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March 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM

There’s nothing romantic about ‘The Bachelor’ or reality TV

Aw. How nice. The nation is abuzz this week over some Seattleites and their connection to ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelor.” Former contestant/world-famous crier Jason Mesnick and his wife, Molly, welcomed a baby girl. Local graphic designer Catherine Giudici received the final rose and a giant ring from this season’s leading man, Sean Lowe.

I fancy myself a romantic, but watching the clip below from this week’s finale nearly made me regurgitate an otherwise delicious take-out dinner. I had to stop about 45 seconds in. You like cheesy stuff? Try making it through this…

When did I become such a cynic? I believe in love. I just don’t see how we can believe in the kind of love fed to us on reality television.

New York Times columnist Gail Collins hit the nail on the head in this exchange with David Brooks from their weekly blog, “The Opinionator”:

David, do you find it strange that we live in a country where arranged marriages are regarded as unwise and antiquated, yet one of the longest running programs on television is about a bunch of young women who compete for the affection of a young man none of them had ever met before? A show where it is preordained that at the end of the season said bachelor will announce that he is in love with two of them and will need the full two-hour finale to choose his mate?

Yes, Gail. It’s very strange.

Unless you’re Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, the likelihood of surviving one of these reality shows still hitched seems unlikely. Need examples? Fine. “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “Newlyweds,” and “Hogan Knows Best.” Google what happened to those couples and you’ll realize quick: the secret to a happy marriage may be to deal with your issues behind closed doors and to keep the video crews far, far away.

People call reality television a “guilty pleasure.” That sounds about right. Let’s also admit that society loves to see hopeful, happy people fall from grace and suffer mass embarrassment.

I’m not a regular (or even sporadic) viewer of ABC’s “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” but I’ve seen enough of this genre over the years to deduce reality stars are usually not in love with each other. They’re in love with the idea of winning something. Anything. A rose? A husband? Morning show fodder after a breakdown? A Tumblr full of Internet memes? I’m convinced something about being on national television amplifies peoples’ emotions. What show these days doesn’t end with someone throwing a tantrum? The only conclusion I can come up with is that producers seek out personalities guaranteed to entertain and distract viewers.

I wish shows like “The Bachelorette” wouldn’t try to fool us with the “happily ever after” fluff. Because once the cameras stop rolling, well… just look at this web site dedicated to one statistic. After Monday’s finale, only three couples out of 17 shows are still together. That’s reality.


Comments | More in Video | Topics: catherine giudici, jason mesnick, love


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