It’s going to be a looong month until Desiree Hartsock’s Season 9 of The Bachelorette. We’re already stressing about all the vicarious break ups we’re going to have to go through when Des ditches a couple doz dudes and retreats to her marriage teepee. So, even though NBC’s Ready For Love totally tried to front on The Bachelor by saying their matchmaker-approved matches were matches matched in heaven... well, it got canceled. And honestly, we’re kind of sad about it.
But with every sad breakup comes a learning experience (i.e., don’t talk about your rogue eyebrow in earnest without expecting to be mocked), and we want to take this opportunity to talk about some of the clunky parts of Ready For Love that would have best been left on Executive Producer Eva Longoria’s inspiration closet floor.
6. The dates look AWFUL
Here’s the thing about The Bachelor: Sometimes, some of the dates don’t look amazing — like that time Sean Lowe had an entire season built around trying to crack the girls with snow, deserts, and goat milk. But usually there’s a hot tub portion of the evening for everyone, a party, an element of “we’re in this together, isn’t this fun!” But on Ready For Love, the dudes shepherd girls around on the WORST dates. They have nine girls, no host, and no promise of fun or distraction for the chicks who aren’t spending 1-on-1 time with the guys. Their group dates went like this: A concert where Tim Lopez, lead singer of The Plain White T’s (and one of the three guys who is ready for love) played his own songs while the girls watched; A house-building project in Compton with Ernesto, where the girls got almost zero facetime with him; A freaking mud run in the middle of nowhere followed by some awkward picnicking with Ben. And then afterward, they hung out without showering. It just looked awful. Say it with us, guys: Hard. Pass.
7. The host issue
Why would you get Giuliana and Bill Rancic, one of the “best couples ever,” as hosts and then barely use them at all? On the pre-filmed sections, Tim, Ben, and Ernesto are off on their own trying to host their own dates while also spending time with the girls. But on stage, the freaking matchmakers are in control. Besides handing a girl a pocket square for her snot or interjecting occasionally, leading the audience in “Awws” and occasionally appealing to the crowd for a cheer or real talk moment, they do nothing. NOTHING. If you’re going to show them as evidence of a great couple who’s been through a lot, USE THEM.
8. The guys
They seem great, but we don’t know these guys. They’re all super successful, have a sad/great story, and their moms think they’re cool. But that’s it. You’re really going to cast the lead singer of a semi-popular band without groupie-proofing the women who want his “heart”? A CEO of a hospital without checking the girls for gold-digger-ness? Okay. Good luck with that.
1. The chambers
We are creeped out by the chambers. This is how it works: the girls come up onto the stage in the four-sided containers, and are then on display to everyone except the bachelor. Then they stand there and have to say one line to lure the dude in. It’s always awkward, and seems to be a strange reference to The Love Connection, without any other similarities existing. And the chambers, guys. The chambers. Why?
2. The process
So, the three matchmakers go through thousands of entries, right? Then each one selects four girls. The girls have been prepped and primed and talked to and photographed and all sorts of things. They come out in the chambers, they say one line (“He’s a musician, ladies. Lyrics and words speak to him. Make your message sing.” Nope), and then three of the 12 painstakingly chosen girls GO HOME. Like, after ONE LINE. Whose time is wasted? Everyone’s. We never care about them, so their absence doesn’t matter, and losing them within a minute just makes it feel like a shallow process. What exactly did the guy not like about these women? Their voices? Their jobs? Their names? There’s hardly time to say anything but these basics, or a cheesy “motto,” so who knows what’s wrong. The guys have nothing invested in any of the ladies, so this minor introduction moment should be a gateway, not a closed door.
9. Everything else
If we missed anything, then that, too.
There’s a lot more we find objectionable about the show. It seems clunky, segmented, and lacks the focus on the guys and actual chemistry with the girls. Perhaps the most noticeable issue with the show is:
10. The lack of Chris Harrison, or his equivalent (as if there is one).
A host who seems approachable, easy to talk to, and who takes time to sit down with the guys and reflect on their feelings is necessary to make them seem like humans in charge of their own love destiny. There are no matchmakers in The Bachelor guys’ ears, telling them who to spend time with. Producers may influence the editing and selections in a few cases, but in the end, it’s a show about finding love in a group of girls whose motives aren’t so questionable. And that’s the kind of reality we’re interested in.
3. The garden
For those unfamiliar with the show (so, everyone except that one friend of yours), the ladies go on a group date. Some of them get chosen (by the matchmakers) to have alone time with the dude. Then, the ladies get lectured by the matchmakers onstage, and then the matchmakers select three women to be on the bottom. The three ladies stand in front of the dude (who finally emerges) who apparently has a “hard decision” to make about some girls who he doesn’t know at all (except for those two exes that showed up to win back their guys. Don’t ask.). He saves one of the three and then the other two descend with the guy in their chambers into “the garden.” The feed to the in-studio audience (oh, sorry, did we not mention the matchmakers lecture the ladies in front of a live studio audience?!) gets cut, and everyone lets out a collective “Darn.” Then, the guy stands in the garden for like three minutes, loses one girl, and then the other girl goes back up to the stage in the chamber. The audience and other girls either cheer or hiss at the big reveal. All we have to say is, it’s a good thing no one ever left Tierra alone with Sean and some other girl in an enclosed space. But what’s the point of this? WHAT IS THE POINT?!? We are genuinely curious. Oh, and matchpoint: IT IS LOCATED UNDERNEATH THE STAGE AND DECORATED WITH ROPE LIGHTS.
4. Too much of the matchmakers onscreen
It’s great that the matchmakers make these guys some matches, but that doesn’t mean we want them to be the stars of the show. The three matchmakers — the crazy-eyed chick, smarmy Brit, and the other one who never really made an impression on us — get more screen time than the guys who are ready for love. It’s true, because while the ladies perched on stools, and Bill and Giuliana stood off to the side with microphones, the matchmakers were given giant The Voice-rejected chairs and held court while the dudes stood backstage in soundproof rooms... Like, why are we there for counseling sessions in which the matchmakers school the chicks about what they did wrong? Oh yeah, for the built in, flashcard-cued "Ah ha moments" that we can all apply to our own lives. "You know, just because your special flower is off limits, doesn't mean your heart should be."
5. Too much matchmakerage in general
Seriously. We get it: you chose some pretty girls who may or may not click with the dudes, so back off a little. But no, they’re in the dude’s ears like NON-STOP, “I think you should spend time with this girl. She’s great,” the matchmakers get to say when they call the guys mid-date. Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that too: the matchmakers just sit and watch the girls on their group dates, and then call up the dudes’ cell phones and tell them who they get to spend more intimate time with. What about what the guys feel? Hard pass.