Let me give a moment to something I love to hate. Reality TV. That branch of media that reminds me of a regrettable friendship. So many of us have them. You know…The person we thought we could hang out with, but wound up running from…Sort of like a misogynist who finds himself trapped in a Women’s Studies class?
Take The Bachelor. Please. Deep down I despise the show, yet remain fascinated by it. If you’re looking for a fresh take on an old guilty pleasure, you might want to check out these resources.
1. This post by Stephanie Simons made spending time on The Bachelor sound every bit as exciting as I thought it would be. The show’s producers love to depict Bachelor alums as happy people who miss their sisters-in-charms. However Ms. Simons’ account blows that belief out of the water.
2. If you’ve watched The Bachelor for a while, you might already know about Reality Steve. I don’t know who leaks information to him–whether they’re cast or crew members. Still, he’s a spoiler source with a fairly decent record–right down to who the Bachelor picks in each season’s final episodes.
3. You may or may not know that Jason and Molly Mesnick have a podcast. I’ve only listened to an episode or two of This Is Reality and it’s actually been interesting. It’s one thing to think you’re manipulated from start to finish when you watch The Bachelor. It’s quite another to have that thought confirmed by people who have actually been on it.
(Here’s a fun fact I learned from the Mesnicks: Imagine the amount of time that the Bachelor(ette) spends with their potential mate(s) on the show, then divide that by…Any number you like. I was shocked by the (guesstimated) figure that Jason mentioned. Indeed, it’s probably worse than viewers have thought. The rare, genuine relationships that are formed in spite of the producers’ machinations are a fluke. As a kid I spent more time with my teachers in a week of school than these people do during 7 weeks of filming.)
A system that’s doomed to fail isn’t a system. It’s sloppy.
Luckily for you and me Sadly, the Bachelor’s producers seem to know that they’ve created one of the most delectable piles of muck in the universe. It’s hard to believe that they would ever think of cleaning it up.