Courtney is the best character in the history of “The Bachelor.”She’s also going to destroy the show.
A little background: Courtney is a 28-year-old model. She has made it to the Final Three of this season of “The Bachelor,” and is probably the favourite to win the heart of Ben, the vineyard-owning bachelor.
Courtney is a polarising figure because she peer-pressured Ben into skinny-dipping with her in Puerto Rico and may or may not have had sex with him. She’s also super mean to all the other girls in the house.
She’s the #1 reason to watch the show.
But here’s the problem: She approached the show with a genius strategy that she’s since executed to perfection. She proved that you can destroy the fantasy of the show with a little bit of cynicism and sex.
And it’s going to change everything.
At this point, no one believes the “The Bachelor” is real. We all know the arguments: No girl falls in love in six weeks. No girl likes a guy who has five other girlfriends. And no couple jumps out of a helicopter as a metaphor for “the leap” that they’re about to take.
Plus we have a substantial body of evidence — in the form of 20,000 US Weekly cover stories — that tells us the show is basically a vehicle for fame-whoring and tabloid-baiting. In fact, these peripheral stories of lies and sleaze that play out in the tabloids are as just as big a part of “The Bachelor” as what happens on screen.
But despite all that, the show itself is still as wholesome as can be. The false universe of show is totally unaffected by the sleaze surrounding it. Every guy is the doughiest piece of wine-making white bread ever. Every girl is the perky girl next door who has been passed over time and time again (for no good reason!). And the whole show is centered around a notion of cosmic romance that everyone watching knows to be false. “The Bachelor” is a fantasy romance show. It is not a reality show.
It’s still about inherently good people who are entitled to love.
This season, Courtney has used the show’s superficial naivete against it with a comprehensive and objectively brilliant strategy.
Put simply, Courtney played hard to get. But that doesn’t quite capture it.
In the real world, “playing hard to get” means being artificially coy as a manipulation tactic. But because of the strange norms of “The Bachelor” universe (where every girl has to be all gooey and madly in love with the guy on Day One), “playing hard to get” actually comes off as being authentic. So here was Courtney’s strategy for using the show’s norms against it:
Step 1: Say something like, “I just don’t know where we stand right now, you know?”
Step 2: Wait for him to say something like, “Oh no, I really like you. I really think we have a connection and I want to get to know you better.”
Step 3: Smile and kiss him.
Step 4: WIN THE SHOW.
SHE’S A FREAKING GENIUS.
Oh yeah, her strategy had two other parts:
- She shattered the confidence of the other girls by being mean and insanely cocky to them, to the point that they ran to Ben and complained — which is ALWAYS the kiss of death (surprise, surprise, Kacie B got the boot just one episode after she whined about Courtney being mean on a group date).
- She probably had sex with the bachelor in the middle of the season.
The second tactic is the more controversial one, but it makes total sense. If you have sex with the guy voluntarily before you have the mandatory coitus session during “overnight date” week, you put yourself miles ahead of the other girls. Whatever doubts he has about whether you’re there for “the right reasons” or whether you actually like him are erased. Plus he’ll feel obligated to find a reason to keep you around. It’s simple.
So, to sum it up, here’s the point: COURTNEY OBLITERATED THE UNIVERSE OF THE SHOW.
Everything about “The Bachelor” is naive, while everything about Courtney is cynical. She showed that cynicism is actually a winning strategy — not only because she got to the Final Three, but because she’s become the biggest and best thing about the show.
But the reason that “The Bachelor” has thrived for 15 seasons is precisely the fact that it refuses to give into the ugliness (er, reality?) that defines reality TV. “The Bachelor” has always maintained the fantasy. And that’s what has made it different and appealing.
Yet somehow the producers allowed Courtney to treat it like a reality show. And even though Courtney’s presence has made this season successful, future Courtney copycats will push the further and further away its winning formula of romance and naivete. The universe of the show will slowly but surely merge the tabloid version of the show, and what we think of as “The Bachelor” will cease to exist.
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