SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you'd like to spend the next few months of your life surprised by the twists and turns of Juan Pablo's terrible "romantic" journey.
Monday's two-hour premiere of ABC's The Bachelor was watched by 8.5 million people, many of whom will crowd around TV sets for the next few months worried about sexy Juan Pablo Galavis' heart. These fanatics—you know who they are—will hope he picks the "right" girl and they'll have no problem hogging the remote while expressing their feelings on Facebook, desperately wanting this show to be the one exception to the "nothing's real in reality television" rule. Hopefully these fans already think Nikki is the right girl, because according to one mysterious blogger who has been spoiling seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for years, she's the one Juan Pablo ultimately chooses.
This may or may not come as good news to those already invested in fantasy leagues for the show, a popular activity in some workplaces and sorority houses. These leagues involve a sport just as vicious as any football game: analyzing the romantic intentions and chemistry of strangers on TV in the hopes that your player will score. "That Texas girl gave it up too fast in the hot tub," a gambler will inevitably decide as she updates her rankings for the next week, "I don't think she's really the future mother of his children, you know?" "Then again, I don't know," the gambler might reconsider. "They seemed to really have a moment in that forced slow dance to a Darius Rucker song on top of that abandoned building."
This isn't to say there's anything wrong with viewers investing some hard-earned downtime in insipid reality romance, complete with curated helicopter rides. We all have Monday night guilty pleasures (Bakery Boss, anyone?). But if you're in a position to gain respect or win money in a Bachelor fantasy league, keep reading. Or if you're in a situation where you desperately wish your roommates would stop speculating about The Bachelor and you're kind of mean, you can also keep reading.
To be honest, I haven't watched The Bachelor since the first season debuted in 2002. I felt so embarrassed for everyone on screen and when Alex picked Amanda but didn't propose to her, I felt cheated. But none of this mattered when I won $82 in a Bachelor pool last season without watching a single episode thanks to Steve Carbone, also known as Reality Steve. Invited to join a league and given no rules on outside help, I searched for "Bachelor odds" two hours before my first picks were due, thinking I'd find some kind of website with speculation. It's what I do for fantasy football, so it seemed no different.
Instead I found Carbone's website where, with the help of his tipsters, he spoils entire seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. His website, realitysteve.com, is the bane of the show's existence. Carbone even claims ABC has a vendetta against him, sabotaging him in "various" ways, including "engineering" his disappearance from an E! network Bachelor special. He's also been sued several times by the show's producers; they first sued Carbone in 2011, alleging that he induced contestants to breach their confidentiality agreements by offering to pay them. That lawsuit was settled several months later, when, according to Warner Bros., Carbone agreed to have "no further contact whatsoever with cast, crew, or employees" of the show. He was sued again in 2013 for tortious interference as well as breach of settlement but Carbone told The Hollywood Reporter that the suit is "bogus" and that while their legal agreement does prevent him from paying insiders, it does "NOT prevent [him] from publishing spoilers."
Clearly, these lawsuits have not stopped Carbone from posting spoilers and pissing off ABC. On his website, he's already posted episode-by-episode recaps and spoilers for this season's 11 episodes. Who are the final four women who get hometown visits in season 18? In order of elimination, Renee, Andi (who eliminates herself), Clare and Nikki. Though Nikki is the last one standing, Juan Pablo does not propose. Poor Nikki! Unless she's awful, in which case, good job, Juan Pablo.
I don't know who any of these women are and I don't care, but ABC cares an awful lot. With heavy promotion for the show and three-year premiere high in ratings, the struggling network will keep hoping you ignore Reality Steve. Whether you choose to or not depends on how you want to spend your Monday evenings.