Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Bachelor is crappy television

(I'm blogging about TV, people. TV. Has it come to this? Life is too complicated to blog about right now. This whole undercover operation... let's call it Operation Beige (because every good undercover operation needs a name)... is progressing slowly but surely, and I just. can't. share. And I'm not doing a show. So TV it is)

I apologize if you watch and enjoy The Bachelor.

No, actually, I don't. I think it's crap, and I think you should be ashamed.

There. I said it.

Now, I do have to confess that I've never watched a full episode of The Bachelor. I've seen the commercials. Caught a few moments at the end... you know, the stuff that records on the front of my DVR's recording of Castle (which I completely enjoy. Fun stuff).

But this is my basic understanding:

A handsome guy is charged with slowly narrowing down the field from a bunch of really hot women, who vie for his attentions. They go on dates and the like. The girls scheme and backstab and try to woo the man. The guy is dating all these girls at once trying to figure out which one he is going to marry.


What sane woman would put herself into that situation? What sane man would want to dedicate the rest of his life to a woman willing to play that game? What kind of a sick man enjoys watching all the women around him play that game?

I cannot possibly believe that it is even remotely about finding true love. It is about being on television. It is about proving yourself desirable.

And I'm horrified that people watch it. Yes, perhaps it's like watching a car accident. You can't look away from the tragedy. But people seem to actually care about who the bachelor picks. Like they think these two very beautiful egomaniacs are going to find love and longevity together, and that somehow gives them hope for the world. I worry for the watchers of the Bachelor. As if romantic comedies weren't screwing with our idea of what love should look like enough already.

Crap, crap, crap.

And it's the downfall of scripted shows. Shows that hire writers and actors. Shows that maybe, just maybe, tell a story worth telling. A story that might have some redemption or some catharsis or some hope for the world. A story that in its fiction has more truth in it than any episode of The Bachelor ever will.

But... as Dennis Miller used to say... that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


Anonymous said...

I've never seen it either, but that doesn't stop me from agreeing wholeheartedly. It's Crap. As is so much that is on TV. Here I am, up early paying bills - one of which is the cable - and I might, just might cancel it rather than pay it.

Bea said...

It may be too early in the morning for me to come up with a coherent defence of reality TV in general and The Bachelor in particular, but let me try.

I think the attraction of watching these shows is not the Schadenfreude of watching beautiful women leaving without a rose and with their hearts broken. It's really the challenge of seeing how well we, the viewers, can predict human behaviour. This is the reason I've watched every single episode of Survivor, ever. It's a matter of analyzing people's relationships, motivations, values ... what makes it interesting is the discrepancy between what a person claims his values to be (and, I think, sincerely believes his values to be) and what his actions actually prove.

I watched the first few seasons of Bachelor and then lost interest for several seasons, but I tuned in again this time around in part because my students are watching and it allows me to bond with them. The main purpose of TV, I think, is to promote conversation. Shows like Lost can do that too, but reality TV does it best - it creates endless fodder for debate about what the participants are likely to do and why they do what they do. That's the thing - it's actually good conversation, the kind that goes beneath surface small-talk into the things I find really interesting about people's values, motivations, and relationships. With my friends who live far away, reality TV provides conversation fodder that isn't of the "my life vs. your life" variety - instead of taking turns talking about ourselves, we can talk about the same kinds of things we always talked about in high school: the people we both know, and what makes them do the things they do.

painted maypole said...

Leave it to Bea to make a smart defense of reality television. Good point.

I still won't watch it, though. ;)

thailandchani said...

I've never watched it so I can't comment too much. Still, even the commercials let me know that it's extremely shallow. People don't seem real. They're commodities, something to be bought and sold. Most reality TV leaves me cold. Bea's points make some sense and perhaps they can provide conversational fodder for some but to get there, we'd have to sit through the horrible shows! :)


Furrow said...

I really don't get the appeal, either. I think everyone involved in those shows is pretty pathetic, but I know a lot of intelligent people who watch them, so ... whatever. I kind of like The Biggest Loser (though I only catch it occasionally in syndication), so what does that say about me?

ewe are here said...

I agree, it is crap television (I saw it when I lived in the states). Who on earth would want to marry a man who was still trying to pick between you and a number of others right down to the last day? Where is the getting to really know someone and a feeling of commitment before popping the 'lifetime question'.

But, I also agree with Bea; it's a fascinating study in human nature, trying to figure out what the heck these people are thinking! Not to mention what they're willing to do to get picked... like a train wreck..

Cold Spaghetti said...

Hear, hear.