We love The Bachelor because it’s really just high school all over.
Aside from the weekly tension of the rose ceremony, there’s no real drama to The Bachelor (and, by extension, The Bachelor Canada, which premiered last night)—just the same sunset-backed conversations about values and connection with a disappointingly tame hot-tub sesh thrown in every so often. Really, the romantic arc of The Bachelor is just a rehash of the classic high school relationship. But that’s exactly why it’s so much fun to watch.
Remember in high school how girls would claw each other’s eyes out to win the hand of some shaggy-haired boy whose appeal seemed to lie in his ability to slouch with style? The Bachelor is like that, only the boy is a blandly attractive grown man with the ability to utter sentences that contain no actual content. The women also speak in a coded language—the infuriating yet fascinatingly vague language of reality TV—that bares a striking similarity to the ineffectual communication techniques of teenagers.
Like teenagers, the contestants constantly, if purposefully, confuse romance with basic sexual urges: The Bachelor features lots of heavy petting but no actual sex until the final two women are given the chance to enjoy a private night in the “fantasy suite” with their man. In this way, the show sets up the inevitability of sex the same way a horny senior anticipates losing his virginity on prom night.
Finally, when the show’s over, the couple that swore their everlasting love for each other breaks up after a few months of dating, revealing that outside the structure in which their relationship was formed—high school, a reality TV show—the happy couple can’t stand each other. So go ahead, plant that look of smug satisfaction firmly on your face—you were right all along. The cheerleader and the quarterback belong in a yearbook, not in real life.