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Series / The Bachelor

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The Bachelor is a popular Reality Show franchise on ABC that kicked off in 2002.

As a season begins, we meet the bachelor, a "smart, handsome, successful man" who has it all. Now he's supposedly looking for someone to share it with. He's introduced to some two dozen beautiful women. They go on group and one-on-one dates, and based on the "connections" they form, he narrows the field and chooses one to spend the rest of his life with (though that rarely happens). Women are eliminated in a "rose ceremony", in which the bachelor gives a rose to the women who will continue in the romantic journey/competition.

The show's massive success led to the creation of a Distaff Counterpart, The Bachelorette, with all the same tropes applying with the genders of the contestants swapped. Most episodes are said to feature "the most dramatic rose ceremony ever!" Most other developments are hyped as "shocking" but are usually shown in their entirety in the previous episode's On the Next or even going-to-commercial previews.

The success of the sister shows have resulted in a sprawling universe of spin-offs, usually featuring former contestants from various previous seasons. The most popular by far is Bachelor in Paradise, where a rotating cast of former contestants stay at a Mexican beach resort and vie for a limited number of roses held by the opposing sex. This typically results in a handful of stable couples and a messy Love Dodecahedron of contestants trying to either form one of their own or stick around a few more weeks to meet someone new or extend their vacation/screentime. Other spinoffs have included Bachelor Padnote , The Bachelor Winter Gamesnote , and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heartnote . The show has also inspired countless copycats and international versions in over twenty countries.

As of this writing, 26 seasons of The Bachelor and 18 of The Bachelorette have aired. The former show started in 2002, the latter in 2003. The final pairings haven't exactly been successful...

  • Out of 26 seasons of The Bachelor, 15 ended in proposals; ten ended without a proposal but an agreement to keep dating; and one ended with no one picked for any kind of relationship. Only one final couple eventually got married (from Season 17); they now have three children. The bachelor from Season 13 called off his engagement with the winning woman on the season finale and resumed a relationship with the runner-up; they married in a nationally televised ceremony, and also have a child. The Season 22 bachelor did the same thing; he and his runner-up are married and have three children. The Season 25 couple broke up briefly but got back together. The other couples broke up, with one doing so after the woman was arrested for assaulting her fiance.
  • The Bachelorette has been more successful with respect to proposals—every season so far has ended in one. While the relationships have been more successful than those on The Bachelor, that's not exactly saying much. The first couple from this show got married, in a lavish televised ceremony, and have since had two children. The Season 9 couple is also married with two children. Season 13’s couple is Happily Married. The couples from Season 12 and Season 18 are still engaged. The rest broke up.note 
  • Bachelor in Paradise has had a fairly decent rate of success with its couples; 11 of the 28 couplesnote  spawned from that show are still together. On top of that, two couples have spawned from former contestants (the Season 11 bachelorette and the second runner up from Season 14 of The Bachelorette, and the third runner up from Season 11 of The Bachelorette and the ninth place finisher from Season 22 of The Bachelor) who got to know each other outside the show.

For nearly two decades, the franchise's shows were all hosted by Chris Harrison, who stepped down in 2021 due to audience backlash against his poor handling of a racially-charged incident during the show's first season with a Black bachelor.note  The Bachelorette is currently hosted by former bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe; Paradise has featured a rotating cast of celebrity guests, while future seasons of The Bachelor are set to be hosted by former bachelor Jesse Palmer.

In 2023, it was announced that a senior-focused spin-off called The Golden Bachelor had been greenlit. It premiered on September 28th that year, with widower Gerry Turner cast as the first titular bachelor.

Will You Accept This Trope?:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Every season of The Bachelorette features this type of character. Justin "Rated R" Rego from Ali's season, Bentley from Ashley's season, Chad from Jojo's season. Sometimes they make it far, other times they don't.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Season 25's Alpha Bitch Victoria mocked a fellow contestant Ryan as a "ho" to her face. When Matt pointedly asked Victoria about the incident, she replied that her namecalling was "taken out of context," leading to this all-time zinger:
    Matt: What context would calling somebody a "ho" be acceptable to be taken in?
  • Bait-and-Switch: After the Season 17 Bachelorette Katie learned that one of the contestants, Thomas, had admitted to coming on the show in hopes of becoming the next season's Bachelor, she called him up just as she was due to give out the final rose. It initially looked like she'd accepted his apology and was going to give him another chance—but she actually told him that she didn't believe he was sincere and to Get Out!.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: In reference to the "shocking secret" of one of the contestants in season 14, one trailer shows a brief shot of two girls "frolicking" in bed. Turns out she was just cheating on the Bachelor with one of the producers.
  • Balanced Harem: A reality show variation.
  • The Bartender: Wells in Paradise, who serves the role of sounding board and confidant (though, of course, everything said to him is recorded).
  • Beach Episode: Almost every season. Bonus points of they travel to Mexico or the Caribbean.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Everyone's attractive and successful and dress up for their cocktail parties, where they drink champagne and receive roses.
  • Better as Friends: One of the very few breakups that didn't end in animosity was Matt and Shayne - although they called off their engagement, they are still reportedly close friends.
  • Big Sister Instinct: It is not uncommon for some of the older contestants to take younger ones under their wing.
  • Bottle Episode: More like bottle seasons—because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, season 16 of The Bachelorette and season 25 of The Bachelor were both filmed entirely in a single resort without the show's normal international trips.
  • Breakout Character:
    • If there has been one contestant both the Bachelor Nation and the Producers love its Tayshia Adams. She started out as one of the favorites during Colton's season, then her romance with John Paul Jones became one of the bigger and more popular focuses during "Bachelors In Paradise", and finally with great fanfare, after Clare Crawley left the Bachelorette, Tayshia was brought in to take her place. And after Tayshia's season wrapped up, she was brought on to host, alongside Kaitlyn Bristowe.
    • Likewise Hannah Brown has constantly been brought back in various roles for the franchise, as a mentor, friend and confident to the Bachelors and Bachelorettes that have followed in her wake, often as a reminder of how she has served as a template for an A grade Bachelorette, consistently tempering her kindness and compassion with her ferocity and refusal too take any shit from anyone.
  • Catchphrase: When all but one rose has been handed out, the host enters the scene and announces, "This is the final rose."
  • Child Hater: Cassidy from Clayton's season. During a children's birthday group date hosted by Hilary Duff, she is completely indifferent to the success the party and does little to no work in setting it up, spending the day just trying to cozy up to Hilary and Clayton. Cassidy even admits to not liking kids when speaking to the birthday girl herself!
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Common in every season, usually with multiple examples.
  • Cock Fight: Another guarantee in almost every season. These usually result in a "two-on-one date" where the lead has to choose a "winner". This practically always results in both contestants being sent home anyways, as it conveys a level of immaturity and (more importantly) a greater focus on drama than the Bachelor(ette).
  • Confession Cam: Frequently used, though contestants also have been asked to make confessions in interviews with Chris Harrison in front of a studio audience. Both are equally prone to Manipulative Editing.
  • Devoted to You: Normally all of the men/women have a single-minded focus on the Bachelor(ette) for the duration of the show, even if they show behavior that would probably cause most people in a real life scenario to look elsewhere, since failure to do so always leads to being eliminated from the show.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The viewers are reeled into thinking the villainous Shanae will survive her 2-on-1 date with Genevieve, but Shanae ends up getting sent home, and after that, Mara starts displaying more catty behavior.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Mixed with Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male at one point in Matt James’ season. During Matt and Katie’s date, they pull a prank on Matt’s friend (and former contestant) that involves them giving instructions to a masseuse to basically molest him during a massage. It ends with Matt switching places with the masseuse to surprise his friend. Although his friend found it funny, it is obvious the the reverse of this would not be funny. More than a few viewers called the show out for this, as Matt and Katie were most likely told to do this by the producers.
  • Everybody Has Standards: "Queen" Victoria can be a tad...haughty, and admits she doesn't have any problems stealing Matt from other girls during a group date. However, Victoria states she would never do this on a group date she herself was not a part of like Sarah did to Katie. Victoria even encouraged Katie to go back and get her time with Matt back from Sarah.
  • Failed Future Forecast: Bachelor Season 25's Victoria again. When Matt finally sent her home, she berated him for eliminating her and told the camera how much joy she allegedly brought to the house, predicting everyone would miss her. In reality, she'd behaved horribly to every woman there, resulting in absolutely no one missing her.
  • Fanservice: Every person on this show is relatively attractive to some degree, and dates will regularly involve them getting in bathing suits, stripping, or performing some sort of sexually-charged act.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first episode of Hannah's season, one of the guys is sent home before the rose ceremony because he had a girlfriend back home. Wait until Hannah finds out about her final pick, Jed…
  • Friend to All Children: Several of the Bachelors and contestants.
    • Ben Higgins is a regular volunteer of the Baker Youth club in his hometown. He even brought Amanda's daughters along on their beach date.
    • Colton Underwood acts as a spokesperson for a charity that helps children with cystic fibrosis and invites a group of them to join him on his carnival date. Contestant Elyse Dehlbom is shown share this quality with Colton; clearly enjoying the surprise group date with them and being really with good with the kids.
  • Harem Genre: Probably the best-known non-Japanese example.
  • Harem Seeker: The Bachelor(ette).
  • Hopeless Suitor: It's like none of the women realize that he can only end up with one, and he won't necessarily stay with that one, but they all always really want him.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Invariably, one contestant is hated by all the others. They proclaim that she is "not here for the right reasons." She replies, "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to fall in love."
    • And if publications are to be believed, expect that contestant to say something along the lines of, "You're not the one holding the roses."
    • Sometimes the result is inverted from the norm, as the Bachelor actually chooses the Alpha Bitch.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Tons of them. Frankly the show is built around them...
  • Large Ham: Lucas Yancey, aka the "Whaboom Guy". A compilation of his scenes.
  • Longing Look: A common edit trick is to frame a particular contestant of giving one of these to the Bachelor(ette) during a group date, though it's equally likely that they are looking at something else entirely.
  • Love Before First Sight: With so many women around, its understandable that the guy can't spend time with everyone before the first round of eliminations. Doesn't keep these women from saying they've just lost a soulmate, though.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Too many examples of this to count, especially as the show has strived to escalate drama from season to season.
  • Lover Tug of War: Done figuratively; it's the premise of the show in a nutshell.
  • Lucky Charms Title: There is a wedding ring where the letter "O" would be in the title, with a wedding band for the guys, and a diamond for the girls.
  • Manipulative Editing: The show frequently edits footage and dialogue to make everything more dramatic, with the Bachelor(ette)s and the contestants all having to sign contracts with lengthy clauses that state the show's producers are permitted to misrepresent them in any way they see fit.
  • Monochrome Casting: The show has come under fire in recent years for this.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: This show is famous for this. They edit their trailers to make the viewers think something will happen, and the exact opposite will happen. For example, during Jojo's season, there was a trailer that Chad punched another guy, but really the other guy just hit his head on the side of the pool. Another time, during Jake's season, the trailer made it seem like two of the girls were falling for each other, and someone in the voice-over said "there's some sort of secret affair going on", but really it was another contestant had slept with a producer.
  • One True Love: The premise of the show.
  • Operation: Jealousy: A non-zany and very effective example. How do you make a woman fall in love with you? Date 20 other women at the same time!
  • Our Love Is Different: Every woman thinks this ("we have such an amazing connection"). Then they get to the Rose Ceremony, fail to score a rose, and we get the Money Shot...
  • Pictorial Letter Substitution: The Bachelor and The Bachelorette each have a wedding ring where the o would be in the title logo.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Shanae, the villain of Clayton's season, accused a woman of faking her ADHD, which caused massive backlash.
    • While this didn’t receive as much backlash, Shanae also referred to herself as “Shanae-nae”, a stereotypical “ghetto” name often used to demean black woman.
  • Pool Scene: A regular feature, since the Bachelor Mansion has a pool. Contestants who aren't on dates will frequently be shot just sitting by the pool.
  • Product Placement: The fashions, the date settings, the accessories...
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: It has its own section, but two big aspects merit a special mention:
    • If you're a contestant having a personal beef with another contestant, the Bachelor(ette) generally will have a VERY low tolerance for your whining about the other contestant and how mean they are. In fact, their most likely reaction will be to get rid of both of you so they don't have to worry about who was right or wrong. Season 23's Hannah and Caelynn (whose beef dated from when they were rival Miss USA contestants) figured this out quickly and made peace with each other, resulting in the two of them having long runs on both that season and the franchise itself.
    • Also, you'd think some of these men/women would have actually paid attention to who stays and who goes. When the partner takes you on a nice safe date, he/she actually cares about you. When the partner has you (ahem) swim with sharks or go bungee jumping, the TV station wants cheap ratings, and the partner isn't saying no. The risk does not make it worth it, and they usually get dumped after this. Also, the first to arrive always thinks they're the one the bachelor/bachelorette really loves, but in fact, they're the ones to get ditched (often for no good reason).
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: A Mediterranean-style Malibu mansion has been used to host the first few episodes of both shows from 2004 until 2020, when the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the show to film in quarantined resorts. By 2022, it was again in use.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: The season 13 Bachelor broke up with the winner to actually hook up with the runner up. They were the first successful couple from this show (since joined by the Season 17 couple) and are now Happily Married with children.
    • The end of the 22nd season saw Arie, choose Becca as the winner, and leaving Lauren as the runner up. Moments later (or several weeks in realtime), Arie decided to break up with Becca (on camera) and get with Lauren, and the two are still together.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Andi Dorfman famously left during Juan Pablo's season after a heated argument. After Juan Pablo gained a reputation as one of the least liked Bachelors, she was seen as making the right decision. And then she became the next Bachelorette, with predictably crazy results.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Usually used before the Bachelor(ette) takes a contestant into the Fantasy Suite.
  • Spin-Off: While The Bachelorette is a sister show that stands on more-or-less equal ground to the original show, they have generated many, many more spinoffs.
    • The first, Bachelor Pad, was a more traditional reality competition show where the former contestants where split by gender and competed against each other Series/Survivor-style for the first few weeks, then as pairs for the last leg of the competition. It also had a twist that at the end the winning couple had to vote separately on whether to keep the $250,000 prize for themselves or share it between the two of them. If they both voted share, they would both receive $125,000. If one voted share and the other voted keep, the one who voted keep would get the whole prize. If they both voted to keep, then neither would win, and the prize would be distributed amongst the eliminated houseguests. The series lasted three seasons, ending when Season 3's winner convinced his new Bachelor Pad girlfriend to vote "share." He voted "keep" (which meant he got the entire prize), then dumped her on the spot. The show was pretty much broken at that point, as future contestants likely would have pulled the same trick.
    • The second spinoff was Bachelor in Paradise, which was a lot closer to the traditional format, but with a mix of Bachelor Pad as well. Men and women from previous seasons spent the summer at a tropical resort, going on dates and making connections. At the end of each episode, the two people without roses had to leave the resort, but the next week would bring in two more previous contestants. There was no cash prize either - the goal was simply to spark new relationships in greater numbers than the standard show.
    • The Bachelor Winter Games was a winter sports competition featuring former contestants from The Bachelor's multiple international spin-offs used as counterprogramming to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. A "Summer Games" was planned for the next Olympics until the COVID-19 Pandemic delayed both the Olympics and the filming schedule.
    • The Bachelor Presents: Listen To Your Heart featured a cast of aspiring musicians who paired up for musical challenges to stay in the show while also pursuing love.
  • Token Minority: The shows usually will have one or two non-white contestants per season who never win and rarely even get close to winning. And when they do, it's light-skinned black people or white Hispanics.
    • Rachel, a fan favorite from Nick Viall's season, became the first black lead of either show and is quite dark-skinned herself.
    • Abigail from Matt's season, who is partially deaf. She was given the First Impression rose by Matt, but then never got a one on one. What makes this worse is when she talks about this with him, he sends her home right then. It gave off an implication that she was only given the rose because of her disability.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: This show never really hit the mark in the UK despite efforts from two different broadcasters three different times. [[Creator/ITV ITV]]'s version in 2003 retitled it Mr Right and the host eventually married one of the contestants!note  Channel 5 gave it two runs in 2011 and 2018, neither of which caught fire.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Though the show does its best to use Manipulative Editing to distract from this, one can normally figure out which contestants will make it deep into the season just by examining the next week promos, which often use clips from several episodes in advance to try to up the drama.
  • Vacation Episode: Usually about half-way through the season, they start to travel to different places all over the world.
  • Wakeup Makeup: In Ben Higgins's season, he wakes everyone up to find Amanda and take her on a date. The other girls comment on how nice and alert she looks. She appears to have makeup on and may not have fallen asleep.

Alternative Title(s): The Bachelorette