Bachelor

Umm, Is Kelley Saying The Bachelor Is a Cult?

Because we would 100% agree

You guys, *so* much has happened this week in Bachelor Nation. ICYMI, Bachelorette alum Chad Johnson is reportedly moving to Las Vegas to start a career in the pornography industry (in this economy?!), Madison Prewett went in on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Off the Vine podcast and revealed that ex Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan started quarantining together on her birthday (of all days!) and, now, Kelley is maybe inadvertently comparing The Bachelor to a cult? Umm, it kind of sounds like it.

According to an Us Weekly source, after being not *so* happy with Pilot Pete’s behaviour on the show, Kelley—who’d initially met Peter at a wedding before going on to be a contestant on his season—is reportedly very happy with how he has changed during quarantine. “During the show, Kelley noticed Peter was different from what she had remembered when they first met in real life,” the source told Us Weekly. “Now he’s back to the person she first knew and that’s why she is hanging out with him again.”

While it’s really great that—unlike many people who go on reality TV—the experience didn’t change Peter for the worse afterwards (just apparently while he was deep into filming)…does anyone else get some weird deprogramming vibes from this? Like, does it not sound like The Bachelor is kind of like a cult? (We already know it has a cult-like following, because, guilty).

Hear me out.

Everyone looks the same

The first indicator that something sinister might be going on is the fact that everyone on this show kind of looks (and dresses) exactly the same. The franchise has long had an issue with its leads—especially the fact that they all (with the exception of season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay) continue to be hella white. You could literally morph all of the male leads faces into one and you wouldn’t notice any glaring difference. Which is an issue that still needs to be addressed (perhaps by doing what’s right and making Mike Johnson the next Bachelor?).

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And this similarity extends to the contestants too. Not only do many of the them go in to the show physically looking like each other, but they typically come out of it dressing like twins. Who can forget the infamous salmon jacket of The Bachelorette season 23? ICYMI, four of Hannah Brown’s suitors—among them the final two, Jed Wyatt and Tyler Cameron—rotated two identical salmon-coloured blazers among themselves throughout the season.

And I swear to god you could not tell several of them apart. For the longest time I thought it was the same person wearing it.

This is some The Stepford Wives BS—and it’s fishy AF.

The franchise is known for questionable behaviour

Not to mention the fact that the franchise is known for some questionable (and seriously manipulative) behaviour. By now, it’s a well known fact that the show’s producers have a hand in pretty much every aspect of the show; from manufacturing drama, to helping determine who some of the final contestants are, to creating story arcs that paint certain contestants as villains, there’s nothing they don’t handle.

And sometimes that includes legit *physically* confining people. In an April 7 episode of The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous podcast, Kelley claimed that the producers had locked her in a closet during filming to prevent her from talking to Peter, after she says she noticed that he was acting completely different towards her—something she thought was prompted by info producers were feeding him. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Can I speak freely? …They don’t let me see you. They locked me up in a closet for three hours last week, and they won’t let me see you,'” Kelley said of an unaired conversation with Peter during a one-on-one date. “I said, ‘You clearly know they push some people forward, and they don’t push others forward,’ and I was like, ‘You’ve been in my position before, what do you want me to do?'”

Read this next: OK Hannah Ann, Please Stop Dragging Peter Now

We knew the franchise would stop at nothing to get good TV, but physically confining people? Yeah, that’s not a good look. FWIW, Bachelor host Chris Harrison denies that this ever happened.

And it sounds like contestants go through deprogramming

And while Kelley hasn’t explicitly said anything about the franchise being a cult, it’s hard not to feel like the experience must be similar to leaving one. Does anyone else think that Peter quarantining—away from the franchise and anything to do with it minus his quarantine bud—and turning back into his old self sounds *eerily* like deprogramming (the process of changing a belief system or allegiance)?

To be clear, we recognize that a real cult is über dangerous, while this show is really just a guilty pleasure; but it can’t be overlooked that people who go on The Bachelor definitely undergo a lot of mental and psychological stress—and sometimes, even trauma, which extends past their time on the show.

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Which is just to say that it has a big impact on their lives.

Either way, we’re just glad Peter is reportedly back to his old ways. So, does this mean he’s going to hit up Hannah B post-quarantine?