The bachelor might be worse for viewers than just being mindless entertainment.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, millions of Americans watch “The Bachelor”. Of these high numbers, there’s no doubt that many get sucked in by the constant drama of the show. It really is a train wreck that many can’t turn away from. Yet, the side effects of this intentionally dramatic atmosphere for both the contestants and viewers are often unconsidered. 

“The Bachelor” is a show about contestants competing for a significant other. They compete for dates, time with the show’s lead and try to stand out from the crowd of other women. Just this past season, the female contestants were meant to dress up and walk down a runway. Peter, the “Bachelor”, then picked his favorite performer for a one-on-one date, who also got a brand new expensive wardrobe. Various women who weren’t chosen were seen crying off-screen. This entire process is totally unnatural and could easily be damaging to the contestants’ self-image and worth. 

Additionally, “Bachelor” producers are infamous for intentionally making situations as dramatic and hurtful as possible to get a reaction from the contestants. This past season, Peter and a contestant attended a surprise country music concert as VIP guests. The producers knew that the musician was the female contestant’s serious ex-boyfriend, according to the Washington Post. The contestant was traumatized by the experience, and the entire day was ruined for her, surrounded by drama. The Post even cites her as having said “I want to die” during the experience. This type of experience would’ve never happened in a real-life situation because it was entirely staged. These kinds of encounters created by the producers lead to severe emotional turmoil.

Contestants aside, “The Bachelor” opens a unique door for Americans watching at home to harshly ridicule and judge people without feeling much guilt. This is because the show over — and under — exaggerates situations in editing, purposefully making contestants seem crazy, irrational, annoying and so on, even if they really aren’t. This allows for the opportunity for the audience to severely criticize contestants unfairly. It’s common knowledge that many contestants leave “The Bachelor” receiving a slew of online hate comments from viewers.

Media is a huge influence on human behavior. For instance, any ad on TV or political campaigns online are meant to persuade viewers into believing something. This belief can lead to a purchase or a vote. Similarly, they are influenced by what they see on television. Shows like “The Bachelor” influence viewers into thinking that judgement, comparison and a state of constant relationship drama are normal and acceptable when they aren’t. 

Americans need to understand the mental effects these kinds of shows could have on themselves, even if they don’t realize it. 

Josie Haneklau is a sophomore political science and psychology major. Contact Josie at hanekljr@dukes.jmu.edu.