I Survived the Bachelor
January 28, 2013
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In the past, when I flipped on The Bachelor (or its female counterpart, The Bachelorette), it was a known quantity to me. I could always expect high-octane, albeit slightly repetitive and corny, drama. I fear the worst; the show and its concept may have worn out their welcome on national television, left unable to fulfill even a specific niche for anyone but the most diehard fans.
This is a pivotal season for the show, which is in danger of losing what thin shreds of dignity it had left after last season’s bachelorette, Emily, cheated on and subsequently dumped her “future lover”, Jef, just months after “The Bachelorette” ended. The show’s matches have become decreasingly amorous, and as a result, the rest of the show has faltered. I say with great remorse that this season has done little in the way of redemption, and viewers may have to go elsewhere to see suitors squabble. Because the Bachelor has always been so near and dear to my heart, however, I could not simply write it off as dead. Below, I intend to dissect its problems in hopes that America’s favorite dating game can make a strong comeback.
What’s a good story without a talented, hunk-a-licous main character? Sadly, Sean Lowe, this season’s bachelor, doesn’t have much going for him. Alright, so maybe he’s somewhat attractive, but, in a game about love, outward appearance is only half the battle; one must have charm as well. In Sean’s defense, he is a repeat character (as he placed third in the last Bachelorette, making it to the penultimate episode), so perhaps the audience has seen a bit too much of him at this point. But that leaves the producer to blame; there is no excuse for a boring protagonist. Much like Emily overplayed the “single mother” card last season, Sean harps on his religion, citing that he refuses to have pre-marital sex and goes with God on key issues. I have nothing against faith, and nothing but respect for those who practice it, but Sean, is that really worth making the focal point of your time on a DATING SHOW? Can’t you do something else cool (or better yet multiple cool things) so that I can identify with you and, perhaps, like you as a guy? A guy with zest is integral to the show’s success, and tragically, Sean simply does not have that.
So the main character is bad, the supporting ones can still pick up the slack, right? Dream on, viewer, dream on. Perhaps this is a particularly bad cast, but about half of the ladies this season seem virtually identical: ditzy, blond, over-tanned, and under-brained. If I want that, the folks at MTV can do it, AND get them to do. I mean interesting things. As I said with Sean, these girls are on a show about matchmaking. As I’m sure anyone from your BFF to the Fiddler on the Roof could reiterate, love is about more than looks; a couple must have corresponding personalities too (though that might entail having a personality in the first place).
So the people aren’t great; maybe the producers can include some good action? Ha! This season has had some of the worst activities of any. Seriously, putting 12 girls on a volleyball court (11 of whom looked genuinely lost while thrashing about) was too painful to even be comedy. This coming from a guy who thought Wipeout was funny after the third season.
Ordinarily, I’d highlight a couple of suitors who stood out to me, but, thus far, Lesley has thoroughly dominated the competition (though, given the ‘unpredictable’ nature of the show, she’ll probably lose). Sean and she shared what has been deemed the world record for “longest on-screen kiss” at 3 min 15 seconds (though calling it a kiss is a gross overstatement; it looked like toddlers smashing their dolls’ mouths together). She also offered one of the most priceless lines of the season, claiming to Sean that she “doesn’t need much attention”, which is hilarious given her efforts to outwork the other girls to secure a one-on-one date.
Overall, while this season is crucial the legitimacy of the Bachelor/Bachelorette, it has underachieved in my eyes. There must be more interesting events, more tension among the girls, and a new, less boring side of Sean for the season to redeem itself, all of which are possible, but improbable. For the sake of my seventh-favorite show, I sorely hope that the producers step up to the plate and restore this once-proud franchise to its former glory.