How the Bachelor is rewiring your brain

“Will you accept this rose?” Many of us (mostly female, but also secure males) have gathered around our screens to watch some hopeless romantics compete for love and gain fame on abc’s Bachelor franchise. The show has created a cult like following as bachelor fan pages, meme pages, and watch parties have emerged over the years. But the question I want to answer is how? How has abc played their cards so right to make this show such a success? Especially when it is based on such a silly premise.

 Amy Kaufman, a producer with the show since 2009, has opened up on some of her theories on the enthusiasm of bachelor nation. Kaufman admits “This is such a crazy premise, I need to tune in and see how it works because it’s such an odd social experiment.” But watching the same social experiment 35 different times (with male, female, and island spinoffs included) could bore anyone. The VP of the series Jason Sarlanis said that the show is constantly evolving to align with current trends, “story soaps were blowing up so they said, let’s infuse that storytelling, but ease up on the format.” Loyalty has also proved to be a cornerstone of Bachelor success, producers focus on “recruiting returning players in the “Bachelor nation.”” This fueling of the Bachelor subculture and helped to make long lasting success. 

Image result for chris harrison final rose

But still, why is a dating reality tv show inspiring cult like followers in the first place? In an article on the subject from Psychology Today, therapist Erin Asquith explains  “We have a morbid curiosity for drama as it allows one to escape from their own drama, their own life.” The show is built upon pain, a bad car crash that we can not stop looking at. according to author of  The Physiology of Emotional and Irrational Investing

Causes and Solutions, Elesa Zehndorfer, humans are “trained to seek out drama because we experience a rush of dopamine and adrenaline when we encounter it…The more novel it is, the greater the effect.”

by: Teresa Zortman