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We Rewatched The First Season Of "The Bachelor," And Holy Shit, You Guys

2002 was such a simpler time.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Up to that point, all the shows in the genre were gloriously sleazy, like Fifth Wheel or Temptation Island, or they were presented like a game show, à la the infamous Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? — but The Bachelor was supposed to be different. Like the others, it would be a competition, but unlike the others, it would play out like a romantic fantasy and result in real, lasting love.

Nearly 15 years, 20 (!) seasons, three spinoffs, and countless promises of “the most dramatic season ever,” it’s hard to believe The Bachelor was ever supposed to successfully produce functional relationships.

When we saw that ABC rereleased all seven — that’s right, just seven — episodes from the first season, we had to take a walk down memory lane and see how it all started and what’s changed. Was it always a wine-fueled race to the finish line? How did they get anyone to be a part of this thing? How bad were everyone’s eyebrows in the early 2000s? Most importantly, what changed — and how did we get to Nick Viall, Season 21’s star suitor and perhaps the most inevitable Bachelor there’s ever been?

For the past decade or so, every bachelor has been a reject from a previous season of The Bachelorette, which is as comforting as it is mildly incestuous, but leaves very little mystery as to what we’re getting into.

The first season, in contrast, starred a businessman with Kennedy-esque good looks named Alex Michel — someone so perfect (at least on paper) that on the first episode, he’s called “the most eligible bachelor in America.” (Where are they getting this data? We want the receipts.) None of the ladies know who Alex is before setting foot out of the limo in the first episode. Considering the fact that every contestant on the new season probably knows the name and birthday of all eleven of Nick’s siblings, this is truly insane.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

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