Bachelor Sean, Will you accept this compromise?
  • ABC, The Bachelor
  • Bachelor Sean, Will you accept this compromise?

It would be easy to dismiss ABC’s The Bachelor as reality schlock. The premise is absurd, and as one of the longest-running reality series on network, its patterns have become so predictable that the show seems to fall willingly into self-parody. I admire anyone who’s never watched it, and don’t believe anyone who claims to know nothing about it—but just to be safe, the show works like this: A twentysomething, single man is presented with 25 potential female mates. Through a series of alcohol-fueled parties and highly staged dates, the women are eliminated, one by tear-streaked one, until the bachelor is left with a single potential mate. Because she is the last woman, Bachelor logic dictates that she must be the right woman, and so each season generally concludes (there have been exceptions) with a marriage proposal. But if last week’s proposal from Season 17 bachelor Sean Lowe to “winner” Catherine Giudici sticks, they will be the first couple in Bachelor history to make it down the aisle (excluding two couples from series spinoff, The Bachelorette).

So why are we still watching this show?