Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Women Love "The Bachelor" on ABC

These next words are only my opinion and not the opinion of the dogs who lie snoring beside me.

The Bachelor. America's mindless phenomenon. I watch it faithfully and my sister, who is the smart one in our family can't get enough of the reality TV show that appears, blessedly, on Monday nights- which is a good night after a weekend, because it gives us something to look forward to after getting up for work on Monday, right? But, The Bachelor comes only twice a year and we have to wait and wait between shows, forced to watch Dancing with The Stars because now the last Bachelor Sean Lowe has joined the dancing reality show to get enough money to buy a house or something like that. We only get to see our beloved Bachelor show half of the nights out of the year. Damned. Can't they produce more shows? Come on ABC. And now Bachelor Pad (which was a terrible cross between The Bachelor and a hedonistic semi-porn game show) is not filming this year for our summer enjoyment. What's a viewer to do?
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are wildly popular TV reality shows. Wildly. Just see how many followers Chris Harrison has on Twitter. Or join Bachelor Nation on FB or twitter. Why is there such appeal to intelligent women who have high stress jobs, who manage families, have been married for twenty years, or even young women who are looking for love? The Bachelor is not just for women either. Even men watch this show, with no worries about how others will gauge their masculinity. (My husband gets a beer and sits himself in front of the TV for The Bachelor, calling out opinions on what he thinks the guys should do or should not do-he loves it!).

ABC's The Bachelor is watched by all age groups, demographics and genders. The Bachelorette, its sister show  is equally popular. If you don't watch the show or have never heard of it (where have you been living? In a cave in Borneo?) the young woman chooses between twenty-five single men, as opposed to The Bachelor where  one man chooses between twenty-five single women. As a nation, we love to watch the drama of a villain among the seemingly nice contestants,(Tiara) the horror of a fan favorite not getting a rose, (Lindsey) or the unthinkable of the mean girl getting proposed to (Courtney).
Why do we tune in every Monday night ( in droves) to watch someone whittle the list down to one hopeful candidate for a lasting relationship? It is mindless FUN, that's why. If love makes the world go 'round, and what the world needs now is love, sweet love, then the quest for love and partnering up is very important in our lives. Maybe the most important thing we, as human beings, have. And watching someone on their quest of this is voyeurism at its finest. We get to see someone during the dating process and it's only rated PG. We are not peeking in on anything that would be considered naughty or twisted. We are simply watching a person doing the most normal human thing possible-look for love.
As someone who's been married twenty-one years, I have two thoughts on why my husband and I sit down on Monday nights to ravage every second of this show like the characters were beloved relatives/friends who we care deeply about. One, is that we are past the initial romantic buzz of our relationship and have long been in the comfortable, I love- you- no- matter- what stage and watching someone who's jazzed on that initial attraction brings back memories and emotions we haven't felt in a long time. And two, is that after a long day with teenagers, chores, work, the dog chewing a hole in the dry wall, stress, we just want to watch something that's entertaining and makes us feel happy without investing too much emotion. After the Rose Ceremony and our favorite is eliminated, we don't go around all week mourning the event. We simply pick a new favorite. Isn't that lovely and so unlike real life when a boyfriend dumps you and you spend three months wondering where you went wrong? We walk away at the end of the show, commiserate on what the problem was and go to bed, our psyches only slightly affected by the bachelor's rejection of our favorite contestant.
If you're an avid fan of the reality show franchise, you know that groups congregate all around the country on Monday nights to watch the show, in neighborhoods, sororities, bars and girlfriend's houses. The Bachelor has become a cultural phenomenon. Tabloid magazines carry the latest news on the contestants, and opinions breed like bunnies on what's going to happen as the road to the Final Rose gets twisty .

After the proposal on national TV, the media heyday begins and the remaining lovey-dovey couple, barely has a chance of surviving as dirt is dug up, pictures of the individuals drinking shots off another girls' abdomen surface and the media struggles to tear the young love birds apart. Very few have survived the onslaught. Ryan and Trista come to mind, and so far Jason and Molly but remember, he originally chose someone else and broke up with his chosen one to go back to get his heartbroken Molly. As a nation we yearn for a happy couple but also can't resist what the media has found against them. Dang.
Emily and Jef didn't have a chance, especially if she was texting another man. The press dove on that one like a hungry tiger and then it was all over before it even got very far off the ground. I wanted that to work. What about you? They seemed perfect for each other. What the heck happened there? They were cute and full of benevolent aspirations, as well as love for each other. As much as I cheered them on and cringed at Ari's advancement as the weeks went on, I didn't shed any tears over the breakup and that's what I'm talking about. All the buzz without the investment. Or at least some of the buzz without actually kissing anyone who's not your husband.
I'm not entirely sure why everyone watches The Bachelor. Unless you are like me. Life is tough (as my mother used to say when I was a carefree teen), and there is so much stress and so many obstacles to overcome on a daily basis. To simply plant oneself in front of the boob tube for one hour a week and listen in on someone's quest for love is a blessed event. Especially if everyone is dressed to the nines, showing off a little skin here and there, kissing and flirting in romantic locations, and it's a game we can play at home. And it's free TV. Not cable. Ongoing TV, something you can count on twice a year for Monday night entertainment. It's love and we all know - Love is All You Need. The Beatles told us this. Tra La La

Over and Out

Kim Hornsby is the author of the short novella The Husband Hunt, available on Amazon books for Kindle or download. It's a two hour read similar to watching The Bachelor and The Husband Hunt 2- Kat's Season
She's also the author of the novel The Dream Jumper's Promise, nominated for BEST INDIE FIRST BOOK (click on the cover above) or
and Necessary Detour, published with The Wild Rose Press.
Both novels are Romantic Women's Fiction with strong elements of Suspense

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