The first-ever episode of The Bachelor aired on March 25, 2002, ushering in a new standard for reality TV.
The show’s real-time competition format became the rubric for all obsession-worthy reality shows. We got to feel like, over the course of the show, we were getting to really know the contestants. All their dirty laundry. Their deepest secrets, their virtues and their flaws.
The show was so successful that it became a regular, inseparable part of our pop-culture lexicon.
Now, 15 years, 20 (!) seasons and three spinoffs, later, ABC has re-released all seven episodes from the first season. Go ahead and get re-addicted. A full binge-session will take less than 7 hours, which in this day and age is a mere blip on the screen.
Starring businessman Alex Michel (who we could have sworn was better looking), he’s a real catch. A graduate of Harvard undergrad and Stanford Graduate School of Business, he’s seriously accomplished.
But none of the contestants know this yet. In fact, none of them know a single thing about him.
But he was actually like, way boring. For example, instead of getting down on one knee, Alex simply asks Amanda Marsh to be his girlfriend. Millions of Americans set aside one night a week for seven weeks for this anti-climax? It’s been fifteen years, and we still feel ripped off.
Either we’ve grown really old in the last 15 years, or the contestants on season 1 are SO YOUNG.Seriously, most of them are in their early twenties, and they seem like kids.
They describe Trista, (who winds up becoming runner-up and first star of The Bachelorette), as a “Miami Heat dancer,” even though she’s actually a pediatric therapist AND a dancer.But like, what’s sexy being a pediatric therapist, right? So they just pushed the NBA dancer thing harder.
The hands-down weirdest thing about Season 1, though, is that each contestant says they’ve come to the show to find love. Sure, they have to say that, but being that reality TV hadn’t yet proved itself as a fast-track to fame, we think these ladies actually mean it.
The contestants honestly think they’re going to meet their mate on this show.And that that mate is this random guy they’ve never seen or heard about before. Did they actually trust their futures to a television network and its producers? We can’t even.
Though the first season of The Bachelor proved highly successful for ABC, becoming a cornerstone of their programming, the show was less of a success for the winners.
Alex Michel briefly became a spokesperson for Match.com. But he’s mostly faded from entertainment, working as an executive at a media and technology company.
Amanda Marsh, his “girlfriend” of choice, meanwhile, is now married to her childhood friend, with whom she has a daughter. She and Michel broke up just a few short months after The Bachelor. But, they’ve both told the media that they do stay in touch, ringing each other up every so often. “We call for birthdays and stuff,” she told US Magazine.