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Why ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ is realer than ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’

Why ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ is realer than ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’
THE BACHELORETTE (Craig Sjodin / ABC)

To the uninitiated, "Bachelor in Paradise" seems like a hot mess of a reality show. What do you get when you throw a bunch of unlucky-in-reality-TV-love former "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" contestants on a beach in Mexico? Naturally, you'd assume the answer would be an unequivocal "chaos," but you'd be only semi-wrong.

The entire premise of "Bachelor in Paradise" is this: Losers from previous seasons of the "Bachelor" franchise get left on a beach in Mexico. Each week, either the men or the women have roses to give, leaving one person without (awkward). That person leaves, and more people arrive.

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Now, take away the roses. You're left with a fairly authentic dating experience, no? You try your luck getting to know various people, devoting more time (and roses) to the people you end up enjoying and moving on from those you don't.

This process is more like real life than 20 women or men competing for the affection of one person, right? Unless that person is Leonardo DiCaprio, that's just an unlikely scenario to ever play out in real life. How do you know you'll genuinely enjoy that person when you're competing for the minuscule amount of time you'll get with them?

It may just be my personal preference, but having some illusion of choice—even if that choice is isolated to a very small segment of the population—seems better than being told (by television producers) that this one man or woman is the person you should be fighting tooth and nail to be with. Having the ability to choose from a pool of people is a much more authentic dating experience, even if it so happens that this is all going down on a beach in Mexico fueled by endless amounts of alcohol and, you know, TV cameras watching your every make out. It's casual.

@ShelbieLBostedt  |  sbostedt@redeyechicago.com

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