9 Revelations From 'Bachelor Nation' By Amy Kaufman That Will Surprise Even The Most Diehard Fans
If you, like me and basically every other Bachelor fan with a soul, still feel ice cold rage running through your veins after watching Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s finale episode, then you probably need to read something right now that reminds you why it's OK to love the show, even though you understand fundamentally that it's mostly ridiculous and often emotionally exploitative. Enter Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman, the reported history of The Bachelor that you've been waiting for since Alex Michel and Amanda Marsh broke up.
You probably already recognize the author: Amy Kaufman, a longtime fan, has been tweeting and writing about The Bachelor and its spin-offs for years. (She was notoriously "banned" by ABC in 2012 after writing an article for The Los Angeles Times about Ben Flajnik's 'Women Tell All' episode that detailed an unaired exchange between winner Courtney Robertson and producer Elan Gale.) Although ABC restricted her access as a reporter for the Times, Kaufman kept talking about The Bachelor on her personal channels. And she started reporting and writing this book, which draws on dozens of on-the-record and anonymous interviews with cast and crew to chart the cultural history of America's favorite hate-to-love-it and love-to-hate-it television show.
Though a fan, Kaufman is not insensible to the controversies that have rocked the franchise since its inception, and the most riveting parts of the book detail the disturbing methods used by producers and editors to achieve the final result of the show: entertainment value, not true love. Despite the show's (many) problems, however, Kaufman is a fan, through and through — and her affection for the franchise is obvious.
Before you pick up a copy of Amy Kaufman's new book, here are nine revelations about Bachelor Nation that every fan needs to know:
1According To Some 'Bachelor' Crew, Producers Were Bribed To Get Dramatic Footage
"To motivate the producing team, [former supervising producer Scott] Jeffress offered cash incentives," Kaufman writes. "He kept a wad of crisp $100 bills in the pocket and promised one to anyone who delivered strong drama. The first producer to get tears? A hundred bucks! You get Michel to make out with the right girl? A Hundred bucks! Catch a chicken puking on camera? A hundred bucks!"
2The Most Common Reason Potential Contestants Are Turned Down Is STDs
Kaufman writes: "'I learned a lot about life from those tests,' said Ben Hatta, [Mike] Fleiss's old assistant, who was privy to the casting process. 'As soon as the medical tests come back, you'd see that herpes was the biggest thing. And sometimes you'd be like the first person to tell a contestant that they had herpes. You'd be like, 'Uh, you should call your doctor.' 'Why?' 'We're not going to be able to have you on our show, but you should call your doctor.'"
3The Contract Contestants Sign Is Absolutely Brutal
"OK, first off — and this probably seems obvious — you must agree to be filmed up to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But this may also be "by means of hidden cameras and microphones," according to the contract — meaning you're likely going to be caught, at one point, in a less-than-positive light. You should have 'no expectation of privacy,'" Kaufman explains.
Apparently, the contract also asks that contests acknowledge that "elements of surprise" will be included and they must be "prepared for anything" including "twists" and "surprises."
4Winners Don't Get To Keep The Neil Lane Engagement Ring — Unless They Stay Together For A While
If the winners decide to get married, the producers own the rights to their wedding for two years. Additionally, the Neil Lane ring isn't owned by the winners for two years.
5The Packing List Makes Basically No Sense
Kaufman writes: "...participants are sent an extremely vague packing list before the show kicks off. Both genders are told to bring clothes for all climates: swimsuits, winter jackets, sweaters, T-shirts, tank tops, casual day clothes, gloves, and warm hats — plus fourteen formal outfits." Oh, and one more thing: Everything must fit in two bags.
6Contestants Are Put In A "Bubble" With No Distractions, Other Than Their Pending Romance
Contestants aren't allowed any electronics, books, or magazines while in the mansion. There's not even gym equipment, Kaufman explains. "It's all part of a well-designed producer strategy called 'The Bubble.' Inside the bubble, all that matters is the show," she writes.
This, of course, forces contestants to focus on the only source of action in their lives: the romance. "But you have nothing to think about," Clare Crawley from Juan Pablo's season tells Kaufman in the book. "Not even what food you're going to order. You don't have to think about a single thing other than him."
7The Editing Can Be Completely Misleading
"There's no allegiance to what happened in reality," an editor told Kaufman. "The only thing that are definitely happening are the rose ceremonies. The only other goal is entertainment, and that's why the show is successful."
Kaufman also describes a process called "Frankenbiting," in which editors re-cut a sound bite so it has a different meaning. She writes: "Let's say the Bachelor says, 'I do not want to go on a date with Trish.' IF an editor took out the word 'do not' making the sentence 'I want to go on a date with Trish' — that would be a Frankenbite."
8A Family Actually Lives In The Bachelor Mansion When The Show Isn't Filming
ABC doesn't own the Bachelor Mansion — a 7,590 square foot, six-bedroom, nine-bathroom estate in Agoura Hills. Instead, producers rent out Villa de La Vine for the duration of the time they need it for filming. The family who lives there stays in a hotel (paid for by ABC) and producers swap out all their furniture for the stuff you see on television.
9The Producers Reportedly Keep Track Of The Contestant's Menstrual Cycles
If you pick up this book for one reason, let it be Kaufman's deep-dive into the techniques used by producers to get the contestants to say wacky things on television. One of the most appalling "tricks" of the Bachelor trade would definitely have to be the fact that producers reportedly time ITMs — or in-the-moment interviews — to coincide with the contestants' periods.
"That's right, the producers have been known to keep track of when the women in the house are menstruating — which often occurs simultaneously, because that's what happens when women live together — so that they can schedule ITMs accordingly."
For more behind-the-scenes shockers from the world of The Bachelor, order Amy Kaufman's book Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure now.