Dishing on The Bachelor, the wildly successful reality show franchise.
A true devotee of the show—“thirty-two years old, single, and Tindering up a storm”—Los Angeles Times writer Kaufman divulges her lifelong obsession with happily-ever-after romance and recalls when she wrote a weekly recap column, created an e-mail discussion group, and even hosted viewing parties at her home, where some of the bachelors themselves made special guest appearances. Though all of the show’s participants sign strict nondisclosure agreements, her book features a collective of past bachelors—and bachelorettes—willing to comment. Kaufman combs through the extensive and gritty entertainment career of Bachelor creator and producer Mike Fleiss (who declined participation) and profiles former co-executive producer Lisa Levenson and producer Michael Carroll, who were known for manipulating contestants using “emotional leveraging” tactics to capitalize on their psychological highs and lows. Kaufman provides a quick but astute history lesson on matchmaking shows like The Dating Game and Love Connection. She writes smoothly and readably on the Bachelor’s regimented casting process, the “ironclad twenty-seven-page” participation contract, and all of the juicy dish and dirt on the series (behind-the-scenes antics, “date pitches,” racial tokenism, Fantasy Suite dates). A random array of celebrities contribute personal opinions, including comic actress Amy Schumer (previously pursued to become the Bachelorette), who criticizes the lack of variety of female body types; reality buffet leftovers Heidi and Spencer Pratt, who used to live-tweet during the show “until it became an unsafe environment”; Donnie Wahlberg (“look, I cry at weddings”); and Diablo Cody (“I think the reason a lot of us enjoy watching it is because it makes us feel superior”). Now costing $2 million per episode to produce, Kaufman acknowledges that the series remains both a primetime gold mine and, artificially induced or not, an extreme cultural fascination for die-hard romantics of both sexes.
Fans will devour this addictive, indulgent, and crafty appraisal of one of reality TV’s biggest successes.