This wildly popular show has always bugged me. I just can’t ignore the mind splinter I get. There is something profoundly wrong with the whole premise of it.
Not that I’m coming from a I’m-too-awesome-to-enjoy-such-frippery high and mighty place. I rubberneck and get sucked into the sensational as much as the next fella.
But tonight I overheard something that spiked out to me like a charlie horse in my jaw. The Bachelor was on a “date” [doh!] with one of the women, and was giving his spiel about what he looks for in a woman. He gave a good, safe, and politically correct suitable for primetime short list of qualities, such that the inner beauty is what matters, and that he’s dated women from several major ethnic groups without trying to, of course. (I actually thought his response was good. I share his sentiments.)
The part that got me was the woman’s response to him. She replied something along the lines of, “Those are perfect answers!”
This little moment is a great reminder of the man behind the curtain of The Bachelor. This isn’t a date in the everyday sense of the word. It’s an interview! The creators of the show are so crafty at letting you forget that none of these people are meeting each other organically and getting to know each other the way the rest of us do, that it’s shocking to me when it gets revealed here and there.
Even a blind date is more of a real relationship than this. At least blind dates are arranged by someone else as an educated guess, and the two of you are on equal footing as you stumble through the early stages of getting to know someone that you could theoretically fall in love with. This isn’t like that at all. There are plot points and set responses that need to occur, since this is a short-term budgeted weeding out process in which one man pretends to have equal interest in dozens of women knowing full well that he has to favor only one for the sake of his contract and the American Public. This is truly a game in which everyone is trying to glean enough likability to survive the cut at each round, hoping to turn a cumulative couple of days with a person you are never with in a natural setting with into a “for the rest of my life” soul mate. (It would be interesting to count how many times the phrase “for the rest of my life” is used per episode. I wonder if you plotted them on a graph for each season, would the frequency be equally….meh, I’m getting sidetracked.)
I’m not pretentious enough to say there’s no hope in actually falling in love and pulling the real thing off here. Real life is awkward enough to prove that. But this show is so orchestrated as to not acknowledge the awkward reality of life that I can’t stop annoying all my family that likes to watch the show. Thank you for reading–now maybe I can stop bugging them. 😉