At the beginning of this summer, we thought we would lose Bachelor in Paradise for at least the season, if not forever. Like many other viewers, when I saw the show was coming back against all odds and perhaps against better judgment, I jumped for joy. But now that BiP is back, I can’t help but feel like this season is a lackluster shadow of seasons past. This is the show we fought for? On top of that, ABC has just announced Arie Jr. as their next Bachelor, which is… fine, I guess. I don’t have a problem with Arie, but is a contestant from five years ago even relevant anymore? The Bachelor franchise is doing us wrong, people, and we deserve better.
Thankfully, better is coming on September 20th in the form of a fresh new season of MTV’s superior dating show Are You the One. Yes, that’s right. I said it. Are You the One is far better than Bachelor in Paradise. Actually, it’s the best dating reality show on television, and I’m here to tell you why. If you’re not already watching this gem on the show, you need to get on board now. What follows are my reasons you should forget about this boring Bachelor content and instead get hype for Are You the One!
1. It's Only An Hour A Week
The two hour Bachelor/Bachelorette episodes are usually fine. Sometimes they feel like they drag on, but I can for the most part hang with the longer episodes; however, these 4 hours a week of BiP have been torturous. By the second hour of the second night, I feel a serious BiP overdose coming on. Leave them wanting more, ABC! Are You the One is one hour of tight, well-formatted drama, and let me tell you, that hour just flies by every week.
2. Boring Couples Get Exiled
This is such a beautiful and smart move on Are You the One's part. One of the main problems with The Bachelor and all of its incarnations is that as people couple up and get closer, all the fun stuff you love about the show becomes less of the focus. Are You the One solves this with the Truth Booth followed by a honeymoon suite. If two people are getting super close and couple-y, the rest of the group can vote them into the Truth Booth. If they’re a match, they’re whisked off to a honeymoon suite, which is like forever overnight dates, and we never have to look at them again. If they’re not a match, the drama continues; they are forced to divide up and find their true match. Things get intense. It’s amazing.
3. It's Less Clique-y
I cannot even with Scallop-Fingers-gate this season on BiP; it’s the most childish and petty thing I’ve ever seen. And I watch a lot of reality television. Of course, being that it’s an MTV show, Are You the One has plenty of childish and petty moments on it as well, but it all feels less like a deleted scene from Mean Girls than this stupid Scallop Fingers stuff we’ve been forced to watch on Bachelor in Paradise.
Here’s the problem with The Bachelor. Within the franchise, there are A-list contestants, the ones who make it to the top five and/or get good edits where their strength is highlighted through some personal tragedy they’ve had to overcome. These A-listers seem to flock together and mock the B, C, and D-list contestants, especially on Bachelor in Paradise.
On Are You the One? because there are no eliminations and people swap partners left and right, everyone is basically on equal footing. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like Gio, but he clearly deserved all of the ridicule he received for being an awful human being.
4. It Doesn't Make Fun of Its Contestants
BiP especially enjoys making fun of contestants on the show. Think Claire crying to a raccoon when we all know she was actually talking to a producer. Or how they made a “Cry Count” graphic for Ashley I. on her second season. When the contestants are in on the joke, it’s all well and good, but it often seems like they’re not entirely in on the way they’re being edited. Of course editing plays a major role in any reality television show, but Are You the One is a lot less heavy handed with the editing. If you’re laughing at a contestant on Are You the One it’s because of something they said or did, not because of some way editing has made them look stupid.
5. There's a Fucking Ceremony at the End of Every Episode
I don’t feel like I even need to explain this. The Bachelor is getting ridiculous with all of its “To Be Continued” endings. To a certain extent, viewers like a formula to their reality TV. We want rose ceremonies at the end of every episode please. So big props to Are You the One for actually including a match up ceremony at the end of every episode. I salute you, MTV. Keep up the good work.
6. There's A Logic Game Involved
So if you’re still unfamiliar with the format of Are You the One, it goes a little something like this. Twenty to twenty-two singles are put together. Each one of them has a perfect match in the mix, but they don’t know who that perfect match is. At the end of the episode, there is a match up ceremony where they have to guess who their perfect match is, and a number of beams light up to indicate how many they get right. If they can get all of the matches after ten ceremonies, they win money. If they don’t get every match, they don’t get anything.
It’s fun to play along and try to figure out who is matched up with whom as they get more clues every week. There’s even a website called Are You the One? Math where they keep track of who has been matched up and who could potentially be the correct matches for each other. It makes the show more fun when you can play along at home.
7. Location, Location, Location
The locations Are You the One chooses to film in are pretty sick. Most seasons have taken place in Hawaii. Recently, they filmed the first season of Are You the One: Second Chances in Australia. This upcoming season takes place in New Orleans, which might seem less exotic to some, but as someone who considers herself a New Orleans girl, I’m pretty amped about this.
8. The Dates Aren't Boring
Let’s be honest. The Bachelor dates can be pretty boring, especially towards the end. In true MTV fashion, for couples to get a date on Are You the One, the decision isn’t left up to chance. Contestants have to win a competition to win a date. The ones who are on the date can then be voted into the Truth Booth. All of this adds a lot more intrigue to the whole dating process.
9. It's Much More Diverse
We all know The Bachelor has a race problem. After what feels like a bajillion seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, the franchise patted itself profusely on the back for finally casting the fabulous Rachel Lindsay, a bachelorette of color. Even so, the majority of Rachel’s Asian contestants were eliminated in the first rose ceremony, and the now-infamous racist Lee was pitted against many of the Black contestants for drama. Not cool, guys. Historically, MTV reality tv shows have less of an issue with diversity than other television networks. Are You the One showcases contestants of many races, and they aren’t quickly eliminated like the token people of color on shows like The Bachelor.
10. It's Not Puritanical, and It Doesn't Pretend to Be
The Bachelor has no idea what show it is. It likes to advertise itself as salacious and sexy, but it hardly ever delivers on this promise. Think back to Chris Soules’ season when they teased Ashley I. sneaking into his tent late at night. That turned out to be nothing. And when something actually happens, like when Kaitlyn Bristowe dared to sleep with Nick Viall before the show-sanctioned overnight date, the show and its viewers slut-shamed her. But Are You the One will have none of this double standard; the show knows what it is, and it leans into it. Hard. They even have a special room set aside called “The Boom Boom Room,” and they very openly show people going in there to hook up, as early as night one. Judgment is never passed on these people simply for wanting to hook up--unless, that is, you’re a confirmed no-match. Then when you continue hook up with that person, you’re messing with everyone’s chances to win money… and they will shame you for messing with their money. This is understandable.
Basically, Are You the One is reality television at its best. Because I’m complete trash for anything reality dating or reality competition-related, of course I will continue to watch The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise. And oh my gosh, I am so excited for whatever The Bachelor: Winter Games ends up being all about. But whenever I hear that my Bach-fan friends are skipping out on Are You The One, I’m saddened and disappointed. I urge everyone to check out the new season of Are You the One with me, starting on September 20 on MTV. I can't wait to watch.
About the Blog
The authors of this blog are four women with opinions about pop culture. That's all you really need to know.