At Alma, I got to interview the author of this "unofficial cultural history" of one of the most popular shows in America; you can read my interview with her here.
Here's the start of that interview, which functions as my review:
Amy Kaufman’s Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure is the deep dive into the Bachelor franchise you didn’t know you needed. But oh, do you need it. Even if you don’t watch the series, Kaufman, a journalist banned by ABC from attending events after her coverage of the show was deemed “too negative,” does a remarkable job at peeling back all the layers that create America’s fascination and obsession with the show. The book is a “cultural history”: a comprehensive look into one of the most pervasive cultural phenomenons in the 21st century.
Interspersed with both her own take on America’s “yearning for fairy-tale romance” and chapters on topics like the history of reality dating show competitions and the way the show deals with sex are personal statements (“Why I’m a Fan”) by well-known celebrities like Amy Schumer and Joshua Malina, among others. These famous “confessions” are fascinating to read; for example, Allison Williams (Get Out, “Girls”) writes, “I think that this is a show where you can learn about and engage with your own sense of feminism.” By including these celebrity perspectives alongside regular fans, mixed in with interviews with both former and current members of the Bachelor Franchise, Kaufman presents a complete picture of the impact that this television show has had on the American psyche.