No heroes without villains: Your guide to the baddies of Bachelor Nation

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Hannah Cooper/File

You can always depend on every crop of contestants on “The Bachelor” to include a particular cast of characters. There’s the naive one, the mysterious one, the silly one and, most importantly, the evil one. If this is your first time watching the show, you might be wondering how this season’s villains fit into the context of the show’s history. We’ve assembled a few frequently asked questions and their answers so you can jump right in.

Does every season have a villain? How can I spot one?

Pretty much every season has a villain, and you can almost always pick them out in the first episode. Villains are commonly spotted stealing time away from other contestants during the cocktail hour, using physical intimacy to get the attention of the bachelor or bachelorette, making arrogant or insulting comments or targeting specific contestants who seem particularly irritated with the villain’s behavior.

I’m trying to hold a conversation with a “Bachelor” expert. Who are the big names in villainy I should know?

Juan Pablo Galavis. We challenge you to find somebody who actually likes this guy. Usually, there’s a contestant who’s a bona fide villain, but this season, the villain was the bachelor himself. Forget his inability to muster up words of genuine affection even during the final episode or his shamelessly rude attitude — his homophobic comments relating to the possibility of a gay or bisexual “Bachelor” are enough to earn him a spot on Bachelor Nation’s most hated.

Chad Johnson. Downright rude to not only his fellow contestants, but to bachelorette JoJo Fletcher, Johnson had a fight to pick with just about everybody. He went beyond insults and on numerous occasions made aggressive threats. When he reappeared on the third season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” he was removed by host Chris Harrison after a drunken evening of antagonistic behavior.

Corinne Olympios. Corinne quickly skyrocketed to something of a cultural icon, with hilarious quips about napping and “platinum vagines” instantly cementing themselves as everyday quotes. Corinne made it all the way to the final four before losing out on a rose, after which she delivered a surprisingly empowering speech in the limo ride home. Though she checked all the typical boxes of a villain — making aggressive moves, coming off as inconsiderate and behaving immaturely at times — it all just made us fall in love with her more and more.

Vienna Girardi and Jake Pavelka. Jake Pavelka’s season will forever go down in history as the season in which the villain, Vienna Girardi, actually won. Despite Girardi being universally detested by viewers and contestants alike, Pavelka still chose her over Tenley Molzahn, the favorite to win. Pavelka and Girardi’s highly publicized fallout weeks later only rubbed salt in the wound.

And, to keep you up-to-date, the villain role on Arie’s season is currently split between Chelsea Roy (the one who claims she isn’t capable of rude behavior because she’s a mother) and Krystal Nielson (the Michelle Williams look-alike with the annoying voice).

What happens to the villains?

Well, generally, they don’t win. Some make it pretty far and others are eliminated pretty quickly, depending on the perceptiveness of the bachelor or bachelorette. After all, the villain may not be as vindictive as the producers portray them to viewers, which can leave you wondering why they keep getting roses week after week. Classic villain eliminations occur after the bachelor or bachelorette gets wind of a nasty comment the villain made, or on a two-on-one date in which the villain is paired with their arch nemesis (usually a well-liked contestant) and one of the two goes home.

Are the villains for real?

Yes and no. There have been rumors that contestants are specifically approached by the show’s producers and instructed to play the role of the villain (or the victim, the quirky one, etc.), but even if that’s not true, the storyline and its characters is still pulled from hours upon hours of footage we never get to see. The show’s creators are able to pick and choose what we see, and therefore are able to mold contestants to fit a narrative that may or may not be true. So the real answer is yes — they do say those things, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of context we aren’t given.

Why do viewers love the villains so much?

What fun would the show be if every contestant was lovable, genuine and kind? Just as we want to see how far our favorite contestants go, we also tune in every week for the drama — and the villains, at least at the beginning of every season, are the driving force behind that drama.

Contact Shannon O’Hara at [email protected].