Guilty Television Pleasures: In Defense of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette
So every week I sit and watch dozens of brave -- like, brave in a crazy way -- men and women put it all on the line in the name of love. I'll happily concede it's usually a shallow, misguided form of love, but even in the worst situations we fans can usually find a small glimmer of vulnerability that proves ... even the most villainous characters want some version of happily ever after. And even if that "happily ever after" means moderate fame and imminent divorce.
The show cuts out all the boring, awkward parts of dating and leaves only the extreme highs and, of course, the heartbreaking lows. In less than 100 minutes, viewers can potentially see a person go on a first date, be passionately swept of his/her feet, fall in head-over-heels in love and finally, be left in the most fragile mental state. It's a romance-addict's holy grail. A quick and easy high.
And in recent seasons, those darn producers got even smarter. Instead of trying to make us root for a new stranger every season (not that it ever took much convincing) they've taken to recycling the losers in love for the next go-around.
As a result, viewers have the added bonus of cheering for the underdog, the brave soul who came up empty just months before. It's inspiring in a way to see peoples so adamant, so sure that their one true love is out there. Despite being broken up with on national T.V., usually with little to no explanation as to why.
Haters will say, "You know that's fake?" And to that I say, "So what?" These are real people and even if producers engineer the in-house drama, it doesn't take away from the heart and soul of the show: the proposal.
Bad episodes, eye-rollingly ridiculous cat fights, and corny monologues aside viewers take solace in knowing their many hours of watching will (almost) always be rewarded at the end by getting to see the a big, dramatic proposal. It will always happen against a picturesque backdrop, involve a giant rock of a ring and most times one party will arrive by helicopter. In the absence of a proposal we'll get a theatrical breakup, which will fuel our heated debates until the next season begins.
It's the happy ending of fairy tales that reality could never ensure. Watching these shows is a no-risk bet on the side of romance in a world where the odds tend to favor heartbreak.
So go on and hate. But I'll keep fighting - vicariously - on the side of love.