Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Confession

I watch The Bachelor (& The Bachelorette & yep, even--especially?--Bachelor in Paradise). And I have a few thoughts.

  1. I enjoy these shows because I love characters and storytelling. It's like watching a soap opera, but with real world implications (even if the world of the show is anything but real).
  2. After tonight's announcement of our newest Bachelor, Nick Viall, it's so easy to see how integral storytelling and editing are to this show. This appeals to the writer in me. Let me explain using Nick as my example:
In 2014, Nick was on The Bachelorette. He dated a woman named Andi. He dated her so hard, in fact, that he was ready to propose at the end of it all. Instead, Andi dumped him for Josh, a man Nick had been competing with the entire season. Nick later revealed certain things on live television that didn't help his image and he became Public Enemy #1 of Bachelor Nation.

Another contestant on Andi's season, Chris, became the Bachelor. And, as these things go, a contestant Chris eventually dumped, Kaitlyn, followed as Bachelorette. Kaitlyn dated a group of men that soon included...Nick. He joined Kaitlyn's season late, citing a pre-show connection with her, and not wanting to regret letting her get away. The romantics swooned at his persistence. The haters scoffed at his ploy for attention. The TV-lovers popped another bag of popcorn and settled in for the entertainment.

Nick also dated Kaitlyn to the point of a proposal. He made it all the way again, only to (again) be dumped. On television. And passed over for a dude with some seriously great hair (love you, Shawn B). He remained a villain, for the "sneaky" way he came on the show (mid-season) and amidst accusations of "using the show" to make some sort of public comeback, instead of to find love. And because of his "past" with Andi.

One of Kaitlyn's exes, Ben, became the Bachelor and his runner-up, Jo Jo took her turn as Bachelorette. Bachelor Nation didn't hear or see much of Nick, except in lists of top Bachelor Villains and as one of Andi's exes in her tell-all, It's Not Okay. Then came Summer 2016, and the third season of Bachelor in Paradise.

Nick has been a breath of fresh air on BiP 3. His commentary is spot on: he says what we're all thinking and he neither sugar coats nor goes overboard with the drama. He's the sarcastic guy in class we all want to befriend. Early on in the season he was (again) at odds with his old nemesis, Josh (who, spoilers, didn't stay with Andi & is also looking for "love" on BiP), but in all altercations Nick comes across as down-to-earth and genuine. And now he's our next Bachelor.

Villains don't get to be Leads. That's not how the Bachelor world works. Nick took on the mantle of his "villain edit," and came back for more - to show Bachelor Nation another side, or sides, of himself until he became what he is today (and more specifically, tonight): America's Sweetheart. He's a fascinating person, and the editing team for all the Bachelor iterations deserves an Emmy for what is about to be a three-year character arc on a reality television show. 

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