The Bachelor and Ethics

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC


Personally, I am not a fan of ABC’s The Bachelor. I think the show is hokey and makes me question how my friends and family would feel if I ever joined the show and brought home a guy that was dating 20 other women. However; many, many people—women and men alike—tune every Monday night religiously. For those of you unfamiliar with how the show works here is a breakdown.

My roommate’s boyfriend frequents our apartment often and during Bachelor season he, without fail, turns the channel and we are all forced into viewership. This evenings episode happened to be the season finale and what happened was all together shocking and thought provoking. Even for someone as un-invested as me.

Arie Luyendyk Jr., this seasons main man, proposed to the final contestant but after a month of engagement decided he wanted to get back with the runner-up. Instead of confronting his wife to be in private he instead gathered the show’s host, Chris Harrison, and bunch of cameras, put them in a house under the guise of a special, couples retreat and filmed the very intense private moment for the world to see.

Typically, the season ends with a grand, staged proposal. But this time, producers and directors alike decided to put a very personal and disappointing moment on screen. I struggle with where the line must be drawn between entertainment and ethics. It must come down to contracts, but the season was extended by another 20 minutes to show this poor, girls world come crumbling down.

When does the public relations rep — or team of reps — for the show step in and say, “Hey guys, I know this is super juicy and will get a ton of views but…better not.” ? Why didn’t this idea get vetoed? There had to have been plenty of options to counter this girl’s totally devastating moment. This all could have happened in private and then discussed during the live interviews hosted by Chris Harrison or the season could have ended as it traditionally does with the proposal, letting the tabloids pick up the break-up story later.

Who am I to say! I’m just a student of this field. But, for me, the real drama lies not in the juicy, love story between Arie and his betrothed but in where the heck the PR department was.

Here is an article detailing many of the unethical yet common occurrences in the show.

sophia cleugh