Monday, March 02, 2009

Things I learned from The Bachelor

So this show is one of my most embarrassing and hypocritical guilty pleasures, because frankly, The Bachelor is reality TV at its worst.

Sure, there are cheesier shows that exploit people of low intelligence and morals... but in my mind The Bachelor is worse, because it pretends to be serious, as if the producers believe the show is actually about finding love.

And because it pretends to be real, it has fewer redeeming values in my mind. (I mean, no one really thought Tila Tequila or Flava Flav or that ass on those Rock of Love shows were going to find true love, did they? Even the producers couldn't have been that stupid... Shows like that know what they are: silly, shocking entertainment.

But The Bachelor pretends to be something different, and in that it trivializes human emotion, screws with the participants minds, relishes embarrassment and hurt feelings... (Oh, goody, she's crying, let's get a shot of that.)

It's basically emotional porn. (And still I watch. Hypocrite much?)

And here are some things I learned while watching the most ridiculous outcome for a season of this show yet.

1) Falling in love is fun, relationships are hard.

I really wanted to smack Jason tonight. And I really hope that Molly presses him to justify why he gave up so quickly with Melissa. I hope she has the brains to call Melissa and talk. I mean, the guy's divorced and after saying he was so in love, he gave up after 6 weeks. It made me want to puke a little hearing him tell Molly he'd continue to keep falling in love with her for the rest of his life. (More like, for the rest of my life, or until it stops being this huge endorphin rush.) "It's different, now," he kept saying about Melissa since the show ended. Well, d'uh, you f*cking jerk. You're no longer on camera, going on hugely contrived dates for the cameras. And she's no longer kissing your ass every second, fearful she'll lose you to the 24 other girls you're dating at the same time. It's real life now. Of course it's different! What makes you think it won't be "different" with Molly in a week or so, too!

2) There's a really good reason why it's considered bad form to seriously date more than one person at a time.

One thing that I think I have believed on this and previous seasons of this ridiculous show, is that some of the the bachelors and bachelorettes, as the case may be, have actually fallen for more than one person and found it hard to choose between the "contestants".

3) It's not possible to build a lasting relationship based on a few dream dates with a camera crew along for the ride.

Okay, I didn't so much learn this (or any of these things) watching The Bachelor, but had my beliefs confirmed. And this one also ties into #2. While I don't think you can build a lasting relationship in this environment, I do think you can get those "falling in love" feelings. The situations are ridiculously romantic. And clearly, when you're on dream dates with people who want to "win you", and drinking champagne, and sitting in hot tubs, and wearing barely any clothes and necking, you can develop those "falling in love" feelings for more than one person at a time.

4) Most of the people who go on this show are just out for a good time.

I assume the producers have stopped even pretending that this isn't true, as evidenced by that segment last week where they showed previous groups of men and women from the show partying, sleeping around with, and serial dating each other.

5) The participants in this show will sell their souls to have their 15 minutes of fame.

I mean Jason really, REALLY... Even if you realized you'd made a mistake and chose the wrong girl... why not wait a few weeks and do it off the fraking cameras? Why not??? Because the producers were salivating over the drama (I mean emotional porn). And worse, they teased us all season with those misleading clips involving DeAnna... Oh, yes, I am angry.... And okay, maybe I'm blaming the wrong person. Maybe he has some contract saying he can never contact the girls he kicked off the show... so maybe this was the only way he could see her again. But still. That just makes me transfer my anger onto the producers. How horrible and cruel. How manipulative.

6) And perhaps the #1 thing I learned tonight--and just learned this very moment: If I'm so worked up about this, I seriously need to stop watching so much reality TV. :-)


Marilyn Brant said...

I can't believe I let myself watch this thing. Again. And, yet, there I was, caught up in the horrific soap opera of it--"emotional porn" is right! I do believe my favorite line was when Melissa called Jason "a bastard." THAT actually felt real :-).

Kristen Painter said...

As much as I am addicted to reality tv, this is one show I never watched because the contestants seem so fake to me. Plus, I always got a feeling of embarrassment from watching it - embarrassed for the contestants, not for myself.

Lucy said...

Last season Jason was an immediate hit with me. That is, until he waited so long to tell Deanna he had a son. After all, Ty is supposedly the most important thing to him in the world - yet he was afraid to tell her for fear of getting the boot. He won some points back but in the end, I didn't want him to win. I liked him again this season and wanted the best - thought Melissa was perfect for him. But I agree with Melissa - he is a bastard.

MariaGeraci said...

I can't help but feel the whole thing has been rigged from the beginning (another theory that I at first, I didn't want to believe, but am firmly thinking is right on right now). I think Molly's reactions were the most telling. She wasn't shocked that jason wanted her back, she was shocked that they were doing it on TV. Did you notice how she kept turning to Chris like "Is he supposed to be doing this here?" ONce, she realized, yes, Molly, he's supposed to be doing this here, she went right along with the program, even started touching his leg and let him hug and kiss her. YUCK! I'm ashamed for her.

out of the wordwork said...

I didn't watch the show this year although I knew about Jason from last season. But I got conned into watching the season finale. It reconfirmed my original intent to boycott this horrifically self-indulgent, absolute porn show. But, hey, that's what the producers are hyping -they know the audience wants an equal measure of unrealistic romantic tension, a sports show (Hey, I'm rooting for Melissa! No, I'm on the Molly team! let's see who wins)and cringe-inducing 'real' embarrassing moments.

But with all this fakery and hype, the one person I kept thinking about throughout this whole mess was Jason's little boy. How utterly, utterly sad that he has a father who would 1) put his family on display like that 2) not consider what these women flitting in and out of his dad's life might teach him about relationships 3) be such a narcissist that I start to wonder how much time/interest he really has for his son.

I kept telling my daughters while we were watching this ludicrous excuse for 'reality' that I couldn't believe someone could fall in love with two people at the same time. Lust yes, but not love. And the scary thing? My one daughter really believed that could happen. What are these shows teaching the young teenage girls who watch them?

Okay, end rant. Shouldn't have had that second cup of coffee.

Great post as always, Maureen.

Maureen McGowan said...

I can't believe I watched it, either!

You are smart! I resisted for the first several seasons... but got sucked in somehow and then couldn't look away. I think last night did it for me, though.

I am appalled by Jason's hypocritical behaviour toward his son. "He's the most important person to me" "but I'm going to exploit him and confuse him and stage all these corny running toward each other scenes so he won't know what's real anymore...."

Ya... I do think that both Melissa and Molly walked into that room somewhat prepared. Molly's not that good an actor. Her responses to Chris' "What if he wanted you back?" questions made it feel very canned.

Yes, sends horrible messages about love and commitment and just about everything else.
I remember a few years ago when conservative Canadians were up in arms about gay marriage, saying it made a mockery of marriage... And it was around the same time that The Bachelor was the big new hit and all these copycat shows were on, too... "For Love or Money" "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" etc.

I just wanted to scream, "So, these people think gay marriage, that's all about supporting and encouraging long-term stable relationships, is anti-marriage and yet no one says anything about these stupid shows that make a total mockery of it???"

Kwana said...

Great post Maureen. I'm so over this show. I have not been that into it for a couple of seasons only watching off and on with The Bachelorette. I'd much rather see men act desperate. I agree with Maria that it was a set up. I think from the point where he ask more Melissa and had all those tears on the balcony.

Kimber Chin said...

I couldn't watch this Bachelor for exactly out of the woodwork's reason...

What loving parent would put their child through this?

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Anonymous said...

Yep! I blogged about it today, too. :)

But I think I have to stop watching this show - I felt like I had been cheated on last night. It left a creepy feeling and I don't need this. Very bad form to have the break-up on TV. Besides the fact that it's such a surreal environment, it is so inadvisable to get engaged after 6 weeks.

I hope I have the discipline to not watch next season. ;)

Cindy Procter-King said...

LOL, Maureen. I was voting for Melissa, so didn't like last night very much.

After watching The Bachelor so many times, I'm amazed that I met my husband when I was a teenager and yet I'm still with him. How did that happen? We'd never do well on TV.

Louisa Edwards said...

I've never watched this show, but the furor over this season is almost convincing me to start! Except it's just as repellent as it is intriguing. So I probably won't.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I don't watch this show. Your take on it was pure entertainment, though:)

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