“Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure” Book Review

2 Mar

A little background on my place in Bachelor Nation; I have watched one full season of The Bachelorette (Ali Fedotowsky, 2010), I have seen Burning LoveUnREAL and many clips on The Soup. I am not against watching reality TV and if I watch the first episode of a season that is me in for the long haul. I have not seen any first episodes of The Bachelor, which might explain why I have never committed to this show.

Reality TV that encourages a big weekly group watch (see all those years of Bake Off) is always welcome. But spending as much time as I do on culture/entertainment sites, as well as the other TV I watch and the podcasts I listen to, means there are many aspects of this series I am aware of.So when I was offered the chance to read L.A. Times writer, Amy Kaufman’s new book on the franchise, “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure” I jumped at the chance. Kaufman is someone I have followed on Twitter for a long time and her feed is part of the reason why I know about big Bachelor stories when they break, such as the Bachelor in Paradise consent scandal from last year (this is included in the book if you’re wondering how up to date it is).

And you don’t have to be a Bachelor super fan to get a lot from “Bachelor Nation.” Having some of that background knowledge might add something extra, but Kaufman does an excellent job of explaining the ins and outs of this world to a reader who doesn’t know much beyond “Will you accept this rose?” It is part TV history exploring the dating game origins as well as how The Bachelor franchise came to be, the application process, tracking its success, scandalous moments and life after the ‘bach for some contestants. Kaufman explains her own relationship to the show including how she went from the inner reporting circle to being persona non grata; exposing the way networks court journalists before banishing them.

The personal aspects Kaufman includes add wit; this isn’t just a dry retelling of dating show narratives. And there are also testimonies from famous viewers including Melanie Lynskey, Spencer Pratt, Allison Williams, Diablo Cody, Amy Schumer and Paul Scheer, as they explain why they are drawn to this franchise. There is an examination throughout from some of the celebrities and Kaufman about what it means to be a feminist and a member of Bachelor Nation. A question that doesn’t come with an easy answer.

Also part of me now wants to taste the Bachelor line of wines even if it is terrible. I am very drawn to puns.

“Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure” is available Tuesday, March 6. I will accept this rose and highly recommend this deep dive into this reality show juggernaut.

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