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What are the cultural differences between different countries’ versions of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette?
Why yes, I do watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Why do you ask?
… Yes I am male and straight. Where are you going with this?
Only the Australian versions though. I find the US originals boring. Hence me asking the question.
A few things that stand out for me with the Australian versions, to get this started. As I’ve found the US original boring, I don’t know for sure what doesn’t happen in the US version.
- No Fantasy Suite. In many ways, we pride ourselves for not being prudes like Americans; but I can’t see a show like Love Island being made here either. Yes, we had the infamous Turkey Slap incident on Big Brother 2006 (Transcript of the turkey slap; it was on the webfeed, not live TV), but that was not shrugged off as amusing by the viewership, and it occasioned prime ministerial condemnation, as well as the expulsion of the guys involved. At any rate, the option of a Fantasy Suite was offered the first Bachelor, he said no, and no Fantasy Suite has shown up since.
- A lot of intertextuality. Nina from Bachelor 3 squeeing, when she realised she’d be topping the record for longest kiss on TV, made in Bachelor US. The men in Bachelorette 2 mocking each other as “international models”, referencing a villain in AU Bachelorette 1.
- A lot of camaraderie between the suitors. Quite blatant ongoing backslapping in The Bachelorette. The contestants on the Bachelor are shown as more on edge and jealous, which has occasioned criticism as stereotyping. Yet it’s been clear from interviews (including an undercover journalist in Bachelor 1) that most female contestants have bonded with each other a lot more than with the only occasionally present Bachelor. And that was even before Megan and Tiffany became a couple after Bachelor 4.
- The Bachelors have been ciphers. The Bachelorettes have been permitted to have personalities. This was particularly obvious with Bachelor 4, who was a contestant in Bachelorette 1: his personality was surgically excised between the two shows.
- Less cheese and more silliness on group dates. Sumo-suit athletics are over-represented.
- Still lots of talk of journey and lifetime commitment, but less blatant talk of matrimony than on the US show.
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