Now that Farmer Chris is preparing to start filming his new season, it got me thinking about the way The Bachelor and The Bachelorette selects and presents its participants. After spending two seasons with the shows, I’ve noticed people generally fall into one of two categories: Category Soul Mate or Category Crazy.
Let’s start with Category Soul Mate. Roughly half the girls are those the producers believe will actually be a good match for “The Bachelor.” During the interview process, the producers ask pointed questions of the potential cast members, they try to match personalities. One of the surprising things that I learned while on the show is this: the producers really – no, really! – believe in true love. They want nothing more than a proposal and a wedding at the end of each season. The producers know that the magic recipe for high ratings is tons of drama capped off with the true love and a fairy tale ending. Each year, they go to great lengths to try and find compatible contestants during the casting process.
But the producers are also there to make a television show.
After the good, solid matches are cast, the producers look for the type of people who make for entertaining television for Category Crazy. (To give you an example, let’s say Ashley P. as evidence by the fact that she pulled out that “Fifty Shades of Grey” tie.) But here are a few observations about the two groups of people.
- The crazy people don’t realize they’re crazy. Everyone on the show is attractive, young, fit, and with perfect smiles. (On The Bachelorette, you half expect a glimmer of sunlight to flash off the guys’ teeth when they talk.) There’s no “tell tale” sign which shows the designation between one category or the other, and crazy people rarely are self-aware enough to know they’re there for dramatic value.
- The Bachelor doesn’t realize who’s crazy. In every season, one or two of the women from “Category Crazy” slip through the cracks. Without much time to really explore the relationships – or have in depth conversations – the relationships are relegated to the superficial gags meant to mimic deep interactions. (For example, getting a girl who’s afraid of heights to bungee jump scares her enough to break down the walls of polite society and create something that looks like intimacy. Really, it’s a horrified girl in the arms of a big guy for the couple of hours it takes to shoot that scene.) It’s hard to really get to know the women in the first couple of weeks, which means that sometimes you’re duped into thinking you have a connection with someone great, when it’s simply not the case. In my season, I think it’s safe to say “I-Can’t-Control-My-Eyebrow” Tierra fit into this category.
- Sometimes people are attracted to “crazy.” I guess the hardest truth of all is that sometimes people from Category Crazy don’t slip through the cracks, they’re purposefully selected. I think the best example of this is when Jake picked Vienna, and the crazy quotient increased exponentially when they were together.
- The show makes it easy to move from one category to the other. The weird circumstances that occur on the show are enough to drive anyone mad. If you stick twenty-five men or women in one house, chances are someone is going to snap. Sharing a bathroom, lack of personal space, sleeping in bunk beds and most importantly, competing for the same man or woman is enough to drive even the most sane people a little crazy.
Chris, you have a lot of excitement, adventure, and – yes – romance ahead of you!
Good luck buddy!