I am not big fan of television. There’s a TV in my home, but the closest I can come to operating it is staring at the remote like a monkey doing algebra.
Despite this, I must confess that I watch The Bachelor.
Not only that, I’ve watched The Bachelorette.
It started innocently enough a couple years ago. A girlfriend invited me over to share a bottle of wine while her husband was scratching himself in a bar watching Monday Night Football. Soon I was hanging out on her sofa every Monday evening.
While we sucked down Chianti, we got sucked into a show that – let's be honest – kind of sucks.
Or does it?
In case you’ve never watched, the format is simple: one eligible bachelor or bachelorette is presented with a pool of 25-30 potential marriage candidates. One by one, the suitors are eliminated after a series of dates and challenges. In the end, the bachelor or bachelorette chooses a mate and the happy couple enjoys wedded bliss for all of eternity.
Out of 14 seasons of The Bachelor and six of The Bachelorette, there’s only been one actual marriage between the final couple. Not great odds.
And yet…we want to believe it can work.
Or maybe we just want to play drinking games that involve taking a slug of Sangiovese each time someone utters the phrase soulmates, falling for you, or amazing connection.
I’m hesitant to draw a parallel between cheesy reality TV and the romance genre, but I can’t pretend there isn’t one. We’ve all heard statistics about how 40-50% of all marriages end in divorce. We know relationships are messy and difficult and likely to involve as much time spent picking up your spouse’s socks as making love in a field of daffodils while sparrows sing “Endless Love.”
Still, we want to believe the fairy tale. In the happily ever after. In the idea that two people can meet and fall in love and sustain their passion even after ABC halts the flow of all-expense-paid dates.
Or maybe we just appreciate the entertainment value of watching people make asses of themselves in the name of love. There's no shame in that.
Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to love, lust, and cheesy entertainment? What keeps you tuning in or turning pages? Please share.
I’ll be over here filling out my application to be the next Bachelorette. They take married chicks, right?