Some fans are upset that our favorite reality TV dating show keeps recycling Bachelors and Bachelorettes — and the rumor that Roberto Martinez will be the Season 17 Bachelor, after his failed engagement to Ali Fedotowsky on The Bachelorette Season 6 isn't helping.
Chris Harrison himself has said he’d like to “start over” and return to casting new faces, as the show did in its roots. However, Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss has said he can’t imagine they would ever return to casting fresh faces since they already have enough “new blood” by design. “People are invested in these characters, they are who they are tuning in for,” Fleiss told Entertainment Weekly last year. “We have one returning character with 25 or 30 new faces. I don’t think we need new blood across the board.”
If we have to pick a side — we’re with Fleiss. Here are a few reasons why “recycled” contestants are better than “fresh faces.”
1. Fresh faces have the worst track record
The only rose-givers who have ever found lasting love on the show have been the “recycled” ones — Trista Rehn Sutter, who returned from The Bachelor Season 1; Jason Mesnick, who was on The Bachelorette Season 4; and the two current newest leads, Ashley Hebert from The Bachelor Season 15 and Ben Flajnik from The Bachelorette Season 7. It’s too early to say if Ashley and Ben’s relationships will go the way of Trista or Ali, but they are in the win column at this point. On the other hand, 11 out of 11 “fresh face” Bachelors have failed to get to the altar. They finally stopped the fresh face trend after Season 11’s Brad Womack failed to find love, and then Season 12’s Matt Grant picked Shayne Lamas — who later accused him of being gay. All eight Bachelorettes have been “recycled” and so far there’s a two out of seven success story. That’s a lot better than The Bachelor’s unrecycled success rate.
2. Fresh faces are dazed and confused
Probably the biggest reason for the bum track record is that newbies have no understanding of “the process.” Maybe it just sounded fun to them — how hard can it be to date 25 girls, right? Well, not only are you dating 25 girls at once, you have the cameras to deal with, the 3 a.m. rose ceremonies, constant interviews, the traveling, the “villains” there for the “wrong reasons,” the manipulated drama.... Dating has never been so exhausting or overwhelming — and that’s just while you’re taping! Once the show starts airing, you see your edit, and then the tabloid stories come out. That stress and scrutiny have killed many a couple — but if you’ve been through it all before you know the drill and can better balance the TV experience with the real experience of actually meeting someone and dating them on camera.
3. A lot of the fresh faces were boring
Which people do we get to know best on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette? The contestants. It’s their show, whereas we don’t really learn as much new about The Bachelor/ettes. In fact, we know them well enough that we can get annoyed with the rose-givers for their decisions and “lack of personality” because the show isn’t really set up to show them off as much as the contestants. Despite the name, it’s the contestants’ show.
4. Everyone loves an underdog
Most of the time, the leads are runners-up or other contestants rejected before the final rose ceremony. We see them put themselves out there and get rejected — and we feel sorry for them. How can we not? Usually when someone beloved is rejected, fans say The Bachelor/ette was out of their mind to get rid of this person, that they’d be an amazing boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. You want to see them succeed and follow their story until it finds a happy ending. Lately that has extended to the “winners” of the seasons — like Emily Maynard and Roberto Martinez, who found love on the show but lost it afterward.
5. There are already 25 fresh faces each season
This was Fleiss’ point and it’s true — each season gives us 25 (and sometimes more) new folks, so it’s comforting in a way to at least have one returning face to anchor the season. Emily was a pretty obvious choice to bring back as The Bachelorette because she’s gorgeous and has such an engaging, emotional backstory. Roberto is handsome and reserved in a similar way, but if he is The Bachelor it’s possible we’ll be able to see his West Virginia hood rat side, too. Recycled leads can occasionally surprise us with a new side of themselves, showing growth and change. We haven’t always agreed with the casting choices the show has made when it comes to The Bachelor/ette, but we’re not always right about the end result either. We weren’t thrilled when Ashley Hebert got the Season 7 gig, but look at her and JP Rosenbaum now! It took a long time to get to the Team Cupcake love story, but it was worth it. Sometimes you do just have to trust “the process” and let it play out.
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