The Power of the Frankenbite: How real is The Bachelor?


We all know that reality TV shows like The Bachelor are actually kind of fake.

Between producers stoking drama on set or editors selecting certain footage in the cutting room, The Bachelor and shows like it are more about entertaining an audience than documenting the truth.

But even if it’s a bit out of context, you can at least trust that what you see and hear onscreen did happen…right? Well, not really.

Take frankenbiting, a video-editing technique that pops up on The Bachelor all the time. A frankenbite (a portmanteau of “soundbite” and “Frankenstein”) is an audio clip that has sections removed or is even made up of unrelated audio clips spliced together. Sometimes, this tactic is used innocuously to remove “ums” and “uhs” and otherwise streamline what may be a convoluted statement. After all, does the audience need to know every single word the Bachelorette said in her confessional? No. We just need to get the point.

But while frankenbiting can be used to clarify meaning, it can also be used to alter or even fabricate it. For example, let’s look at this promo that Noah Erb, a contestant on The Bachelorette Season 16, posted on Instagram.

Right off the bat, we hear Noah’s voice say “I wanna be the villain.” But listen to it again. Doesn’t it sound…weird? Like the word “villain” doesn’t go with the rest of the sentence? And now that the season’s over, I don’t think we ever heard these words outside the promo, much less saw them come out of Noah’s mouth. You would think The Bachelorette would air footage of him saying something so blatantly devious…unless, of course, the footage doesn’t exist. The caption that Noah paired with the promo – “When you wake up and findout [sic] you’re a big bad villain 🙃” – definitely indicates that this soundbite was fake.

Noah’s supposed villainy became a big storyline midway through the season after a conversation with Tayshia left her feeling like the men questioned her integrity, kickstarting a whole lot of drama. Many fans felt like Noah stirred the pot on purpose, but let’s be real…how much of that perception comes from what we actually saw go down in La Quinta, and how much comes from heavily-edited promos like the one above? I’m no Noah stan, but if the marketing hadn’t framed him this way, he may not have gained such a bad-boy reputation.

Noah’s probably-fake villainous declaration is just one example. Sharleen Joynt, a former contestant on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor, is a master at catching frankenbites in her recaps. They happen practically every episode, though they’re not always as misleading as “I wanna be the villain.”

It may seem obvious that reality TV uses every trick in the book to distort “reality,” but even though we all know it, we never seem to think about it. To some extent, that’s okay. This is just entertainment. But Bachelor Nation is also notorious for cyberbullying and harassment. It’s never acceptable to send nasty DMs to anyone, but it’s especially sad when the hate slung at contestants may be over words that were never even said. (But please don’t hassle actual villains, either. It’s just not cool.)

So, yes, enjoy The Bachelor and its dramatized version of reality. Just remember, before you form harsh judgments about someone on the show, keep your eyes and ears open and the show’s editing tricks in mind. You never know when you’re being tricked by a frankenbite.

Next. The Bachelor Season 25: Who is already an early contender?. dark

Have you ever noticed something on The Bachelor that seemed fake? Let us know in the comments!

The Bachelor Season 25 premieres January 4, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.