After fourteen years on television, The Bachelor managed to snag my attention for a full episode. Yes, I’m a “late adopter.” But that had nothing to do with my lack of exposure to the reality romance show. It was the evening of the Iowa Caucus, and there was nothing left upon which I could focus my political frustrations. Zeroing in on a TV program about a harem of women competing for the affections of one average Joe was the distraction I needed.
According to The Bachelor’s viewer ratings, women (and men) everywhere await each weekly episode, to find out which of the dozen or so remaining prospective lays, oops, I mean brides, with whom the male cast member–the bachelor–has passionately gone mouth-to-mouth, will receive a single long stem rose. This begs a few questions. Are flowers that difficult to obtain now? Or is there a global shortage of unwed heterosexual men?
After more than two decades of marriage, perhaps I’ve lost touch with the challenges of dating. All I know is that I never would have competed in such manner. Certainly not for less than a full bouquet!
I find The Bachelor‘s concept preposterous. If any reality show ever truly housed together a dozen women who were competing for one man’s affections, the cameramen would return to find nothing but hair weaves and acrylic nail tips. No, those gals would not be sitting around, sharing tequila shots. Not unless each possessed a vile of poison she hoped to secretly administer to her competitors.
One contestant, the evident underdog in this fight, was a divorced mother of two. Our bachelor hero listened, with what could have been staged compassion, as she shared the heart-wrenching trauma of having lived with a prior husband who cared more about hanging out with his friends than his family. She was so distraught while conveying her ex’s neglect that she misused the word “like” 500 times. Okay, maybe there weren’t exactly 500 occurrences. Every time she said, “And I, like, felt so like…,” I took a sip of wine. When she had finally quit talking, I was too blitzed to count. But all was not lost. I had developed a new drinking game!
The divorcee described her dating experiences as “crazy” and “amazing.” I felt sorry for her. Not so much because she had two children, but rather because she possessed an equal number of adjectives.
It was an emotional night for several contestants who were devastated by their inabilities to score a solo date with the man they’d met weeks earlier. If rejected, several appeared at risk of flinging themselves from a cliff. Or at least a very tall bar stool. Provided they garnered a close-up. At a flattering angle.
I don’t know where producers found these women, but I suspect it wasn’t at a Toastmasters meeting or an Oprah convention.
Occasionally the camera cut away to one gal who followed every hopeful remark with a toddler squeal. Endearing. What will contestants do next? Pee their short-shorts?
Most of the women who were spotlighted spoke like eight-year-olds in need of a speech therapist, ladies who could inspire a SNL skit.
The contrived villainess, the gal whom all the others seemed to dislike, kept repeating, “He’s mine.” I predict she’ll remain until the season ends, to provide viewer tension–and group hate displacement. How could anyone fail to dislike someone with that much confidence? Right?
Well, she’s no Miss Congeniality. After all, she is battling for what appears to be the last available man on Earth, who happens to sell software in Denver, which, let’s face it, is not exactly Honolulu. But at least her intentions were clear.