Credit: ABC

Just like a fine wine (or that box of Franzia we found under our grandma’s deck), The Bachelor has only gotten better with age. And it’s not just the fact that we, ourselves, have grown into the mature, well-heeled versions of ourselves over the 11 years the show has been on. It’s so, so much more. But we do need to pause for a moment and thank Chris Harrison for being in our lives longer than any man before him. Thanks, buddy, it’s been real.

Credit: ABC; WENN

So, how has the show changed since the first time we saw a dude kiss more than one girl in the same room without a catfight breaking out? Let us count the ways.

1. Everyone Is Way Hotter Now
Obviously, there are exceptions — like Andrew Firestone’s face — but even the Season 4 Bachelor mentioned the aesthetic changes over the season. “I think people identified with me because I wasn’t ripped and muscular like a TV star. I was the guy walking into your coffee shop,” the investments manager told People Magazine’s Bachelor-centric print mag. For those of you scrolling through your mental Rolodex, we only have two words for you: Bob Guiney. Just imagine a pool party with the Season 3 Bachelor and the last four guys — Sean Lowe, Ben Flajnik, Brad Womack, and Jake Pavelka. We rest our case.

2. The Dates Have Changed a Ton
“When I was the Bachelor, we did things you would actually do on a date, like play tennis,” Andrew Firestone continues. What are you saying, dude, you don’t often climb around on the sides of glass buildings on a first date? You didn’t propose to your girl after rejecting another on a mountain in Switzerland? We’re pretty sure you’re alone there. And speaking of which...

3. The Travel Locations Are WAY More Exotic
South Africa, Antigua, Tahiti, Curacao, Munich, Madeira... Arizona. Sure, Desiree Hartsock is taking her boys to Atlantic City, and Sean Lowe took the ladies to Montana, but those are just starter locations these days. “Every season they go to these truly exotic locations, and the ‘exotic’ locations for me were Seattle, Mexico, and Arizona,” Season 1 Bachelorette Trista Sutter says of the scenery upgrade. To which we say, TRUE THAT.

Credit: Instagram Photo: Selma Alameri, Jef Holm, and Diana Williardson in Salt Lake City on March 23, 2013

4. Everyone Is BFFL
While Andrew Firestone, Aaron Buerge, and Alex Michel have disappeared off into obscurity, only Trista remains more relevant than relic. But with each season adding 25 newbies into our living rooms, the Bachelor Nation frat/sorority party gets bigger and bigger. Twitter feeds show old cast members welcoming newcomers into the fold, and ABC-sponsored events like cruises, parties, and fundraisers create space for friendships and relationships to form. Peyton Wright and Chris Lambton thank you...

Credit: Ralph Freso/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney

5. There’s Always a Proposal
As we meet the new Bachelor or Bachelorette each season, people always ask the same question: Will there be a proposal in the end? The short answer is yes. The last four Bachelorettes have gotten an engagement ring, and the last six Bachelors have given em. And while the marriage rate hasn’t gone up, the promise rings, plane tickets, and indecisiveness have all gone out with the ages.

Bonus: They're SO Green!
As in, they recycle cast members. Now contestants have reason to make a good impression not just on the rose-doling dude or lady, but also on America. Whereas early seasons featured unknowns, the past several have had a lead who was first found on a previous season.

Is the show better these days, or not so much? Weigh in with your nostalgia or joy to the new world below.

Source: People Magazine, Print Edition