Villains of “The Bachelor”

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By: Sarah Seero

The Bachelor Franchise is one people either love, hate or love to hate. And along with those opinions of the show, the narrative structure of the show creates characters that people either love, hate or love to hate along with the show itself. While there are multiple shows like “The Bachelor”, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” there seems to be one thing that viewers can count on every single season: the villain contestant. Every season has a new villain but it seems the more recent villain contestants: Chad Johnson, and Corinne Olympios are being talked about more often than I’ve seen in the past due to the nature of Social Media. What constitutes Villainous behavior on the show? And when contestants look back on their seasons how do they, if at all attempt to convince America that their behavior wasn’t showing their “true personality”.

The past few seasons (the current one included) it seems the current Bachelor villains have America talking more than usual. Being a Bachelor fan myself, I’ve seen some seasons of the show but only recently got back into watching it. It’s possible that I’m more hyper aware of what’s being said about these contestants because the show is relying more and more on villains. Jenny Chang of Buzzfeed brings up the point that there was “no real villain in season 1 of “The Bachelor” in her article where she re-watches Season 1 of “The Bachelor”. Chang points out that the “Women Tell All” episodes are traditionally where the seasons villain attempts to redeem him or herself, but because there was no villain in Season 1 there was “no real reason to have this episode.” Even ENews’s ranking of “Bachelor” Villains, only dates back as early as Season 5 of “The Bachelor” showing that the Villain character wasn’t as prevalent in the early years of the show. I think one thing that makes these Bachelor villains so easy to follow now in the age of social media, is the fact that we can follow them on Instagram, which wasn’t around in the early 2000’s. One thing about the “Bachelor” villains and why there is hype and why they have become more popular is the fact that we can follow them after their time on the show, which was harder to do in the earlier seasons. Seeing these characters on a show for months on end can help viewers to create a parasocial relationship with these contestants and make us feel like we know them, and their lives. Siyoung Chung and Hichang Cho assert that “Through repeated viewing and interpretation of media characters’ performance, audiences think that they “know” media characters like they know their close friends.” Stephanie Pappas agrees stating that media characters interacting with their fans on twitter and Instagram only reinforce this phenomenon. One of the Bachelor villains that got a lot of attention recently is Chad Johnson. Yes I am bringing up Chad first. And yes this blog is in some ways contributing to the hype about these contestants.

Chad Johnson, the protein loving, meat eating guy from not only JoJo Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette, but also season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise. Chad spent his season on the Bachelorette calling JoJo a “nag,” eating meat and other forms of protein, and getting into fights with other contestants on the show, especially Evan Bass. Evan made it his mission to expose Chad’s intentions and make Chad buy him a new shirt after Chad ripped his on a group date. Chad ripped Evan’s shirt because Evan made derogatory comments about Chad doing steroids, and when Evan walked back to the group Chad got up and ripped Evan’s shirt. So naturally, Evan chooses to wine about it all season. Later on in the season, Evan also talks to Chris Harrison, the host of the show, about Chad’s behavior, calling him a “dark storm cloud” and saying he doesn’t feel safe with Chad around. While Evan seemed like a crybaby about his shirt, Chad did threaten the guys in the house before he left, telling Jordan Rodgers (yes THAT Jordan Rodgers–Aaron Rodgers’ little brother) that he would find him when the show was over. Chad was eventually booted off during a two-on-one date with contestant Alex Woytkiw, who is also very anti-Chad, and who also made it his mission to get him eliminated. However, Chad’s antics did not end on The Bachelorette, after all, Chad’s ridiculous behavior must have been good for ratings considering his elimination spanned two episodes.

Chad is later seen on Bachelor in Paradise, but he only stays long enough to call contestant Sarah Herron a “one-armed b***h”. Chad later apologizes for this behavior so maybe his time out of the “Bachelor Bubble” gave him some clarity about his behavior and reactions? Maybe he didn’t like what he saw of himself on screen? This is another phenomenon that interests me about these Bachelor villains. Once their time on the show is up, they seem to look back at the way they are depicted on television and apologize. The Lifetime show UnReal, shows that part of how contestants are depicted on the show is due to the producers framing the contestants before they even start filming. Along with his apology, Chad admits that while he does regret some of his behavior, some of his behavior was  “taken out of context”. This comment exposes the framing of these villain contestants that happens on the show. James Callenberger asserts that producers will stitch sound bytes together to form a “franken-bite” from different interviews to depict the villain character as saying something different then what was actually said. This supports Chad’s comment that some of his behavior was taken out of context.

Chad, however, is neither the first or only participant to be depicted in this manner, nor will he be the last. This season, it looks like Corinne Olympios is shaping up to be Nick Viall’s season’s villain. Twenty four year old Corinne seems to act younger than her age, admitting to having a nanny, Raquel, who does “everything for her,” including making her the best cheese pasta.  She also takes frequent naps during rose ceremonies when she already has the rose. Oh, and let’s not forget the time that Corinne gets mad at contestant Brittany for having a sexier outfit for a photo-shoot group date. Because of this, Corinne decides to take her top off to “one up” Brittany, at least in Corinne’s mind. Corinne’s primary enemy seems to be Mental Health Counselor, Taylor, who Corinne interrupts during a cocktail party, and Taylor then “reinterrupts” Corrine who has had multiple chats with Bachelor Nick Vial by that point in the night, which Corinne sees as a direct attack on her…and Taylor keeps saying that Corinne has low emotional intelligence. Eventually Taylor, who makes it her mission to expose Corinne, is booted off on a two- on-one date with Corinne, and in a very Chad manner, comes back and confronts Nick about Corrine (because that worked SO well for the other women and he clearly listened to them…not). This shows that maybe Taylor has some villainous tendencies herself? Maybe…or maybe I just find Corinne so entertaining that Taylor trying to directly attack her makes me frame her as a villain. Who knows?

However, despite her season still airing, Corinne, like most Bachelor villains, has already gone on Ellen DeGeneres’s show to explain her behavior on the show. Corinne says that her behavior is “a real side of her but there are many other sides to her”. Bravo, Corinne! I can’t wait to see what she has to say about her behavior years down the line…or at least when the season is actually over.  Here’s hoping to Corinne becoming a contestant on season four of Bachelor in Paradise…after-all paradise wouldn’t be the same without the return of a villain or Ashley Iaconetti crying her way through another season. And here’s to the Bachelor Villains; the show wouldn’t be the same without them, and probably wouldn’t be half as entertaining. Bachelor Villains make the show what it is, there wouldn’t be half as much drama or as high ratings without their antics. That being said, framing a contestant as the villain isn’t going to disappear from Reality TV any time soon. Although people claim they can’t stand these contestants, be honest, would you still watch The Bachelor if those contestants didn’t exist in the first place?

 

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