“Are you in this for the right reasons?”
Fifteen years ago, that was a question that had zero cultural significance. Now you can’t watch a single dating show without hearing it come out of the mouth of someone who's had too much red wine.
With the advent of the 21st century came the advent of rom-competition reality television (we just coined that term, so don’t steal it). But it took years before the genre became the guilty pleasure we know and love today. After producers—especially VH1 producers—realized that their shows were considered low-brow, no matter how valid the quest for true love, they basically said, “Fuck it. Let’s get as guilty and as pleasurable as possible.”
And that’s when things got really good. Rom-competition reality shows have been full of desperate individuals throwing wine glasses, spitting, and pulling hair ever since.
Now with ABC rolling out their latest Bachelor spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise (which as far as we can tell is Bachelor Pad in a better location), tonight, it’s as good a time as any to look back on the last decade and a half of televised dating and put everything in its right place. Here is The Definitive Ranking of Rom-Competition Reality Shows.
Andrew Gruttadaro is the Complex Pop Culture news editor. If you want to come at him about ranking, he tweets here.