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We meet the bachelor, a "smart, handsome, successful man" who has it all. Now he's supposedly looking for someone to share it with. He's introduced to twenty-five beautiful women. They go on group and one-on-one dates, and based on the "connection" they form. he narrows the field and chooses one to spend the rest of his life with (though that rarely happens).
Women are eliminated in a "rose ceremony", in which the bachelor gives a rose to the women who will continue in the . Each episode is said to feature "the most dramatic rose ceremony ever!" Most other developments are hyped as "shocking!" but have usually been shown in their entirety in the previous episode's "On the Next...", or even going-to-commercial previews.
As of this writing, fourteen seasons of The Bachelor and six of its Distaff Counterpart, The Bachelorette, have aired. The former show started in 2002, the latter in 2003. Out of twenty resulting couples (two seasons ended with no one chosen,) only one couple has gotten married, in a lavish televised ceremony, and they have since had two children. Of the other thirteen, twelve have broken up and one is engaged, though she's been arrested for assaulting him, but that's another story...
Has also inspired countless copycats.
Features examples of:
- Bait and Switch Lesbians / Never Trust a Trailer - In reference to the "shocking secret" of one of the contestants in season 14, one trailer shows a brief shot of two girls "frolicking" in bed. Turns out she was just cheating on the Bachelor with one of the producers.
- Balanced Harem
- The Beautiful Elite: Everyone's attractive and successful... They dress up for their cocktail parties where they drink champagne and receive roses.
- Better as Friends: One of the very few breakups that didn't end in animosity was Matt and Shayne - although they called off their engagement, they are still reportedly close friends.
- Clingy Jealous Girl
- Cock Fight
- Confession Cam
- Devoted to You
- Harem Seeker - The bachelor.
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends - Invariably, one contestant is hated by all the others. They proclaim that she is "not here for the right reasons." She replies, "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to fall in love."
- Interrupted Declaration of Love - Tons of them
- Longing Look
- Love Before First Sight - With so many women around, its understandable that the bachelor can't spend time with everyone before the first round of eliminations. Doesn't keep these women from saying they've just lost a soulmate, though.
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Lover Tug of War- done figuratively, its the premise of the show in a nutshell
- Monochrome Casting- The only people to even get a chance are usually white or light-skinned Hispanic. Asians are rare. And don't even ask about blacks.
- One True Love
- Operation: Jealousy- a non-zany and very effective example. How do you make a woman fall in love with you? Date 20 other women at the same time!
- Our Love Is Different- Every woman thinks this. "We have such an amazing connection!" Then they get to the Rose Ceremony, and we get the Money Shot...
- Product Placement: The fashions, the date settings, the accessories...
- Reality Show Genre Blindness. (It has its own section)
- Also, you'd think some of these men/women would have actually paid attention to who stays and who goes. When the partner takes you on a nice safe date, he/she actually cares about you. When the partner has you (ahem) swim with sharks or go bungee jumping, the TV station wants cheap ratings, and the partner isn't saying no. The risk does not make it worth it, and they usually get dumped after this. Also, the first to arrive always thinks they're the one the bachelor/bachelorette really loves, but in fact, they're the ones to get ditched (often for no good reason).
- Reality TV Show Mansion
- Sexy Discretion Shot
- Supporting Harem- Every woman sees the rest of the women this way
- Testing the Love Interest- The bachelor does this on a lot of dates
- Trailers Always Spoil