Ever since its inception in March 2002, The Bachelor has prided itself on helping others find love. Year after year, 25 women are placed before each chosen bachelor with the goal of selecting one of them to eventually be his bride. And for a while, the system worked wonderfully, with each guy weeding out the crazies and insufferable candidates as each season progressed.
However, somewhere along the way things changed, and the entire integrity of the show began to shift. Bad girls started winning over good girls, creating an upset among dedicated fans. So what caused this change and why does it appear to be a sweeping trend on the show even today? We have some theories.
While it'd be easy to say the bad girls are simply getting better at hiding their vindictive nature to each respectable suitor, we believe it stems deeper than just a bit of deception. In fact, it seems to be all part of the show's strategy. Reality shows like The Bachelor are governed by a variety of outside forces, with producers constantly coaxing and goading both the contestants and the actual bachelors to say or do something entertaining. For what purpose, you ask? Well, to turn the underdog good girl into the next Bachelorette, of course.
When Alex Michel chose Amanda Marsh over Trista Rehn in Season 1, it provided the perfect opportunity for the ABC higher-ups to nab Trista to be the very first Bachelorette star in 2003. It was the perfect way to garner a large audience for the parallel series since fans were already invested and familiar with Trista. Of course fans they would want to see if the The Bachelor reject would finally get her happily ever after. And once producers fully grasped that concept, it's clear they decided to run with it.
If you recall, Jake Pavelka showed favoritism toward bad girl Vienna Girardi in Season 8, which could explain why sweetheart Ali Fedotowsky dropped out of the running voluntarily. And though her leaving caused a major upset, it made Ali's season on The Bachelorette that much more desirable to watch. You know a producer had a hand in how that all played out. Additionally, Ashley Hebert went on to become the Bachelorette the following season, after being rejected by The Bachelor's Brad Womack. Viewers respond best to familiarity and by transforming these girls into the rose-receivers to the rose-givers, it adds a layer of personal connection to each season.
And it looks like Season 16 of The Bachelor will be no different. Now that Ben Flajnik is rumored to have chosen bad girl Courtney Robertson over good girl Lindzi after rejecting fan favorite Kacie B., it's only a matter of time until the network tries to reel one of the two in to star on The Bachelorette as well. And let's face it, we'd all tune in and watch.
Why do you think the bad girls keep winning over the good girls? Is it a marketing technique or purely coincidental?
Season 16 of The Bachelor has proved to be one of the series' most controversial seasons to date thanks in large part to finalist Courtney Robertson. You can love her or hate her, but there's no denying this girl has become a dominate force in this year's string of bachelorettes, clearly standing out above the rest. And being that she's made it all the way to the final two, there's a very good chance she could actually win this thing -- an outcome that would be a huge Bachelor upset.
We're talking about a girl who has created nothing but drama for her fellow female contenders and appears to see the show as more of a game than a chance to find true love. And yet Bachelor du jour Ben Flajnik seems completely enamored with her, despite the other girls' multiple warnings about Courtney's real intentions.
Sure we can turn to the age-old adage that claims "the heart simply wants what it wants," but it's doubtful Ben even knows exactly what he wants. Courtney is the polar opposite of Ashley Hebert, to whom he proposed to on the last season's finale of The Bachelorette. Either he has really diverse tastes in women or he has no clue what he's doing. But if he does, in fact, propose to Courtney in the end, it could mean serious trouble not only for his future, but for the show's credibility as a whole.
When Jake Pavelka became The Bachelor in Season 14, the show generated the biggest overall audience since Fall 2003, raking in an average audience of 12 million viewers per episode. However, during the finale, Pavelka created quite the stir by giving his final rose and an engagement ring to Vienna Girardi: a lesser version of Courtney. Since then, the series' popularity has steadily declined. The Brad Womack-starring premiere only received 9 million viewers during Season 15 and Ben's was even lower, earning a measly 7 million.
It's a bit of speculation, but these results seem to indicate that Pavelka's decision could have turned viewers off. The franchise prides itself on finding true love, and sure there's some drama along the way, but in the end viewers expect the best (and most likable) girl to win as a way to restore faith in series' credibility. So when the "bad girl" wins, it creates an uproar -- a problem The Bachelor could face again if bad girl Courtney gets the final rose. And if the series suffers yet another substantial drop in ratings, it will definitely have a hard time recovering.
Everyone likes to see a contestant stir up trouble to keep the episodes meaty and interesting, but that same girl isn't supposed to get the guy. Viewers want to see a fairytale unfold; they don't want it to spiral out of control.
How will you feel if Courtney wins? Will you still tune in for future seasons?
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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SwimFan made an unexpectedly big box office splash, opening in first place to $12.4 million.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding continued dancing in second place, holding beautifully with $10.6 million. With its cume now at $96 million, Wedding is heading for an enormously profitable $125 million or more.
City by the Sea washed ashore quietly in third place with $9.1 million.
Signs placed fourth with $8.0 million while its cume entered mega-milestone territory with $205.8 million.
xXx finished fifth with $5.5 million as its cume reached $131 million.
With no new blockbusters driving the fall's first post-Labor Day weekend, key films (those grossing $500,000 or more) were down marginally by about 1 percent -- $68.2 million versus last year's $68.8 million. It was the eighth consecutive weekend in which business was down from last year.
THE TOP TEN
20th Century Fox's PG-13 thriller SwimFan kicked off atop the chart to a surprisingly strong ESTIMATED $12.43 million at 2,855 theaters ($4,354 per theater).
Directed by John Polson, it stars Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen and Shiri Appleby.
Asked why SwimFan hadn't tracked like it would end up being the weekend's number one film, Fox executive vice president, distribution Rick Myerson said Sunday morning, "The tracking is a guide. It's not the Ouija board that gives you exact information. We noticed that the tracking for young females and young males was increasing all week. I think sometimes what people do is look at the overall tracking rather than get into the specifics.
"The audience was young females and young males and that started to come on (stronger) at the end of the week. There hadn't been a movie for young females since Blue Crush and there hadn't been a movie for young males since xXx. So all of a sudden they saw, 'Hey, this is the perfect vehicle for me. Let's go.' I think that had something to do with it."
IFC Films' release of Gold Circle Films and HBO's PG rated romantic comedy sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding held on to second place in its 21st week with a still outstanding ESTIMATED $10.59 million (-5%) at 1,695 theaters (+76 theaters; $6,249 per theater). Its cume is approximately $96.0 million, well on its way to $125 million or more in domestic theaters.
Wedding's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Going into the weekend, with SwimFan not tracking like it would place first, insiders had speculated that Wedding could move up to the top spot.
"We fell a few meters short of SwimFan, but can't complain about a $10 million (plus) weekend that dropped off only 5 percent from a holiday weekend," IFC distribution head Rob Schwarz said Sunday morning.
Franchise Pictures R rated cop drama City by the Sea, released through Warner Bros., opened in third place with an uneventful ESTIMATED $9.14 million at 2,575 theaters ($3,550 per theater).
Directed by Michael Caton-Jones, it stars Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand and James Franco.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 rated supernatural thriller blockbuster Signs slid three rungs to fourth place in its sixth week with an OK ESTIMATED $8.0 million (-41%) at 3,232 theaters (-205 theaters; $2,475 per theater). Its cume is approximately $205.8 million, heading for $225 million.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, it stars Mel Gibson.
Revolution Studios and Columbia's PG-13 rated action adventure thriller xXx slipped two notches to fifth place in its fifth week with a still macho ESTIMATED $5.5 million (-47%) at 3,088 theaters (-448 theaters; $1,791 per theater). Its cume is approximately $131.0 million.
Directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal H. Moritz, it stars Vin Diesel, Asia Argento and Marton Csokas.
"We keep working our way towards $150 million or very close to it and couldn't be more pleased," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
Miramax/Dimension Films' PG rated family comedy sequel Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams dropped two pegs to sixth place in its fifth week with a dull ESTIMATED $3.0 million (-50%) at 2,821 theaters (-429 theaters; $1,063 per theater). Its cume is approximately $73.9 million.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.
New Line's PG-13 rated comedy sequel Austin Powers in Goldmember slid one post to seventh place in its seventh week with a less lively ESTIMATED $2.76 million (-50%) at 2,102 theaters (-404 theaters; $1,308 per theater). Its cume is approximately $207.1 million.
Directed by Jay Roach, it stars Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles and Michael Caine.
Asked where Goldmember is heading, New Line distribution president David Tuckerman said Sunday morning, "somewhere between $210-215 million probably." The previous sequel Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me did $205.4 million in domestic theaters in 1999.
MDP Worldwide's R rated horror film feardotcom fell three notches to eighth place via Warner Bros. in its second week with a soft ESTIMATED $2.35 million (-50%) at 2,550 theaters (theater count unchanged; $920 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.5 million.
Directed by William Malone, it stars Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone and Stephen Rea.
Columbia took ninth place with what Sony called an "encore release" of its PG-13 rated blockbusters Spider-Man and Men in Black II with an ESTIMATED $2.0 million at 2,078 theaters ($962 per theater). Sony did not release a new cume for each film, but put the double bill's "encore release cume" at $2.0 million.
Directed by Sam Raimi, Spider-Man stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris.
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, Men In Black II stars Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.
"It's an encore run prior to what looks like spectacular video and DVD releases on each," Sony's Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. "Spider-Man on Oct. 31, a special Halloween release date. And a Thanksgiving release date on Men In Black II."
Rounding out the Top Ten was Universal and Imagine Entertainment's PG-13 rated romantic surfer girl comedy Blue Crush with a calm ESTIMATED $1.81 million (-59%) at 2,009 theaters (-811 theaters; $900 per theater). Its cume is approximately $37.2 million.
Directed by John Stockwell and produced by Brian Grazer and Karen Kehela, it stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Sanoe Lake and Mika Boorem.
This weekend saw the arrival of no other noteworthy releases.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend Fox Searchlight Pictures' R rated comedy The Good Girl went wider in its fifth week with a solid ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-48%) at 690 theaters (+23 theaters; $2,210 per theater). Its cume is approximately $9.7 million.
Directed by Miguel Arteta, it stars Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal and John C. Reilly.
Fox Searchlight Pictures' R rated thriller One Hour Photo continued to expand well in its third week with a strong ESTIMATED $1.45 million (-42%) at 173 theaters (+9 theaters; $8,382 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.9 million.
Written and directed by Mark Romanek, it stars Robin Williams.
"Next Friday it expands to 1,200 runs," a Fox Searchlight spokesman said Sunday morning.
Focus Features' romantic drama Possession added a few more theaters in its fourth week with a still hopeful ESTIMATED $0.98 million (-49%) at 616 theaters (+2 theaters; $1,590 per theater). Its cume is approximately $7.9 million.
Directed by Neil LaBute, it stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart.
Paramount Classics' PG rated German romantic comedy Mostly Martha went wider in its fourth week with an OK ESTIMATED $0.3 million (-31%) at 70 theaters (+4 theaters; $3,720 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.2 million.
Written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, it stars Martina Gedeck.
United Artists' R rated comedy 24 Hour Party People, released through MGM, continued to widen and hold well in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $93,000 at 35 theaters (+3 theaters; $2,649 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.8 million.
Directed by Michael Winterbottom, it stars Steve Coogan.
Key films--those grossing more than $500,000--took in approximately $68.18 million for the weekend, down a marginal 0.93 percent from last year when they totaled $68.82 million.
Key films cannot be compared to the previous weekend of this year, which was a four day holiday weekend.
Last year, Universal's opening week of The Musketeer was first with $10.31 million at 2,438 theaters ($4,230 per theater); and Sony's opening week of Two Can Play That Game was second with $7.72 million at 1,297 theaters ($5,953 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $18.0 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $23.0 million.