Suzannah Showler wrote a book about why the world loves The Bachelor
At 22 seasons strong, and several spin-offs, The Bachelor/Bachelorette is one of America's most successful — and scoffed at — reality shows. Poet and fan Suzannah Showler investigates why the game show, and its love story formula, makes for compelling television in her funny, insightful new book Most Dramatic Ever.
Below, Showler talks about the process of writing Most Dramatic Ever.
"I went through a period of time before writing the book where I was going back and watching whole seasons of The Bachelor at once. The experience of seeing it all in one go, over and over again, contextualized my view of the world. Everything started to look like The Bachelor. It seemed like an infinitely minable text.
"While I was thoroughly immersed in the book, the 2005 footage of Donald Trump with Billy Bush was released. The first thing I thought when I saw that footage was, 'This looks exactly like a limo exit. This looks exactly like the part of The Bachelor where the men are all in the limo with dark windows and they're looking at a pretty woman and talking about what she looks like. It just looked identical to me. What was happening in the world around me was definitely impacting how I wrote the book."
Writing as escape
"I found writing the book very rewarding. It gave me something concrete to think about and wrestle with during a time when a lot of problems in the world felt overwhelming. There was something about spending time in a space where the real and the unreal interact in a particular way that I found pleasurable, at a moment when the conjunctions of reality and unreality started to feel very dangerous politically."
Unreal, but oh so real
"Throughout the process, I was surprised by how profound the show can be. Profound is maybe an exaggeration, but The Bachelor can clear away a lot of what seems complicated about the human condition and show you something very simple — which is the idea of desiring companionship and love. And people are very hopeful. Those very simple, elemental things felt very real and very present, in a way that was unexpected."
"I like to write before anything else has sort of touched my brain or my eyes, so I prefer to write in the dark. I light a bunch of candles. I like to shuffle around on my own. My writing day starts very early, basically what other people would consider the middle of the night. I'm big on coffee — that sort of sensual pleasure of having something hot in the dark when you're cold. I write for a few hours before I before I check my email or read the news or listen to a podcast. I use all kinds of apps to keep the Internet away from me."
Suzannah Showler's comments have been edited and condensed.