One of the best Bachelor(ette) ideas floating around on the interwebs and in IRL conversations is pretty simple: Let the lead actually look their contestants up on the internet. Such a tradition-breaking move doesn’t even have to happen in the premiere. After all, a big draw of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is, hypothetically, the possibility of people falling for someone they would never even consider under normal circumstances. The complete sensory-deprivation of Bachelor Nation is one the most extreme formats to achieve such a social experiment. So, why not let the leads do a quick Instagram dive a few weeks into the competition, when connections have really started to blossom?
Now that would be true drama.
Unfortunately, as Monday night’s The Bachelorette season 15 premiere proved, we’re a long way away from seeing the ABC reality show truly meld with the modern age of dating. However, there were a few glimmers of WiFi and Instagram — and it made the season opener so much better for it.
In the second half of the premiere, Hannah’s Bachelor BFFs Demi Burnett and Katie Morton show up at the Bachelor mansion to stir up some for-television drama. Because Hannah’s Angels, as they call themselves, have uncovered something unsavoury about one of the men competing for their friend’s heart. Apparently, Scott Anderson is hiding a not-so-secret girlfriend back home. Demi and Katie know as much because the girlfriend in question DM’ed Demi (presumably on Instagram). The direct messages include screenshot text conversations of the girlfriend telling her friends she spoke to Scott earlier that week and he assured her they “would be together” when Bachelorette filming ended. In fact the woman and Scott would allegedly take a trip following production.
Hannah, a woman who entered the Bachelorette mansion begging for simple honesty, is shocked. When she confronts Scott, he tries to convince her having another girl on the line back home is normal. What follows is a lengthy back-and-forth where Scott comes off like an insensitive jerk and is eventually sent packing.
Although Hannah was never interested in Scott at the same level as frontrunners like Luke Parker and Cam Ayala, this betrayal still causes aftershock upon aftershock in the premiere. Hannah is left inconsolable in the mansion’s outdoor space. As in-the-moment conversations prove, the men lost about an hour of “Can I steel her for a second?” face time, if not more, in response. That means men who could have tried to woo Hannah can’t. Many of those men are also the ones who are eliminated because the Bachelorette has no idea who they are. On the other hand, Luke, the one guy who consoles Hannah during her downward spiral, ends up getting the first impression rose for his efforts.
Plus, Hannah’s greatest fears are realized just a few hours into her time on The Bachelorette. “I don’t know you guys. I don’t know why you’re here,” she complains to Luke. “I’m trying to trust it’ll be okay. But, I don’t know how people can do that.” Whenever Hannah is unsure about a possible suitor this season, she will likely flashback to Scott's dumb-dumb deception as proof she can’t really trust anyone.
And all of this drama was wrought from a single direct message sent to Demi Burnett. Imagine what would happen if a Bachelorette learned her weeks-in frontrunner was posting kissing photos on Instagram with a mysterious lady friend days before heading to set? Or she caught him tweeting something seriously against her value system very often? Not only do viewers deserve to see how that kind of tension plays out on-screen, but the Bachelor(ette) should be able to handle these bombshells during the show. As we’ve seen in recent years, digital secrets always come out — unfortunately everyone is usually left to deal with the wreckage after the roses have been handed out. Ask last season's Bachelorette, Becca Kufrin.
Thankfully, it looks like The Bachelorette team is slowly realizing it's sitting on a reality TV gold mine. When production first began on season 15, the crew took to Facebook to share photos of 33 of the men in the running to be a 2019 Bachelorette contestant. This PR maneuver led many of the guys' real-life acquaintances to post about them in a very public space. You’ll notice some of those guys are nowhere to be seen in the on-air premiere (looking at you, Joe Romeo from Staten Island). While it’s unclear why Joe and his vanished ilk were kicked off of Bachelorette, social media definitely played some role.
Sorry boys, but at least we’re one step closer to the Instagram Stalking Den of our Bachelor(ette) mansion dreams.