How is it that the American public broke up with reality show "Joe Millionaire", but "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" keeps cranking out seasons and hot tub spinoffs? The concept: a man or woman shops from a pool of twenty-five attractive, "successful" single candidates in search of someone who will propose or be proposed to after three or four one-on-one dates. Weird? Sure. But then there are the group dates. Creepy. The host gets paid something in the bygone-Joe range to say little more than "Ladies/Gentlemen,...the final rose" and "Minnie/Mickey, take a moment to say your goodbyes." And then there are the icky handwritten invitations from the host, encouraging the Bachelor(ette) and his/her final three to spend the night in the Fantasy Suite. Not all at once, but over consecutive nights. Still mighty sleazy.
I should hate this show. It's drivel. It's beneath me. Heck, it's beneath my dog.
And yet I love it. Well, maybe "love" is too strong. Sticking with the show's lingo, I'm starting to really have feelings for it.
Oh, how can I justify the time wastage? To be fair, I multitask to reality shows, especially during the frequent commercials and all the "Coming up..." clips that precede these commercials, the creation of producers who fear that viewers' attention spans will drift elsewhere. (Guess they've got a good take on the target audience.) As the show airs on Monday nights, I have the easiest-of-the-week versions of Sudoku and the The New York Times Crossword to trick my mind into thinking I'm a brainiac. I also sort through piles of papers that have mysteriously taken up floor space since the last "Bachelorette". And, if I am really restless, there's always dusting. (After they cure cancer and the common cold, I hope they get to work on extinguishing dust. By golly, give them a decade's worth of Nobel Prizes.)
Whoa. "The Bachelorette" and the Nobel Prize in the same post. Seems I've strayed.
The multitasking argument doesn't hold up. Why not clean while watching more highbrow fare such as--let me check the TV schedule--"Gossip Girl" or four consecutive episodes of "Cake Boss"?
The truth is I can relate to "The Bachelorette". There, I said it.
Years ago, I had plenty of single friends, gay or female. We would go for dinner, grab a coffee, walk the seawall and talk about our dating dilemmas. Or non-dating dilemmas. Each encounter, each brush-off had entertainment value, but the talks also allowed us to comfort and commiserate. And, to prevent each of us from hitting rock bottom, the other would add a timely, "What about so and so?" to keep hope alive.
Yep, good times.
But the single friends have gotten married or they live in far off exotic places like Boise or they've taken dating off the conversation menu. Now I go it alone.
And that explains my loyalty to "The Bachelor(ette)". People can speculate all they want about how real the show is. What I see is people getting excited about possibilities. This could be the one. Casting aside the over the top gimmicks (Anyone want to buy a mask on eBay?), there are relatable awkward dates and promising encounters between the dating world's walking wounded. And after each inane rose ceremony, there's the castoff's painful limo ride where an eager producer sits off camera with a box of Kleenex.
Watching any Reject Ride, I feel I am not alone in being alone. Turns out others feel the same--not just the unrequited wooer, but many a viewer. As I clicked over to ABC's website, I discovered you can watch past episodes or simply the ouster segments, entitled "The Diaries of the Departed".
There's Lucas, the cool, reserved Texan: "Rejection's never fun but...you always look for that better day."
And Ryan, the excitable, optimistic water heater expert : "I'm shocked. Um, uh,...hey, you know,...sometimes I guess people don't feel it. Now I want someone more than you have any i-- (choking up) I want to find that person....Someday."
Last night it was preppy, wordsmith Ames: (Covers eyes, hands shaking; recovers) "I feel pretty numb. I've fallen in love with somebody who clearly didn't fall in love with me back. And...I just wonder, you know, what it was. I was really excited to see what was gonna happen between the two of us next. And that's something I'm never going to get to know. I was just hoping to share a lifetime of adventures with this beautiful woman. Now I'm back to sharing a lifetime of adventures with myself...which is, uh...less enticing."
Oh, boys, I can relate. Ames, I'm choking up myself. Less enticing indeed.
There, I've done it. I think. I've justified my addiction to "The Bachelor(ette)".