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The Bachelor Premiered 19 Years Ago Today

  • On March 25th, 2002, ABC premiered The Bachelor, a reality series designed to capitalize on the ratings success of producer Mike Fleiss' controversial special Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, which aired on Fox in 2000 and was more like a creepy superficial pageant catering to one man. Fleiss worked on ways to draw that out into a full series, and The Bachelor franchise is the result.

    It is perhaps more accurately described as a "reality-simulation," as Fleiss has openly said the show is less about the reality of the premise and more about building up characters for the audience to root for or against in order to make good television. There have also been several public accusations over the course of its nearly two-decade run that it's often selectively edited to craft those characters out of the contestants.  Having just finished its 25th season, The Bachelor finds itself once again mired in controversy, but still racking up viewership numbers.

    In this clip from the first season, we see the first Bachelor, Alex Michel, bringing one of his finalists, eventual winner Amanda Marsh, home to meet his family to get their assessments of how she stacks up against the runner-up (and future first Bachelorette) Trista Rehn. His mother expresses concern about her being eight years his junior, and cautions him against actually getting married at the end of the show. Alex eventually took that advice and didn't propose, but did start a relationship that lasted only several months. 

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    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: The Bachelor, ABC, Mike Fleiss