Here’s What ‘Bachelor’ Fans Actually Want To See On The Show In 2021
If you’re feeling a little fatigued after the 2020 run of The Bachelor series, you’re not alone.
Locky Gilbert’s season of The Bachelor, and Elly and Becky Miles’ season of The Bachelorette, have left longtime fans of the show feeling disgruntled. From a lack of diversity within casting, to forced drama and recycled storylines, the old magic of The Bachelor franchise appeared to be missing this year, and the love stories were harder to feel invested in.
The series has been renewed for next year, and casting is underway for The Bachelor 2021, though we now know that Bachelor In Paradise won’t be returning any time soon.
With Covid-19 impacting this year’s seasons, meaning the show has been on for a shorter duration than usual, the fireworks have been missing. Fans of the show are tired of the same forced villain edits, instigated drama, and missing context when watching the various storylines and love stories unfold.
Is it time to stop giving rejected contestants from previous seasons a chance to step into the leading role? Does casting need a major overhaul? Do they need us to write out a list of new date ideas? (We’ll do it!)
It’s obvious the show needs fresh blood and an overall shakeup, so we decided to ask some hardcore fans of the franchise what they’re looking for, in order to tune back in next year.
We asked fans of The Bachelor franchise what they want to see from the next season:
1. More backstories, so we can get invested in the people we’re watching again.
In past seasons, it felt like we had a greater chance to get to know not only our leading Bachelor/Bachelorette, but also the contestants who were putting themselves out there for love. Remember Janey? She may not have made it very far in Richie’s season, but she still got an intro package in the very first episode, as did many of the other ladies.
Let’s fast-forward to this season of The Bachelorette: It feels like in comparison, we know NOTHING about our leading ladies other than the fact they’re from the country. What does Becky do for a living? Why does Elly want to find love at the tender age of 25? Do they both have timelines for marriage and kids, or are they not fussed? What are their dreams and aspirations after the show? Likewise, what does Frazer want out of life? What was Shannon looking for in a woman? (Please, tell me, I need to know.)
We know Pete owns a cafe and is separated, and that’s about as much background as we’ve got on ANYONE.
“Obviously we know a bit about Elly from the previous season, but what do we know about Becky?” one fan asked. “What’s her job? What does her life look like? Basically… why should we give a shit about this person finding their right match?”
2. A season where the minimum age is 30 (or a series dedicated to people 40+).
While some people do want to settle down and find their forever person at a young age, it’s unrealistic to assume that all women or men in their early-20s are on the show to plan out some bullshit heteronormative timeline of marriage and kids.
If the show wants to focus on building that fairytale love story that sucked us all in at the start, picking a more age-diverse cast again could be the ticket. What about a Bachelorette who’s actually older than 30? One who’s established herself in her career, who’s had life experience, who maybe found it hard to meet someone ready to settle down, and has gone on the show to find that person? With the exception of Sophie Monk, we’ve never had a Bachelorette in their mid-late 30s.
3. Greater representation and diversity.
For years fans of the franchise have been crying out for greater representation: more people of colour, more representation of the LGBTQ+ community, older people, people with different life stories other than just the typical influencer vibe. Not only does the show desperately need this diversity, they also have the responsibility to make sure everyone is given an equal chance. Let’s not forget how little they showed Niranga in Angie’s season of The Bachelorette, before showing none of his Paradise journey until the very end.
What was the point of having a POC on the show if you weren't gonna give him any screen time, have him speak like once and barely get any time with Angie?
Such a waste. He wasn't even given a chance.#BacheloretteAU
— sameera (@Sarcastic__Sam) October 19, 2019
“I want to see more diversity, especially breaking taboo around people over 40, more LGBTIQ+, featuring people with disabilities, and more POC!,” one fan stated. “It needs to be more genuine in the way that the contestants don’t all know each other. I am more likely to invest in couples that are genuine. It won’t stop the fakers applying but it will certainly weed them out on screen when we readjust our perception of what we are watching.”
There are more people wearing neon red on this show than actual people of colour. WAIT ACTUALLY THERE ARE ZERO POC #TheBachelorAU
— Michelle Law (@ms_michellelaw) July 26, 2017
“Imagine a bit of cultural diversity and some variation in body shapes,” another fan said. “Then add some people who are gainfully employed and not simply aspiring to career as an influencer. I also second the call for LGBTQI representation.”
4. A new casting approach for contestants.
It’s not a well-kept secret anymore that casting agents do scout people out in venues, bars, and pubs, but they also slide into the Insta DMs of people who seem to have the stereotypical “look” that would fit the show. It also feels like more and more often people are being cast who are friends with people within the incestuous Bachy circle, as well as people who already have somewhat of a profile.
“It would be great if they went about the same casting approach as Gogglebox took at the very start,” a fan stated. “Casting agents went out into the community and approached people off the street. That ensured they were casting genuine people and not influencers hunting fame.”
5. A leading man or woman who is “unobtainable” or not just someone you could meet at the pub/match with on Tinder.
“I thought the whole point of being ‘The Bachelor’ was meant to be an unobtainable person!,” one fan said. “He/she is meant to not just be your average person who’s a PT or a ‘professional’, you know, someone you can’t get on Tinder. If you look at Tim, he was at the top of his field, successful, and ready to settle down.”
6. New dates.
We’ve seen it all: the painting dates, the bath dates, the fake baby dates, the ‘map your timeline’ dates. “It’s the same formula, every year. The photoshoot date, the vintage car date. It’s predictable and gets boring,” a fan stated. “I prefer the American franchise, it can be a little cheesy but I think most of them are there to find love.”
“The last few seasons have been really rushed too. The dates are always the same,” another person said. “We don’t get to see much about the contestants and they need to stop using the same music so we don’t know top five from the first episode.”
7. Less forced drama and villains.
Of course, drama is always going to happen in a show like The Bachelor where people are competing for one prize. But the drama is far more enjoyable to watch when it’s natural and the result of the experiment the contestants are thrown into vs. the instigated drama at the hands of contestants willing to go on as ‘villains’ and have producers’ feed them storylines.
“It’s now harder to get invested in the show. There is more of a focus on the drama between the contestants and creating villains than the actual romantic relationships. I want to hear the conversations, the deep, gritty stuff,” one fan stated.
“Yes, there can still be ‘villains’ and ‘wifey’, but these characters can easily bring themselves out instead of being storyboarded to death,” another fan added. “When people are fighting with each other, I want to know WHY. I think there is a fear of alienating the conservative audience, hence why we have the same straight white people doing boring things. Boundaries need to be pushed!”
8. People who are actually looking for love.
Remember how weird the introduction of the Cleanskins was for the 2020 series of Bachelor In Paradise? And remember how, now, Conor and Mary have become one of the best Bachy romance stories we’ve ever seen? “Mary’s love story on BIP was gorgeous and we hardly saw it,” one fan lamented.
“It’s impossible to get invested in a love story when 90% of the contestants (and Bachelors/Bachelorettes) are transparently just there to raise their profile and if they happen to click with someone it’s a bonus,” another fan said. “Production should stop sourcing contestants from talent management agencies and the extended friendship groups of ex-contestants. I know it means there’s more possibility of broken hearts, but don’t we love ex-contestants MORE when we’ve seen their hearts properly broken? Didn’t we all love people like Nikki Gogan and Matty J more because their heartbreak was so real?”
It goes without saying that here at Punkee we’re longtime fans of The Bachelor franchise, but we are also of the firm belief the show needs to diversify in order to reclaim some of that old magic. Less drama, more love, and more representation!