The Bachelor: how does it offend me? Let me count the ways. There’s the cliche of women cat-fighting over a man. The assumption that happiness can only come to the woman who “nabs” a mate. There’s the vacuity of the entire premise: that true love can be found on TV, in six weeks, in a fantasy land of spectacular vistas and exotic trips. Then there’s the soft-core porn quality of the immense amount of PDA: extreme close-ups of open mouthed kisses, bikini clad women straddling a man wearing nothing but a well placed towel. Not to mention the fact that said man has had these PDA moments with any number of the contestants. Which, according to the premise of the show, makes him loving, and not just a horn-dog with a free pass.
But this particular season of ABC’s The Bachelor has offended me more than any of the others. I’ll assume that since you’re reading a blog you do not live in a media vacuum and so know the premise of the show, but in case you don’t, here it is: gorgeous, six-pack ab flaunting bachelor meets dozens of bachelorettes who don’t know him, but want to be his bride. Then,each week, he humiliates eliminates bachelorettes by offering roses to those who may stay, and none to those who must pack up and haul out, until only two are left. In the end, one of the two gets a proposal, (and the final rose) and the other gets to be emotionally eviscerated on national television.
This season, however, The Bachelor had a twist: bachelor Jason Mesnick (rejected in the final round of the last “Bachelorette”) had a son. A son he wanted to “complete” with a family. Never, in the (admittedly few) episodes I watched, or in any of the somewhat extensive internet research I did on the internet before I wrote this post, did I hear anything much about the child’s mother. I assume he has one. I mean, I know Jason is this, like, totally amazing guy and everything, (did I mention those fabu abs?) but even a publicity-loving, armchair psychology spouting hottie needs a uterus to have a baby.
Did the mother leave Jason alone to raise his son? Unclear. Is she a monster? The show went on and on about how Jason was there so that Ty could get a step-mom. Evidently, three year old Ty only likes big-busted overly made up women with bikini ready bodies.Since that’s who was on the show. So right from the start, the premise bugged me: dad alone (is he really?), raising his son (they never explain the custody arrangement), pimping out involving his little boy in the notoriously high level, full of integrity, reality TV world.
Jason’s two final women were Melissa and Molly. Perky and toothsome, they both proclaimed their “real” love for Jason, all the while knowing that he was being just as intimate with the other woman as he was with her. Then, in Monday’s finale, Jason chose bubbly finalist Melissa, and tossed a shocked Molly out on her limo. This after he spent an entire day and night telling Molly how special she was, how he couldn’t get enough of her. Lovely. ‘
But the ” The Bachelor: After the Final Rose” post-finale show really took the cake. In that show, a teary-eyed Jason tells the host that though he gave it his all with Melissa, he realizes now that they’re just not right for each other. “I don’t want to do this. She doesn’t deserve it. But I have to.” Is what Jason says. Oh really? You had to bring her out in front of a television crew and humiliate her on national television? Breaking up is hard to do, it’s true, but I guess it’s a heck of a lot easier with a camera crew and the prospect of millions of people watching to protect you from her turning you into a eunuch and a bachelor.
Almost worse, was the poor girl’s reaction. Though she held it together on the set, telling him never to call her again and to leave her alone, and pointing out that “giving it his all” had amounted to about six weeks of trying to work it out, she confessed in the omni-present limo, to the omni present camera, that she has decided, at the ripe old age of 25, that there must be something wrong with her.
Well, yes. What’s wrong with you is that you were naive enough to believe that someone who has now TWICE (twice!) tried to “find love” on national television was sincere. What’s wrong with yout is that THERE”S SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM, with the show, with whole premise of falling in love on TV, but you can’t see it. You, Melissa, are fine. Gullible, but fine. Jason Mesnick may even be fine, for all I know. It’s the producers of this sadistic show that should be whipped with thorny roses by the women they humiliate season after season.
Because the humiliation didn’t end there. Moments after such a “difficult” break-up, Jason asked the publicly rejected Molly for another chance. I hoped she’d say “Are you kidding me? Why should I think you won’t dump me out there in the real world just like you did the other woman? Why would I take back the man who canoodled with me one day, and dropped me like a thorny rose the next.” But Molly didn’t say that. She took him back. Jason and Molly even, like trained animals, performed their PDA routine for the cameras. YUCK! The message to women is: let yourself be humiliated. Let men treat you like their playthings, and manipulate you. Let them pulbicly humiliate you AND THEN MAKE OUT WITH THEM ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. I am so offended on so many levels that I cannot believe it. But mostly, I’m upset for all those young girls out there who watched, and swooned and were moved by Jason’s crocodile tears. I’m worried that a generation of TV watchers will grow up thinking that this is courtship. That it’s OK for the man they’re involved with to expect their fidelity while he gropes the girl in the next room.
Here’s a message for you, girls: IT”S NOT OK.
I’d love to see a show where women stand up for themselves. Where women are valued for brains and wit and charm, and not just for how well they fill out a bikini. (Honestly, the producers of this show find ANY excuse to put the women in bikinis. Lunch time? Bikini Time! Mowing the lawnWatching TV? Bikini Time? Sledding? Damn the cold – bikini! Flossing your teeth? Bikini again!)
I’m sure the producers of the show are thrilled with my reaction: they’ll think it shows I’m emotionally involved. But the thing is, I’m not. I barely watched the show. This has nothing to do with the people on the show – it’s the entire premise. I’m physically nauseated, morally offended, and hopeful that no one will ever, ever, give me a single red rose.