Posted by: Kate | March 5, 2009

The Most Dramatic Season of “The Bachelor” Ever

Earlier this week, another season – the seventeenth run-through of completely overproduced dreck and nonsense, all crammed into the past seven or so years – of “The Bachelor” wrapped up on ABC.  Blah, blah, blah, controvery, blah, blah, staged, blah, most dramatic ever, blah, blah, changed his mind after the last show, blah, blah, blah, fairy tale, blahbitty blah blah blah.  It’s so formulaic as to be almost painful, and I’m honestly a little embarrassed to even have it programmed into my DVR.

And yet, I watch, every season since about the fourth or fifth go-round.  I watch every episode, religiously, and go so far as to, when I’ve DVR’ed the week’s episode(s) to watch commercial-free later, painstakingly avoid any possible online spoilers.  This worked great until 9:58 p.m. Tuesday night; Gretchen and I had plans to watch the final episode plus the two – because one would hardly be enough – wrap-up episodes on Wednesday afternoon.  I carefully avoided Yahoo’s Entertainment pages, because they have a gift for including the outcomes right there in the article titles, and steered clear of blogs I thought might give it away.  I knew the last show would be done recording at 10:00 p.m., and I wasn’t entirely sure what channel I had left the cable box on before turning it off earlier, so just to be on the safe side, I planned to wait until after 10:00 to turn on the boob tube.  At 9:58, I logged onto Facebook, thinking I’d be safe playing a word game or three until the magic hour had passed, et voila! A spoiler, in the form of a friend’s status line.  Less than a hundred characters, ruining a night’s self-headgames.  Alas.

Fine, no big deal, my personal favorite candidate had already been voted off that particular island, so I wasn’t feeling much of an investment in the ultimate winner of the competition, anyway.  We still watched, this afternoon, and listened to Captain Obvious – Chris Harrison, to most – narrate and interview to his heart’s content.  And ours.

So, it’s done, at least until May, when my previously-mentioned personal favorite comes back as “The Bachelorette,” thereby setting herself up to lose any semblance of respect I might ever have imagined myself to hold for her.

Because, seriously?  This is crap television at its worst.  It’s a bare step up over “The Jerry Springer Show” (is that even still on?), and the only show I’ve ever willingly watched that is unarguably worse than this is “Temptation Island.”  It’s predictable, right down to the same, tired lines, trotted out each season and uttered in tones of angst and shock, as though somehow the prior umpteen seasons didn’t give enough of a clue that it might be hard to fall in love with two people at once.

I have absolutely no idea why I watch, or why I enjoy doing so.  I think part of it is because the sheer bizarreness of it delights me: how can we possibly have such a staged, set-up dating show aired in front of the world and then listen to the contestants insist how real and fairy tale it all is?  Let me tell you, ladies and gentlement, ain’t nowhere in Grimm’s that mentions beating out 24 other contestants on unrealistic, fantastical dates in order to gain notoriety and scrutiny.

I also will admit to having been in a comparable – not similar, mind you, but roughly comparable – situation.  When I was 19, I was engaged to Seth, and highly attracted to Willem.  Was I in love with two men at once?  Hell, no; with Seth, there was a mutual safety net, and with Willem, there was an intellectual and chemical spark, but either relationship would have qualified, in 1999, as love.  But I was involved with both; one of my personal low points, in terms of dignity and pride, occurred when I left Willem’s room, not having had sex but having crossed several other lines, to go directly to Seth’s room and return his engagement ring.  It was a bad, bad, confusing, selfish, unpleasant time, and I’m ashamed of many aspects of it.  But I understand exactly how I ended up there, and would likely have chosen the exact same path all over again, knowing how it all played out.  So, I do have sympathy for the, “I didn’t realize how hard it would be to date more than one person” line.

But still, why watch?  Why expose myself to frequent, visual reminders of a confusing and painful time in my life, or seek out other people behaving badly when life provides so many other opportunities for similar voyeurism?

I just don’t know.

But you’d better believe I’ll be tuning in again in May.



  1. How about Rock of Love? It can’t get much worse than that, but I still find myself watching, like a moth to flame.

  2. I actually don’t watch this show, but have seen some episodes over the years, so do know the formula. I happened to catch the “after the after the final rose” or whatever they were calling the final wrap up the other night. What boggles my mind is that some people were actually angry with him for the decision he made to break up with fiancee #1?! If it were me, (which it has been in the past) I would rather know BEFORE the wedding! And you can’t tell me that she didn’t know it was coming… Crazy.

  3. I can’t believe that I actually had to watch each episode as it aired because I could not wait to read the blogs. I will probably watch Jillian. I have nothing but nausea for Jason and Molly, and ABC, and Chris, etc. But I swear the blogs were the best.

  4. Kate my solemn promise to you is that you will never, never see a Bachelor spoiler in my blog or my Facebook status. I can promise you that! LOL.

    You’re right that it is some of the worst television possible. I watched a couple episodes early on, when it was that sweet brunette girl (that he eventually chose) despite possibly having s-e-x with the hot blond girl? This may describe several seasons of the show, I dunno. But I remember the blond seemed genuinely shocked (as was all of America) when he didn’t choose her.

    Now my bad TV fix is the Real Housewives shows. It does not get better/worse than that.

  5. I like Survivor and American Idol. Those are just junkie reality shows, too – and it shames me to admit I watch, but I think there’s some part of human nature where we like to people watch and see what they’ll do next. Voyeuristic. I do think Survivor has some redeeming qualities – as in each show is like a sociological experiment, seeing these people have to work together to create their own environment and under tough conditions… Or maybe I’m just rationalizing. LOL.

  6. I am so with you! I love the show in the same way that I love sleazy romances. It’s brain candy and I’m fully aware of that.

    I think breaking up with someone on tv, especially when there’s someone else that you would rather be with, is what I really felt uncomfortable with. Nothing like twisting the knife in someone’s back a bit. It’s one thing to break up with someone and date another person, but it’s another to do in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

  7. I like bachelor, but could not get into this season, I lost respect for Jason because he was subjecting his son to his being gone for 3 months for the second time in a year. I cheated though on Monday, knew I was too tired to stay up and watch the finale, so I searched for spoilers.

  8. I hope I wasn’t the one who spoiled it for you … I remember posting something in my FB status, but I think it was a simple “I hate The Bachelor.” The sad thing is, I’ve NEVER watched this show until I semi-watched it this season (watched the first episode and then just the last few minutes of each show to see who got kicked out).

    Unlike you, I like spoilers, LOL … it’s the control freak in me, I guess. I like to know whether I’m going to be disappointed … gives me a while to prepare myself. (Which begs the question WHY it’s necessary to have so much preparation for a stupid TV show, for cryin’ out loud!!!) Anyway, I’d seen all the rumors about what would happen – and they were right – but I held out hope for a happy ending. What bothered me most wasn’t that he changed his mind or broke the engagement … that happens all the time. I was bothered by the fact that A) it happened on national TV, and B) 20 minutes later he’s sitting on the same couch, making out with Girl #2.

    I can’t believe I’m even discussing this!! I’m back to being a nonwatcher after this mess! The way it all transpired really ticked me off, so much so that I couldn’t sleep that first night, and then I got ticked at myself for letting a stupid TV show affect me so deeply. It’s a good thing I don’t have cable …

  9. I totally watched Temptation Island!

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