two-on-one date, during which the bachelor/ette takes out two suitors and only keeps one at the end. Or the finale, wherein one "lucky" suitor gets a proposal and a Neil Lane rock, while the other gets sent home packing in a rejection limo, where their tears are documented in close-up zooms. Or the whole “one person dating 25 other people” premise. All are designed to tap into our most primal insecurities and darkest past relationship moments. Harsh rejection. The crushing realization that you're not as desirable as another. Fear of ending up alone, crying into an empty Haagen Dazs pint. It's all there, and it's inescapably powerful and deeply cathartic.
So yes, the Bachelor franchise is cruel, ridiculous and insane. But against all better judgments, we just can’t get enough. And isn’t that what real relationships are like, too?