ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are categorized as reality TV, but romantic critics believe the shows are anything but “reality.” From the rose ceremonies to every “hey, can I grab him for a minute?” each moment appears a crank in the well-oiled Bachelor/ette machine.
While the cast is cut off from the outside world during filming, they revealed the rules and secrets about the entire “journey” (case in point, they have to say journey, or refilm the scene if they use another word like ‘process’).
It’s much less glamorous than it looks
The “casual cocktail parties in the mansion” are actually 12-hour nights of filming. Take the first night — the women and men that leave are usually wiping away a drunk/hungover tear as the sun comes up the next day. Just because the show houses contestants in a mansion, doesn’t mean they live like the top 1% — they’re responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, and providing their own clothes.
We know, there are far worst ways to live. But for the women who require at least one stylish evening gown, they rack up a hefty bill by going on the show — which, mind you, they quit their jobs to compete on. Former Bachelor contestant and later Bachelorette star Jillian Harris wrote she spent over $8,000 on gowns alone before heading to the show.
Here’s how well the soon-to-be couple really knows each other
The first night just scratches the surface of a “first date” — with one star and 25 contestants — so by the end of it, we doubt the lead can keep the contestant’s names straight, let alone their own. Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky confirmed that the rose ceremonies don’t flow as quickly as they appear on TV.
A producer stays on the sideline with flash card photos of each contestant so the Bachelor/ette can remember everyone’s names and faces. The star enters the room, offers a few men or women a rose, then leaves to get the next few names.
As time progresses, the stars appear to narrow down who they want to end up with. Still, save the fantasy suite, the only time the bachelor/ette gets to spend with their soon-to-be partner are the dates we see unfold each week.
“You spend so little time with the person you choose before the final rose ceremony,” Fedotowsky admitted. “I would say you probably spend about 72 hours tops with the person you wind up choosing, and 12 of that is spent ‘sleeping’ in the fantasy suite.”
Season 13’s bachelor Jason Mesnick guessed even lower. “You spend a total of less than 48 hours one-on-one with the person you pick.” And while it seems like they only talk about being ready for marriage or their past relationships, former bachelor Ben Higgins confirmed the dates do involve conversations about religion, kids, and relocation — but they usually don’t make the episode.
The producers have some control over who the star picks
If you’re swept up in the idea of the show’s swift-moving, love-at-first-sight premise, we hate to break it to you: the final four are usually picked out on the first night. Bachelorette contestant and winner Jesse Csincsak explained how the result is swayed from the start. “Producers orchestrate the entire thing, sitting contestants down with the star, then directing others to kick them out. Then they tell the lead, ‘Pick four people you would like to get to know better,'” he told OK!.
Ultimately, the producers have a huge say in who stays and who gets sent home early on. The star still has room to negotiate, but they don’t make each call on their own.
Plus, everything you wanted to know about the ‘Fantasy Suite’
Ah, the mysterious “fantasy suite.” The final three contestants are invited to join the bachelor/ette at the end of their date in the fantasy suite to talk, sleep, and explore their relationship beyond the camera’s lens. Contestants and stars revealed the secrets behind one of the only nights viewers don’t get to watch.
Contestant Courtney Robinson revealed condoms are allegedly not provided in the fantasy suite (or on Bachelor in Paradise). Her audition interview included some personal questions — including if she was on birth control or not.
The lack of condoms may not be a problem for some couples. Certain pairs reportedly use their fantasy suite time to just talk with one another off-camera, a luxury they nearly never get.
Some of the contestants get sucked into the reality show’s world. After they’re sent home, many appear on The Bachelor in Paradise or take their own shot at love as the next season’s star. Others search for love sans cameras, roses, and cocktail parties out in the — gasp — real world.
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