Tonight’s Bachelorette premiere is two hours long. That’s long, I know. There are so many other ways you could spend two whole hours of your one wild and precious life. You could clean out your email in-box. You could go on a run, then make yourself a yummy dinner. According to one Quora response to the question “What can I do that would change my life for the better in two hours?,” you can vastly improve your life by “positioning your mind-set from one that is of scarcity and lack to a more abundant and generous mind-set.” Sure! Whatever. All great options.
But I am going to propose that you spend two hours tonight watching the Bachelorette premiere and then spend several hours over the next few weeks continuing to watch it, all the way to the finale. It’s a big undertaking, certainly. But really, why not? Now is as good a time as any to dive headfirst into the churning chaos that is the Bachelor franchise, both because it’s nice to watch something that will mercifully iron every wrinkle out of your brain for a little while every week and because this season in particular will reportedly be extremely messy.
The Bachelorette, in case you don’t know, is a reality show on which one woman with barrel curls gets to date 67 hot guys all at once in hopes that one will turn out to be the love of her life. She narrows down her choices by going on a bunch of group dates where the guys all compete for her attention and by occasionally making out with one on a boat or helicopter. Over time, she eliminates the guys she doesn’t vibe with, until only one is left and then he maybe proposes to her on national TV. Ah, that’s amore.
It’s absurd, overproduced, and the perfect way to shut down your noisy, tired mind for a little while. The Bachelorette demands nothing of you: It’s nice to look at and easy to digest. Everyone onscreen is extremely fit and has a very defined jawline, and the editors are generally pretty heavy-handed in positioning the heroes and villains of the season, so you don’t even need to think too hard about whom you like or dislike. The decision has already been made for you. You can watch The Bachelorette like a computer in sleep mode — effectively shut down to the world, conserving what remains of your mental and emotional energy, powering up occasionally to say things like “Damn, I can’t believe Kyle punched a wall” or “Are bootcut jeans back?”
The Bachelorette is also generally more fun than The Bachelor, in my opinion. I still watch The Bachelor, because I’m unwell, but there’s something sad about watching dozens of beautiful, talented women compete for the affections of some guy. It’s nothing against the guy, necessarily. Boring hot dudes deserve love too. It’s just that society already largely bases women’s worth not on their accomplishments but on whether they’re appealing to men, and watching that dynamic play out so clearly onscreen is a bummer.
With The Bachelorette, though, you get to watch a bunch of beefy jocks earnestly say things like “It’s not about her looks for me; it’s her personality” and “I don’t think Dylan K. is here for the right reasons” and “Spencer, can you please put down those dumbbells and come talk to me? We need to talk about what went down on the luging group date.”
What’s more, this season is already full of drama, and it hasn’t even started yet. At the end of the last season of The Bachelor, host Chris Harrison announced that the next Bachelorette would be Clare Crawley, a 39-year-old hairdresser from Sacramento and former Bachelor contestant. And though she indeed started as the Bachelorette, according to reports, she fell in love with one of the guys competing for her heart while production was shut down due to COVID, and the show had to bring in another woman, Tayshia Adams, to be the Bachelorette for the rest of this season. Damn.
Don’t you want to see how that plays out? What does The Bachelorette look like when the cast can’t manufacture drama on elaborate international trips to expensive resorts? Don’t you want your brain to shrink and smooth until it is the exact size and shape of a marble? For a couple of hours a week, you can have all of that. Or you can do that “abundant mind-set” thing, I guess. Up to you.