On Wednesday last week, the latest season of the Bachelorette aired to dismal ratings. In fact, Elly and Becky’s premiere delivered the lowest numbers of any Bachelorette season. Both The Block and Highway Patrol attracted more viewers in the same timeslot. This is troubling data with many trapped indoors and yearning for escapist content.
So, what exactly has prompted Aussies to tune out? Well, there are a few theories.
Some posit that Elly and Becky simply aren’t that interesting. Perhaps these sisters from Parkes in rural NSW are too genuine, transparent and good-willed. In many ways, Elly and Becky lack the theatre and flair of previous Bachelorettes. We want the best for them, but we also don’t really care.
The most popular hypothesis, however, is that the format is tired. As a viewer, we are plied with the same story-beats every season: walk-outs, bust-ups, man chastised or banished for inappropriate jokes, man derided for breaching ‘bro code’. We are forced to confront and endure the same characters: heart-of-gold tradie, self-obsessed eccentric, quaffed heartbreaker. We know the routine. It’s Groundhog Day in camp Bachelorette.
I can hear you, dear reader, accosting the screen: DON’T COME TO ME WITH A PROBLEM, COME TO ME WITH A SOLUTION. Ok, chill out, I have something. Many fans have proposed that the revivification of the Bachelor franchise lies in a bisexual heartthrob. The diversity! The dynamics! The varied characters and plotlines! This format has been pitched to the show’s host, Osher Gunsberg, multiple times- and he’s for it. There is, however, a catch. Gunsberg believes that the premise relies on heterosexuality and monogamy to ensure that all parties are competing for the same end goal.
I content, however, that the jeopardy we’ve come to recognise on the Bachelor is no longer the order of the day. The end goal of a handsome, eligible partner should remain, but why not allow for romantic and sexual tangents at the same time? Perhaps that, rather than weird sister love-triangles, is exactly what the Bachelor format needs to maintain relevancy