'The Bachelor/Bachelorette' franchise: What are 'the right reasons' to participate?

bachelorette-justin“I need you to know I’m here for the right reasons.” Fans (and hopelessly addicted detractors) of ABC’s The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette) dating franchise are all too familiar with that phrase and its endless variations, used by contestants suitors as shorthand for “I’m not in this for fame, I’m in this for love…or some close approximation.”

Naturally, the “wrong reasons” criticism has been leveled at Justin “Rated R” Rego in the wake of his abrupt Bachelorette exit on Monday night’s episode, which occurred after relentlessly giggly Ali Fedotowsky accused him of courting her while allegedly having a girlfriend named Jessica back at home  — and backing her accusations up with incriminating voice-mail messages…supplied by Jessica herself! (Oh snap!)

Yesterday, Justin took to his Facebook page to encourage us to conjure up feelings of sadness and sympathy on his behalf: “I was not in a relationship before I went on the show and I am still single now,” he said. “The producers of The Bachelorette took this experience that was supposed to be an amazing moment that I will never forget, and made it into a living hell for me.” Justin typed a lot of other words that you don’t give a hoot about, but suffice it to say he used the “you can’t believe everything you see on TV” defense, stated that he left the phone messages in question when he was “very confused,” and then went on to say that Jessica “helped” him deal with the “devastating” foot injury he sustained two weeks before Bachelorette taping. “She showed me a side of her that I had never seen before, a side that I would call close to perfection in my eyes,” he said. “For the first time I felt that Jessica was showing me the characteristics of someone I would want to spend the rest of my life with.” Dude, if this is your defense, then perhaps the defense should rest.

Then again, even if Justin wasn’t in it “for the right reasons,” why are folks so upset? And in the wake of this franchise’s extremely poor record of converting on-camera “love” into successful post-show relationships – check out our handy photo gallery for evidence — what exactly are “the right reasons” anyway? Before you answer that, let’s look at what some recent Bachelor/Bachelorette participants have gotten from their stints on the show.

* 19 of the show’s castoffs will be participating in “rose ceremonies” (ahem) on ABC’s upcoming spinoff Bachelor Pad.
* Melissa Rycroft scored gigs as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, a correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America, and co-host of the aforementioned Bachelor Pad.
* Jillian Harris found a role as a designer on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
* Jake Pavelka found employment as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and with a guest spot on Drop Dead Diva (a series on Lifetime — which, like ABC, is owned by Disney).
* Vienna Girardi is reportedly threatening us with a Playboy cover. (Though a rep for the mag says it isn’t true.)
* Jesse Palmer is a commentator for ESPN (also Disney-owned) and TSN.
* And Travis Stork is one of the four panelists on the syndicated advice show The Doctors.
* Alas, my PopWatch cohort Mandi Bierly reminds me that sometimes actor Charlie O’Connell didn’t really see his fortunes rise after his Bachelor season, but you can’t win ‘em all. (“I enjoy the O’Connell brothers!” Mandi adds via IM. “I want that noted!”)

But still, looking at these stats, you have to wonder what the show’s endgame is anymore: A marriage proposal or an ABC talent deal? In light of that fact, do you watch this franchise rooting for true love and the “fairytale ending” so often referred to on the show? Or do you view the show as  shamefully enjoyable, thoroughly disposable entertainment — its marital track record be damned! And finally, are you outraged when contestants sign on for a Bachelor stint looking for self-promotion as much (or more so) than true romance? (As Wes once sang, “Love don’t come eeee-zaaa-aaay.”)  Sound off in the comments section, and do share if you’re aware of any other former contestants finding success in porn pop culture since their Bachelor(ette) “journeys” came to an end.

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Comments (30 total) Add your comment
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  • Elizabeth

    –The opportunity to escape the highest level of public humiliation without running for public office?
    –A guarantee of at least 10 magazine covers between People, Star, InTouch, and US Weekly?
    –To prove all those guys/gals wrong who didn’t stay with you because you were a lame date?

    • Sarah

      - Finally, a way to get all the attention that mommy/daddy never gave you.
      – A reason to wear evening gowns and drink constantly.
      – You just really want to be on “Dancing with the Stars”.

  • momma bear

    i just watch from time to time for entertainment’s sake. you know that none of these people are going to last (ryan and trista excepted i guess)…i mean from the very first season you knew that whats his name — the harvard and stanford educated bain or mckinsey consultant (can’t recall which one), was NEVER going to wind up marrying either of the last two blondes standing….nevertheless, the show is entertaining in a train wreck kinda way

  • Melissa

    I don’t care if anyone really “finds love” on this show. But I do find myself outraged at the obvious fame whores like Justin and Wes. I prefer my fame whores to be subtle. Like Jillian and her “Aw shucks, I’m so honored you’d want me as a designer on your show, ABC” attitude. If I found out that was her end game from the get-go, I would be very annoyed.

  • Barb G

    I’m a big “happily ever ever..” believing gal…so I always go into it “hoping”? This is the “first” season “ever” that we didn’t watch…I couldn’t tolerate Ali last season..and refused to be apart of the “drama” this season. Always makes me a little sad when I hear of the break-ups..but I’m sure “THAT’s” the reality part.

  • SLB

    Shamefully enjoyable, thoroughly disposable entertainment. Especially when you read the spoilers. That makes the show ten times funnier.

  • Alice

    Why does anyone go on reality/ dating/game shows? The vast majority of them don’t get famous. I think its that curosity of what America will think of you. I think some of these people really do feel that they are a good catch and a good person and that if they win then that will affirm everything they think about themselves in a very public way for everyone to see. And I guess to some people that challenge is gratifying.

  • Jenn

    you forgot about the reality show, “Leave it to Lamas,” featuring Bachelor winner Shayne Lamas.

  • Jenn

    Oh, and Andy Baldwin had his cute, but brief, cameo on Top Chef this season

  • Jeanie

    The show producer admited that he casts about 50% of the people to be drama. This show is not about someone trying to find love or they would be casting 100% good people. Ratings were going down, so they decided to make up some fake drama. Wes did not have a girlfriend, and that one woman did not sleep with a staffer. They are fabricating drama for ratings, PERIOD! Because of that, I’m going to have to say that there is a strong possibility that Justin was set up as well.

    • Lacy

      ACtually, if you read Reality Steve’s blog Justin really did have TWO girlfriends back home. Steve has been dead on with every other piece of information he’s blogged about, no reason to doubt him this time!

      • Amber

        i LOVE reality steves blog ! he is always right ! i love knowning everything in advance !

  • Penny

    I watch the bachelor and bachelorette for the entertainment but I also hope the contestant that I like will find the love of his or her life if they pick the right one for themselves.

  • Sally in Chicago

    Oh I think this show is totally legit. I go into it every season knowing that they will find true love and it makes me feel better about my sad, pathetic life.

  • stevenjaba

    I believe folks also do it because it raises their profile on a local level. For example, if they are a realtor, they will get much more name recognition locally…

  • Kim

    Theres no “right reason” if youre a contestant, thats all just a facade. If you want to find love go on Match.com or something where you’ll actually get to choose from suitors. It doesnt make sense to compete for one person that you probably wont even connect with.

    • Laura

      My only “right” reason for agreeing to being on this dreck would be “drunk/drugged at the time of acceptance.” I work in retail and have a fairly high threshold for abuse/humiliation, but this type of show trumps dealing with returns…on boxing day…at 5am.

  • JB

    Anyone that takes this show seriously is nuts. GET A LIFE PEOPLE!

  • danielle n.

    hey Reality Steve dot com gives dead on spoilers every season.

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