Buzzfeed listicle with puppies. Buzzfeed listicle with gifs. #PrinceFarming. Engagement. Engagement. Thoughtcatalog article on relationships. #PrinceFarming. Thoughtcatalog article on being in your twenties. Thoughtcatalog article on having the best twenties EVER. Thoughtcatalog article on not worrying if you suck at your twenties and eat ramen for every meal because it will get better. Bill Cosby article. New Baby. #PrinceFarming… The rest I had seen a million times, but who was this “Prince Farming” plaguing my newsfeed?
A quick search revealed that Prince Farming was not in fact a username on FarmersOnly.com (tagline: “City Folks just don’t get it”) chosen by a guy who messages things like “If you think I’m sexy, wait ‘til you see my tractor” and “Wanna help me germinate my seeds? ;)” – it was the nickname of the newest Bachelor, Chris Soules, whose season had premiered the night before. Now the way The Bachelor works is that once upon a time, a man – the OB, original bachelor – dated 25 women at the same time, got rid of one every week by not giving her a rose at the Rose Ceremony, made out with a few, and then proposed to one. The most recently dumped candidate then got her own show, The Bachelorette, in which the whole process was repeated in another season.
The rules of the show have been violated. For example, Brad from Season 11 chose neither of his final 2 women and now owns a couple of bars in Texas with his twin brother (Thank you, Wikipedia), and Jason from Season 13 broke off his engagement with his chosen lady during After the Final Rose and married his first runner-up instead during a two-hour special called The Bachelor: Jason and Molly’s Wedding.
So I start watching the premier online, and Chris Harrison (the host of every single season) immediately promises a Bachelor premier like I’ve never seen before. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s the strangest Rose Ceremony we’ve ever seen and that’s just the beginning. “We’ve got it all,” Chris Harrison vows. “A virgin who spends the night in the Fantasy Suite! A wholesome girl with an x-rated past!” You got your virgins, you got your ex porn-stars, yep that pretty much covers it. And it all starts right NOW!
Which is not true at all, because it’s at this point that I realize I’ve been duped into watching the hour-long pre-show.
I resist the urge to exit the screen and forge on – after all, I haven’t even met the Bachelor yet. Chris Soules from Arlington, Iowa, America’s Prince Farming, believes that love is a lot like farming. “You plant a seed, hope it grows, weather isn’t always on your side, but with a little bit of luck, something beautiful can come from it.” And he’s really good at picking up and putting down hay bales.
The problem is that there just aren’t enough women in Arlington, Iowa (Idea for new reality show: Bring together the almost all-male population of Arlington, Iowa, with the almost all-female population of Fool’s Gold, California – not making this up – and make them live together for 6 months. Couples are sure to ensue!), and Chris thinks that The Bachelor is “the best way to find love.” I’m guessing no one told him that out of the 18 Bachelor seasons and 10 Bachelorette seasons (18 potential couples), only 5 couples are still together (3 of which are married, one of which is Jason from Season 13 who changed his mind during the after-show special). Do with that what you will.
And yet: “This is the first time I’ve missed harvest,” Chris says, while sitting on his motorcycle staring wistfully across a cornfield as epic music plays. Pre-commercial tease:
“If you wanna talk to him, you’ve gotta steal him,” a no-doubt hot blonde or brunette says as footage of a ball gown-clad grown-ass woman hump-backedly sneaks around the Bachelor Mansion. “And then: something goes terribly wrong at the Rose Ceremony,” Chris Harrison says, as Prince Farming walks away from the table of roses, a contestant mouths “OH MY GOD,” and countless blondes make surprised faces with mouths open and eyes wide very similar to the ones they undoubtedly make when they’re putting on mascara.
Don’t watch unless you’re my mother and her friends and need something to talk about when you meet for your monthly walk around the gym racetrack.
UPDATE: Andi Dorfman and Josh Murray broke up. THREE DAYS after appearing together and apparently in love on the Bachelor Red Carpet Live Premiere. I say “apparently” because I hadn’t lasted ‘til that segment, but I will admit that I was highly intrigued. I like to think I have a sixth sense for break-ups. In the 10th grade I dated this guy Ben for a month and just knew he was about to break up with me, so I beat him to the punch and did it first. He also ended up being gay, which I did not foresee – but hey, I said I had a good breakup detector, not gaydar. So I tuned back in to The Bachelor Pre-Show and put my skills to the test.
But before I got to see pre-breakup Andi and Josh, I had to sit through the introductions of seven of the contestants. A few highlights:
There was the 27-year-old waitress who proclaimed, “I’m going on the show to meet Chris,” as she was sandwich-hugged between what looked like two body builders, while standing on the streets of Hollywood wearing a mini skirt, belly shirt, and holding a FREE HUGS sign. She continued, “He’s such a great guy, like, it couldn’t be anybody better. Just, yeah, I’m just 100 percent. 100 percent.”
There was 25-year-old Jillian who threatened that love is a competition, so watch out girls. Amanda the Ballerina from Illinois who seemed super normal and cute until the producer asked her why she thought she was still single and she said without pause, “Can I say because I’m f*cking crazy?”. She laughed afterwards, but as I looked into her unblinking wild-eyes visible above the blurred lower portion of her censored face, I could believe it. Then she revealed that she still lived with her mother, which was awesome because she hated cooking and cleaning and paying bills. Hear that, Mom? Prepare my old quarters, I too hate all of those things.
The next intro started with a pretty blonde sitting across the table from another pretty blonde saying “Are you ready to make a baby? Alright let’s get started.” Chris Harrison, are we about to witness a pretty blonde lesbian sex scene? No, sillies, contestant Whitney is a fertility nurse! Which is appropriate, because she also seems baby crazy as hell. “Could Chris be your new daddy?! Oh yessss, are you excited??” she asked her white fluffy dog. And be warned, Chris, that dog did look pretty excited.
Then there was a 21-year-old with a baby who is looking for a hot, mature, grown-up male. “And Chris is all of those things, so I’m like, he’s perfect.” Translation: Auditions for Baby-Daddy startttt… NOW. There was a flight attendant from New Jersey who made cheesy airplane puns and a school counselor from Texas whose husband died a year and four months ago.
And then THANK GOD Andi and Josh were up to bat. But oddly enough, it was Chris Harrison who came out swinging. Andi says stuff about random strangers being so supportive and telling her they were glad she chose Josh, when Chris Harrison interrupts to say, “Who was happy you chose him? Really? Anybody? Umm, let’s talk wedding…” which they kind of don’t do, because in retrospect, they probably already knew at that point there wasn’t going to be one. (Though maybe Josh didn’t. He reportedly posted and then almost immediately deleted a photo on Instagram of the silhouette of a man kneeling with one arm raised to the sky. It was captioned: “Lord help me to have faith in your plan.” Can you say #dramaqueen?)
But to the rest of us, they looked so in love. I couldn’t have called it. No one could have, no one did. And that, is the fatal flaw of these “reality” dating shows. They are highly unrealistic. The ability to act in love and portray this beautiful relationship is a time-old skill, but when the movie stops rolling, we’re not legitimately upset that Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling don’t get married in real life (from The Notebook, obviously). So why do we as viewers fail to see the unrealistic nature of reality dating shows, even knowing that only 16% of them work out?
The last interview before I turned The Bachelor off for good was a contestant named Nikki, who had been chosen, and then un-chosen (read: dumped) by Bachelor Juan Pablo. What happened? He was a Miami partyboy and she was a Kansas City nurse – but for those brief six weeks they spent together, love blinded them enough to believe that they could make that work. Not even a stint on vH1’s Couples Therapy (yes that’s a real show) could save them. And then Nikki said something really intelligent. “We really tried to make it work. Like… real-life tried, not TV-tried.” Because – wake up, people – TV love is not real-life love.