“Tonnnnight,” the host Chris Harrison says, stretching the word out before he shouts, “on The Bachelor.” The students’ attention shifts from textbooks to television.
The Granskou basement Bachelor crew are 13 of the eight million viewers who tune in each week to watch 29 women compete for the love of a single bachelor. But the real competition is happening in the basement of Granskou.
“Does everyone have their lineups in?” asks junior Megan Lindely, while 13 pairs of eyes frantically look down at their smartphones and click on the Bachelor Fantasy League app, Rose League.
The Bachelor meets fantasy football with the Rose League, which serves Bachelor fans who want to take their enthusiasm for the show to a new level. The students take their love for the show even further. They created a fantasy league of their own, naming it “Out of Nate’s League.”
“I am a huge sports fan and play fantasy sports to enhance my viewing experience,” said junior Nate Velander. “One night at dinner, some friends and I were talking about The Bachelor and I thought to myself how ridiculous it would be for there to be a fantasy league for the show. I searched the app store and to my surprise, the top result was Rose League.”
Viewers know that The Bachelor does not represent the way dating works in the real world but they feel drawn to the show nonetheless, and for many reasons.
“The Bachelor has become a guilty pleasure for many of us because we have found something irresistibly charming about the chance of true love being found on national television,” said junior Leah Blom, a lifelong fan of the show.
“I started watching simply to mock it,” adds junior Rachel Damhof. “Each girl can see the bachelor being their future husband right after they step out of the limo on night one.”
Lindely, however, is in it for the competition. “The Bachelor is great and all, but I just really want to win this fantasy league,” Lindely admitted.
Rose League players receive points based on how often contestants make confessions like “I love you” and “I’m not here to make friends,” as well as how often they break into tears, curse or kiss the bachelor. Points are also distributed based on whether the women receive a rose at the end of each episode.
Each person who is part of the league predicts which contestant on the show will earn them the most points each episode. Of course, real life and love are rarely, if ever, predictable — all the more reason for these to be swept up in the phenomena of The Bachelor universe.
The Monday night viewing ritual sports a super bowl atmosphere—each individual cheering for his or her own “team.” The 13 students shout, argue and nitpick as they watch the episode. They are so noisy, in fact, that they need to keep the subtitles on the screen.
“Tia better shed some tears tonight because I need to rack up my points this week,” said freshman Madi Lindely.
In response, freshman Emily Blom said, “She doesn’t even need to cry to earn points, she has a mouth of a sailor!”
Some of the students excel at guessing which women will succeed on the show, while others struggle to stay in the competition.
“How do I always end up in last place,” complains Trey Waldrop. “Even Ben [Borson] is beating me and he is in Ireland.”
Monday after Monday, the students return to the show for their own reasons: the thrill of competition, a break from homework and a chance to be invested in the on-screen relationships of the couples.
Although the relationships on The Bachelor take place in a superficial, fantasy universe, they elicit emotion from viewers.
Tears began to well up in freshman Mallory Zeinstra’s eyes as she became overwhelmed with emotion during the finale of the show.
“I’m so happy for the both of them. I can’t wait to find my own Arie,” she said as her voice cracked.
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