For 'Bachelor' viewers, the 'absurdity' is the fun

Vanessa and Nick Viall

(CNN)Let's be honest, "The Bachelor" is not what most would call a great -- or possibly even good -- show. But while the number of reasons not to watch can add up faster than dead roses and limo tears, Bachelor Nation remains united and as passionate as ever.

To be more specific, before Monday's finale, ratings for "The Bachelor" were up 11% from last season among adults 18-49 and up 15% in adults 18-34.
For context, ratings for "The Bachelor" follow only Fox's "Empire" among adults 18-34.
The 21-season-old dating competition is among the most reliable weapons in ABC's programming arsenal, outrightly defying the Peak TV premise that only high-brow fare and buzzy streaming shows can capture the conversation.
    Claire Fallon and Emma Gray have some theories why people still watch.
    Fallon, a culture writer at The Huffington Post, and Gray, the publication's executive women's editor, host a "Bachelor" recap podcast called Here To Make Friends and are go-to commentators for all things "Bachelor". (They appeared on AOL's BUILD Series ahead of the finale to talk about the show.)
    Fallon has watched the show since Brad Womack's second season (2011) and Gray since "Ashley's season of 'The Bachelorette'" in 2011.
    They started their podcast in 2015 and have experienced first-hand the culture of co-viewing that "The Bachelor" breeds. Watching "The Bachelor" in a group, is "half the fun," according to Gray.
    "The Bachelor is the best sport on TV," Gray tells CNN. "When a show involves guessing the outcome, inve