Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bachelor Nation

There is a woman who has the only official Bachelor podcast, called Bachelor Happy Hour. She says on her ad (that shows up at the end of my Wondery podcast) that it's important that the podcaster be a member of Bachelor Nation, and she was a Bachelorette - and then participant in some other similar show before she finally found love. 

There was a science-fiction short story about a man dating a woman, who revealed as she was leaving that she rented out the experiences in her life on some sort of subscription service, and was obligated to live a life that other people would like to experience along with her, or she wouldn't have customers.  It seemed to be some sort of brain-space, so more like VR than something on film.  But reality TV is very similar to this, isn't it? You get to sit in on someone else's life at very close range. I suppose that happens in novels as well.

It never occurred to me that there might be such a thing as Bachelor Nation, yet I suppose it makes sense for the truly interested as opposed to the casual viewer. You have to share a common view about how love and attraction works, and well, how life works. It would have to be patiently explained to me, likely a few times, but these are people who already get it. Following sports usually has a regional appeal, a way of declaring that you used to be from Philly and still root for the Eagles in football, but you have switched your other allegiances to the teams in your new locale, Colorado. You are one of the bunch now. But is being a member of Bachelor Nation otherwise somewhat similar to rooting for sports?

I don't think rooting for contestants in reality TV shows is strongly regional.  I think it's just one possibility, one influence, on who the viewers like.  "Oh yeah, she's a real city girl! She's great!"  But what do I know?  I'm just making it up from overhearing people at lunch tables at work.  Not even my own lunch table. I don't think many of them ever come from New Hampshire, so I can't gauge what the local response would be.  I'm not curious about the show, except I would like to know if I would also deplore this for its values, in addition to just not being interested.  I suspect so, but maybe I am just not understanding it.


james said...

I suppose people need to feel like they're part of a community, even if it's a community of fans of a contestant in a long-running game show. It doesn't seem qualitatively different from rooting for the Brewers, or for a golfer.

I'm certain that the producers, and maybe most of the contestants, don't take the prospect of love seriously. "Cameras everywhere" seems like an invitation to perform rather than react honestly.

(Likewise mildly curious, but not enough to actually duckduckgo for information.)

Linda Fox said...

I think that women mostly root for the contestant that could represent their idealized image of their own personality/looks. Sort of a harmless "do-over" of their own romantic choices.