The mechanics of the Bachelor show

Keywords: show man, tv show, true love, bachelor, person, guy, setup, people, process, season, time, bitchy, make. Powered by TextRank.


Usually I don't have any time to watch unplanned TV (zapping from channel to channel etc.) but recently I -by chance- did catch an episode of the reality TV show known as The Bachelor. I would have assumed that these shows consist of fabricated scenarios that are setup on purpose to introduce conflict and drama, so the show will sell. I was not disappointed.

The basics of the show are that you have 25 women competing for the "love" of one man. Why would anybody want to participate in this to find love, that I cannot understand. The chances of getting a proposal seem rather slim, and even if you do, the chances of a marriage that would last is even slimmer. The show aired 17 seasons (excluding the sister show - the bachelorette) and of these 17 couples only 1 has made it this far. So that's 5% success rate if you are a winner. Each season has 25 contestants which means that out of the 425 women, only 1 made it. Those are rather slim chances considering the humiliation and suffering after rejection that you will have to face when you are eliminated, plus the drama, conflict and the stress that you will have to endure during the season. But still the public demands this show otherwise it would not have aired for 17 seasons.

What is interesting is how the producers of this show manipulate the contestant and how these women still want to participate knowing that they are very likely to end up with a broken heart and hurt feelings. First of all the bachelor candidate is very above the average guy you would see around. Physical attraction and basic primitives are at work here. The producers also super charge this man with extremities that a regular person would not be able to deliver such as luxury dates in exotic location (a dinner in Thailand), abnormal ways of transportation (elephant back riding through the rain forest), etc. which adds to the admiration that the women build up for this man. What the women fail to realize (or they never mention it) is that these are all setup by the producers of the show and will end after the season, and they will probably be going back to eating cheap take outs.

Another way to impose a bonding process (which is required so that the show will continue) is that they let the bachelor guide the women through a frightening experience, which would make the woman believe the bachelor is their hero. It is fairly simple for an isolated person, who is living away from the normal routine of their lives, to get confused by such an overwhelming exposure to raw emotions. The setup for this would include I believe an elicitation process done by the casting crew before the show is shot where the women would talk about their phobias or traumatic experiences. Once these are known it is fairly simple for the producers to setup scenarios where the bachelor can save the women from a plot that was fabricated by the producers in the first place. These ploys also exploit the fact that people are confused by the source of excitement during an adrenalin rush. They can't distinguish between cause of this sense. Is the source the event or the person that they are together with during this event. This type of bonding where the person would mistake physical safety for emotional safety would open the path for the person to trust the other person and to share traumas and other intimate secrets. Why on earth otherwise would you share such personal information with some one you only know for a couple of week and maybe spent only a few hours together? To amplify these effects the candidates are taken away from their daily lives and from the people that they know and trust that would normally contribute thoughts about this relationship. On the episodes that I watched where the guy goes to meet the family, nearly all of the families were skeptical about the process and the show, and they were right. This is because they are not caught in the race, and they are not manipulated. The same is true for women meeting the guys family. They are not in isolation and have a better perspective on the whole situation. But ultimately they all say "it's your choice.". It's no wonder that the women are thinking that this guy is "the one" for them, because the producers are using the scarcity principle to elevate the value of the bachelor. The women only have a limited time with the guy, and they are pressured to make most of that time and therefore agree to doing all sorts of crazy stuff - like eating fried bugs - that they might normally prefer not to do. They also get caught in the heat of the competition.

The producers select a mix of personalities that are likely to produce the most drama, and once the women assume a role, a persona for themselves they stick with it. This is comparable to the Stanford prison experiment conducted by Zimbardo, in which the inmates would comply with the request that were made by the guardians, even though they didn't have to. They chose instinctively to stick to their personas. These personas are usually stereotypical like the bitchy one, and the brave one who will confront the bitchy one, and the naive one who really is only seeking true love.

I would say that seeking true love by participating in a TV show is total non-sense. The way that this is marketed as a means of helping people find love is also an insult. But never the less it was fun to watch a few episodes and enlightening to analyze the way that TV show producers are using psychological games to drive a business.


First published on 2013-10-10

Generated on May 29, 2024, 10:00 PM


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