'The Bachelor' Is More Real Than You Think

by Carly Waddell and Evan Bass
Kenny Suleimanagich/Bustle

Over the course of Nick Viall's season of The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise couple Carly Waddell and Evan Bass will contribute weekly articles to Bustle about their friend's journey to find love. Read their take on all the tears and drama below.


Watching Monday's Bachelor episode brought back familiar feelings of firsthand personal embarrassment and general TV cringe. This high energy, highly emotional episode lead off with Taylor doubling down on her disdain for Corinne and then was quickly followed by America’s complete horror as our beloved dolphin whisperer, Alexis, was sent packing. Then we had the trifecta of Jasmine, Danielle L., and Whitney being sent home. Frankly, there hasn’t been much that's saintly about St. Thomas. But all of this madness got us thinking: The Bachelor is a lot like real life! Stop laughing. It is and I’ll prove it. But first a Carly recap:


We Pick Up Where We Left Off Last Week:

Taylor comes back (after getting kicked off and voodoo healed by the women of the swamp) and walks in on Corinne and Nicks dinner. She decides she MUST TELL Nick (once again) that Corinne has supposedly been manipulating and lying to him. Taylor again is sent home. 2nd time's the charm? Corinne is still in the game.

Rose Ceremony Cuts:

  • Alexis (shark girl). NOOOO WHYYYY?!?!? I want more and more and more of her! Please swim into Paradise on a dolphin or dolphin emoji, Alexis.
  • Josephine (slapped-Nick-in-the-face girl) who also cracks me up.
  • Jaimi (nose ring girl)

Off To St. Thomas:

Kristina gets first one-on-one and tells the story of her past in Russia where she grew up in a house with no food and was forced to eat lipstick just to survive. She went to an orphanage, after being kicked out my her mother, and instead of turning to a life of prostitution (common for women of her age in that situation) she was adopted from the States which saved her life. Can we all just count our blessings for a moment, and also give praise to the strength of this woman? She gets the rose.

The Group Date:

Volleyball on a beach. All the women (minus Raven) get super emotional because they aren't having alone time, or feeling individually valued, and are instead just actually playing games. Like literally. Contestants use their time at night with Nick by saying they are all (separately) having a hard time. Jasmine starts cracking, which is ultimately what leads to her going home — or maybe it's the awkward sexual choke move she makes on Nick. I vote both. Raven gets the group date rose.

The Second Two-On-One:

It's Danielle L. vs. Whitney. Danielle L. (aka D. Lo) says she wants to be the contestant at the end and that she can see herself falling for Nick. It makes Nick have clarity. Whitney gets sent home as Nick and Danielle helicopter away in front of her. He takes D. Lo to dinner where she confesses her love, but Nick isn't feeling it, and he sends her packing also.

We leave the episode with an emotional, crying Nick saying that he "didn't know if he could keep doing this." Six contestants remain...


(Disclaimer: I have rosé-colored glasses, because The Bachelor franchise inexplicably found me a fiancé.)

OK, I know what you’re thinking, no one goes on sea planes or zero gravity first dates in real life and most of us sure as heck don’t get whisked away to St. Thomas to have romantic moments. I mean, sure, maybe the setting is a bit different than real life, but the emotions and actions that we rabidly watch the contestants experience bizarrely mirror our own internal feelings that only make it out in texting form to our closest friends. This is what makes the show interesting. We’ve all been the "crazy" person in a relationship. We’ve all done things we regret. We’ve all screwed up. The difference on The Bachelor is that it’s in front of a million people, we only get to see the most interesting parts, and its usually THE MOST DRAMATIC EVER. Why? Because it’s a competition. Without the distractions of phones, internet, and TV all there is to talk about is falling in love. THERES NOTHING ELSE TO DO. So, the environment forces feelings to come out more quickly, and the show's producers create a “safe” place to feel strongly — again, in front of millions. It forces out the good and the bad inside and the editors have the delightful job to highlight whatever is most fascinating. But, in the same form we (at home) have likely had the exact feelings as the contestants on The Bachelor at times in our lives — we just had the courtesy of privacy to feel them.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to watch The Bachelor is because it’s able to boil down the workings of a relationship into three-five minute bites. Indeed, it’s the fact that even though the contestants don’t know the Bachelor that well, they still have very real (and often embarrassing) responses to being under pressure. Watching Jasmine last night was painful. We saw her, in the same breath, say she wanted to leave but that she also wanted to put Nick in a “chokie." She displayed extremely relevant and relatable mixed feelings because she didn’t know where the relationship stood. I hear it all the time from friends: “I don’t know if we are boyfriend/girlfriend or just hooking up or what.” Or, “Sometimes he doesn’t respond and I can never get a clear answer from him.”

In this day and age, most people are hesitant to “label” a relationship. And Jasmine openly revealed the same insecurities that come from a lack of clarity with Nick. While it’s probably easy to make fun of Jasmine for her mini-meltdown, I really appreciate the fact that she was brave enough to grapple with her not-so-clear thoughts in front of a camera. Those who don’t deal with their emotions on the show end up on the cutting room floor. I think if more people chose to talk about their feelings — no matter how "crazy" they may seem — then even if you screwed it all up and lost the other person, you’d able to grow into finding a better match. But, right now, most people try to find love in a passive aggressive texting dance that lacks definition and creates a heck of a lot of gray.

These days, we don’t have a sense of immediacy in our relationships because it’s super easy to find someone else quickly on Tinder or Bumble… and the same thing is happening with Danielle L. on the show. Her date with Nick started off well enough; they had a fantastic time. He even sent Whitney home sooner than expected. They had a great conversation at dinner but when she said she was starting to fall for him — Nick was shook. He realized he didn’t feel the same way and all of the insecurities from life (and the past three seasons) crept in.

He started asking himself the question, “Will this work for me.” So instead of working it through with her and seeing if there was a chance for his feelings to catch up, he dumped her and pensively paced. The weight of potentially not finding anyone started to hit him and it forced him between a rock and a hard place. We’ve all been on one side of this coin. We either develop feelings too fast and end up liking the other person more than they like us ( like me with Carly), or the other person has stronger feelings and we feel like we don’t deserve it and disqualify ourselves and the relationship.

For the record, I think Nick is handling it gracefully. He’s not melting down, but he is questioning his heart. And, one way or another, it’s going to be a healthy part of his process and he will ultimately grow from it. My hope is that we get to see it play out positively for him over the next few weeks, because I love him and want him to be happy. But, it just all goes to show that reality TV or not, the feelings this show produces are all too real.