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The Bachelor (2014)

For years, the match-making show Der Bachelor (based on the American format The Bachelor) has been very popular in Germany, especially among young women. During the seven weeks of the show, a man goes on action-packed group dates or romantic individual dates with nearly 20 potential partners and must choose, from among these, the new partner most suitable for him. Each week, the decisive “Night of the Roses” takes place, when ineligible contestants are dropped. 
319 fans between the ages of twelve and 70 took part in the online IZI reception study focusing on the fascination of this format. The questionnaires of viewers up to 26 years old (n=174) were analysed further. The fans are on average 20.7 years old; 89% are (young) women.

Results: A large proportion of regular viewers enjoys the show from a media-critical distance; they assume that all the participants have been cast and are taking part so they can establish a career in media. Furthermore, they are sceptical of the format’s narrative, whereby the new dream bride is identified in the finale. This show is nonetheless extremely popular, and one reason for this is that the viewers take part in guessing which woman will make it through. In so doing, they analyse the contestants very closely, and they delight in vilifying, in particular, the “cat fight” between the often exaggeratedly glamorous and styled women in front of the television or on social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. Nonetheless, viewers really enjoy the aesthetically appealing dates; they share in the intense emotional experience of the intimate encounters. The young women feel they can learn specifically from the romantic encounters what it is that men appreciate in a woman.   
The results show that young viewers do indeed know that the participants are playing roles here, and that the scenes are deliberately staged. Despite this, they still use the show as a point of orientation, sometimes also adopting gender relations that are long-outdated. 

Press Release:
The Bachelor – Why highly educated young women in particular love the “casting show for the dream bride of the year”