Guilty Television Pleasures: In Defense of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

Categories: Film and TV

I'm not a romantic. Really. I don't need grand gestures or outrageous gifts -- at least not in real life. I'm not a big fan of fairy tales, and I was never really into the whole Disney princess scene. In preschool, when other little girls played house, I'd stick the baby doll with the boys, grab my suitcase, and tell them I'd be back after work. True story.

However, when it comes to T.V., I'm a sucker for all things love. And mainly, I mean the ABC reality television dynasty made up of The Bachelor and spinoff/counterpart, The Bachelorette. Monday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. I fraternize with the lowest of the romantic low and let me explain why.

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Sure, it's easy to see why the show makes some people want to throw up in their mouths. First, it's two hours long, which even I will admit is a nice chunk of time and quite a commitment. Even worse, the show features all the trashy drama of reality television with the added bonus of being unfailingly overly-dramatic in any and all romantic senses.

"I know my wife is in this room," will declare the latest hot-yet-somehow-single guy as he raises a glass to toast a roomful of beautiful, but probably slightly crazy girls who he's known for all of three weeks.

Then he'll take them each on an over the top date, including sky diving or rock climbing or just sitting on a private yacht in Fiji, where they undoubtedly fall in love. Who wouldn't fall in love under such circumstances? It's silly and illogical and it almost never lasts.

But damnit, they're in love and they ain't afraid to show it.

And that, right there, is the draw.

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This show preys on lonely people, and is disgusting. They use basic psychological games to make it a competition about winning, and not about love. People get weird when they think there's something special they might miss out on (see: Black Friday shopping), and there is no authentic relationship building at work here. 

At least reality shows like Project Runway or The Amazing Race have people in honest competition for their skills. This is just exploiting desperate people for ratings. If you're really a sucker for romance, then you should hate this show and everything it represents.


There is no defense for treating human beings like cattle at a state fair auction or a classic car at Barett Jackson.   This is not about love; its no better than common prostitution.

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