Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happily ever after…or something like that

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.

Theoretically, anyway.

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?


lora96 said...

I got hooked during the Trista and Ryan Bachelorette season.

Yes, it's a jaded, fake champagne-swilling drama-fest and that's exactly waht I love about it.

Also, I'm pretty sure that ABC forced Jason-the-single-dad to marry the one chick that he dumped and then wanted back. I haven't watched since then.

Imho, the most craptastic season was the one I watched with my now-husband which he termed "HI I'M JESSE PALMER THE ATHLETE LET'S MAKE OUT" to immortalize that deep thinking smooth operator's seduction strategy.

Unknown said...

You are so funny, thank you for the good morning laugh.

I completely agree with this deep rooted ideology of soul mates, universal partners, love at first sight, etc, etc that draws (many of) us in to its alluring web. We want to believe that there is this other person out there that completely gets us and all our crazy baggage too (they, in fact, love us more because of all our crazy baggage) because it has been ordained by the universe on high.

Though, somehow I doubt ABC has selected a representative sample that actually includes that person.

I am married to a wonderfully sensible, stable, mostly rational man who when I first saw him, almost made me crazy with wanting him. Over the past 15 years, he has gotten to know me pretty well and I can tell you this, he's more likely to challenge my crazy than get doe eyed over it. (This is a two way street--he's got a little crazy in him too.) So I think this is what a real "soul mate" is for me. Someone who, over the years, has learned how to make you a better you.

Oh, and fantastic sex always helps.

RobynBradley said...

You're absolutely correct in that most of us want to believe in the fairytale (just look at how people are going gaga over Wills and Kate). Do you follow @jenniferweiner on Twitter? If not, check her out...she tweets during the Bachelor/Bachelorette and it's a riot!

Matthew MacNish said...

Wasn't there a murder after one of these shows? Am I remembering that correctly?

I have never watched it, but I can't pretend I've never seen Real Housewives or Jersey Shore. For me it's the train wreck effect.

I NEVER would choose to watch these kind of shows, but if someone (see: my girlfriend) turns them on in front of me, all choice in the matter is instantly removed from the situation (and not because she makes me, but because I can't tear my eyes away)!

ExMagistra said...

As a TV blogger, it pains me to read that your only venture into the world of TV is 'The Bachelor.' There are so many legitimately good shows on television these days. On the other hand, you probably haven't killed most of your brain cells by watching a full season of 'Beverly Hills, 90210 (Old School)' over the course of one weekend, so you should probably just keep doing what you're doing. :)

Andrea Coulter said...

I have to admit that I still watch Survivor (I missed the last season, but I'm looking forward to the next one!). The thing about these shows is that they're just plain fun to watch mindlessly :) And then there's the awesome mocking factor!

Linda G. said...

Confession: I have never seen The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. I do love Romance, though, honest! And since I'm living my own HEA, I believe in it, too. :)

kah said...

Yup. The boyfriend and I watched it together last night and he asked if any of the couples ever last. Only one I could think of was Ryan and Trista (man I loved that man).

I'm a believer. Just not so sure about the odds of it happening on The B.

Happy New Year!

Ps...I took a picture of something funny that reminded me of you the other day. Once I upload it from my phone I will tweet it to you. (I know, you're on the edge of a cliff with anticipation but hold your horses.)

abby mumford said...

watching the bachelor and/or bachelorette is my guilty pleasure too. i know it's fake (see realitysteve.com for fun spoilers), but what can i say? i can relate to the neverending, part disastrous, part dramatic search for a happily ever after.

ok, so maybe my life is not dramatic, but ABC's show makes me appreciate the dullsville i live in.

Christine said...

My teen asked why all the women on the show are so pretty because if they are so pretty, why are they alone? I was not impressed on Monday. I prefer Brett Rock of Love. At least he is an admitted sleaze. And the women are admitted groupies who want to be "stars."

I might like the show better if I start the drinking games.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

My theory is that this show is a conspiracy between the Box of Wine Producers of America and Harlequin...the alcohol connection is obvious. The Harlequin thing...it makes every romance you'll ever read that much more believable.

Patty Blount said...

I watched last night but am not a huge fan of the show or it's format. I tuned in mainly to see Brad get smacked.

Anyhow, while watching the girl in the royal blue gown get interrupted again and again and again while Brad a) permitted it and b) did NOT give her a rose PISSED ME OFF!

Somebody send this guy a clue. Fast.


Lora96, I think I saw one episode during the Trista/Ryan season, but I didn't actually start watching until the Jason/Melissa/Molly season. I considered giving them credit for Jason & Molly's marriage, but technically, she wasn't his pick during the finale.

Becky, crazy always solidifies the best unions :)

RobynBradley, I do follow Jennifer Wiener on Twitter, but the problem is that she's on the east coast and I'm on the west, so she's tweeting everything that happens on The Bachelor three hours before I can watch it.

Matthew, I don't have cable TV and neither does my TV-slut friend, so fortunately, I miss out on most of those cable TV gems like "Jersey Shore" and "Housewives!"

ExMagistra, LOL, the same friend lures me into watching American Idol sometimes, so I've seen a bit of that these last couple seasons. The one show I love and watch on purpose because I really want to is Survivor. I have a whole group of friends that gets together at the home of one guy who has TiVo and we watch the whole season in several evenings (four or five episodes back to back). Other than that, I just haven't seen much I've gotten into. Admittedly, I haven't tried very hard, but I just don't have the attention span for most television shows.

Lynn, see my comment above to ExMagistra...Survivor is the one show I really love and watch because I want to (as opposed to because I'm being plied with wine).

Linda G, I'm not sure Bachelor/Bachelorette would be romance exactly, but they are entertaining!

Karen Amanda, send! Send! I want to see!

Abby, I've checked Reality Steve quite a few times, which drives my friend bonkers since I always end up knowing how the season ends and she's afraid I'll give it away.

Christine, I have a funny story about Rock of Love that I should blog about sometime. Hubby and I were in Mexico for Christmas and flipped on the TV in the hotel. We got sucked into watching a few episodes of that show, totally transfixed by the trashiness. A year later, we were in a totally different part of Mexico, totally different hotel, and flipped on the TV again. There was Rock of Love! Er...wait. He's doing it AGAIN? So we had to watch part of another season just to see how he'd pull off the trainwreck a second time.

Teri Anne, no joke, there's a whole lot of free-flowing alcohol during the Bachelor/Bachelorette. No wonder everyone acts so crazy, they're all wasted.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Dawn Ius said...

I also got hooked during the Trista / Ryan series, but then my interest faded. My Mother In Law, on the other hand, watches both to the point of obsession. I took her to New York (NEW YORK!) and we had to "put off" going to Wicked so she could see the season finale of one of them. She still doesn't see the flaw in that...

Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress said...

Oh, the Bachelor. Every fun bit of drama from high school, the insecurity of my 20's and the hot mess of being a single woman at any age rolled into one.

I purposely kept the tv off last night. It was the only way to save myself. =)

loving your blog.

Stephanie said...

LOL! I used to watch it, but after a few seasons and just as many failed relationships, it lost it's luster for me. I read romance and write it, so of course, I love the thought of it all working out. But after so many not working....I guess I became a little cynical that "love" found in that sort of setting can actually work.

I do have my guilty pleasures. I am a huge Dancing with the Stars fan! And What Not to Wear! And there's my soap- I watch All My Children....religiously...going on 20 years here.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

I basically gave up TV when I got back in to my writing. I have very little free time, and there are so few shows I feel are worthy of my time and attention. LOL

But I understand guilty pleasures... ;)

Michelle Wolfson said...

Did I once call us Jason and Molly on twitter? We are totally them. Unless they get divorced or something. In which case we are so not them. Or have a kid. We're not doing that either. Unless you count your books. Which are really yours. Ha. You're Jason and I'm Molly until we get to the kid/book analogy part and then we switch. Since men really do only a small (but important) part of kid making.

Does this comment even make any sense anywhere other than in my own head???

Is this one of those comments I should have deleted and emailed to you instead??

Anonymous said...

To be clear: it was a field of dandelions, and it was crows croaking Nevermore. (Don't ask me why they thought they were ravens. *shrugs*)

Danica Avet said...

I much prefer a bed of thornless roses (note I'm insisting on no thorns!) instead of daffodils, but that's just me.

I'm a big fan of romance novels. I have hundreds of them in my house, in my Kindle. I've read thousands (no lie)...but I will not watch romantic movies, or shows. They just don't interest me. Maybe it's because when I'm reading, I can really pretend I'm the heroine. Or maybe it's because the hero always looks like Gerard Butler. Who knows? Anyway, reading and writing romance are how I keep myself from becoming completely cynical. I'm a closet romantic. I believe in true love, I believe in happy ever after...but only when I'm in my pjs, reading a novel, or writing one.

Julie Hedlund said...

Although I haven't watched the past few seasons, The Bacholor/ette is also one of my guilty pleasures. I used to love the show and got hooked from the very first season. I even shed a few tears during final rose ceremonies here and there.

I haven't really analyzed the deeper reasons why I enjoy the show so much, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that all the guys are hot!