Ever since 2002, ABC's The Bachelor franchise has given TV viewers a very unique view of how romance can bloom, where one man (or woman, in The Bachelorette's case) sorts through a bevy of contestants in order to find a "true" love. But even before that initial pool of 25 or so hopefuls is finalized, a far larger group of potential contestants gets whittled down using a series of personality and medical tests. An STD exam is part of that process, and according to one former show employee, herpes is the major reason why people get turned away. In his words:
As soon as the medical tests came back, you'd see that herpes was the biggest thing. And sometimes you'd be the first person to tell a contestant that they had herpes. You'd be like, 'Uh, you should call your doctor.' Why? 'We're not going to be able to have you on our show, but you should call your doctor.' Then they'd realize they'd been denied from The Bachelor, and now a bunch of people knew they had herpes.
Talk about adding informational insult to self-induced injury. I mean, that is a far rougher gig for the producer that has to witness and pass on sensitive information. But who wants to be the person thinking they might have a shot at 15 minutes in the primetime spotlight, only to have their dreams get dashed right along with the confidence in having STD-free genitals? Then, to sit in front of the person who just delivered that news and have to consider where that herpes might of come from, and how many people it might have been passed to in the meantime. Honestly, I'm kind of shocked that nobody has figured out a way to spin just that portion of the process into its own extremely morbid reality show.
In any case, I think it's time for us all to put together a big collective "Ewwww!" at the thought of waves of potential Bachelor (and possibly Bachelorette) contestants getting shown the door over herpes infections. It would obviously be a far more disturbing and disgusting situation if The Bachelor didn't have the medical exam, of course, considering how much nookie goes on behind closed doors. Or open doors.
The Bachelor's STD reputation was shared by Ben Hatta, former assistant to creator Mike Fleiss, and appears in the upcoming book Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure (via the New York Post), which is out on Tuesday, March 6. It was also revealed how many levels one had to pass to even get to the STD test, including a written application, a video and picture submission and a lengthy personality test. And that's all prior to the fast-paced in-person interviews, where a multitude of producers pile questions onto hopefuls about a variety of subjects, including their romantic interests, their show fandom levels, and some things that run a bit more risqué.
From that point, possible contestants meet with the show's therapist, who grills them over the answers given on their personality tests, along with other more personal inquiries. After that, a private investigator takes over the questioning, trying to dig up all the dirt possible, both to exploit on the show and to stay ahead of any possible controversies that tabloids could report on. And it's only after all that when The Bachelor execs bring in the medical exams, so imagine having to survive through all that intense and intrusive questioning only to get turned away for failing to wear protection.
Who will current Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. end up choosing during the Season 22 finale? With the non-missing Bekah Martinez no longer around, The Bachelor will air its latest finale on ABC on Monday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m. ET, with the "After the Final Rose" special airing on Tuesday, March 6, in the same time slot. To see what shows will be hitting primetime in the weeks after, head to our midseason premiere schedule.