Emma: While staring at that horrific, grainy photo of Amanda with room-service chocolate sauce smeared on her face, I had a epiphany. I was Ebenezer Scrooge, and watching the first season of The Bachelor was my version of being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. This gave me time to reflect. After that viewing a rose ceremony-in-barn during the dumpster fire that was Chris Soules' season, and having to listen to Ben and Lauren exchange quiet "angry glances" on an ill-advised spinoff, I had become a jaded member of Bachelor Nation. But this helped me see how far we have come (from sensible slacks and turtlenecks at a relaxed rose ceremony), made me thankful for all that we do have right now (a former software sales rep with 11 siblings and zero fucks to give), and made me hopeful for the promise of a brighter future (an Ashley I. Bachelorette season where she does makeup tutorials during commercial breaks).
I would also like to say that although I have talked a lot of shit about Nick Viall, I love him more than some of my own family members and truly believe he is the light at the end of everyone's terrible 2016. He will bring the drama and probably sleep with every single contestant, and for that, I salute him.
Terri: I've never missed a season of The Bachelor — not when Jerry O'Connell's little brother was the main guy and the whole season took place in New York City, not when that guy from The Doctors was the bachelor, and certainly not when someone thought that Juan Pablo deserved a chance at love. The show started when I was 12, and when it began I saw it as a classy way to find old-fashioned L-O-V-E. Now I assume that precisely no one signs up because they actually think they'll remotely like the prize catch. The first season was a fascinating look into reality TV before people realized they could make a career out of it, and guess what? It was pretty boring. If the show started today in this exact format and with this kind of editing, I don't think it would make it to a second season.
I loved seeing the roots of what have become franchise staples: Saying "I love you" in order to advance, hot tub makeout sessions, and awkward group dates. What I loved even more, though, was how it had none of what frustrates — and, in turns, entertains — me the most now: a clear villain, gossip, backstabbing, and stunt casting. Somewhere, at some point, these tropes emerged, they created good ratings, and producers never looked back. And without such mainstays, would the show have such a loyal, dedicated fanbase? Probably not. Basically, I can't believe how much of my life has been wasted on this drivel, and how seriously I contemplate it all. And I regret nothing.