7.88 million viewers
What it is: A reality show in which a group of women compete against each other for the “love” of a single man. In this episode, this year’s bachelor, Nick, visits the hometowns and meets the families of the four remaining contestants.
The basic premise of The Bachelor is obviously cruel and perverse, and early on in this episode I thought that the show’s weirdest moments would be those that seemed most oblivious to that fact. In the beginning, the remaining four women are stressing out over whether or not one of them might be eliminated before the “Hometowns” stage, but Nick eventually comes in and tells them that they’re all staying and that he cares about them too much to make them find out through the suspenseful ordeal of a “rose ceremony.” The implication would seem to be a) that the women who have been eliminated through rose ceremonies deserved what they got, and b) that Nick cares about these remaining four, but not so much that he’d stop putting them through the humiliation of publicly begging for the affection of a bland dude-bro.
But it’s actually more bizarre when the show sort of acknowledges its own weirdness. Most of the parents Nick meets with seem to cautiously approve of him, but one of them responds to Nick’s effusive claims of love for the guy’s daughter by saying, “But… You’re still dating these three other women too?” Nick then sputteringly tries to admit that, yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s what, that’s kind of how, I mean, you know, yeah, he is. As someone who doesn’t watch reality TV much, I’m curious: Do they get tripped up on their own concepts like this often, and if so, doesn’t that get tiresome?