Bachelor brings awkward aviation metaphors, crazy women, manipulation, oddly addictive TV

During its previous 13 seasons, I don’t think I’ve ever watched an entire season of The Bachelor from start to finish. I’d either start watching and get horrified or bored, or tune in once buzz built up, or ignore it altogether (pretty much seasons 5 to 10). But I watched The Bachelor: On the Wings of Bad Airline Metaphors from start to finish, although I did take a break to watch Hoarders, which was much more uplifting even though it made me choke up.

But I digress. The whole thing was so awkward, from Jake’s nervous chuckle to Chris Harrison’s smarmy questions (flying or love: there’s a bullshit false dichotomy if I’ve ever heard one). While Jake is flat and almost seems like a Bachelor parody himself, the casting producers really did a great job putting a bunch of psychotic women together; I love how the editing–and Jake–treated them seriously. If you declare someone you’ve never met in person is destined to fill the one remaining void in your life, the only person you need is a therapist.

So much of this first episode, at least, had the fingerprints of overeager producers all over it, from Jake’s soft-core shower scene (Can you imagine the producer initiating that? “Okay, now we need you to take off your clothes, get in the shower, and soap up while these cameras film you for a few minutes. Okay, slower, clockwise. More suds.”) to the women’s not-very-clever aviation metaphor opening lines (which some of them couldn’t remember) to Jake keeping Michelle (really?). Then again, Jake’s hot body and psychotic women, never mind the affair with a producer, will keep the season interesting.

The odd part was, I got invested in the process, even though I know that if he does pick someone, they’ll probably break up, make headlines, and disappear. The producers know how to do their jobs, and in the end, it’s totally watchable and entertaining, and looks like it will continue to be. In the season preview, Jake actually walks out of an interview, kicks a light, and even says “damn.” Crazy.

And if Jake doesn’t pick Elizabeth, I will be so mad!

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.