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Some thoughts on 'The Bachelor'
February 19, 2013 - April Diodato
I had managed to avoid “The Bachelor” for an entire decade. One Monday night this winter, I foolishly lingered on ABC while I was flipping through the channels in search of something – ANYTHING – to watch while I ate my dinner. I happened to tune in right when some crazy broad emerged from a limousine wearing a wedding gown for her grand introduction to The Bachelor on the season premiere. I could not believe what I was seeing and could not look away. God help me, I was sucked in. I had no choice but to begrudgingly watch the rest of the season.
Some people eagerly anticipate “The Bachelor” each time it airs (note that I said "people," as I do know some male “Bachelor” fans). I was never able to get into it. It all seemed so silly – would-be reality stars and husband-hunters hoping to snag a well-to-do gentleman, the air thick with perfume and desperation, all vying for attention and screen time, clawing each other's eyes out while dressed up for what appears to be a post-high school Homecoming dance. Who is seriously expecting to find their one true love on a reality show competition?
The producers are doing everything they can to create a romantic ambiance. One luxurious trip after another, a crackling fire underneath the night sky, champagne, wine, jewelry, a new cocktail dress for each occasion. Reality couldn't be farther away for “The Bachelor” participants – it's all one big vacation, on camera, so everyone (except for Tierra) is always on their best behavior and having an awesome time relaxing on the beach. How will this couple survive when they return to the grind of everyday life? It's not all jaunts to St. Croix and Montana. Just wait until there's a stack of dirty dishes sitting in the sink and nobody feels like doing them, and there are bills to pay. Love is not a televised fantasy.
I find it odd that we never hear the contestants mention any ambition they might have aside from winning “The Bachelor.” That's probably why I don't find any of them to be particularly interesting; I'm just in it for the staged, juicy drama. Do these gals have any hopes and dreams, perhaps some career goals? Are those conversations left on the cutting room floor or is their only goal to to marry this (or some other) eligible bachelor? That's not going to cut it in this economy. Dreams of lounging around the house watching soaps and eating bonbons all day are not practical in 2013.
Last week, I could not believe it when two of the girls told Sean the Bachelor that they “loved” him. Whoa – slow your roll, ladies. You hardly know this man; you've probably spent a collective six hours alone together on a “solo” date. Throughout much of the season, several girls are herded up and taken on a “group date,” a cruel practice that leaves each one attempting to steal Sean away for a moment in the hopes of making some kind of impression on him. This is how lasting bonds are formed? Inexplicably, one of the “I love you” girls made it to the final four; the other, who also appeared to be deranged and is known to viewers by the nickname “Tierra-ble,” was given the axe. A couple of days later, I read an article about her now being engaged after reconnecting with an ex immediately following the show. (So it was definitely true love).
During last night's visits to meet the four remaining girls' families, Sean got a dose of reality that he couldn't handle. (I should note that one of the finalists is wedding dress girl). He visited Des, a girl who seemed like the best choice to me – she appeared nice, normal, and as levelheaded as a reality show contestant can be. Her brother pulled Sean aside and essentially told him that he thought the show was a lot of nonsense. Sean claims he's “crazy about her” when, as the brother so eloquently pointed out, he's “crazy about” several other women as well. He's asking their parents for Des's hand in marriage even though he might not pick her, because he hasn't decided which one is his “wife” yet. The brother accuses Sean of being a “playboy,” juggling a bunch of different girls at once, gazing into the eyes of each one and confessing how special their relationship is to him. It's ridiculous.
Sean is infuriated by this extremely accurate assessment of what happens on "The Bachelor" but doesn't say much, and the rest of the dinner is awkward – so much filet mignon tragically going to waste. Des isn't pleased when her brother tells her that this guy isn't the one, and won't hear any common sense about the improbability of finding one's soulmate on a reality show. One day, I hope she'll thank him for this.
Sean ends up cutting Des loose, primarily because he didn't like hearing the truth from her brother. Instead, The Bachelor chooses the following for his final three: Lindsay the wedding dress girl, who confesses during the hometown visit that she's falling in love with him; AshLee, one of the girls who already told him that she loves him, and appears to have a considerable amount of emotional baggage; and Catherine, who seems the second-most “real” out of the top four. Her grandmother, Lola, seemed like a lot of fun, too. However, Sean almost didn't pick her after her pragmatic sisters divulged that she might not be ready to settle down right away and actually has some career goals (that I don't recall hearing about before). For shame!
Des should consider herself lucky; she's likely dodged a bullet. Not only do relationships post-“Bachelor” have about a 2 percent chance of working out, but it seems that Sean – formerly a contestant on “The Bachelorette” – doesn't want anything to do with reality. His choices thus far have shown that he's looking for “love” that is established through spending a handful of hours together on a tropical beach while the cameras are rolling. I simply don't think that's possible. It's not going to dissuade me from watching, though. Quixotic as it is, I can't stop.