Film & TV

Trashy Tradition? What Students Really Think of ‘The Bachelor’

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Every January, ABC’s “The Bachelor” debuts for another season of drama, romance and disaster. The premise is simple: 30 women vie for the heart of one man. Now in its 24th season, “The Bachelor” has managed to maintain an impressive grip on audiences.

In an era where live TV viewing has dwindled, “The Bachelor” has become one of television’s highest-rated shows, particularly in the younger demographics. In fact, in the 2016-17 broadcast television season, “The Bachelor” was the only show on TV to rise in the ratings, according to an article by Time magazine. 

The current season of the show is down just 3 percent in adults 18-49 ratings (the prime advertising demographic) year-to-year, compared to the massive 19 percent drop of broadcast television as a whole.

Loyola junior Claire Alafita has only been watching the show since the 2019 installment but she’s already a dedicated viewer to the franchise, despite its odd premise. 

Alafita said she isn’t always able to watch the show the night it airs but she makes an effort to watch within three days of airing. 

“It’s a fun thing to watch with my friends and yell at the TV,” Alafita said. “And it’s a reason for all of us to get together.”

Not all students are as keen to spend two hours a week on the show, though. Third-year student Alex Quigley who lives with Alafita said her problem with the show lies in its message. 

Courtesy of ABC | Maarten de Boer This year’s bachelor Peter Weber works as an airline pilot.

“‘The Bachelor’ … is tailored to male-pleasure and the male fantasy of many women vying for the attention of some average man,” Quigley said

Quigley said she watches episodes from time to time when her roommates have the show on.

“I kind of just roll my eyes but stick around to make fun of the show and criticize its quality and message,” Quigley said.

Even in Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center, some students still yearn for that Monday night tradition. Sophomore Grace Ruddy has been watching the show since her freshman year of high school. Now in Rome, she no longer has the show readily available to her.

“I feel like it’s a great mindless show for college students because who doesn’t love some Monday night drama,” Ruddy said. “I always liked it being on Mondays because that’s my least favorite day of the week and it was a great way to decompress.” 

While Ruddy isn’t following the drama of this season, she has found some alternatives to satisfy her lust for drama. 

“I have discovered that Netflix [in Italy] has a lot of soapy TV shows which are almost as great, so maybe this is the break I needed,” Ruddy said.

“The Bachelor” regularly trends on Twitter. Contestants also gain sizable Instagram followings in the hundreds of thousands and sometimes even in the millions. The current Bachelor, Peter Weber, sits at 1.8 million followers currently, a whopping number that grows exponentially as the season progresses. 

These numbers seem to grow every year too, with contestants from the last few seasons’ followings booming. Whereas the first ever Bachelorette, Trista Sutter, has a respectable 284,000 followers, the most recent lead, Hannah Brown, totals at a staggering 2.6 million.

Quigley said she thinks this plays a part in the show’s consistent younger viewership.

“Due to it being a recent social media phenomenon, people want to be part of the conversation,” Quigley said.

Alafita follows a few contestants, such as fan favorite John Paul Jones (of season 14 of “The Bachelorette” and season six of “Bachelor in Paradise”) but generally doesn’t engage too much in the social media aspect of the show.

“I find if I followed all of them I’d start to feel bad because they’re so unreasonably beautiful and well-edited,” Alafita said.

“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 7 p.m. on ABC.

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