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The right reasons to fall in love with The Bachelor When it debuted in 2002, The Bachelor raised the stakes of first-wave reality television, offering the ultimate prize: true love. Since then, thrice yearly, dozens of camera-ready young-and-eligibles have vied for affection (and roses) in front of a devoted audience of millions. In this funny, insightful examination of the The right reasons to fall in love with The Bachelor When it debuted in 2002, The Bachelor raised the stakes of first-wave reality television, offering the ultimate prize: true love. Since then, thrice yearly, dozens of camera-ready young-and-eligibles have vied for affection (and roses) in front of a devoted audience of millions. In this funny, insightful examination of the world’s favorite romance-factory, Suzannah Showler explores the contradictions that are key to the franchise’s genius, longevity, and power and parses what this means for both modern love and modern America. She argues the show is both gameshow and marriage plot — an improbable combination of competitive effort and kismet — and that it’s both relic and prophet, a time-traveler from first-gen reality TV that proved to be a harbinger of Tinder. In the modern media-savvy climate, the show cleverly highlights and resists its own artifice, allowing Bachelor Nation to see through the fakery to feel the romance. Taking on issues of sex, race, contestants-as-villains, the controversial spin-offs, and more, Most Dramatic Ever is both love letter to and deconstruction of the show that brought us real love in the reality TV era.


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The right reasons to fall in love with The Bachelor When it debuted in 2002, The Bachelor raised the stakes of first-wave reality television, offering the ultimate prize: true love. Since then, thrice yearly, dozens of camera-ready young-and-eligibles have vied for affection (and roses) in front of a devoted audience of millions. In this funny, insightful examination of the The right reasons to fall in love with The Bachelor When it debuted in 2002, The Bachelor raised the stakes of first-wave reality television, offering the ultimate prize: true love. Since then, thrice yearly, dozens of camera-ready young-and-eligibles have vied for affection (and roses) in front of a devoted audience of millions. In this funny, insightful examination of the world’s favorite romance-factory, Suzannah Showler explores the contradictions that are key to the franchise’s genius, longevity, and power and parses what this means for both modern love and modern America. She argues the show is both gameshow and marriage plot — an improbable combination of competitive effort and kismet — and that it’s both relic and prophet, a time-traveler from first-gen reality TV that proved to be a harbinger of Tinder. In the modern media-savvy climate, the show cleverly highlights and resists its own artifice, allowing Bachelor Nation to see through the fakery to feel the romance. Taking on issues of sex, race, contestants-as-villains, the controversial spin-offs, and more, Most Dramatic Ever is both love letter to and deconstruction of the show that brought us real love in the reality TV era.

30 review for Most Dramatic Ever: The Bachelor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily Ferko

    If you know anything about me, it's that I'm an unapologetic Bachelor Franchise fan. I will sneak the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise into every and any conversation. You broke your leg? Well Rated-R Justin from Ali's season also had a broken leg. Your mom's best friend's cousin is a fertility nurse? So is the winner of Chris Soule's season. You think love is a facade? Well let me tell you what I've learned from watching The Bachelor... This book was everything I needed it to be - a fu If you know anything about me, it's that I'm an unapologetic Bachelor Franchise fan. I will sneak the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise into every and any conversation. You broke your leg? Well Rated-R Justin from Ali's season also had a broken leg. Your mom's best friend's cousin is a fertility nurse? So is the winner of Chris Soule's season. You think love is a facade? Well let me tell you what I've learned from watching The Bachelor... This book was everything I needed it to be - a fun look at my favourite show and all it's crazy drama, a smart and compelling look at the ways in which the show both reflects our culture and shapes it, and a conversation with a friend type reading experience. Literally every two to three sentences I wrote in my book "BALLER!", "THIS IS THE TRUTH", or "I FUCKING LOVE THIS!" Personal favourite chapters: -Gotta Vill: Villains (... I desperately want to buy a "villains gotta vill t-shirt after reading this chapter) -Please Use This Key: Sex -Almost Paradise: Spinoffs Suzannah Showler wrote a book that is a both a love letter and critique, and I wish I could have written it myself. She managed to express her love for a show that yes, on the surface seems stupid, but is actually some of the best television ever made. Yes, it's a reality television show about falling in love with multiple people, in weird as fuck circumstances, in the height of luxurious surroundings. But it's like Suzannah says - "Of course love is real. That doesn't mean it isn't also fake."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I had to request for my library to purchase this book for its collection and I am so glad I did. While I think it's best if you're "in" on some of The Bachelor's lingo, jokes, and structure, Suzannah Showler does a fantastic job at guiding you through it and at least making you want to tune into next season because THIS WOMAN IS SO FREAKING SMART. (You'll want to have a drink with her after reading this) Ostensibly, this is an essay and she is convincing as hell. Showler is able to see past what I had to request for my library to purchase this book for its collection and I am so glad I did. While I think it's best if you're "in" on some of The Bachelor's lingo, jokes, and structure, Suzannah Showler does a fantastic job at guiding you through it and at least making you want to tune into next season because THIS WOMAN IS SO FREAKING SMART. (You'll want to have a drink with her after reading this) Ostensibly, this is an essay and she is convincing as hell. Showler is able to see past what so many television elitists scoff off as "ugh reality tv ugh" and deciphers it piece by piece by piece into one of the most insightful commentaries on the reality TV phenomenon of the 21st century. That seems like a niche achievement, but it's about time that someone does it. And Showler does it so well. Showler pulls you back on a slingshot through the entire book and then lets go with a shiver-inducing final chapter. If before you read this book you thought that The Bachelor was just primetime fluff, after you will understand why its longevity, evolution, and draw are so important to contemporary North Americans. And you'll have a lot of fun doing it. I don't care if it outs me as a [lapsed, but perhaps reborn] watcher of the show, I will be bringing up The Bachelor in many conversations to come so that I can recommend Most Dramatic Ever: The Bachelor to them. And I'll be looking out for what this author comes out with next. It's important that Canada has thinkers in its literary community - and this is a book so, so, SO full of thought. If she had the mandate, I think she could have expanded this book, but she managed to be concise and convincing in what she covered. There's no gossip here... just solid commentary. I love ECW books and what they publish. I haven't read other entries in its "pop classics" collection. I get that it needs to fit in visually with the rest of its I wish this book had a more distinct cover and a more descriptive subtitle. Because it really deserves to stand out. Can't wait to see what Showler has next, whether it be nonfiction, fiction, or poetry... I'm in. PS - I sadly missed a lot of endnotes on my eBook because they required me to continue skipping to the end of the chapter and then flip all the way back... eBook editors, are footnotes possible in this form?? They would be so much better than endnotes, especially when there are 100+ in a 140-page book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Pierce

    Vastly entertaining, especially if you’re a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan. Lots of interesting insights and good humor. I want the author to sit next to me for every episode and provide commentary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roger Royer

    Having never watched the Bachelor or any of the shows that are in the general wheelhouse of it, I figured that I would not care about this book or what the author would have to say. I am glad to say that I am wrong. The book is a critical love letter to and about not only the shows and the people involved but also the times we live in that made them, and reality television, such a big deal today. Not only does our author point out the good but also takes the time to point out, with much love, the Having never watched the Bachelor or any of the shows that are in the general wheelhouse of it, I figured that I would not care about this book or what the author would have to say. I am glad to say that I am wrong. The book is a critical love letter to and about not only the shows and the people involved but also the times we live in that made them, and reality television, such a big deal today. Not only does our author point out the good but also takes the time to point out, with much love, the bad and the horrible. Overall a surprisingly well written read that I found enjoyable even though I have never watched a single episode.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    I got this on Netgalley and planned to skim it but ended up reading the whole thing cover to cover. Hilarious, smart, and well-written. If you shame-facedly hate-watch the Bachelor like I do, this book is an entertaining companion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    s w

    Cutting and smart at the same time it’s breezy and funny. I loved this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    I love fluffy books about The Bachelor franchise - they are part of the guilty-pleasure experience for me. But this is NOT a fluffy book - instead I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is a beautifully written, razor-sharp intellectual analysis of the show and what it says about American culture. I was delighted with Showler’s analogies (I laughed out loud at some) and impressed by her hypotheses (I read and re-read some sections, and I thought much more deeply than I ever expected to abo I love fluffy books about The Bachelor franchise - they are part of the guilty-pleasure experience for me. But this is NOT a fluffy book - instead I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is a beautifully written, razor-sharp intellectual analysis of the show and what it says about American culture. I was delighted with Showler’s analogies (I laughed out loud at some) and impressed by her hypotheses (I read and re-read some sections, and I thought much more deeply than I ever expected to about a ridiculous reality TV show). This could easily be the text for a university seminar (and I’d love to be part of those discussions). I will look for more of Showler’s writing - she is brilliantly talented.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book was everything I’ve ever wanted from a book about the bachelor. Don’t go looking for insider gossip here—you won’t find it. It’s more an academic look at the role the franchise has played in American culture and what it can tell us about the culture at large. It’s a quick read, but if you’re just looking for a skim, read the last chapter about how the show has handled race. It was spot on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Carpico

    Wanted to like this more. Good examination of the show, but the writing can occasionally be too self-indulgent. The footnotes run so rampant at one point that I nearly stopped reading. Good as the analysis often is, it’s a shame his came out before the Arie/Becca/Garrett controversies and the Paradise season that put Colton the Virgin as lead and the possible turn to conservatism his casting represents. So much to unpack there.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ampersand Inc.

    I am a recent Bachelor/Bachelorette viewer so I found this cultural examination really interesting. Showler’ analysis of the tropes of the show and how it plays out in modern America (and by extension Canada) was quite entertaining. It is part of ECW’s Pop Classics series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    Ok, I dived into this book completely expecting something different. I was ready for insider info, some juicy tidbits, behind the scenes, etc. What I got was.....a wordy college essay for hipster philosophy class. I mean, this book takes itself WAY too seriously. I just want to say to the author: Girl, it's not that deep. She tries to convince the reader that the bachelor is some sort of matrix of deep intellectual meaning. She talks about rituals in the Bachelor, equating them to religious experie Ok, I dived into this book completely expecting something different. I was ready for insider info, some juicy tidbits, behind the scenes, etc. What I got was.....a wordy college essay for hipster philosophy class. I mean, this book takes itself WAY too seriously. I just want to say to the author: Girl, it's not that deep. She tries to convince the reader that the bachelor is some sort of matrix of deep intellectual meaning. She talks about rituals in the Bachelor, equating them to religious experience. She brings up patriotism, politics, emotional intelligence.....all in the same sentence as The Bachelor. There's something to be said for OVER-analyzing something. When you break it down into incoherence. This wasn't a fun pop culture read. This was just....not enjoyable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shant

    As someone who only knows the Bachelor through it's exports to MTV shows, occasional headlines, and Unreal, this book was still worthwhile. I liked the theme for authentic environment, real feelings. The chapters for real life and race were (unsurprisingly) interesting, but I also liked all of the chapter regarding the spinoffs (Also, side note: The way Bachelor Pad, I Love Money, and Are You the One?: Second Chances are all just alternative universe versions of the Challenge makes me laugh). Th As someone who only knows the Bachelor through it's exports to MTV shows, occasional headlines, and Unreal, this book was still worthwhile. I liked the theme for authentic environment, real feelings. The chapters for real life and race were (unsurprisingly) interesting, but I also liked all of the chapter regarding the spinoffs (Also, side note: The way Bachelor Pad, I Love Money, and Are You the One?: Second Chances are all just alternative universe versions of the Challenge makes me laugh). The ending was oddly poignant.

  13. 5 out of 5

    JoAnn M

    I was looking for another good read about one of my favorite shows. Sorry, but this read like the author's PhD dissertation. For me, too much analysis and not enough fun! I was looking for another good read about one of my favorite shows. Sorry, but this read like the author's PhD dissertation. For me, too much analysis and not enough fun!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    I wanted in depth cultural analysis about this show from someone who is intelligent, also addicted to this terrible show, and has an interest in it that is half-ironic, half coming from a place where they are wondering about the zeitgeist of our country. This book scratched the hell out of that itch.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    2.5-3 Star and I think I’m too generous with my rating system. If you’re a Bachelor franchise fan then sure, read this because you’ll know the people and instances the author refers to. Some of it is funny and may give you an idea of “behind the scenes” of the show but overall it’s not nearly as juicy as I’d expect it to be. The authors writing seems forced to sound more intelligent just by filling space with bigger words than necessary. If you don’t watch the Bachelor, I don’t suggest you read 2.5-3 Star and I think I’m too generous with my rating system. If you’re a Bachelor franchise fan then sure, read this because you’ll know the people and instances the author refers to. Some of it is funny and may give you an idea of “behind the scenes” of the show but overall it’s not nearly as juicy as I’d expect it to be. The authors writing seems forced to sound more intelligent just by filling space with bigger words than necessary. If you don’t watch the Bachelor, I don’t suggest you read this, it won’t be at all entertaining.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Petty Lisbon

    This was a great book! I haven't seen a single episode of The Bachelor but Showler described the institution of the show with enough detail to answer any questions you could have about the show. I enjoyed learning about the villains, race, and the fandom of the show. I would love to see a similar book about the Bravoverse, but maybe that's a task too bold to wish onto any human being. This was a great book! I haven't seen a single episode of The Bachelor but Showler described the institution of the show with enough detail to answer any questions you could have about the show. I enjoyed learning about the villains, race, and the fandom of the show. I would love to see a similar book about the Bravoverse, but maybe that's a task too bold to wish onto any human being.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stef

    Short commentary divided into 7 chapters on different aspects of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise including romance, sex, villains, production, viewers, spinoffs and race. The only brand new to me information was about the spinoffs which I've never seen and probably won't ever watch. Showler provides incisive commentary on race and the franchise's failures to represent diversity (though it has made incremental progress) and its poor treatment of contestants of colour. In particular continuing Short commentary divided into 7 chapters on different aspects of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise including romance, sex, villains, production, viewers, spinoffs and race. The only brand new to me information was about the spinoffs which I've never seen and probably won't ever watch. Showler provides incisive commentary on race and the franchise's failures to represent diversity (though it has made incremental progress) and its poor treatment of contestants of colour. In particular continuing to cast people whose racism is openly diplayed on their public and easily findable social media channels (i.e. Lee from Rachel's season), essentially choosing ratings over doing the right thing, and forcing people of colour to deal with the racism on camera. Yes it's a TV show, contestants know what they sign up for but it's still wrong. One of my pet peeves about the show is how transparently it exploits the trauma contestants have experienced and presenting love as something that will fix things because they've suffered. That's not how things work in real life but again, TV show, I get it. A quick read with some depth.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen O'Neal

    After recently encountering some exceptionally bad writing on the American media and popular culture landscape in Elline Lipkin's book "Girls' Studies," it was particularly pleasurable to encounter some of the best pop culture criticism that I have ever read in Suzannah Showler's book "Most Dramatic Ever. The Bachelor." Showler is obviously an amazingly talented writer period and her analysis of The Bachelor and its many spinoff series strikes just the right tone, neither trivializing the subje After recently encountering some exceptionally bad writing on the American media and popular culture landscape in Elline Lipkin's book "Girls' Studies," it was particularly pleasurable to encounter some of the best pop culture criticism that I have ever read in Suzannah Showler's book "Most Dramatic Ever. The Bachelor." Showler is obviously an amazingly talented writer period and her analysis of The Bachelor and its many spinoff series strikes just the right tone, neither trivializing the subject matter nor taking it too seriously to effectively communicate what makes the Bachelor franchise television programs so much damn fun to watch. I can't recall the last time that I genuinely laughed out loud so much while reading a book. In addition to being often side splittingly hilarious, the book also manages a lot of profundity in reference to the tropes, structure, and internal logic of the show as well as what it reveals about American attitudes regarding race, personal trauma, and the media. An absolute joy to read. Highly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This book was amazing! So smart, so engaging, so incisive. The writing was downright lyrical (you can tell the author's a poet), and the parallels drawn between The Bachelor and America ring so true (you can also tell she's a dual citizen). At least twice a page I was struck by just how smart and resonant Showler's points were. Here's an example: "...For weeks the show dramatizes the pursuit of individual happiness, only to claim in the end that it was manifesting destiny all along. And so The Ba This book was amazing! So smart, so engaging, so incisive. The writing was downright lyrical (you can tell the author's a poet), and the parallels drawn between The Bachelor and America ring so true (you can also tell she's a dual citizen). At least twice a page I was struck by just how smart and resonant Showler's points were. Here's an example: "...For weeks the show dramatizes the pursuit of individual happiness, only to claim in the end that it was manifesting destiny all along. And so The Bachelor delivers that oxymoronic, impossibly American dream of working hard for your innate exceptionalism, of pulling yourself up by the boot straps to step into your fate." I mean!!!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kat Alberts

    p 92 - "If you're making a protein shake made up of the group of dudes here, and, you know, blended it up . . . half that dude-protein shake would have zero chance with Jojo." - Chad p 93 - Chad is possessed of the kind of overstimulated bulk that requires a huge amount of time, energy, and planning to maintain. It's the difference between being a person who gets exercise and eats food, and being a body that takes work and needs fuel. p 186 - Likewise, one of the biggest obstacles to racial reco p 92 - "If you're making a protein shake made up of the group of dudes here, and, you know, blended it up . . . half that dude-protein shake would have zero chance with Jojo." - Chad p 93 - Chad is possessed of the kind of overstimulated bulk that requires a huge amount of time, energy, and planning to maintain. It's the difference between being a person who gets exercise and eats food, and being a body that takes work and needs fuel. p 186 - Likewise, one of the biggest obstacles to racial reconciliation in America, I think, is a common misunderstanding on the part of white people that bigotry is something you feel, not what you do or say.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This was exactly what I wanted it to be: a well-written cultural critique of the Bachelor franchise. The author has clear love for the series - “And I don’t think The Bachelor is good at being bad, or good in spite of itself: I think it is truly great television — compulsively entertaining, bizarrely moving, and harrowingly smart.” - but that doesn’t keep her from analyzing its failures, especially race, particularly a very American brand of anti-Blackness. If you are at all interested in the ph This was exactly what I wanted it to be: a well-written cultural critique of the Bachelor franchise. The author has clear love for the series - “And I don’t think The Bachelor is good at being bad, or good in spite of itself: I think it is truly great television — compulsively entertaining, bizarrely moving, and harrowingly smart.” - but that doesn’t keep her from analyzing its failures, especially race, particularly a very American brand of anti-Blackness. If you are at all interested in the phenomenon and what it says about present day America, I highly recommend this book. Keep a look out for some gorgeous quotes about reality, romance, and more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alanna Why

    An absolute must-read if you are a fan of anything in the mind-numbing but all-consuming Bachelor Universe. I really loved the section on Bachelor in Paradise in particular, a spin-off that I feel gets brushed aside as "just another one of those Bachelor shows" when it is actually one of the best television series currently airing (and we live in the Platinum Age of Television). Also, I realized the other day that I listen to not one, not two but THREE separate #BachelorNation podcasts PLEASE SO An absolute must-read if you are a fan of anything in the mind-numbing but all-consuming Bachelor Universe. I really loved the section on Bachelor in Paradise in particular, a spin-off that I feel gets brushed aside as "just another one of those Bachelor shows" when it is actually one of the best television series currently airing (and we live in the Platinum Age of Television). Also, I realized the other day that I listen to not one, not two but THREE separate #BachelorNation podcasts PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME!!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I want to hand this over to my dad as one big receipt to prove that you can care about reality television while simultaneously thinking about it critically and intelligently. A deeply enjoyable read. Suzannah's sections about Kaitlyn Bristowe and Rachel Lindsay are particularly enjoyable. This book made me laugh out loud, think about the show in new ways, and nod enthusiastically in agreement. So well done and thoroughly researched. I'm recommending this to everyone I know. I want to hand this over to my dad as one big receipt to prove that you can care about reality television while simultaneously thinking about it critically and intelligently. A deeply enjoyable read. Suzannah's sections about Kaitlyn Bristowe and Rachel Lindsay are particularly enjoyable. This book made me laugh out loud, think about the show in new ways, and nod enthusiastically in agreement. So well done and thoroughly researched. I'm recommending this to everyone I know.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edie

    A brilliant and spectacular read. Will be using this as a model for the scholar and writer I hope to become.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    dont yuck my yum, ok?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    So, I chose to read this book because I'm fascinated by the wider impacts of reality TV - especially the mental health/psychological impacts on both viewers and participants, and even those producing these shows. This interest was sparked by recent discussions in the UK media regarding the suicides of two 'Love Island' contestants and by me discovering the TV show 'UnREAL'. The latter led to a particular interest in 'The Bachelor' and similar American dating shows (e.g. other shows in the Bachel So, I chose to read this book because I'm fascinated by the wider impacts of reality TV - especially the mental health/psychological impacts on both viewers and participants, and even those producing these shows. This interest was sparked by recent discussions in the UK media regarding the suicides of two 'Love Island' contestants and by me discovering the TV show 'UnREAL'. The latter led to a particular interest in 'The Bachelor' and similar American dating shows (e.g. other shows in the Bachelor franchise; MTV's are you the one? etc.). Going into this book, I was really just wanting a general foundation to my exploration of the aforementioned topic, before diving into more specific online and journal articles. I didn't have too much expectation from this book or even a particularly clear idea of what it would actually be about - i.e. from what angle it would tackle the 'Bachelor' subject. Needless to say from my rating, I was really pleasantly surprised. Although sometimes requiring more attention than I'm used to giving in order to follow a book, it is brilliantly written. It both divulges all the juicy drama from the show, while also viewing it from a very insightful and 'intellectual' point of view. Oh, and it's pretty funny, too. Throughout the book, the psychology of the show is discussed, for example, the appeal of the show to viewers and contestants. Even more interesting is the explanation of how the show deals with the apparent contradictions embedded into its premise (e.g. sincere quest for love vs gameshow; competing for something that is in the end framed as 'fate'). Throughout the book and especially in the Race chapter, the relationship between the shows and wider societal issues in America is brilliantly explored. The chapters on villains, spin-offs, and race are the best, in my opinion. The final chapter ('Conclusion: after the final rose') honestly didn't make much sense to me and came across as very messy and kinda unnecessary, but it's only 9 pages, so I'm kinda just ignoring it. Overall, it's really fascinating and a book I definitely recommend to anyone vaguely interested in this topic - whether you actually watch The Bachelor or not (I don't and never have). The book includes many, many specific anecdotes and storylines from the show that link to each chapter's topic, so not having seen the show before isn't a setback (or at least wasn't for me). However, I would definitely recommend having a laptop nearby while reading as I was constantly looking up pictures and videos of people and scenarios described in the book. Anyway, I could go on forever. 5/5.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessey Glibbery

  29. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Desnoyer

  30. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Tallin

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