How Does Bachelor In Paradise Actually Work?

Photo: ABC/Bob D’Amico.
With the close of Rachel Lindsay's Bachelorette journey behind us, it's officially time for Bachelor In Paradise. The Bachelor spin-off takes the cast-offs from previous Bachelor(ette) seasons and throws them all together in a Mexican resort, hoping everyone will find love, drama, and greater social-media engagement. While the original romantic journeys (Bachelor/Bachelorette) are the anchors of the ABC franchise, Paradise is their margarita-drunk kid brother.
Although BIP is now in its fourth season, the reality show currently has more eyes on it than ever before due to recent headline-making accusations. Production of Paradise was shut down earlier this summer over allegations of sexual misconduct between cast members DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios. Slut-shaming narratives and stealthy racist undertones were soon flying, although no evidence of wrongdoing was found during an investigation by production company Warner Bros. Now viewers can see what led up to the much-talked-about encounter, as well as its aftermath, which led to Olympios and Jackson exiting the season.
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Since it's likely a lot of new eyeballs are now on Paradise, we thought it was high time to actually explain how the series works. Keep reading to find out the basic premise, the newly-added rules, and whether or not anyone can actually even win something at the end of Bachelor In Paradise season 4.
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The Basic Rules

While the name of the game in The Bachelor(ette) is to snag the heart of one leading man or lady, the point of Bachelor In Paradise is to find someone — anyone — to keep you around from week to week. In true Bachelor Nation fashion, contestants get to remain on the show by getting a rose from a cast member of the opposite gender who’s interested in pursuing some type of relationship them. Yes, that means there are still rose ceremonies. That is why Rachel Lindsay cast-off Iggy Rodriguez was a little concerned during the premiere about the upsetting death in Lacey Mark’s family, but was possibly more concerned about what the object of his affection’s exit meant for his future on the series. If one woman isn’t willing to give Iggy a rose, he’ll be booted from Mexico.

Contestants figure out who they want to give their rose to by hanging out in cabanas, sipping drinks, and making out next to the pool. There are also “Bachelor-style” dates to help prospective couples feel the magic, as we saw with Kristina Shulman and fan-favorite Dean Unglert, as well as Jasmine Goode and Matt “I Have A Personality Now” Munson.

As a recently-released contract proves, the legal document essentially allows producers to say, "I can basically take your image and do whatever I want with it and I own it and you have no recourse," entertainment lawyer Nicole Page explained to CNNMoney.
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The New Rules

Following the aforementioned investigation into any possible misconduct between DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, the Paradise team has decided to implement more rules to protect both the cast members and the production team. As current star Vinny Ventiera explained earlier this summer, contestant are now required to log their alcoholic beverages and are limited to about two drinks per-hour.

On top of these tougher alcohol rules, castmates who want to hookup have to give verbal consent on camera before anyone gets intimate. Then, once that's taken care of, everything is filmed. This certainly sounds like ABC may be in possession of Paradise sex tapes, so let’s hope for everyone’s privacy that footage is under lock-and-digital key.
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The Switch Up For Season 4

The 2017 cycle of Bachelor In Paradise begins with 12 men and 8 women. Usually, men give out roses first — meaning they have more power at the start of the season and a group of women is eliminated first — but, things were switched around this year. The ladies are handing out roses first, so they’re holding the guys’ fates in their hands.

After the men are eliminated, more replacement dudes from Bachelorette seasons past will be added. When the women are eliminated, more subs will be thrown in the mix as well. The point of this is to keep adding drama, tension, and roadblocks to the pairings that are starting to settle into anything resembling stable relationships. For example, we see Dean getting close to Kristina Shulman in the premiere, but, the season 4 trailer proves he’ll also get cozy with the soon-to-arrive Danielle Lombard.
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How It Should End

Eventually, Bachelor In Paradise whittles down its merry-go-round of Bachelor(ette) rejects from random tropical hookups into actual relationships. As we heard at the start of the season, everyone enters the series looking for the kind of love that will lead to a forever-partner, marriages, and babies, despite the fact filming only went on for 10 days this time around.

After the final rose ceremony, the remaining couples visit a fantasy suite, à la the actual Bachelor and Bachelorette. In the post-suite (and implied post-sex) finale, each duo is forced to have an emotional conversation on the beach, where crashing waves must be visible. In the season 3 finale, fans saw three proposals and one sobbing Nick Viall. Only one of those BIP 3.0 engagements actually ended in a marriage, so congrats, parents-to-be Evan Bass and Carly Waddell.

It’s still unclear how the relationships of season 4 will shake out, considering Paradise’s extremely abbreviated production schedule following the much-reported, much-rumored Olympios-DeMario scandal.
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Does Anyone Actually Win Anything?

ABC may market The Bachelor and The Bachelorette as a fairytale come to life, where a prince or princess finds their True Love, but we all know it’s a well-masked competition show, just like the America’s Next Top Models and Choppeds of the world. Only this time, the losers often go home humiliated and heartbroken via national TV.

However, Bachelor In Paradise isn’t technically so cut-and-dry when it comes to winners and losers. Yes, people go home throughout a season, but the finale doesn’t offer us one supreme victor who manages to find love over every single other person they’ve competed against. Instead, Paradise ends with various couples in different stages of commitment. There are no cash prizes or other incentives on the horizon.

As Chris Harrison confirmed in the season 4 premiere, no one wins anything other than possibly a lifetime of love, the likelihood of new Instagram followers, and definitely a free vacation in Mexico.
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