They say the devil works hard, but The Bachelor producers work harder to give its eight million weekly viewers all the drama that they could ever desire. There is just something about exploding champagne bottles and over-dramatized cliffhangers that keep people coming back for more. The show has become so popular that it now has season 24 with two spin-off shows.
From a psychological standpoint, humans seek out drama because it triggers a rush of dopamine and adrenaline. After these chemicals are released in the brain, you want to feel it again. Much like other addictions, the viewers want to see more drama because of how it makes you feel when it happens. Along with this, because of the younger audience, high school has become “spoiler central” for the show. If someone does not watch it the night that it airs, they feel like they have missed out on something, feeding the addiction further. High schoolers want to fit in and have something to talk about. The Bachelor gives people a path of communication where they can develop opinions and share them with others.
The show also has “the empathy factor” as described by a therapist, Erin Asquith. When watching the drama unfold on the screen, the viewers are subconsciously imagining how they would react if it were to happen to them. This comparison triggers empathy in the viewer and gives a sense of comfort knowing that it could be worse, even if some of the situations are laughable. “We have a morbid curiosity for drama as it allows one to escape from their own drama, their own life,” Asquith said.
Chick-flick type movies can also be compared to The Bachelor because the viewers begin each episode or movie fully aware that what they are watching is not the best quality, but often it is not watched for a riveting plot. It is instead watched to fill the void of mediocrity that is felt during a school year routine with cheesy drama that catches the viewers’ attention. The producers of the show feed off of this to create more overly dramatized plots with tears, costumes and champagne. “If something gives you an emotional experience, you have an innate drive to share that with people,” Dr. Adam Galpin said.
The Bachelor, despite the roses and confessions of love, is not actually about love anymore. Since the shows first airing, only two couples are still together. This can be blamed on the scripted one-on-ones and unnatural competitive setting. Despite the common knowledge that the women will most likely not find their match on the show, viewers still cling onto the hope that maybe this time, the couple will make it.