Yesterday’s setting sun witnessed a typical Monday night at the slub house: we continued our unhealthy obsession with awful cable shows by indulging in a 2-hour dose of The Bachelor.
Before you write this post off as another abuse of the blogosphere by a complete ninny, let me state that the Bachelor(ette) is a glittering example of the crassness of reality television. It is also one of the most degrading parades of desperation currently on air. The five of us slubs are fully aware that The Bachelor is completely dreadful, and yet last night we were curled up before the TV in our stretchy pants with a glass of wine and a fountain of scathing commentary.
There are many reasons the Bachelor(ette) is unworthy for general viewing.
(A) The show perpetuates the idea that true love can be cultivated almost instantaneously, even amidst the treacherous realities of extreme serial dating and fantastical episodes of courtship. Shockingly enough, I’ve personally never spent a second date with a potential suitor on a tropical island with 5 other competitors.
(B) On that note, here is our favorite reality show’s success rate: Of the 23 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (not including this current season, considering we don’t “know” the results yet), only 2 couples who made it to the end of the process are married (and the first couple to tie the knot has been married for 9 year). Yes, I realize that the show has produced a third married couple, but the bachelor from that season actually became hitched to his second runner-up (which doesn’t count) and their 2 year-old partnership began with a nationally televised wedding (which makes everything seem rather suspect).
(C) Every episode of the show is littered with cheesy metaphors for love. Last night’s gems included comparing the Swiss Alps to scaling the rocky peaks of a relationship and conquering a fear of heights to conquering a fear of commitment. Listen honey, it’s a cool date idea to swim with sharks in a protected environment with professional staff watching you like a hawk – but that does not guarantee that you will be able to navigate the choppy waters of your fledgling relationship with a man who has been making out with numerous other women for the entirety of your acquaintance.
(D) Even though they have their pick of the litter and – surprisingly – a few seemingly normal individuals participate in the show (Chris Lambert), the bachelors and bachelorettes never appear to use their brains when deciding who to propose to. In fact, I’m fairly certain that many of them have made unsound judgment calls with…ahem…other body parts. That’s what pure animal instinct and a room full of beautiful people will get you. We are only human after all.
Watching Courtney and Ben steam things up on the boob-tube last night, though, Anna and I discussed the arguably least respectful part of The Bachelor(ette): the show’s audience.
The plot never changes, the competitors never become more reasonable, the relationships never last, and yet my friends and I have been following this show for years. You know what they say about train wrecks: as gruesome a sight as it is to behold, we just can’t look away. Anna summed up the irony of the Bachelor(ette) best last night by pondering the following:
As a third world country we routinely call out other societies (such as Middle Eastern culture, for example) for treating their women with less respect and deference than we believe we give ours. So if our female population is so much better off, then why on earth is a show like The Bachelor – or even The Bachelorette, for that matter – in existence? And why the hell do we watch it?
Lord only knows.
Truth bomb: For some reason we just really enjoy watching the Bachelor.
It’s always best to shove some of your more grandiose thoughts under the rug once in a while. Fortunately viewing reality television has yet to kill anyone, to my knowledge. The slubs will still be watching the finale of the Bachelor when it airs in two weeks. And we’ll still trash talk the show until the world ends.
You know what, I think I’ve found a way to wrap this post up with a viewpoint that’s representative of our house as a collective: Pick you battles and change the world with the resources at your disposal – but if you happen to enjoy lounging around in gym clothes and indulging in a show that highlights the more absurd parts of humanity, that’s okay. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t do straight out of college (or ever, really), it’s take yourself too seriously. We support your decisions all the same.