Confession: I’m a fan of The Bachelor. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a member of “Bachelor Nation” (the term used by ABC TV for die-hard fans of their Bachelor franchise), but I DO regularly watch the shows. Which led me to this CMPL Hot Read from 2018: Bachelor Nation: inside the world of America’s favorite guilty pleasure. Written by Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman, it explores both the secrets behind making a reality TV show, and the cultural implications of a show focused on the narrative of fairy-tale romance.
Here are some of the juicy details I learned by reading this book:
*Co-executive producer Lisa Levenson got her start in television with Jerry Springer and General Hospital – she knew all about how to create drama!
*The “in-the-moment” interviews, in which off-camera producers interview contestants during an episode, are shockingly similar to police interrogations – contestants may be kept in that small room until they say what producers want them to say, so they “confess” in order to get out of there and finally get to sleep. (p. 148)
*Something called “Frankenbiting” – sound-bites that have been edited to change the meaning from the original recording. (p. 161)
(Surprise! Reality TV isn’t really real.)
So if you’re a proud member of Bachelor Nation, a casual fan, a “hate-watcher,”or just curious what all the fuss is about, I highly recommend picking this one up.