From Los Angeles Times entertainment journalist Kaufman, Bachelor Nation draws on interviews with producers and fans to present a behind-the-scenes look at the reality television phenomenon and explores the show's cultural influence and significance.
The Bachelor shows are basically a sugary-sweet confection of romance porn. They are to real romance what WWE wrestling is to the Olympics: an artificial world in which melodramatic theatrics bodyslams intellectual substance, and emotional manipulation eye-gouges sincerity ... Amy Kaufman is the perfect writer for Bachelor Nation. She’s charmingly open about her affection for the show, but also insightful about the harmful side-effects. And she’s diligent about pulling back the curtain to give us peeks at every aspect of the show, from the grueling selection process to what really happens in the Fantasy Suites. I can’t imagine any fan of the franchise not joyously devouring this book.
I prefer forensics, and so was enthralled by the excavations of Bachelor Nation, a zippy and dishy book whose true focus is the gaps between the actual, manufactured and represented behaviors and feelings on the show ... In addition to conversations with key onscreen participants and behind-the-scenes personnel, Kaufman gets access to some revealing primary-source documents ... Kaufman spends less fruitful time exploring the post-Bachelor ecosystem of offshoot series, Instagram ads and alumni charity events. By that point in the arc, everyone is complicit, playing the character he or she has been handed. But where Bachelor Nation shines brightest is in laying bare what it takes to get everyone in character in the first place.
Bachelor Nation is unauthorized (the writer proudly notes that she’s been 'banned' from Bachelor press events by ABC due to negative coverage), but it still manages to dig up entertaining tidbits about how the rose-scented sausage is made ... While some details are fun (producers were known to keep track of contestants’ menstrual cycles so the women could be interviewed, presumably, at their most vulnerable), many of the revelations won’t be too surprising for anyone who’s seen an episode of UnREAL. Along the way, Kaufman also takes detours to explore the psychology of Why We Watch, and examines the cottage industry of former contestants who land semilucrative Instagram endorsement deals.