Pilot Pete: The Franchise’s Worst Bachelor Yet

The 24th season of the Bachelor premiered on Monday, January 6 with 30 young—emphasis on the young—women lining up to become Peter Weber’s “co-pilot.” Since the get-go, Weber has faced backlash for his distribution of roses and indecisive progression of relationships.

With a whopping 3.1/10 star rating that is dropping as the weeks progress, the entirety of Bachelor nation has faced disappointment after disappointment thus far—with the most dramatic weeks still to come.

Every season has its “villain,” whether it’s due to a bad, malicious edit or the classic “mean girl” persona shining through, but rarely is the lead ever thought of as the villain. And rarely are the women as a group as collectively unlikable as this season’s.

Weber’s inability to make decisions, lack of follow through and high tolerance for drama has made getting through every Monday night episode almost a chore. As Chris Harrison famously says, “It’s the most dramatic season ever,” but this time it’s due to needless, petty, producer-driven drama that does not make for exciting TV.

The focus on drama has made the journey to love take a backseat and it’s made it nearly impossible to get to know any of the contestants—let alone like or root for any of the women.

As the show has progressed throughout the years, the expansion of social media has been reflected in the chosen contestants. More frequently, the show has been filled with younger and younger contestants who are less established in their career field, adding to almost guaranteed failure when it comes time for a long term commitment. Weber’s final three choices in women include two 23 year-olds.

There’s been an influx of “social media influencers” rather than people looking for love—as apparent from the previous season of The Bachelorette. Hannah Brown picked Jed Wyatt as her final choice and the two got engaged. What was revealed by an in-depth People Magazine investigation, only after the fact, was that Wyatt was on the show pursuing his music career and had a girlfriend back home. It’s not out of the question for the concern to arise again here with Weber.

As a reality TV show, it makes sense that it is produced for TV, with copious amounts of drama to keep viewers engaged. However, the producers of The Bachelor have really outdone themselves this time. For the first time ever, the final three are forced to stay together in the same hotel accommodations, rather than separately, during the week of fantasy suites.

Fantasy suites in the Bachelor are notorious for being the first time contestants get to interact in an intimate setting—overnight—away from the cameras. An emphasis on sexuality has hit the screens in recent seasons, with the main theme of Colton Underwood’s Bachelor season pertaining to his virginity.

Since then, producers have not let up. Hannah Brown’s Bachelorette season also featured a stereotypical “villain” character,Luke Parker, who infuriated Brown and viewers alike after his intense religious perspectives were brought to light during the infamous Fantasy Suites.

Parker quickly became notorious for the controlling, demeaning fashion in which he talked—or talked down to—Brown. During the latter half of the season, his sexist remarks, veiled in strong beliefs in religion came to light in a rather abrupt fashion as the Fantasy Suites approached.

At one point, Parker says, “I don’t believe that’s something that you should be doing and I just want to make sure you’re not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here.”

Although termination ensued for Parker soon after his blatantly condescending statements, producers latched onto the drama and took it just one step further for the 24th season.

The most current season of the Bachelor features contestant Madison Prewett, a foster parent recruiter from Auburn, Alabama. From the beginning, Prewett’s religious upbringing and kind, bubbly personality shone through, making her a fan favorite. However, the producers used her decisions in regards to her religion in a manipulative fashion.

Because all the women are forced to stay together awaiting time with Weber during the crucial Fantasy Suite week, each woman’s decision of whether they will forego their individual rooms and stay as a couple in the Fantasy Suite is made obvious to the other contestants. Prewett, after revealing to Weber that she is saving herself for marriage and would not be comfortable continuing on the show knowing he would sleep with other contestants—also her roommates— leaves their one-on-one date in a “to be continued” fashion. And of course, stabs at Weber’s past relations with Hannah and their “windmill” experiences during fantasy suites ensue.

It may only be the 24th season of the Bachelor, but the combination of excessive editing and an emphasis on a consumer-driver relationships has made this season one for the books before it’s even ended.

Whether it be through 23-year-old Instagram influencers, outside drama with past relations creeping into current relationships or the mere fact that societal stigma around sex pervades the entirety of the show, one thing is for sure: the producers really have made this season of the Bachelor the most dramatic yet, in the worst ways possible.