The Bachelor franchise has outlived many other dating shows by avoiding being easily pegged as a vehicle for cheap objectification. Yes, it’s romance in a highly artificial environment, but romance is all about artificiality—we all engage in it every time we plan a “perfect” date, be it a first date or a 10th date or a “date night” with our spouse. We all sometimes nurture the hope that the magic of love at first sight under ideal circumstances—the alluring eye contact with a “perfect” stranger—can blossom into something real. We all know someone it’s happened to, and we long to see it happen on TV, even though it usually doesn’t (given the dismal record of marriages produced by the show).
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