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The Bachelor franchise is facing an existential dilemma in its relationship to influencers

  • The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and even Bachelor in Paradise have "morphed from a forum for twentysomething dental assistants to vie for the affection of a boring hunk into a spectacle of shameless self-branding," says Rachelle Hampton. "There was a time when the classic Bachelor line 'not there for the right reasons' meant that a contestant didn’t really seem ready for an engagement; now it’s an accusation that someone is simply trying to grow their follower count." Hampton adds: "The show is now as dependent on aspiring influencers as aspiring influencers are on the show. But the past year of Bachelor history suggests that the show and its spinoffs are facing a kind of existential dilemma. (Brendan) Morais and (Pieper) James were basically harangued off the island by a group of contestants chanting 'here for the wrong reasons.' A similar fate befell Thomas Jacobs, an early favorite of Bachelorette Katie Thurston whose influencer aspirations were apparently so obvious that they inspired the rest of the contestants to threaten a strike unless Thurston got rid of him. And within the first episode of Bachelorette Michelle Young’s season, a contestant is eliminated for having a seemingly producer-planted binder full of information on the show that demonstrated his alleged designs to be either the next Bachelor or a fan favorite—both guaranteed routes to commanding thousands of dollars per sponsored Instagram post. All these eliminated contestants were great, irresistibly hateable reality-TV characters, and their seasons got a lot more boring once they were gone. It would make more sense for The Bachelor to commit to its role as a launchpad for Insta fame rather than turning influencer ambitions into a sinister plot point. The franchise is now at a crossroads. It’s so inextricably tied up with social media fame that it’s safe to assume no one is there for the 'right' reason. Pretending otherwise only traps the show in an authenticity farce where aspiring influencers eliminate other aspiring influencers who just happen to be worse at playing the game."

    TOPICS: Michelle Young, ABC, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Instagram, Reality TV, Social Media