In praise of The Bachelor’s cinematography

At some point while I was trying desperately not to fall asleep during the drawn-out, boring, inevitable finale of The Bachelor, I realized something: the show looks spectacular, especially in HD. Visually, it rivals Survivor, which also has sweeping, high-definition shots of our stunning planet and people behaving badly.

The final rose ceremony is always held in an impressive setting, but last night’s was even more spectacular: the Alps in Switzerland, with the Matterhorn behind Ben and the two women he inexplicably chose. From panoramic helicopter shots to the setting sun framed behind Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson as they embraced post-engagement, it looked beautiful–far more beautiful than what was happening with the show’s stars.

I’ll even say this: ABC’s dating series looks better than The Amazing Race, because CBS’ competition has increasingly frenetic editing that races through and past the imagery, so we never really get a chance to appreciate what we’re seeing. Even when there isn’t an assist from nature on The Bachelor, the show looks great, from interviews conducted in hotel rooms to the rose ceremonies. It’s part of what creates the fantasy of the whole fairy tale barf thing, but it doesn’t look cheesy. Candles and flowers and candles could easily look crappy, but they don’t: they work.

The show’s visual look and feel is the work of many people, but that includes directors of photography Chad Griepentrog and Andre Martinez, along with seven camera operators and seven camera assistants. And what they’re filming looks good thanks to the work of people including lighting designer Oscar Dominguez and lighting director Dennis Weiler; priduction designer Angelic Rutherford; and art director Chris Pearson and lead set dresser Angus McDonald. I’m sure I’m missing others who also contribute to its visual look and feel.

All of those people, like their counterparts on other series, do invisible work that enhances our experience. Just watch this preview for this season, preferably on mute, and pay attention to the visuals, especially at the start and end of this clip. It’s impressive work.

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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.