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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Breakups, beaches and botox: Season reviews of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ and ‘The Golden Bachelor’

“Bachelor in Paradise” loses focus late in the season but provides the drama “The Golden Bachelor” desperately needs.
Lexie Perez
A graphic representing the “Bachelor in Paradise” and “The Golden Bachelor” (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

If there’s anything this finals season has taught me, it’s that a Rand booth is for late-night studying and procrastinating by watching reality TV. So it follows that anything from the “Bachelor” franchise will satisfy my Rand booth needs. It only seems fitting that I bring it full circle to review the seasons following the release of their finales in consecutive weeks.

As always, you can tune into the “Bachelor” franchise this fall through the free Xfinity student subscription. 

“Bachelor in Paradise”

“Bachelor in Paradise” is the franchise’s ploy to bring back all its former stars who were previously dumped and take them on a romantic vacation in Mexico. Returning for its ninth season, you get to root for familiar faces, watch redemption arcs for franchise villains and apparently suffer through whatever is bothering Kat at any given moment.

I thank all my lucky stars I had the pleasure of watching this show each Thursday. Every time I felt that my genetics lecture dragged me down to incredible depths, there was Kat in all her stupendous glory making an absolute, ridiculous fool of herself week after week. Regardless of my opinion, she got the happy engagement ending that several cast members didn’t, proving once again how much I know about love. 

Despite our favorite narcissist, the drama delivered consistently. Pick a person you like by episode one, two or even four and I guarantee they will make a choice this season that will leave your mouth agape — Becca, honey, what was that nonsense exit of yours? Don’t let the mess distract you when we still have no answers for why Jess and Tyler kissed and then never talked about it. There was not even a reference in confessionals after Jess and Blake fizzled out and Tyler and Mercedes blew up spectacularly. Were the editors hoping we would just forget about it? Why show us in the first place? Maybe there were answers to be had, but a show like this one is subject to heavy editing and there was no resolution in the final cut. This isn’t an isolated example either — this season’s editing is the true heart of the issue with the beach’s ninth edition.

I can vividly remember Kylee’s dramatic split from Will to go on a date with Aven early in the season. Unfortunately, anything that may have happened after that for Kylee and Aven was reduced to a 20-second “you’re my person” at each rose ceremony. Then, out of the blue, they were a massive part of the finale’s “will-they won’t-they” plot, and it was the first time we were aware they had anything of substance in their relationship.

On the other end of the beach, Peter and Sam seemed to be sure candidates for a “Bachelor” marriage. Then for unclear reasons, they broke up in the finale. I had to look up Sam’s name before I wrote this article — that’s how much screen time was afforded to one of the strongest couples on the beach. I don’t know if I would’ve wanted to watch a full episode of Peter and Sam — the producers have to make good TV after all, but I know for certain that I would prefer 30 minutes of Peter over the brutal torture of Samantha trying to fight her constipation for two straight episodes. 

I began to ask myself why showrunners edited out any semblance of romantic connection and instead chose medically-concerning constipation and hours on end of Kat’s incessant whining about her birthday being ruined. I cannot imagine this season’s cast was so boring and emotionally inept that they are solely responsible for this season’s poor focus and presentation. Ultimately, it was hard to root for couples by the season’s end because I didn’t know much about them. 

Watch this season for its catty, ridiculous drama, and it will not disappoint. However, if you hoped for the fairytale engagement or even advice on how to have deep talks with your emotionally unavailable boyfriend, you’ll leave unfulfilled and frustrated.

“The Golden Bachelor”

The fledgling season of the franchise’s ploy to bring in new audiences finally wrapped up with the finale of “The Golden Bachelor.” Gerry found his one true love until death does him part with his engagement to Theresa and managed to win over America’s heart at the age of 72. This “older” version of the signature show aimed to undercut the antics of social media influencers, sorry, I mean, younger contestants.

However, I cannot be the only one who thinks there must be something sinister under that signature grin of Gerry’s. When another woman who had a clear and firm understanding of their love in fantasy suites ended up being “not the one,” many watchers were left dumbfounded. Leslie, dear, you deserved better. Gerry, unlike the 25-year-old-stars that preceded him in other iterations of the franchise, handled much of this season with blunt honesty and maturity. I’ll give him credit for it while also acknowledging it was probably a priority of the producers to present him that way.

Unfortunately or fortunately, I did not want to watch it. Sure, choosing Theresa was a twist when her face is more set than Quikrete concrete. But it’s the kind of surprise that happens when your grandpa at Thanksgiving puts down a red “four” on top of the UNO deck that shows a yellow “two.” You shake your head and laugh and move on with your day; it’s nothing to call home about.

Begrudgingly, I am happy that Gerry found his forever at a later stage in life and that ABC accomplished its original goals for the season — a consistent feel of romance and a season-ending engagement. ABC aired what feels like a “normal” finale where contestants weren’t running off set or had secrets from back home blowing up in their faces at the last second like in any of the recent seasons of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” The cash cow franchise even got a beautiful prize: a commitment from Gerry and Theresa to televise their imminent wedding. Don’t you just love a knockoff, elderly Prince Harry and Meghan TV spectacular?

This show, in its current form, will not satisfy the needs of a fan who lives and breathes degenerate behavior and drama. It will, however, be the show I can imagine an older (or perhaps a more docile, younger) population enjoying if they want to feel warm and fuzzy about love.

As an ending note, they haven’t formally announced a Golden Bachelorette yet, most likely because of the negative online reports alleging that Gerry’s past contradicts what he said on the show. However, the novel product had a large enough following that it should sway the network to keep the golden version of love running for a little bit longer.

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About the Contributors
Noah Weitzel
Noah Weitzel, Deputy Opinion Editor
Noah Weitzel (‘25) is majoring in secondary education and molecular & cellular biology in Peabody College and the College of Arts & Science. He is from Raleigh, N.C., and eats at least one applesauce from Munchie Mart a day. When not bouncing off the nearest wall, Noah can be found giving tours and playing four square with his middle school students. He can be reached at [email protected]
Lexie Perez
Lexie Perez, Graphics Editor
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
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