Whether you’re a fan of reality dating shows on television or not, you can’t deny The Bachelor to be a successful program. Attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers across Australia, The Bachelor consistently sits at the top end of channel 10’s popularity listing. If you’re not familiar with the concept of the show, it’s pretty much exactly what the title suggests. One man (or ‘bachelor’), and multiple women competing to win over and fall in love with Mr. Perfect. The girls go on group dates and if lucky enough, individual dates with the bachelor. At the end of the week the bachelor hands out roses to the girls he wishes to keep on the show, the sad few who don’t receive a rose are sent packing, pretty brutal I know. The drama is built during the rose ceremony, the added music and camera close ups depict the scene as though it is life threatening. My worry is that for some of the women, it is.
The weeks continue and there are fewer and fewer girls remaining, until ultimately during the finale, and after meeting the families of each girl, the bachelor must decide on whom he wishes to spend the ‘rest of his life’ with. There is always controversy surrounding the popular reality show, particularly in 2014 when Blake (the Bachelor) was accused of sleeping with one the contestants on the show. And no, it wasn’t Sam, the one he deemed his “soulmate”. Regardless, the show returned for its 3rd season this year and yet again became a smash hit. So much so, the second half of the year welcomed The Bachelorette. Where heartbroken Sam from 2014 began a new search for love, one where she was in control.
Of course The Bachelor is not the only dating show on television. However, it is really the only one Australia hosts. Organisations such as MTV broadcast a ridiculous number of dating shows including, “Dating in the Dark”, “Dating Naked” and “Marry My Boy”, I could go on and on as the titles get more and more ridiculous. Despite Big Brother being a social experiment, some also argue this falls under the category of ‘dating’, however we will dismiss it in this case. The type of audience these shows attract are fairly obvious, typically women between 14 and 50 are the ones who watch it religiously. In fact, most of The Bachelors audience base are dedicated fans. It’s not exactly one of the shows you watch every now and then. I have a friend who watches The Bachelorette every Wednesday with 2 girlfriends, and their gay male friend. It has become a part of their routine every week, and they always make sure they have chocolate along side them. I promise I’m not one of her 2 friends.
There’s no denying that dating shows are “chick flicks”, hence why most of their viewers are female. Women are drawn to romance, and watching shows like The Bachelor gives them hope that they can also find love one day. Not to mention the competition side of The Bachelor. It encourages discussion amongst viewers. I would know, I’ve actually fallen out of conversation when friends of mine were talking about who Sam should pick on The Bachelorette. I hate to be stereotypical, however it’s no wonder the male audience are disinterested in dating shows. They’re rather corny, do not involve violence or sex, and perhaps they exert too much pressure on men to be more romantic.
It’s not that all males dislike the show, in fact I bet the majority have never watched one for a second. It’s just that there are so many more options for television these days, particularly through the likes of Netflix and Hulu. Who even has time for free-to-air television anymore?
– Styles, A. and Clarke, J. (2014). The Bachelor Australia: Ten confirms Blake Garvey split from Sam Frost. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/the-bachelor-australia-ten-confirms-blake-garvey-split-from-sam-frost-20141003-3h72j.html [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].