For Season 28, ‘The Bachelor’ Began at the End
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv For Season 28, ‘The Bachelor’ Began at the End

For Season 28, ‘The Bachelor’ Began at the End

For Season 28, ‘The Bachelor’ Began at the End

Fans of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” are accustomed to a certain kind of opening for each season, one that’s typically high-energy and, in some way, a celebration of love in all its potential. On the 28th season, however, showrunners Jason Ehrlich, Claire Freeland, and Bennett Graebner tried something different: The premiere opens at the end of bachelor Joey Graziadei‘s journey as he stands alone on a beach in tears, clearly having just broken someone’s heart or had his own broken — or both. The scene feels less constructed and more candid than usual, a feeling that continues as the series breaks the fourth wall and shows the crew as Joey wearily walks off set. Then there’s a sudden reverse scan through scenes that we haven’t seen yet but will over the course of the season, until the producers take us back two months to the beginning of Joey’s adventure — the optimistic place where most “Bachelor” seasons begin.

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Beginning with a flash-forward gives the season an added emotional resonance since even in Joey’s most lighthearted moments, there’s always the underlying threat of what’s to come. According to Freeland, something happened during Joey’s final rose ceremony that never before happened on the show, and it gave the showrunners the motivation they needed to experiment with the series’ structure. “We felt like we had an opportunity to not just make the change for the sake of making a change,” Freeland told IndieWire. “We had what we needed to back it up.” She added that the device worked because people were already invested in Joey’s story from Charity Lawson’s season of “The Bachelorette.” “That’s the real advantage when you cast from previous seasons.”

That said, the franchise’s biggest recent success, “The Golden Bachelor,” was launched with a bachelor completely new to the series. “I think it’s about looking at each season and making that decision,” Ehrlich told IndieWire. “We make the rules and then we break them. We like to do anything we can to keep the audience on their feet and the show fresh.” The filmmakers carried over several innovations from “The Golden Bachelor” into Joey’s season, like shooting with a new camera system in 24p. The success of another aspect of “The Golden Bachelor,” the incorporation of a Cat Stevens song into the narrative, also informed the season premiere of “The Bachelor,” as the showrunners made effective use of Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over” to score that opening flash-forward.

For Graebner, it’s all part of the balance the filmmakers are trying to strike between the proven conventions of the franchise and the need to keep it from becoming stale. “That’s the challenge, right? How do you take a show that’s been on for over two decades and that is so familiar to the viewer and give them what they want, but also make it different?” Ultimately, while the structural conceit of Joey’s season helps start his journey with a different energy, Graebner says it’s less about changes to storytelling technique than making sure they’re organic to each season’s bachelor or bachelorette. “It always comes down to the people who are in front of the camera and the story that they’re telling.”

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