The 'Bachelor Pad' Competition 'Winter Games' Shouldn't Re-Use For Any Reason Is Alarming
Production on the newest Bachelor Nation spinoff may be underway, but details about what Winter Games will actually entail are still hard to come by. One thing fans do know is that it will bear some similarities to another franchise spinoff, and with that in mind, there's one Bachelor Pad competition Winter Games shouldn't reuse. That would be the infamous kissing contest from Seasons 1 and 2 of the now-canceled series.
In this competition, each contestant is blindfolded one by one, and then kissed by every member of the opposite sex. Each one is assigned a number, and after the blindfoldee has been kissed by everyone, he or she rates the kisses. After all the spit has been swapped, the votes are tallied, and a Best Kisser is chosen from each side. The winning man and woman are safe for the week with no possibility of going home.
It might sound like a fun game, and when Chris Harrison brought it back for Season 2, he referred to it as a favorite challenge from the year before. But as People reported in 2011, "That was not the consensus around the house." In the show footage from both seasons, it's clear that multiple contestants have no interest in participating. Some are involved in budding relationships with a fellow competitor, some have recently ended relationships with a fellow competitor, and some just don't want to lock lips with every single one of their roommates. Season 1's Wes Hayden may have been a villain on Season 5 of The Bachelorette, but he had some very valid concerns about all the germ-swapping inherent in this challenge.
But his germaphobia was not enough to get him a pass during this activity, nor was the discomfort of other competitors. In Season 2, former fiancés Michael Stagliano and Holly Durst were in the house together, despite breaking off their engagement only a few months prior to filming. It's important to note that Holly was enthusiastic about the competition, but between Michael and the rest of the men, it's hard to know who was more uncomfortable.
Michael made it clear on camera that he still had feelings for his former fiancée, so it was understandably difficult for him to watch her kiss his friends. But the other men were put in an even more impossible situation, where they had to decide between putting their all into the competition and hurting Michael's feelings.
It's a difficult line to walk emotionally, as is this entire competition. Putting reality show contestants in a situation where they don't get to dictate who plants smooches on them raises the issue of consent. And you'd have to imagine that the network would want to steer far clear of that issue after the misconduct allegations earlier this summer on the set of Bachelor in Paradise. Although an investigation ultimately found no evidence of wrongdoing, the controversy briefly seemed as though it would derail the entire franchise.
This competition has so far stayed buried in the Bachelor Nation vault, but early details have promised similarities between Bachelor Pad and Winter Games, so there's reason for concern. ABC's Senior Vice President of Alternative Programming Robert Mills promised The Hollywood Reporter that Winter Games "will have some of the Bachelor Pad DNA, in that there is going to be a competition element." For his part, Harrison has promised an athletic component, and the show's Feb. 9 premiere has been timed to coincide with the 2018 Winter Olympics.
So while it's likely that the bent of the competitions will be more physical than romantic, this is still a dating show. "At the end of the day, it's going to be about finding love again," Mills told THR, so here's hoping they don't go looking to the Bachelor Pad kissing contest for any inspiration.