Those who know me well, know that I don’t watch much TV. I’d even go as far as to say I don’t watch TV at all, but I s’pose that the 30 minutes or so I might turn on the TV as background noise actually counts. I just don’t have a desire to watch anything that’s on and I end up thinking of things I need to get done instead. So on an evening after work, you won’t find me
watching TV while eating dinner like the 66 percent of Americans. Instead, you’ll find me doing chores, working on my computer or getting ready to go out for the night. In the off chance that none of those activities apply, I might watch a DVD.
What’s interesting is that I grew up watching a lot of TV. Almost every day after school, my sister and I would lay on our stomachs on the floor, turn on our ancient dial TV and get lost in Full House, Kids Incorporated, Three’s Company, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and VH1 (we weren’t allowed to watch MTV), to name just a few. We eventually graduated to Seventh Heaven, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Felicity. In high school I stayed pretty busy with sports and extracurricular activities, but I made some time for TV. Even in college I had regular shows I would watch with my roommates: Friends, Fear Factor, America’s Next Top Model, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Desperate Housewives. The latter three came with me into my post-college years, and I also became an avid Lost fan.
The two reality shows eventually lost their luster and Lost . . . well . . . lost me. So I slowly moved off the couch into other venues of evening activity.
There is one exception to my non-TV-watching preference, though, and that is The Bachelorette (and its more popular counterpart, The Bachelor). If I’m going to watch any TV during the week, it’ll be at 8pm on Monday nights.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably baffled by the fact that I so easily seek out other things to do over watching TV, but that I’ll go to great lengths to watch a show as low and as trashy as The Bachelorette. Even my roommate, who watches a fair share of trashy reality TV, thinks this show is bad.
Just like every guy is vying for the bachelorette’s time, there are myriad stations and shows vying for my limited TV watching time. For various reasons, ABC’s The Bachelorette does it for me. Only one guy wins Ali’s heart, and only one show wins mine. Here’s why:
- I live vicariously through the “characters”. Whether it’s the bachelorette picking her hubby-to-be from the 25 suitors or 25 ladies competing for the bachelor, I envy their quests for love. As Ali falls harder and deeper for guys like Chris and Kirk, I fall in love with them, too. I dream that I’ll meet my own Roberto or Jesse. Better yet, I dream that I’ll happen to meet these very guys after she dismisses them from the show (which would be a huge mistake on her part). While I don’t know that I’d ever “audition” for either show, I fantasize about being in their shoes. (Ironically, I was previously in regular contact with a rep from the show, who at one point even asked if I’d like to apply.)
- They get to do a lot of cool shit. If you’ve seen at least one episode, you know what I’m talking about. As part of the six-week dating fest, the cast gets to stay in lush pads, roll VIP everywhere, travel the world and do exciting activities that they’d only dream of. And I feel like with every season, the opportunities and fun get bigger and better. ABC must have some amazing pull and beefy funds. For the fact that I’d love to do all the things that the cast gets to, I guess I’m living vicariously through them in this way, too.
- The film editors are just so damn good. I don’t know much about film editing, but I’m pretty sure ABC hired the industry’s cream of the crop for this show. In the weeks up to the season premiere, commercials show glimpses of what the coming season holds, getting me excited and counting down the days. Week after week, the show is filled with just the right amount of suspense, drama, heartbreak and romance. The editors know just the right moment in a heated fight, passionate love scene or teary sob-fest to break for a commercial. And after each show, the preview for the following week highlights the greatest moments. At the same time, the film editors withhold just the right amount of goodness to entice me to come back the following week. Sometimes they do such a good job of weaving the storyline in the preview that I end up finding out the craziness depicted isn’t actually that crazy the following week. But hey, they got me to come back, right?
- I actually want them to find love. As jealous as I am, I want the bachelorette to find Mr. Right in one of the guys she seems so compatible with on the show. I want her to be able to ditch her “Bachelorette” title by offering her hand to one of the bachelors. Just like most levelheaded people, I know the chances of finding the one person you’ll want to spend the rest of your life with in six weeks on a semi-scripted show are very slim. Despite the fact it’s a reality show, the idea of creating a long-lasting relationship in that short of a time and under those conditions isn’t very realistic. But as Alis narrows down her search each week and gets closer to her goal, I wonder if (and hope) she and her pick can be an exception and live happily every after. I want things to work out for them after the show – if simply for the fact that they deserve it for providing me with entertainment Monday after Monday.