It’s no secret that the Provo/Orem dating scene is a special one. Take a large population of Latter-day Saint single adults and pressure them to get married quickly—something akin to The Hunger Games breaks out. It’s common for proposals to happen five weeks into a relationship, or for engagements to be mere months long. Desperation can yield unexpected results, and in some cases, a local YouTube phenomenon.
Provo’s Most Eligible was created by BYU students and friends Remington Butler and Carson Brown. Their friend, Colin Ross, recently returned from an LDS mission, wasn’t having much luck in the dating department. So what better way to find love than to mimic the world’s favorite dating franchise where adults rush into relationships, The Bachelor.
Our Provo bachelor—sweet, innocent 20-year-old Ross—has the on-screen magnetism of a routine dental checkup. Bless his heart, there’s just not much to root for or against. When he meets the girls in Episode 1, he offers only one syllable answers in response to their introductions.
There’s also an underlying disconnect in calling a boy a “bachelor,” a word usually reserved for your unmarried uncle who “aged out” of the Young Single Adult ward long ago.
Contestant McKenna Wright was called into question by other girls due to her age. She’s 23, which is practically wizened to the 18 and 19-year-olds on the show. Annali Crandall, 18, asks “why [she’s] even here, since she’s so much older than Colin. It’s not like she has a chance!” Unsurprisingly, Wright seems to have the healthiest view of dating out of all the girls, saying that she uses dates to get to know people before jumping into relationships.
For comparison, ABC’s The Bachelor contestant Bekah Martinez, also 23 when she competed, was accused of being too young to be serious about settling down with bachelor Arie Luyendyk. I can’t decide whether this comparison is a nice reminder that not everywhere is like Provo or an upsetting reminder that Provo is not like anywhere else.
Episode 2 opened with a talent show group date. Ross demonstrated his own talent, or lack thereof, by half-heartedly and awkwardly dancing to some songs that were popular at least two years ago. Based on the girls’ reactions, he might as well have been Imagine Dragons. If a group of girls losing their minds over a boy doing the bare minimum isn’t a perfect summation of Provo dating, I don’t know what is.
Overall, the show feels a little like kids playing dress up and acting out a TV show. Everyone used the language of the original series. Girls get time with Ross by asking to “steal him for a minute.” They accept roses, go on group dates and claim they are there for the “right reasons.”
The show was so similar to ABC’s The Bachelor that the first two episodes were taken down by Warner Bros. for copyright infringement and have now been uploaded under a new name, with a different format to follow.
But where the actual show has booze-fueled dramatics during cocktail parties, this show has glasses of apple juice. Provo’s Most Eligible definitely feels like the apple juice version of the Bachelor franchise. It’s fun and cute in a middle school dance kind of way, but I would stick to the licensed show if you want the real drama.
My only suggestion is that after the planned “Bachelorette” follow-up, the producers send all of the rejected contestants to Lake Powell for Provo’s version of Bachelor in Paradise. Remington Butler, call me.
Production still courtesy of Provo’s Most Eligible.