“The Bachelor”: How the king of trashy reality TV recycled classical myths into an unbeatable formula

March 9, 2015 10:00 PM

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With the women who are vying for the bachelor’s attention (and for their limited moments on-camera to make it to the final cut of the broadcast), the artifice is their only currency. They have to become whatever the bachelor and “The Bachelor” want. It sets the stage for a parade of feminine archetypes, most as old as human culture itself. The ancients told stories of their gods and demigods in mythology. We have reality television.

The “Women Tell All” episode of “The Bachelor” throws these accessible identities into sharp relief. Unlike the rest of the season, which is taped well in advance of the broadcast, by the time “Women Tell All” rolls around, the contestants have seen the season to-date. They know what their rivals sa...

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