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ABC under fire for disregarding ethics and empathy on Bachelor

Shelby Cokeley

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The beginning of spring, full of sun, blossoming flowers and a time to finally break out those jean shorts. Or for college students, midterms, iced coffee and of course the Bachelor finale.

As a 20-year-old white female, I fit the Bachelor’s demographic and yet still find myself cringing any time the show is brought up. In full transparency, I have only watched one full season of the Bachelor, and that was in a sad attempt to bond with my roommate, who religiously watches every season.

I, like so many others, especially after this most recent season’s finale, find the entire show to be the most embarrassing portrayal of “love” and an insult to real healthy relationships.

To be blunt, the show embodies everything wrong with our society’s current perception of love and relationships in the modern age. And that is exactly why people love to watch it so much.

No one watches the Bachelor to see two individuals fall in love, and anyone who does is setting themselves up for disappointment.

Viewers tune in every week to see what will go wrong, who will act the most ridiculous on national television and to dream of going on those wildly expensive and over the top one-on-one dates.

It is the show we all love to hate, purely because of how deeply problematic and dramatic it is. That is why when commercials for the season finale began to air, advertising “the most dramatic season finale ever,” viewers flocked to see everything go up in flames.

It should be noted that ratings had reportedly been down all season, most sources pointing towards the lack luster choice of the Bachelor himself, Arie Luyendyk Jr.

However, just like misery, drama loves company. A finale that featured not only an engagement but also a surprise break-up, was just what ratings called for. In the lengthy season finale, Luyendyk Jr. gave his final rose to Becca Kufrin and the two consequently got engaged.

Within the same episode though, Luyendyk Jr. decided he had made the wrong decision and called off the engagement to Kufrin.

To make matters much worse, Luyendyk Jr. did not just want to break things off with his new fiancée, but he also wanted to get back together with the show’s runner up, Lauren Burnham. In a bold, and arguably disgraceful move, Luyendyk Jr. went so far as to inform show host Chris Harrison and producers of his plans to break things off with Kufrin ahead of time.

Supposedly contractually obligated to do so, Luyendyk Jr. went forward with the excruciatingly awkward and hurtful breakup in front of the camera.

What followed was completely uncut footage of the breakup. Instead of the romantic weekend she assumed was happening, Kufrin was blindsided by her new fiancé, who broke things off and then attempting to rationalize his decision in the name of love.

While I find the entire Bachelor franchise to be without merit, morals or really any value, the act of filming a heart broken woman for 40 minutes and then airing the footage for a ratings boost is beyond any of that.

It is inarguably unethical and all involved should be ashamed of what they produced.

As I said before, people watch the Bachelor to be entertained in the same way any reality television show entertains.

Many viewers of the hit show, including past contestants, were furious with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and their decision to air the heartbreaking footage. Live tweets poured in calling the entire situation cruel, uncalled for and inhumane.

In the closing minutes of the show, Kufrin was brought on stage with Harrison, saying that watching the footage was “brutal.” Of course that was not all, an additional “after the final rose” episode aired the next day, complete with its own drama.

Part of this drama included newly single Kufrin being named the show’s new Bachelorette.

Though I was initially surprised Kufrin was allowing ABC to capitalize off her heartbreak more than it already had, I quickly realized, that is just not how reality television works. The messier things get, the higher the ratings, the more money involved, the better.

Ethics may be thrown out the window, but hopefully this means Kufrin may at least capitalize a little off her own public embarrassment, instead of letting ABC remain the only beneficiary.

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ABC under fire for disregarding ethics and empathy on Bachelor