Release date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Non Fiction
The first definitive, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes cultural history of the Bachelor franchise, America’s favorite guilty pleasure
For fifteen years and thirty-five seasons, the Bachelor franchise has been a mainstay in American TV viewers’ lives. Since it premiered in 2002, the show’s popularity and relevance has only grown–more than eight million viewers tuned in to see the conclusion of the most recent season of The Bachelor.
The iconic reality television show’s reach and influence into the cultural zeitgeist is undeniable. Bestselling writers and famous actors live tweet about it. Die-hard fans–dubbed “Bachelor Nation”–come together every week during each season to participate in fantasy leagues and viewing parties.
Bachelor Nation is the first behind-the-scenes, unauthorized look into the reality television phenomenon. Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman is a proud member of Bachelor Nation and has a long history with the franchise–ABC even banned her from attending show events after her coverage of the program got a little too real for its liking. She has interviewed dozens of producers, contestants, and celebrity fans to give readers never-before-told details of the show’s inner workings: what it’s like to be trapped in the mansion “bubble”; dark, juicy tales of producer manipulation; and revelations about the alcohol-fueled debauchery that occurs long before the fantasy suite.
Kaufman also explores what our fascination means, culturally: what the show says about the way we view so-called ideal suitors, our subconscious yearning for fairy-tale romance, and how this enduring television show has shaped society’s feelings about love, marriage, and feminism by appealing to a marriage plot that’s as old as Jane Austen.
I’m assuming anyone who has Bachelor Nation on their TBR is either a fan of the show or they “hate” watch it like I do. If you’ve never watched the show then this book won’t appeal to you at all, but if you haven’t HOW have you escaped it?! It’s such a pop culture phenomenon that I’m genuinely curious.
Back to hate watching, I use that term because every time I decide to tune into a new season I wind up regretting it. I watched the first few seasons religiously then got bored and stopped. A few years ago I decided to give it another chance to see if much had changed. Spoiler alert, it hadn’t, really you could just tell the shows budget was larger as the dates were more extravagant. But this past season was SO bad that I didn’t even make it past the first few episodes, one small
example of my frustration was that the bachelor was like twelve years older than one of the front runners. She was over eighteen, who cares, right? It only annoyed me because it was guarded like some sort of state secret, she was the only contestant without a name attached to her bio. I had to Google to find out how old she was and I was just annoyed by the whole thing, it felt like a cheap way to create drama when really, putting her age like all of the other women would’ve been the right thing to do, she was clearly very young, but again NO ONE cared until it became this very noticeable difference. So as you can see by my ranting, I truly do hate watch, but I really couldn’t pass up an opportunity to read a book that promised juicy details and behind the scenes information about a totally addictive show. Did it deliver? Mostly.
Kaufman is clearly well versed in all things The Bachelor related, she knows her stuff and while she did have a few juicy stories, most of what she discussed was stuff I already knew or assumed. Let me clarify, there’s a show called Unreal, it’s a scripted series about the producers of a bachelor style show co created by a woman who used to be a producer on The Bachelor. Still with me? This show opened up my eyes about how much producers actually manipulate contestants into doing things on these type of reality shows. Sure, it’s a TV show so obviously there’s some exaggeration, but my point is that some of Kaufman’s reveals were less than shocking to me. Now that’s not to say that they weren’t interesting and entertaining, but never before revealed? Eh, not exactly.
So what kept me turning pages? Kaufman’s writing style for one, I felt like I was chatting with a friend about this train wreck of a show, albeit a friend that’s met most of the former cast mates, but her style really read like a laid back, gossipy conversation you would have with a buddy. She is snarky and funny and this was a fast paced read, she snagged some pretty big names as far as past contestants go and her overall knowledge was impressive. Read this if you’re a fan of the show and don’t know some of the inner workings.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.