“The Bachelor” franchise is well-known for drama, tears, beautiful dresses, destination locations and, sometimes, love. The weekly holiday, Bachelor Monday, helps lessen the stress of beginning a new week, and provides an outlet for getting out anxieties carried over from the “Sunday Scaries.” However, sinking into the couch and screaming profanities at the contestants on one’s screen is not a year-round option. Below are reality TV shows that satisfy the same cravings as “The Bachelor.”
“90 Day Fiancé” franchise
Talk about a long-distance relationship. TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé" consists of enough content to keep viewers entertained for weeks on end, and features couples undergoing the K-1 Non-Immigrant Fiancé Visa process.
Love transcends national borders, and is started through sliding into DMs on social media in this show focused on U.S. citizens in relationships with individuals from other countries. Similar to “The Bachelor,” “90 Day Fiancé” speeds up the process of engagement and marriage, as couples are given three months to wed once their fiancé steps onto U.S. soil. Spinoffs of the original platform include “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days” and “90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way.” All versions of the show are enticing and demonstrate the complications of maintaining love across seas.
Although the U.S. finally jumped on the “Love Island” bandwagon in 2019, the original series, created in the U.K., reigns far superior. “Love Island” places attractive singles into a luxury villa, featuring a cast typically composed of fitness instructors and Instagram models. The main goal is finding romance. However, the grand prize of £50,000 easily incentivizes those not feeling the love to still couple up and strategize their selections. Connections are tested as new singles arrive to the villas, and old favorites are sent home. Each week's twists and turns lead to re-coupling, as audience input through online voting lands some couples in danger of being sent home, with their fellow contestants ultimately voting for who stays. “Love Island” requires contestants to not only manage their relationships with each other, but their relationships with viewers as well. "Love Island" is available on Hulu and live TV.
“Are You the One?”
“Are You the One” first aired in 2014, and uses modern technology to find statistically ideal pairs between contestants on the show. Perfect matches are determined through an algorithm that quantifies compatibility, with individuals undergoing a series of questioning and tests prior to entering the house. These results are hidden from contestants, who must find their scientifically selected soulmate in the crowd.
If all couples match the computer’s pairings, the cast wins a cash prize, however, a full set of matches is required to win.
MTV made major strides for representation of all forms of love this past summer during Season 8, airing the first dating show to feature a full cast of individuals who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Although most seasons focus on heterosexual relationships, Season 8 challenged contestants to find their perfect match among all gender identities, making the process of finding perfect matches more difficult. "Are You the One?" can be watched on YouTubeTV and Amazon Prime.
“Love Is Blind”
Psychology students looking to apply their classroom learnings to daily life should look no further than “Love Is Blind.” Netflix released its first season of “Love Is Blind” online Feb. 13, attempting to combine all the drama of a reality dating show with the scientific appeal of a case study.
Contestants on this show are given 10 days to find their lifelong partners, and must accept a proposal from someone without ever seeing them in order to move forward in the process.
Dates are defined as hourlong conversations, with each member of the couple sitting in pods on opposing sides of a shared wall. Those that fail to fall in love in fewer than two weeks are sent home, again forced to scroll through dating apps or hit the single-persons' bar scene.
The show aims to prove the theory that love boils down to connections that transcend the physical elements of a relationship, effectively putting couples in a pressure cooker and allowing viewers to see if they reach golden, flaky perfection or burn and dry out.