ABC’s reality dating series The Bachelor is a TV phenomenon by any standard, albeit a somewhat controversial one. Its constant drama has viewers glued to their seats, but social commentators are also quick to mention the slightly seedier aspects of the show. Indeed, there’s definitely a few things about it that its makers would rather keep under wraps… but those things are all out in the open now.
20. To keep the ring, the couple must last two years
At the end of The Bachelor the winner gets given a fabulously expensive Neil Lane diamond engagement ring. But there’s a catch. If the couple split up before two years have passed, the jewelry must be returned to the show producers. Ouch!
19. The men aren’t allowed to wear certain things
According to season 17 star Sean Lowe, there’s a pretty strict dress code for bachelors. In fact, in his book For the Right Reasons he has revealed that they’re forbidden to wear patterns, checks, stripes or bright whites. Apparently this is because those things don’t show up well on TV cameras.
18. There’s just two bathrooms between all the girls
Believe it or not, considering the huge amount of hair and makeup (and, well, regular toilet stuff) that must be done every day, there’s only two bathrooms for the women. And at the start of the show there’s usually at least 25 ladies. The lines must be horrendous.
17. Most possessions aren’t allowed inside the mansion
When the women enter the Bachelor mansion, they have to give up everything that allows them contact with the outside world: computers, phones, magazines, the lot. However, Bibles are allowed. And clothes and makeup, of course. Even then, women are only allowed to bring two suitcases’ worth of the necessities.
16. Apparently, the Fantasy Suite is condom-free
The Fantasy Suite is the only camera-free room, so you can guess what it’s used for. But in breakout star Courtney Robinson’s book I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, she revealed that the room lacks one important thing: condoms. Show host Chris Harrison, on the other hand, has claimed that there’s plenty… but, then again, he hasn’t used that space!
15. There are contestant/producer relationships
In 2015 former hopeful Jamie Otis revealed to Women’s Health a scandalous secret about the show: a producer had been caught sleeping with a contestant. “There are more of these producer/contestant relationships than viewers realize, they’re always kept hush-hush,” she said.
14. Food can’t be eaten on camera
Sometimes the contestants will go on dates, be served wonderful food and not touch it. This is due to the fact that microphones will capture all those chewing noises and render the conversation inaudible. Also, it’s because the producers don’t like their sexy stars to be seen eating.
13. The women sometimes claim to have a bigger house than they do
People do tend to exaggerate on reality TV, and The Bachelor is no exception. “I have heard that some people will do their hometown [date] in a different house,” former contestant Andi Dorfman told The Huffington Post in 2016, “like an uncle’s house or a rich grandfather’s house.”
12. Producers were fired if contestants didn’t cry
In 2016 The New Yorker ran an illuminating interview with former series producer Sarah Shapiro. She revealed that producers would resort to underhand and cruel tactics to get girls to cry for the camera, and “not to come home if we didn’t get tears, because we’d be fired.”
11. Many of the contestants have criminal records
Considering that show producers sometimes recruit people right off the street, it’s not surprising that some of them have criminal records. Usually it’s for alcohol-related offenses, but sometimes there’s more serious stuff. Season 11 star Brad Womack, for example, is a convicted felon.
10. Producers verbally abuse the contestants
Many contestants on The Bachelor have been left disillusioned by their treatment. “They basically will call you names, berate you, curse at you until they get you to say what they want you to say,” season 13 hopeful Megan Parris told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 2009. “It’s really hurtful.”
9. Lots of girls bring sex toys to the mansion
What with there being no books, phones or magazines allowed, sometimes the women competing on the show entertain themselves with other things. Indeed, many of them pack certain items in their bags that make those long, boring hours a little more, er, interesting.
8. Jillian Harris was told to ditch her Canadian accent
The first non-American person on the show was told to attend speech therapy to get rid of her Canadian accent. “The producers realized I was losing my quirkiness, so they canceled the classes,” Jillian Harris told Allure in January 2017. “I wasn’t offended, because I was the show’s first out-of-country person.”
7. Sometimes words are beeped out to make them sound like cussing
It’s a tried and tested trick of reality TV, and The Bachelor isn’t above it, according to Megan Parris from season 13. She’s said that although she swore a few times on the show, editors later bleeped out her words, even when she didn’t curse.
6. Courtney Robertson and Ben Flajnik had sex underwater
During season 16 of The Bachelor, Courtney Robertson and Ben Flajnik could be seen embracing in the ocean. However, beneath the waves they were taking things one step further, according to Robertson herself, who wrote about it in her tell-all book.
5. There’s a lot of drinking in the mansion
In 2013 contestant Leslie Hughes informed The Daily Beast about the vast amount of alcohol available on set. “I remember it was like 12 noon, and they were like, ‘You want some champagne, wine?’ And I was like, ‘It’s 12:00 p.m., noon!’ And they’re like, ‘Welcome to the Bachelor family.’”
4. The show has been accused of racism
Viewers began to notice that virtually every face on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette was white. It was so noticeable, in fact, that two African-American men filed a lawsuit against the producers in 2012. Gradually after that more black contestants were introduced, but the franchise is still not very diverse, racially.
3. Contestants only spend about 72 hours with the person they choose
One common criticism leveled against The Bachelor is that the contestants “fall in love” in such a short space of time that it’s ridiculous. Indeed, it’s actually an even shorter time than people think. In fact, by the end of the show, the winning couples have usually only spent about 72 hours together.
2. Producers were given money if they were first to make a contestant cry
According to the producers who worked under her, former executive producer Lisa Levinson would hand out hundreds of dollars to any producer who was first to make a girl cry. Ex-producer Sarah Shapiro used this in her Bachelor satire Sequin Raze, which later became the TV show UnREAL.
1. Contestants have to undergo a psychological evaluation
Finally, before they can be considered for the show, potential contestants first have to face a round of interviews and a psychological evaluation featuring 800 questions (and also a test for STDs.) But considering all they have to go through, it’s not really surprising…