The Scheming Men Of ‘Bachelor Pad’
11:00 am, August 28th | by Sarah Devlin
I’m something of a “Bachelor” franchise historian – I watch “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and the summer abomination that is “Bachelor Pad.” While all three shows are demonstrably bad for feminism, I find the latter to be the most interesting. There’s a particular phenomenon on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” that we’ll call “Over/Under-commitment Syndrome.” On the first episode of “The Bachelor” a large number of the women have already expressed their desire to marry the eponymous single dude/introduce him to their out of wedlock children/wear his skin as a suit. Comparatively, on the final episode of “The Bachelorette,” at least one of the dudes is still hedging his bets about marriage, saying things like “I mean, I don’t know if I’m ready to go on this journey yet.”
The overall effect of this is that, although the lady on “The Bachelorette” is ostensibly in control, it’s actually the final dudes who end up choosing her. And on “The Bachelor,” your typical dating game comes to resemble something more like “The Hunger Games.” This does very little to make the ladies look good on either show.
So imagine my delight when we get “Bachelor Pad,” a show that features past contestants from the Bachelor/ette franchises competing in couples to win $250,000. Although the women do their share of scheming, it is usually the men who, with their inept attempts at manipulation, temper tantrums, and general drunken loutishness, come off way worse than the ladies. ABC is evening the playing field and I am into it. Take last night’s episode, for example:
Chris Bukowski did not come off disastrously on last night’s episode, a notable departure given that he has spent this season leading on two ladies while coupling up with a third. He may have “found love” with his new partner Sarah (as much as one can on this show) but it hardly matters. Drowning out his voice over about being “heartbroken” by the franchise’s most recent Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, were the simultaneous eye rolls of all ABC viewers everywhere. Laaaaame.
Kalon McMahon, who left in disgrace on Maynard’s season after referring to her young daughter as “baggage,” has been almost entirely redeemed by his relationship Lindzi Cox, a reject from the most recent season of “The Bachelor.” If this wasn’t “Bachelor Pad” the narrative of their relationship would probably be poor Lindzi getting her heart broken by a master manipulator. As it stands, Kalon spent the entire episode trying to manipulate other contestants in order to protect his lady love, and she didn’t even have to get her hands dirty.
Finally, there is the last of the three great “Bachelor Pad” characters, Ed Swiderski, who has spent at least 60% of his time on camera drinking champagne in the pool. We found out this week that he broke up with a girl right before he came on the show, and has been trying to mend his broken heart alternately through getting blackout drunk and carrying various day contestants out of the pool and into his bunk bed. Suddenly his overgrown frat boy antics (the man is in his 30s) seem both ridiculous and vaguely tragic.
Women are embarrassed their fair share on “Bachelor Pad” too, but it’s the men whose antics end up being the most memorable, the men who spend the vast majority of their time scheming, and the men who come off looking like total jerks. In a franchise that is so often unfavorable to the ladies who participate in it, it’s a welcome departure.