UC Davis students share their experiences watching “The Bachelor” and participating in “Bachelor” culture
“The Bachelor,” a romantic reality television show with the end goal of engagement, has been airing on ABC since 2002. The show has since expanded to include “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” along with other series as it accumulates viewers who tune in to the show year after year.
In fact, the term “Bachelor Mondays” was coined for the routine airing of the show on Monday nights for each season. Amid the drama and roses lies a “Bachelor” fanbase made up of people across the country, including those in Davis.
Dana Lawrence, a fourth-year environmental science and management major, was introduced to the show during her freshman year at UC Davis. This year, Lawrence is more committed to watching the show and has created traditions with her six housemates.
Every week they gather together with a glass of wine and watch the newest episode, chatting all the while. Lawrence shared that on some nights, everyone dresses up for the episodes. For instance, she and her housemates dressed up as their parents for the hometown dates episode in which the final contestants introduce their families.
She shared that her watching experience exceeds each episode’s duration as everyone in the house recaps the dramatic events afterwards.
“There’s usually about 10 minutes of all of us laughing, bringing up things that happened in the previous episode, definitely more of a discussion part,” Lawrence said. “There’s a lot of yelling that goes on, a lot of excited talking and definitely predictions about what’s going to happen the next week.”
Moreover, Lawrence shared that the pandemic did have an impact on her renewed commitment to the show this year.
“I’d say that having more free time and being home in the evenings is definitely why I’m watching it,” Lawrence said. “Especially with seven people, it’s crazy that schedules can align that way and so I think the pandemic [has] played a role in that.”
Looking at the show broadly, Lawrence shared her opinions on why “The Bachelor” franchise has retained such a dedicated audience over the years.
“On a basic level, I think that a lot of viewers want to see people succeed in finding love,” Lawrence said. “It’s a very simple concept that you can create your own characters in and then have these recurrent characters that people can root for.”
Julia Phalen, a fourth-year sociology—organizational studies and communication double major, started watching the show with her sister during her freshman year. As she got more interested in it, Phalen began watching with her friends as well.
Although Phalen always tunes in to “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” her favorite series from the franchise is “Bachelor in Paradise,” a spinoff that involves people from both shows. She shared that it’s interesting to follow her favorite contestants from previous seasons as they embark on a new love journey.
“You see people that you liked from one show meet another person and then fall in love,” Phalen said. “And that’s super entertaining to look back [on] and be like, ‘Oh, I remember when he was on that season.’”
Phalen said that her favorite part about watching the show is getting to share the experience with her friends.
“I like getting to talk about it with my friends afterwards and having it be a thing where we all get together,” Phalen said. “My housemates and I have all been watching it together, so it’s been kind of fun to watch with them and talk about it with them. And none of them have been super into it in the past, so it’s been kind of fun to explain all the little traditions that the show has to them.”
Maddy Stein, a fourth-year human development major, is a long-term viewer of “The Bachelor” franchise. Stein began watching at the age of 11 and hasn’t missed a season ever since. While her initial watch was motivated by her love of reality television, Stein is now attracted to the social aspects of watching the show. This includes watching the show with her friends and exploring social media online to learn more about the contestants.
“As I got older, it turned into more of this whole franchise through social media and the contestants that I really liked I now follow on social media,” Stein said. “It’s sort of learning about their lives through social media, and I just get really invested in it.”
For Stein, one of the best parts of watching the show is participating in funny memes and TikToks about the show to laugh about with friends.
“We’re all just busy with school, and all we do is school, school, school,” Stein said. “But then Tuesday nights are our night to come together, hang out and watch the show.”
Stein foresees herself continuing to watch the show as long as she has a community to watch it with in the future. She recommended those who haven’t watched yet to start the show, stating that it has many intriguing qualities.
“It’s very dramatic, but also has this way of drawing you in and makes you want more, especially when they do the previews at the end of the episode,” Stein said. “It’s interesting to follow this journey of 25 girls trying to get one guy to fall in love with them. I would say it’s a light-hearted, funny, dramatic show.”
Written by: Nora Farahdel — firstname.lastname@example.org