How long does it take for you to fall in love? Years? Months? How about a few weeks? Seems too soon for some people – I know it is for me. The thing about love is that no matter what you do, there is no way of forcing it; usually, bad things happen when you do. But this does not apply to your favorite match-up reality shows: The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Are you The One?, Bachelor In Paradise, Dating Naked (Yes, this is a thing apparently), Coupled and plenty more shows made to find “real love.” Imagine the opposite of a common dating scenario. A scenario where people from different places are put in a 24-hour environment where every move they make is televised to millions of people.
As exciting and unique this experience might sound, it sure makes me skeptical about how love could be the end goal. Having so many other reasons to participate, candidates either really suck at dating in the real world, or they simply have bigger reasons to be a part of Hollywood.
Bachelor Nation and Their Methods
Let’s start with the most popular show among them: The Bachelor. For those who do not know it, The Bachelor is a reality show where a handsome, successful man – picked by the public – gets to date 20 lucky ladies who fight over the bachelor’s heart. Every week he sends one or two ladies home until only one stays standing. Normally, at the end of the show, the bachelor proposes to the winner and they live happily ever after. At least, that’s what we see on our screens.
The thing that makes me skeptical about the process is that after the show ends, candidates that make an impression, or even winners, get so much attention they basically become celebrities. For those who had a regular job, brands start paying them to promote their products.
Their social media grows on followers. They get invited to interviews and even other shows. Somehow entering the show to find love turns out to be good business, regardless if they win or get sent home. That’s what bachelor nation does to any candidate that stands out.
Kaitlyn Bradshaw, who participated in The Bachelorette (just like the bachelor but instead is a woman dating many men) admitted in TED talks that when she decided to become the Bachelorette she did it to build a brand. She then reveals she never thought that she would find love, but she did while building a name for herself. This makes me think that all of these bachelors and bachelorettes just want fame. Love comes as a plus to the recognition.
Where Does all this Drama come from?
As you can guess, the reason for the amount of viewers and popularity is the big fat drama. On one side, you put about 20 people in a show to fight over one person and you definitely could lose your mind a little. Many contestants when they go back in their real world admit that they said or did things in the show were not things they would say or do in their regular lives. This essentially means that people transform into their most dramatic self when they are put in front of a camera.
Reasons for this behavior could be that, first, on this type of show you either open your heart fast or you’re out. Imagine having six weeks to get engaged with someone or live with someone, your emotions are going to be all over the place for sure. Second, some people try to draw attention to themselves in a bad way. The jealous guy that looks for trouble, the dramatic drunk girl who is rude to the other contestants, have your pick. Most of the times in reality those people would not act like that, but fame can bring out the worst in people.
Money vs… Love?
I bring it up because of two reality shows that I would like to make a compare: Are You The One? and Bachelor in Paradise. In both of them they bring young single people to an island and they are supposed to couple up at the end of the show. The differences though, are that while in Bachelor in Paradise there is no ulterior reason other than “finding love,” in Are You The One?, money is part of the reason.
In this show, you enter and have to take several psychology tests and personality evaluations so the show can find your perfect match. The contestants are not told who their perfect match is, so the whole purpose of the show is for them to find each match and form 10 couples. If they do that they can win a million dollars. It’s easy to question if both shows are truly focused on finding love when one of them offers you money to do it, and the other one will ultimately get you several more followers in social media.
Followers of these reality shows have seen couples form and survive the show even after it ends. These power couples are all over the media getting interviewed and with fans all over the world. Some seem true to their feelings in their relationships, but the truth is we never know how real these relationships really are. Is this the future of relationships?
Maybe, the way to find true love will have to be managed and televised so it gives you ensured results. Some believe in this process, and some think it’s a charade. The point here is that the only way of knowing is to experience it yourself and try not get lured in by the lights of Hollywood.