Halftime Leisure

Why changing the structure of The Bachelorette during it’s 19th season was a power move

September 24, 2022

Any fan of Bachelor Nation is likely very familiar with the setup of each season: one eligible bachelor or bachelorette, and about 30 contestants swooning over them from day one. Typically, this is the perfect recipe for a drama-filled season. However, for loyal Bachelor fans (like me), the show’s format can become a bit repetitive. There are elements that reappear each season — for example, the classic “villain” of the season who is always stirring the pot, or the typical “I don’t know if I can do this anymore” line from the bachelor or bachelorette once things become complicated. No matter how entertaining the show may be, it can get boring to continuously watch the drama unfold between one person and a group of people competing for their attention.

The last season of The Bachelor was a difficult journey for all involved, and its ending begged for a change in the show’s structure. The final three women had an unfortunate ending with the Bachelor, Clayton Echard. Clayton told each of these remaining women that he was in love with them. He then broke up with two of them at the same time, Gabby Windey, 31, and Rachel Recchia, 26 in the same room. This obviously made for an extremely troubling finale, and a traumatic experience for the women involved. 

So, when it came time to reveal ABC’s next Bachelorette, there was a twist. For the first time in the show’s history, there would be two— Gabby and Rachel.

The concept of having two bachelorettes at the same time seemed a bit confusing at first. Would there be one group of men who came to meet both Rachel and Gabby? What if both women liked the same guy? What if one of the men liked both of them? It was hard to comprehend how two women could pick and date from one pool of men.

In my opinion, this season’s organization was pretty smart. On the first night, 32 men exited the limo and walked towards the entrance of the Bachelor mansion to meet both Gabby and Rachel. Each man would briefly introduce himself to both women, before heading inside. While the first two episodes consisted of typical rose ceremonies—just with an extra woman handing out roses—the next episode changed the trajectory of the entire season. In the third episode, the two women changed the way they would hand out roses. Going forward, by accepting a rose from one woman, the man was committing to dating only that woman for the rest of the season. This was a good move by Gabby and Rachel, as they now both had their own groups of men to date. 

Going into this season, I had my reservations. I was expecting there to be cat-fights between the two bachelorettes, as I assumed they would be competing with one another and fighting over the men. I was so wrong — the support and respect that Rachel and Gabby had for each other throughout the entire season was an extremely inspiring example of female friendship and support. They exemplified a genuine, supportive bond through the ups and downs of an environment that is often filled with drama and chaos. In Part 1 of the season finale, Gabby said, “my heart hurts when hers does,” while watching back some of Rachel’s toughest moments with her finalists, Aven and Tino, of this season. 

Though this season didn’t end in a fairytale for Rachel, Gabby was a supportive friend for her all the way until the end. Rachel’s engagement with Tino was broken off, after she found out that he cheated on her. During the finale, Gabby said that she called Rachel as soon as she found out.

Gabby and Rachel should serve as a prime example of how we should all treat each other, in the world that we live in today. Many of us are quick to judge, compare ourselves to, and tear down others because of our own insecurities. But, as demonstrated by the two Bachelorettes, it is much easier, and much more important, to be supportive and kind to one another. 

Though this season was still filled with drama and tears, it was also filled with love and support. Rachel and Gabby have been through a lot together — from last season of The Bachelor to this crazy season of The Bachelorette. Changing the show’s structure allowed the women who were deeply wronged last season to regain the power they previously lost.

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