The whole purpose of “reality shows” like “The Bachelor” is that they are relatively cheap to make in comparison to scripted TV. To be sure, the contestants are vying for a prize, money sometimes, a cookbook contract on “Masterchef,” or the chance to become the heir to Adam and Jamie on the new “Mythbusters.” However, if a report on Mic is accurate, the contestants on “The Bachelor” are shamelessly exploited. Not only are they not paid for their appearances, but the single prize is an expensive engagement ring that they don’t get to keep unless they stay with the Bachelor for at least two years.

In fact many of the Bachelor contestants quit their jobs and go into debt for the chance of achieving the “reality show” version of true love along with the 15 minutes of fame. For most of the contestants, that turns out to be a bad bet. They even have to provide their own clothing, for which many cash out their 401Ks and take out second mortgages on their homes.

The Bachelor, the stud muffin fellow who is the object of all of their affection, can be paid as much as $100,000 dollars for a two month shoot. That is a pretty good pay day for living in a mansion being fawned over and smooched on by a gaggle of beautiful women.

The argument can be made that the female contestants are entering the show with eyes open, so if they leave not only disappointed in fake reality show romance but in a state of financial ruin, it is their lookout.

On the other hand, there is something about love and sex that makes even the best of us lose all reason. It is sort of like playing the lottery. Your chances of winning are microscopic but you won’t win if you don’t pay. On the other hand, a lottery ticket only costs a couple of bucks, not the expense of lost wages, expenses, expensive dressed, followed by years of therapy.

Of course, if you are clever, you can parlay your appearance on “The Bachelor” into other gigs. For example, some former “The Bachelor” contestants have shown up on “Dancing with the Stars” which does pay very handsomely with bonuses for longevity to boot. If you want to be a reality show star, maybe you should try for one that involves skill rather than being pretty and dramatic.

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