A Wanker’s Literary Reaction: The Bachelor
Well, it’s been far too damn long since I wrote something cynical. What can I say; it’s summertime, and I’ve spent the sun-washed months sleeping till noon, holding hands with kittens and wearing kooky skirts. But I’m back, bitche- kind readers and subscribers to my humble blog. And I watched The Bachelor.
Recently, I was pretty ill; miserably bedridden for a week or so. Bundled up in bed with nothing but my sociopathic roommate and my laptop for company, I naturally decided now was the time to start a new TV series. Nothing too taxing, you understand; I wanted trash. So I decided to watch The Bachelor. I’d heard plenty about it-a harmless, moderately amusing reality dating show where a bunch of false-nailed vixens cat-fought it out over a dim Ken doll. But, my God, it was so much worse than I could have ever imagined.
The show did more than simply encourage a bit of competitive dating; it actively encouraged a passive-agressively horrible storyline where scores of insecure women simultaneously dated what the show believed was the epitome of a “nice guy”. But this man was displaying high levels of affection to almost every woman he was thrust together with-the goal of the show is to find “The One”, at any rate. And, clearly, this televised polygamy ended in the horrendous spirit-crushing of pretty much every contestant, as the Bachelor convinces them all he wants to marry them and have twenty children in a field in Ohio. I found the whole thing genuinely disturbing.
And that brings me onto my main point-recently, dating, romance and love has been co-opted by reality TV. And that’s dangerous. People, by nature, are boring, rambling beings who generally need to be coaxed and prodded into making a good story. That’s slightly more acceptable when it’s, say, a high-stakes cookery show or home makeover programme, because the whole thing is already presented as a little ridiculous, a little unbelievable. But, in order to reel in the viewers, the creators of these shows need to convince their audience that this is all genuine, a true romance leading to endless happiness for all involved. Hint for even a moment that these emotions are manufactured for the sake of good television, and you’ve lost your main demographic-romantics.
This awful, fishbowl-style take on romance presents highly concentrated emotion and saccharine sweetness-the dates are ridiculous, the endless lingering shots of contestants canoodling in full view of the camera are awkward, the preposterously quick declarations of love are borderline hilarious. They present a skewed view of love in fast-forward, and, for the sort of people who already believe that this is genuinely reality TV, everything in real life is going to seem disappointing.
So, more or less, The Bachelor ruined my (love) life.