Winners and losers of a dramatic Bachelor season

As the winter of 2016 comes to an end, so does the 20th season of the drama-packed show The Bachelor. This series, lauded by critics far and wide, pits young women against each other in an all-out brawl for the approval and love of one man, the bachelor. This season’s bachelor is Ben Higgins, a dreamy dark-haired beast of a man who hails from the town of Warsaw, Indiana. Although 25 ladies initially tried to woo Ben, he has narrowed the competition down to only four women, whose families he will meet in the coming episode.

As the bachelor, Ben seemed to me to be almost perfect at the beginning of the season. He was funny at the right times, sensitive, understanding toward the girls, and appeared to be an all-around good guy. As the weeks have passed, I have noticed Ben developing some slightly irksome qualities that detract from his appeal. First, and possibly most annoying, is his fashion sense. He seemingly finds it hard to match his sweaters and his socks, a quality that I consider essential to attracting women. I also just hate how he sometimes prefers forming  serious personal bonds with women that are purely physical and based on appearances. He grew even worse in my eyes when he took Emily to meet his parents in the most recent episode, because I actually could not stand them. But all of that is beside the point, because apparently the women have managed to somehow become enamored with him, leaving me to question my own appeal. All comedic interludes aside, The Bachelor is a serious show and deserves to be treated with my utmost respect.

At this point in the show, Ben is caught between four women, and one in particular stands out to me. I am speaking of Lauren Bushnell, the flight attendant from Ohio. Lauren is my favorite because she just seems like the best match for Ben and feels the most genuine out of all the girls. She has had very good one-on-one and group dates with him, and the only time I was worried about her possibly not making it was in the sixth week when Leah lied to Ben about her. Leah said that Lauren acted different around Ben than she did around the girls, with the obvious implication being that Lauren’s great personality around Ben was a façade. This was actually a blatant lie, and astonished me because it showed me how The Bachelor can pit girls against each other and lead them to take drastic steps against women who could be their friends.

I consider the other three women still on the show slightly underwhelming when compared to Lauren. I do really like JoJo even though she seems the most guarded around Ben. I feel like things are not going to go well when she takes Ben to meet her family because she has very protective brothers, which is always a bad sign on The Bachelor. I’m very indifferent about Caila but I don’t think that she will make it to the top two. Finally, Amanda, an aesthetician, which might be some sort of doctor, is interesting because she is a single mother. While Ben seems excited to meet her kids in the upcoming episode, I think that he will be slightly off-put by having to instantly become a father if he chooses her, even if he does not express this feeling outright.

Although all of the top four girls are very sincere and compassionate toward each other, The Bachelor would not survive as a show without drama between the women, which was provided in this season mostly by Olivia. I and probably everyone else who watches The Bachelor hated Olivia because of how she acted around Ben versus how she acted around the other girls. She made a very good impression on both Ben and me in the first episode, but she soon revealed her true identity. She was extremely rude to the other girls when Ben wasn’t around, and was always confident that Ben felt closer to her than to anyone else. This prompted her to try and corner him as much as possible, stealing him from the other girls. My favorite moment from her time on the show was after Ben told the girls that someone very close to him had passed away. Instead of comforting him, Olivia started to talk to him about how hard it was for her to have to deal with her cankles. It was a huge relief when he left her on an island after telling her that he didn’t reciprocate her feelings of love.

There were also many other girls who worked to cause drama in this season, especially Lace, who I hate slightly less than Olivia only because Lace left the show earlier. Lace was possibly a bit insane, and would get angry with Ben for not giving her enough validation. Sadly, I didn’t get to fully appreciate when Lace left the show because she was not rejected, but left of her own accord, making it harder to be angry with her. This was pretty sad because one of the best parts of The Bachelor is watching the most horrible girls get rejected.

On the other hand, some of the departures are very bittersweet, because it’s sad to see the girls who you don’t dislike get hurt. This is going to get even harder as the season gets closer and closer to being over, because all of the girls are likeable people and have developed strong connections with Ben.

Because of this, I think that the actual concept of The Bachelor is pretty cruel and stupid. Most of the women involved are on a pointless quest for unrequited love, and watching them all despair over one man makes you pity them. It’s relatively easy to put aside this pity and enjoy the show almost like a sport, cheering for your favorite women and making predictions on who will win, making the show very exciting.

For this reason, I would advise everyone who is not watching The Bachelor this season to make sure to tune in next Monday and experience the thrilling drama for yourself.