Any reality show needs a good villain, and "The Bachelor" is no exception. From Courtney to Tierra, every season of "The Bachelor" has always had a resident villain whom viewers love to hate.
The villain adds drama to the show and seems to manipulate her way through the process by acting one way with the bachelor and another way around the other girls competing for his heart.
And, the viewers eat it up.
You can see post after post saying, "OMG, she is horrible! How is he not seeing that?" or "I hate her so much! She needs to go!" or "She's such a bitch." Some even go so far as to suggest she should just die.
Unintentionally, the villain becomes the big star of the show. She gets an entire segment of "The Women Tell All" dedicated to her; her face is splashed across the tabloids, and her name trends on Twitter.
Everyone wants to know the villain's fate: Will her treachery and deceit work? Or, will she finally meet her tearful goodbye in a limo?
What we don't realize, though, is the show is taking advantage of these women, and in the process, destroying their lives.
Let's look at Kelsey Poe, one woman competing for the heart of Chris "Prince Farming" Soules on this season of "The Bachelor." Ms. Poe has not had an easy life; she was widowed young, when her husband died of heart failure on his way to work.
Ms. Poe has been cast as the villain this season; she has been shown complaining about group dates, downplaying the intelligence of her fellow competitors, and it's for these reasons the other women don't trust or like her.
The episode on February 2 seemed to confirm her status as a villain to us, when she marched up to Chris, divulged her tragic past (while villain music played in the background), and then "immediately" was heard saying, "Isn't my story amazing? I love my story," in an interview.
It really seemed like she had used the story of her husband to manipulate Chris' emotions and buy herself another week.
Twitter exploded, with viewers calling her crazy and demanding her dead husband's body be exhumed to make sure she didn't poison him.
It got to the point where Ms. Poe had to delete her Twitter account (which has recently come back online) because the accusations were too upsetting. She defended herself, and explained what she meant by saying her story was amazing:
Sander's death was absolutely devastating, but finding a way to live through it and my strength to survive is amazing.
I knew what she meant when I watched the show, and I figured "The Bachelor" had made her its villain.
Through editing, the show had taken her endearing story of surviving a terrible, tragic loss and made it look like she was a scheming, manipulative bitch. And, that's not okay. At all.
Ms. Poe's story is one of the tragic loss of a loved one. It's about losing the man she thought she had forever with, and about struggling to find a way to deal with that loss. Her time on "The Bachelor" is a story of second chances and starting over.
It's a comeback story, and that's how it should be edited. It should not be seen as the manipulations of crazy woman, and because "The Bachelor" has chosen to edit Ms. Poe in this way, she now has to live the pain of her husband's death all over again — this, time with people accusing her of murder.
"The Bachelor" editing her to look crazy may have ramifications for her work as a guidance counselor.
It may end up that Ms. Poe will regret her time on the show, instead of remembering the positives of the experience. As of last night's episode, Kelsey Poe was sent home, so only time will tell how her journey will affect her return to real life.
Ms. Poe is far from the only woman who has been taken advantage of by "The Bachelor." I'm sure everyone remembers Courtney Robertson, the resident villain and eventual winner on Ben Flajnik's season.
Everyone hated Courtney because she didn't make friends with the other women, made sarcastic comments, gave awkward interviews and was strongly promiscuous.
While watching Ben's season, I felt bad for Courtney because I recognized myself in her.
She had a dry humor that not everyone got. When it seemed like she was being rude to the other women or begin awkward in an interview, I saw her as trying to be funny.
She didn't make friends easily because she was introverted and not as comfortable with the situation as she thought she would be. She was sexually forward, but, hey, that's the show.
The same thing happened in golden boy Sean Lowe's season (and, I mean golden boy in the best way possible) with Tierra LiCausi.
She was seen to not make friends, "fake" health problems and to be hated by all the women.
In reality, it seemed like Tierra was just a bit introverted, and bit off more than she could chew with the show (she had probably been a fan and thought it looked like fun, so she applied).
She was sent tearfully away in a limo by Sean, not knowing the other women had told Sean about how "evil" she was.
In both Robertson's and LiCausi's cases, "The Bachelor" took advantage of an introverted woman who was placed in an uncomfortable situation and who put up defenses so she wouldn't be hurt.
The show spun their personalities to make them look like the villains of the season, and they ended up getting a lot of hate for it.
Roberston and Flajnik split after the show aired, and LiCausi has had trouble with her love life since the show ended.
A quick look shows both women are active in "The Bachelor" universe, and Courtney seems to be on good terms with some of her season sisters and fellow winners. This insinuates they're not as bad as the show made them seem.
I understand the need for "The Bachelor" to portray such characters out of these women; reality shows need a good villain to keep ratings up, and the producers know this.
They know who they're casting in the role before the women even get started, and if their villain leaves early, they have another one lined up to take her place.
Producers purposely pick sound bytes and camera footage that show the unlucky woman in a bad light. They goad the other women to say nasty things about her, and then make it seem like the entire house is against her.
Producers manipulate the situation (multiple women competing for the same man locked in a house together) to start fights and create drama, then edit it to make it look like their villain was the source.
And, the viewers eat it up; they buy the tabloid articles where the bachelor "reveals how he had been duped" (when, really, the show probably payed him to say those things).
Viewers watch to see what's going to happen because the show tweets, "What will our resident villain do this week?
Tune in to find out!" before the show airs. They are on social media while the show airs, venting about how much they hate the bitch of the house.
"The Bachelor" has done a fantastic job of manipulating viewers into believing what they're seeing is real, when, in reality, it's nothing but a ruse.
Believe me, I'm not saying we shouldn't watch the show (I, personally, love it). All I'm saying is we, the viewers, need to realize "The Bachelor" has a real villain; it's just not one of the women.