Why watching 'The Bachelor' via Twitter is better than the real thing

Why watching 'The Bachelor' via Twitter is better than the real thing
Image: ABC/Paul Hebert

Confession: I’ve never seen a single episode of The Bachelor.

I’ve come to this life decision for a few reasons:

  1. I’m generally bad at keeping up with TV, which is time consuming. I prefer to spend the minutes I have doing things like catching horses in The Legend of Zelda and giving them dumb names. (To each their own, ya know.)

  2. I think the greatest reality TV show of all time is VH1’s Charm School (a televised manners school for the contestants of VH1’s own slate of dating shows, featuring commandments like “thou shall show some class,” and — I kid you not — Mo’Nique, Sharon Osborne, and Ricky Lake as its headmistresses).

However, even though I’ve never seen an episode of The Bachelor, I DO follow all the highs and lows of the iconic televised love competition. Because every Monday I gaze into the shining void of my phone, my eyeballs transfixed by the addicting madness of Bachelor Twitter. 

For the uninitiated, The Bachelor isn’t just a reality TV dating show. It’s THE reality TV dating show. It premiered in 2002, and each season tasks a single man — a bachelor, you might say — with dating a group of women to find his soulmate. Through a series of group dates, solo dates, travel adventures, and family visits, the bachelor figures out which contestants he likes and which he doesn’t, eliminating them one by one in an elaborate rose ceremony until he has found *Borat voice* MAH WIFE.

The show is currently 22 seasons in (and counting), and since The Bachelor‘s early aughts debut, ABC has added several spinoffs to its lineup, including The Bachelorette, The Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise

No matter what time of year, there’s always some form of The Bachelor on TV. And I’m here to tell you, dear reader, to skip it. Skip it all! 

The best way to watch The Bachelor is to bypass the ABC broadcast and only follow along on Twitter instead.

Will you accept this hashtag rose?

A friend once explained the allure of Bachelor viewing parties to me. According to her, nobody is really THAT interested in what’s happening on screen during any given episode. Each season tends to follow a script, just with a different set of people. 

It’s fun to gather your friends, drink wine together, and judge people who have turned the messy human work of falling in love into a spectator sport.

Instead, the reason to host a Bachelor viewing party is because it’s fun to gather your friends, drink wine together, and judge people who have turned the messy human work of falling in love into a spectator sport.

What better place to do that than on Twitter?

Twitter is designed so that users can share their thoughts as quickly as possible, in their most expressive way, with only a few characters. What that means in actuality is that the platform is prone to exaggeration, shade, and of course, my favorite form of nourishment, drama™. 

Pair that with the parody-prone conceit of a reality TV dating competition, and you get the most ideal Bachelor viewing situation.

Take Monday’s night’s season 22 finale, for example.

On my feed, while the internet discussed former Trump advisor Sam Nunberg’s bizarre interviews and Frances McDormand’s stolen Oscar statuette, I began to notice increasingly alarming tweets about what I could only assume was a series of war crimes being committed on national television.

“‘Can we talk just a little bit?’ No you fucking sociopath,” one person wrote. “Make it stop,” another person pleaded.

The Bachelor was on.

People were livid!

What could this season’s Bachelor Arie have done!? Did he decide to crown a winner through a real-life, impromptu Hunger Games? What in the world could have elicited this reaction?

Curious, I checked with my friend, colleague, and Bachelor devotee in the morning.

When you “watch” The Bachelor only through Twitter, you transform the show from an ordinary dating show into a television bonanza where literally anything is possible.

The big twist was that Arie had broken up with the person he had proposed to so that he could go back to dating another person he was simultaneously dating when he was forced to choose one to propose to due to the framework of the show!

Upon hearing the scandal, I couldn’t help but feel the bitter pangs of disappointment. I’m not an Arie apologist, I have no stake in this race, and from what I understand, Arie is exceptionally boring. But something about the big twist feels so pedestrian.

Is Arie’s decision a spectacularly shitty thing to do to another human being? YES. Is it completely icky to air someone’s grief at being heartbroken on TV? YES. Is this type of situation baked into the framework of the show, which is a literal game show in which the main thing that’s going to happen is emotional trauma? YES.

At the end of the day, what aired on TV was just a shitty man being shitty. Having your heart broken is an awful, unforgettable thing, but viewers have been watching people get their hearts broken for sport through The Bachelor for almost two decades at this point. If anything, the biggest crime the show committed was breaking the established rules of how it’s supposed to go. That definitely pales in comparison to what you assume when all you see coming across your Twitter feed is:

And that’s the beauty of skipping The Bachelor broadcast and just watching the show via tweets.

Thanks to the the collusion of two social mores — a television culture that encourages us to share our thoughts online the moment something happens combined with an internet culture that disdains spoilers — when you “watch” The Bachelor only through Twitter, you transform the show from an ordinary dating show into a television bonanza where literally anything is possible.

Let’s call it Schrödinger’s Rose Ceremony. By not watching The Bachelor, I can’t prove that Arie hasn’t committed some horrible atrocity when a tweet calling him trash rolls around my Twitter feed. But I can’t NOT prove it, either.

And that’s just fun.

When watching the actual show, you have to deal with the nuance of knowing that Arie has ALSO been put in a tricky spot by the whole conceit of having to choose a life partner in just a few short weeks via a series of group dates. But when you’re on Twitter, where the primary language is hyperbole, you can just yell. It’s cathartic to do, and let me tell you, it’s cathartic to watch.

Bachelor Nation roll call

The other thing that makes watching The Bachelor great on Twitter is that the show, from the very start, IS manipulative. And Bachelor Nation, as the community of fans calls itself, knows that. So when something happens on the show, Twitter savvy viewers bust out their fan theories, their best memes, and a healthy dose of cynicism. 

For instance, soon after the big reveal that Arie was breaking up with Becca, a theory started that Becca was in on it.

Other people disagreed.

Even Becca herself got in on the speculation.

With The Bachelor, the real drama is what happens online, where the Twitter commentary is often funnier than the earnestness we’re treated to onscreen.

At this point in our reality TV cycle, the best part about The Bachelor is the community. And Twitter’s where it’s at.

Once you start watching with friends or tweeting your experience, that’s when the real games begin. Twitter’s where everyone dissects the drama of every character, date, elimination, etc. And you don’t have to watch the show to appreciate that. 

Even the show knows! Which is why it hosts a Bachelor fantasy league.

At this point in our reality TV cycle, the best part about The Bachelor is the community. And Twitter’s where it’s at.

And it’s not just during the finale. Thanks to following Bachelor online, I know that one contestant was declared a missing person, that we don’t deserve the first black Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, and that Peter is my new husband.

These are all details that become tedious when you have to experience them alongside the minutiae of each episode. Take them in isolation, and the only thing stopping you from crafting the television drama of your dreams is the limits of your imagination.

They say ignorance is bliss. But with The Bachelor, ignorance is the optimal viewing experience. Don’t watch the show. Follow it on Twitter.

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