Once upon a time, it might have been big news that The Bachelor was coming back for a second chance at love; that he had a criminal record; that he had a love child. This season, these revelations were met with a resounding "meh." Too dull for camp, too contrived for drama, The Bachelor is a relic from an earlier time in reality TV. And it's no coincidence that ratings have steadily slipped.
Remember when everyone in the country knew the name "Richard Hatch?" And American Idol resulted in abysmal movie musicals? And people actually cared who Alex gave the rose to? Simpler times. That seem so very, very remote. It's not just that we're jaded by every variation imaginable on the concept or that our tastes are so much more sophisticated. Rather, I think we're only willing to be insulted so much. Insulted by the retrograde, harem-esque gender dynamic; insulted by the "white knight" premise; and most of all insulted by the suggestion that anyone's actually in it for love.
But most insulting is the premise that we literally can't remember the events of the past decade. There has not been a single lasting match to come out of this show unless you count Trista and that guy who changed his mind and switched women, and as such it requires a serious suspension of disbelief to find the premise palatable. ( The host, meanwhile, is married to his high school sweetheart.) Given that we're already suspending disbelief in order to pretend the Bachelor isn't a douche and the women don't all want to be famous, it's simply asking too much. In short, The Bachelor has not produced a Kelly Clarkson. Or even a Clay Aiken. Instead, it's been 15 seasons of Justin Guarinis. Except Justin Guarinis perpetuating an outmoded and offensive dynamic with a tired premise. To stretch a metaphor. Maybe as a country, we just don't believe in fake love anymore. At least, not the rose ceremony varietal.