Bachelor

The Bachelor Franchise Is No Longer about Real People Finding Love

It's pretty much a dating app for past contestants' BFFs

Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette hasn’t even started filming, but I’m already tired. What should be a pretty groundbreaking season by Bach standards—with the franchise featuring its oldest lead yet, which many have hoped will lead to more maturity all around and contestants who are *actually* there for the “right reasons”—is turning out to be the same old shtick (i.e. about fame and getting some sort of Revolve sponcon).

On March 11, ABC revealed the 30 men who will be vying for Clare’s heart on season 16 of The Bachelorette, and among the bevy of hunky dudes is one Matt James. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it should; at least if you’re one of The Bachelorette season 15 contestant Tyler Cameron’s 2.1 million Instagram followers. Because the 28-year-old contestant from New York is Tyler’s roommate and a constant feature on his Instagram page, where the super hot duo are pictured running, decorating their chic Manhattan apartment and eating tons of cookies. (It’s a thing).

Which is great for them, but not really for Bach Nation; because Matt isn’t the only one of Tyler’s BFFs to be cast on the upcoming season. Alongside the New Yorker, 25-year-old JP will *also* be vying for Clare’s heart (and that much coveted Diff Eyewear collab). He’s another one of Tyler’s friends, and this is getting eerie.

To be clear, this isn’t the first time the friends of former Bach contestants have appeared on seasons of the franchise. In fact, the most recent Bachelor winner (if you can call briefly getting engaged to the hot mess that is Pilot Peter and then having a badass moment on live TV winning) Hannah Ann is really good friends with season 23 Bachelor and season 6 Bachelor in Paradise contestant Hannah Godwin.

Speaking about Matt’s casting with Popsugar, host Chris Harrison said: “This does get a little incestuous at times. We got Hannah Ann because of Hannah G. We’re gonna take a break from Laurens and Hannahs for a while. We often hear about people from our own family. They’ll say, ‘Hey, I have a great guy.'”

And, you guys, I hate this. Because, honestly, with all these friends being cast on the franchise and its offshoots, it’s becoming clearer than ever that the show isn’t actually about real people finding love, but rather just a seriously nepotistic dating app. And that sucks.

It skews the whole concept of the show

High on the list of reasons why this continuous BFF casting feels so *off* to me is the fact that it skews the whole concept of the show, or at least what the show was originally intended to be: a chance for IRL guys and gals to find true love all within a limited time frame. IMO, the Bach franchise was at its best in the beginning. And by beginning I don’t mean Trista and Ryan, although they were great, but the era of Ali Fedowtskys and Sean Lowes; when production quality was just a *tad* grainier and every contestant wasn’t on Instagram, because Instagram—let alone TikTok—was barely a thing. Those were the good old days, when you actually felt like you could see people like yourself (within reason, let’s be honest) on-screen looking for the partner of their dreams, and sometimes, actually finding them.

Was it always easy? Definitely not. But was it realistic? Kind of. Definitely more realistic than it has become, with all the producer involvement and highly suggestive editing as of late. (Looking at you, Chris Harrison!)

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And while in *theory* people like Matt and Hannah Ann are actually real people, it just seems kind of inauthentic to have semi-famous friends of the now-famous former contestants on the show. Because we *know* the reason why Matt is on the show. Maybe it’s actually for love (JK), but mostly it’s probably because the producers saw another chance to tangentially keep Tyler C linked to the show and profit off the following Matt and Tyler already have based around their friendship.

(Also, he’s hot.)

Not to mention the fact that they don’t even seem compatible

It truly doesn’t seem like Matt and Clare would even be that compatible. Clare has stated that she is looking for a man—as in someone mature and stable—and something tells me that a 28-year-old who lives with his BFF is no match for an established businesswoman like Clare. (Just look to season 8 Bachelorette Emily Maynard and her then-fiancée Jeff Holmes for how this would go.)

Read this next: Clare Crawley Is Our New Bachelorette!

Which isn’t to say that a 28-year-old wouldn’t want to date a 38-year-old, or shouldn’t (or vice versa); I just find it EXTREMELY difficult to believe that someone who looks like *this* is hurting for love.

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Venus & Serena. #Myler

A post shared by Tyler Cameron (@tylerjcameron3) on

But I guess you never know.

It just honestly makes me feel bitter

While the casting of Bach alum BFFs is far from the most egregious thing the franchise has done over the past 37 season (remember when they kept ultra villain Bentley on the show?!); if anything, maybe it just makes me feel so bitter because, to me, it’s emblematic of just how far the reality TV series has fallen; devolving from a show about finding love to something based around petty in-fighting between women, allowing former male contestants to hook up with celebs and featuring a slew of models who are intent on landing contracts and extra Insta followers after they’re kicked off. In a word, just super inauthentic.

Read this next: Did Bachelor Peter Ruin His Whole Dang Season?

So good luck, Matt and JP. Wishing you both all the best; but I swear to God if Matt’s job title isn’t “Tyler C’s Best Friend”…then what was this all even for?

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