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Can A Woman Cheat On The Bachelor?

January 13, 2010

Perhaps it was a ratings ploy, but a couple weeks ago The Bachelor host Chris Harrison revealed that an “improper” relationship took place between a contestant and one of the show’s producers.  He did not, however, say who exactly was involved until Monday night.  During the second episode of this 14th (!) season, subtitled “On The Wings Of Love,” Harrison took the contestant, Rozlyn Papa, aside at a cocktail party and confronted her with the allegations.  She and the producer in question were dismissed from the show.

So, a contestant on a reality competition show has a too-cozy relationship with a producer, potentially giving her an advantage and undermining the credibility (term used loosely) of the show itself.  Both participants in the underhandedness get canned.  Open and shut, right?  It would have been, had commentary not evolved into “Did Rozlyn Papa Cheat on The Bachelor?”  This could be interpreted in a few different ways:

  1. Did she break rules to gain an advantage on the TV show The Bachelor?  If the claims are true, undoubtedly.
  2. Did she actually commit the acts that were considered cheating?  This is an investigative matter, although the production company can fire her for almost any reason.  Maybe this was a convenient excuse to get rid of a contestant they felt was hurting the show.  (Papa says they wanted her gone because she is a mother, and the show-runners reneged on their promise to let her see her children frequently.)
  3. Did her alleged acts constitute a sort of infidelity to the bachelor himself, or to the spirit of the show?

Many of the articles—and The Bachelor himself, Jake Pavelka—are contemplating #2, and saying, “for shame!”  Which leads to the more interesting question, #3: can someone be unfaithful to The Bachelor?  Unequivocally no.  Assume for the moment that everyone’s motives are pure, that each contestant and Pavelka are actually trying to find true love, or at least a good time for a few weeks.  No fame mongering or reality-TV-career enhancement.  Then this is the situation: a single, 31-year-old heterosexual dude gets put up in a gigantic house filled with 25 women, ages 23-32 (most around 25-26), all of whom are competing for his affections.  The competition is structured so that each episode the bachelor eliminates women from contention on the basis of their supposed “connection,” divined from group dates, one-on-one dates, and sometimes two-on-one dates (hmm, I wonder what that’s supposed to suggest).  If you’ve ever seen episodes from earlier seasons, you’ll realize that the bachelor must get in hot tubs, make out, and sleep with several of the two dozen women in order to explore and cement such connections, all while telling each of them that he feels something between them (I think I know what it is, especially in the hot tub scenes), but things are just so complicated.  And people are honestly asking if Rozlyn Papa cheated on him?  This setup makes Pavelka’s reaction—“I didn’t believe it at first.  I’ve never been cheated on.  I thought it was something that was being produced and thrown at me.”—ring a little hollow.

Though we’d have to read the contract to be sure, it’s doubtful that Rozlyn Papa ever pledged her undying fealty to Pavelka and only Pavelka.  She’s no cheater.  If she did, in fact, form a real and lasting relationship with one of the producers, she may end up being the only winner on a show that professes to search for true love.

  1. January 14, 2010 8:58 am

    I can’t believe this is even an issue. Cheat at the game, sure. Cheat on the master of the harem, um… really?


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