Credit: Olivia Nelson | Mustang News

Grabbing glasses of rose and colorful bingo cards, 75 fans flooded into SLO Brew Rock eager for a new season of drama and romance. Monday nights at 8 p.m., the venue switches its TV screens to the show that has captivated viewers for almost two decades. This is just one way San Luis Obispo residents can watch “The Bachelor.”

Season 24 of ABC’s “The Bachelor” kicked off in early January with a handful of pilot puns and windmill references, as bachelor and Delta Airlines Pilot Peter Weber began his journey to find love in the Los Angeles Bachelor mansion. Every Monday night, super-fans gather in homes, residence halls, sorority houses, bars and just about any place else with a television to bond over “The Bachelor.” 

SLO Brew Rock Beertender Andrew Lawrence said the local bar wanted to host a mega group viewing of “The Bachelor,” in lieu of a normally slow Monday night. The viewing party event not only increases business, Lawrence said, but also provides a fun space for people to watch the show with friends, drinks, food and games. 

Anthropology and geography senior Bridget Parry and her roommates saw the SLO Brew Rock “Roses and Rosé” event on Facebook and decided to switch up their Monday night routine.

It’s a really fun atmosphere, and they have deals with food and everything, so it makes it a little more enticing,” Parry said. “Hanging out with everyone [is fun] when everyone reacts and is all in it together.” 

Parry said she currently thinks Weber this season’s bachelor is not meeting her expectations.

“Peter… is interesting,” Parry said. She said she would have rather seen Mike Johnson, who appeared on the last season of “The Bachelorette,” as this season’s bachelor. 

Some people, such as English senior Lauren Turner, prefer a smaller viewing party setting. Turner hosts a viewing party every Monday night at her home with about 10 close friends, both men and women.

“I think it’s kind of an absurd show,” Turner said. “There are a lot of humorous elements that aren’t always necessarily supposed to be humorous. But, I think it’s more fun to watch with people.”

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Video by Graciella Bragg

Turner said she and her friends make mimosas and laugh at the onscreen drama, mishaps, awkward moments and rose ceremonies. In the season’s beginning, they especially enjoyed watching a bottle of champagne explode in contestant Kelsey Weier’s face. One of Turner’s  guests is computer engineering senior Dylan Carr, who just started watching “The Bachelor” this season. Carr said he “lost his Bachelor virginity” at her viewing party.

Beyond watching the show, business administration and engineering management graduate student Kyle Crooks took his Bachelor experience a step further and applied to “The Bachelorette” once before, but said he never heard back. If he submitted a video and attended the live auditions, he said he would have had a better shot. Crooks also said he is paying more attention to the women this season because he plans to apply for the next season of “The Bachelorette,” depending on who Weber chooses. 

“I’m really hoping Hannah Ann doesn’t win this time – that way she can be the Bachelorette,” Crooks said.

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Assistant communication studies professor Anuraj Dhillon said she does not consider herself an expert on the “The Bachelor,” but she does discuss theories regarding reality television, including “The Bachelor,” in the Interpersonal Communication Literature course she teaches.

Dhillon compared the setting of “The Bachelor” to group dating that has taken place in history, similar to the dating of princes and princesses. In Indian history, Dhillon said princesses would choose from a group of eligible bachelors for themselves. This is where she said she thinks the idea and the basics of “The Bachelor” comes from. But the motive is most likely different on the show.

“Personally, I would think it’s the motivation of being on a reality TV show, rather than finding a partner,” Dhillon said. 

Dhillon discusses excitation-transfer theory in the Interpersonal Communication Literature course, which is when people tend to mistake feelings of fear and arousal for feelings of attraction toward somebody. This is why she said there are so many adventurous situations on the show, such as when Weber and contestant Victoria Fuller flew into the air in a sling-shot ride on an amusement park date. The fear and arousal they endured, according to Dhillon, can lead to a false sense of increased attraction to one another.

The warm and cozy environmental features the producers create, such as one-on-one date dinners and rose ceremony cocktail parties, also heighten a false sense of love, Dhillon said.

Other classic theories that could be applied to “The Bachelor,” according to Dhillon, are the theory of evolution and reproduction motivation.

The drama between contestants is a major part of the show, and a reason why some people say they watch it. The extreme emotions and fights between contestants, such as the stolen champagne chaos between contestants Weier and Hannah Ann Sluss, may stem from evolutionary theory, Dhillon said, because they feel pressure to win over Weber. 

Bachelors and bachelorettes on the show are often physically fit and attractive, which indicates people have good genes, Dhillon said. This encourages a reproductive motivation and a competetive spirit for a majority heterosexual group of contestants, Dhillon said. 

There is not only a group dynamic within the show, but also for the viewers. Watching “The Bachelor” together allows people to form friendships over a common interest, Dhillon said, which all goes back to human needs of forming bonds and relationships. 

“It allows people to set aside their own personalities and enjoy [time spent] with other people. We tend to laugh more when we are with others,” Dhillon said.

Watching a show with friends allows people to celebrate spending a moment together and promotes group mentality, much like Superbowl parties, Dhillon said. It feeds into viewers’ social identities. 

Wine and viticulture sophomore Tracy Mann said she enjoys watching “The Bachelor” with friends at her Gamma Phi Beta sorority house for many of the same reasons Dhillon provided.

“[I like] the comedy and the drama, it’s all there,” Mann said. “It’s fun to talk about everyone. We all have mob mentality on opinions.”

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