A beginner’s guide to viewing The Bachelor

Everything you need to know ahead of the new season

Playing games while watching The Bachelor is the best way to enjoy the show.

The Bachelor returned this past Monday with a brand-new cast of single hopefuls and, as always, a dramatic season premiere. Returning fans may be familiar with this reality show’s lingo and antics, but it can be intimidating to get into as a new viewer.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled some key definitions, concepts, and a few suggestions on how to best enjoy this season of The Bachelor.

Over several weeks, 30 women compete for the affection of one man aptly referred to as The Bachelor. This season, the object of all their desire is Peter Weber, a 26-year-old pilot from California. The sweetheart of last season, he had his heart broken by Hannah Brown after making it all the way to the final three—and now he’s back.  

Watching The Bachelor is not the same as binging a Netflix series or even staying up to date with other reality TV shows. Instead, it’s most similar to watching sports over the course of the season. You root for certain players, there are rules, and there’s a way to ‘win’ the game.

Just as in sports, it’s the kind of show to watch with a group and lots of snacks. Find a party of Bachelor newbies or fanatics—or go to the Queen’s Pub, where they air it every Monday night—and get prepared to root for your favourite player.

It’s always important to know the terminology, the rules, and the players, but no one wants to know the ending before the game is over. It’s best to avoid gossip sites and spoilers at all costs.

The Bachelor

Each season alternates between revolving around a Bachelor and a Bachelorette. This is a simple (yet distinctly cis and heteronormative) system for the contestants to find love.

Each Bachelor or Bachelorette is presented with 30 contestants at the start, and the goal is to finish the season engaged to one of them. Each week, a certain number of contestants are eliminated by the Bachelor or Bachelorette based on whether they can see a future with them or not.   

The dates

While travelling around the world, visiting glamorous sites and different countries, the contestants go on a series of dates. This serves the dual purpose of allowing the Bachelor to get to know the contestants while also putting the ladies in predicaments rife with drama.

On one-on-one dates, The Bachelor and one lucky lady get to go on a relatively normal date. This can include anything from skydiving to horseback riding to private concerts—and probably more than one plane trip this season, given the bachelor’s piloting career. At the end of the date, the Bachelor gets to choose whether or not he wants to give his date a rose, which symbolizes who will continue on the show’s romantic journey. If he doesn’t, she leaves the competition and goes home.

Group dates are fantastic. A large number of girls and the Bachelor go out together. There’s usually a challenge involved that forces everyone out of their comfort zone and brings out their personalities. Past dates have included photo shoots, naked bungee-jumping, country music contests, bikini tractor races, and even dance lessons with the Backstreet Boys. Only one of the girls on this date gets a rose.

Two-on-one dates are perfect for instigating drama, as two girls go out on a date with the Bachelor, both competing for his attention at once. Far from the intimate one-on-ones or the egalitarian group dates, the two-on-one dates are where jealousy and awkwardness flare. To make it even better, they usually put two girls who have been feuding with one another on this date, knowing that only one can get the rose and continue on the show.

The Cocktail Party

At the end of all these dates, the Bachelor must start making his decisions. The ladies can make their last-ditch effort to remain on the show—if they have yet to receive a rose on a date—by the act of “stealing him.” This is a saga of the women taking the Bachelor aside to have an intimate conversation outside of the party. This usually leads to drama, especially when one woman steals him more than once, or mere seconds after a conversation has already started. 

The Rose Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is the penultimate moment of an episode. This takes place after the weekly cocktail party, and is where the Bachelor distributes a set number of roses to the contestants. Each week the roses diminish until there’s only one rose remaining; the final rose of the season signalling the person the Bachelor wants to spend his life with and (usually) who he will propose to on-screen. Any contestant without a rose by the end of the ceremony is asked to leave the show.

Getting the most out of the Bachelor

Approaching the series, many opt to play games to get through the madness that is reality TV drama, group dates, and crying contestants. Some people make bingo sheets (or find them online) with common Bachelor occurrences like “someone mentions the word journey” or “someone jumps into the ocean.” There are also pre-made Bachelor brackets available online that you fill in before the first episode and guess who will be sent home each week.

Fortunately, the show is predictable enough that spotting familiar tropes is half the fun. This season, watch out for the endless stream of airplane references, due to Peter’s profession as a pilot, and the occasional windmill joke.

This season, my friends and I have started a fantasy football-style league. Each of us picked our “players,” or five girls we think may make it to the end.

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m., so find a watch party, host your own, or head over to the Queen’s Pub and join the fun of watching with a crowd. 


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