Call me a sad, vacuous, half-wit but I’m glued to The Bachelor on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Photo courtesy of Russell Jenkins at http://www.flickr.com
But only for research purposes – OBVIOUSLY – for my thesis on women and modern-day dating practices.
I was a ‘Bachelor’ virgin before this series. I’d heard about the hype, of course, but being the staunch feminist that I am, I was appalled that women existed who would subjugate themselves to such a demeaning social experiment on television, and so I denied myself.
Then I remembered how much I used to enjoy Big Brother, and it also became harder to ignore the tweets that continually bombarded my twitter feed whenever #TheBachelor aired, and I kind of missed not being part of something which creates so much controversy.
So I lost my Bachelor V plates this series.
And I DO know that the bachelorettes have CHOSEN to do this show and feminism is about women having choices, but the premise of the show still sits uncomfortably with me, no matter how many times Blake gratuitously takes his shirt off.
But in spite of my feminist conscience I still watch it.
It might have something to do with this season’s Bachelor, Blake Garvey, who is undisputedly both the thinking and drinking woman’s crumpet. So far he seems perfect. Not only is he tall, dark, handsome and successful, he’s super hot even by my middle-aged standards, (and far from afraid to whip out his guns at every perfect camera angle), worships his mum and family and his biological clock must be ticking loudly because he’s told us on more than one occasion that he wants babies as soon as he finds his princess.
And HE WANTS MY BABIES!…I mean, he wants babies.
So obviously, he can’t possibly be ‘real’ – but who cares? That’s what entertainment is all about – being able to suspend belief and pretend for a few hours each week that such men might possible exist in another universe. Even I ovulate when he talks about wanting to procreate, and my ovaries were well past their use-by date years ago.
And visually the series is a real treat after a hard day at the office and having to stare at the man you’ve been married to for over twenty years. It’s set in some of Sydney’s most beautiful properties and landmarks and if romance is your thing, the producers must have hired the ghost of Walt Disney himself to invent the romantic dates. We’ve had ice-skating in a winter wonderland, extreme sports that test even action man Blake (who seems on occasion as vulnerable as the ladies, which makes us love him even more), buckets of Champagne and oodles of tear-jerking sentimentality.
Did I mention how much Blake wants babies?
Sleeping baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But this is a reality show and no reality show is successful without a huge dollop of dirt, some serious sordidness and social antagonism to feed its viewers.
It’s those uncomfortable parts of the show we all love to hate (that make us cringe awkwardly on the sofa and force us to make polite exits to the kitchen to make excessive cups of tea) – yet secretly love. It’s several weeks into this series and the masks on Blake’s potential harem are beginning to crack – even Mr Perfect has expressed the odd perplexed look on occasion. We’re down to the final ten women now (roughly), although you don’t need a degree in psychology to pick the final line-up of lucky ladies from the start – it’s the mean girls from high school who do most of the bitchy thoughtful commentary about Blake and the other competitors, and without stereotyping, they’re the bigger personalities who no one would dare get into a cat fight with.
The humor is subtle in The Bachelor. It emanates from the frozen, bunny-boiler looks of the contestants, the ‘why did she wear that?’ moments and the looks of innate fear that sometimes pass over Blake’s face when his guard of perfection comes down and he inadvertently shows us some personality (or forgets that he’s on telly).
The programme is cleverly edited to mislead the public and to cultivate the suspense. Women who should have been ousted in week one, are ominously still there as catalysts and occasionally Blake makes a highly suspect decision at the rose ceremony, (that has obviously come directly from the director), when it comes to which women to save with his roses.
The obvious question is: why he is there at all and why are the bevy of beautiful women he is dating there too? If they can’t attract a partner, who the fuck can?
But who the fuck cares what their reasons are. This is entertainment, folks!
And this gorgeous man does want babies, which makes those of us with weeping ovaries ignore the rights and wrongs of the philosophy of the show.
I lie awake at night and worry about whether the women have considered the risk of cold sores. And even though Blake is obviously the perfect man, bigamist Blake doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong in playing the field to find his perfect woman, even though the Blake Harem cackles and plans his death, Games of Thrones style around the Champagne cauldron, as soon as the series ends.
I’m glad I don’t have to date anymore. It looks truly terrifying. Extreme sports aside, imagine having to wear false eyelashes, smile ALL the time and watch what you eat.