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As the show is designed, the series revolves around a single bachelor (deemed eligible) who starts with a pool of romantic interests (typically 25) from whom the bachelor is expected to select a wife. During the course of the season, the bachelor eliminates candidates, with the bachelor proposing marriage to his final selection. The participants travel to romantic and exotic locations for their adventures, and the conflicts in the series, both internal and external, stem from the elimination-style format of the show.
The above description is a general guideline. In practice, the show does not always follow its designed structure, and those variations are often a source of drama and conflict.
- A candidate who was eliminated returns to the show to plead her case to the bachelor.
- A bachelor distributes more roses or fewer roses than planned.
- A bachelor eliminates a woman outside of the normal elimination process. For example, the bachelor may eliminate both women in a two-on-one date.
- The bachelor chooses to pursue a relationship with his final selection rather than propose marriage.
The two most notable cases where the bachelor violated the premise of the show are Brad Womack, who selected neither of his final two women, and Jason Mesnick, who in the After the Final Rose episode broke off his engagement and several months later proposed (offscreen) to the first runner-up. (The two are now married.)