Why the Bachelor producers got it wrong in choosing the latest Bachelor

Nice guy, bad choice

The new Bachelor has been announced. His name is Clayton and I’m not the only one disappointed by the choice. In fact, on the After the Final Rose show for Bachelorette, Michelle, the host — Kaytlin — sat Clayton down and read aloud some of the tweets showing how people were feeling about him.

I’m sure the intention was to do something like they do on the late-night TV shows, in which the subject of the nasty tweets gets a chance to make a witty rebuff to the insult, showing both how clever they are and what a good sport, too. Unfortunately, in Clayton’s case, the bit only made things worse.

The tweets were surprisingly vicious — indicating a little too obviously how unhappy people were with Clayton as the new choice for the Bachelor. As each one came up on the screen, Clayton had nothing to say, other than at the end admitting that they were mild, compared to some of the tweets he’d seen. Ouch.

He blew the opportunity to show how funny, charming and self-deprecating he could be; to show how he was in on the joke. Instead, his lack of response just cemented America’s impression that he’s not that interesting. As is often the case with this franchise, the producers had a bad idea, and it backfired.

He didn’t earn his spot

Why are so many people unhappy with Clayton as the choice for the new Bachelor? There are a few reasons. Clayton wasn’t in the top four, which is where most of the recent Bachelors have come from. He wasn’t even in the top six. He didn’t earn the privilege of being the next Bachelor and the audience is unhappy about the unfairness of the situation.

And then there’s who Clayton is. He seems like a nice enough guy, but the choice of another dull, hunky white guy from the Midwest feels really retrogressive. The producers have back-slid big-time.

The top four of Michelle’s season happened to be four men of colour, and if the producers had been forward-thinking, they would have chosen Rodney or Brandon as the next Bachelor; even Olu, who was delightful and in the top six. Instead, they selected someone as lily-white and inoffensive as possible, but by choosing the seemingly least offensive candidate, the producers have caused maximum offense. No wonder Bachelor Nation is up in arms.

The Bachelor franchise has been mired in controversy lately, but the producers have made yet another bad decision by choosing a new Bachelor who bothers the viewer for so many reasons. He’s not from the top four; he’s another big blah white guy; he’s no rocket scientist, and he’s got no edge. I, for one, won’t be watching the next season of the show. No offense to the guy, but I can’t see myself getting invested in Clayton’s story.

The Bachelor producers aren’t serious about diversity

The producers demonstrated, in picking Clayton, that they weren’t serious about their promise to embrace diversity in the franchise. They should have chosen one of the several interesting and attractive men of colour who were part of the final six for the new Bachelor but they copped out, and they got it dead wrong.

Bachelor Nation got it right when they panned Clayton as the choice for the new Bachelor. Unfortunately, it’s too late to change as the season has already been filmed. There is so much other great stuff on TV these days that I won’t feel bad missing the upcoming season of the Bachelor.

As a psychiatrist, it can be interesting to observe the interpersonal dynamics between the contestants — but sometimes it’s too toxic and I just fast-forward through those scenes. It’s always intriguing to watch how the star decides who to keep around and who to send home each week.

I also enjoy exploring how the premise of setting up multiple suitors for one person creates an immediate, false idealization of the Bachelor/Bachelorette that leads to instant infatuations but just as quickly breaks down, often leading to broken engagements after the show is over. This is great fodder for my blogging.

The star should be relatable, not forgettable

The most important aspect of the franchise is that the star be relatable — someone that people can root for; be infatuated with; identify with. Unfortunately, in choosing Clayton, the producers found someone that most of Bachelor Nation can do none of these things with. He is so bland that he risks being utterly unmemorable.

As I said before, Clayton seems like a perfectly nice man, but he’s not the right choice for the Bachelor in this day and age. If they had chosen Rodney, a tremendously charming but non-traditionally attractive person of colour, this article would be celebrating the brilliance of the Bachelor producers. Instead, it’s the same-old, same-old. So disappointing.

How many fans will be choosing not to watch this season?

I wonder how many other viewers will be passing on this season of the Bachelor. Maybe viewers will be staying away in droves. That would hit the producers where it matters most to them — in their wallets, and maybe boycotting the show is the only way to get the producers motivated to make better choices, moving forward.

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