Let's start with the things we know for sure.
Most reality shows, including The Bachelor, are scripted. Those who script them aren't unionized, and thus, don't get paid enough for writing them, which also usually means the writing is subpar. Not only are the dialogue and contrived situations horrendous, but there is usually a lack of originality. Of late, for example, The Bachelor has relied on throwing in elements of good reality shows, in hopes that it will elevate its own material (not working, of course).
This season, for example, for no apparent reason, they've thrown in elements of Survivor and Fear Factor. They seem to be obsessed with putting people in high places and making them jump. A couple climbed to the top of a bridge in San Francisco, cause yeah, that's what couples do on dates. Dreadful, lame, tiresome.
See, I remember in the first couple of seasons, back when The Bachelor was actually good. Or at least it had a lot of promise. The premise was that 28 women would vie for the heart of one man. Doing normal stuff, like going on dates. Ones that involved tables and food and talking, not swimming with sharks, or jumping into deep pools in dark caves.
One thing Survivor does really right, and The Bachelor does really wrong, is that it's forgotten that people themselves are really interesting. People's personalities, and what they'll do in situations are what made reality shows great originally. Now they are just a cheap way to make a buck. It's very sad.
But I'm not writing about the sad state of reality shows. (One good one left--unscripted--Survivor, starts a new season Wednesday. Do catch it.)
No, I wanted to write about sex for a minute.
So let's again talk about what we know. People have sex. People have sex on reality shows, even though it's usually not talked about, since we are, after all, dealing with network TV. Romances blossom on Survivor. In fact, more couples have met and stayed together on Survivor than they have from The Bachelor or Bachelorette. Combined. FACT.
But it is the sad mess called The Bachelor that is the subject of today's treatise. (It being Valentine's Day, after all.)
So let's go back to the days of innocence, when The Bachelor was good. Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine, though it's a crazy situation... imagine that you did go on a reality show to find a husband. And imagine that, against all odds and likelihoods, you met this guy, and there was an instant spark. (It could happen.)
Most of these other 28 girls just want to be on TV, or whatever their reasons for being there are, but you meet this guy. You fall in love the first night. And he does too. He feels the same spark. (It could happen.)
Cause really, when I think about it (sure maybe something could develop over six weeks), but really, I would know instantly whether or not there was a spark between me and said dude. So, say there is.
And say that you are now in this game, this obstacle course, where you have to get to the end. All these other women have to go away (for whatever reason) and maybe you can actually get to be with this man. (It could happen.)
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you have one such woman this season. Let's say her name is Kacie B. She's sweet, she's cute, she's perky. She's there "for all the right reasons," a Bachelor phrase so overused I cringe whenever I hear it. She likes this guy, this Ben. He likes her. Maybe even a lot.
How would you feel, I wonder, to see all these other women battling (either for his attention or just for camera time) it out? And what if one of said women was a scheming, conniving bitch (whether written that way, or just was), who would do anything, both for camera time and to "win" this game, get to the end, to play out every episode?
I've often wondered that about this show. Given its many constraints, what could you really do, to get and hold this guy for yourself? There really isn't much.
Kacie B. has relied on grabbing kisses and alone time when she could. It seems to be working. I'd bet money she'll be one of the two standing at the end with Ben.
But her nemesis (this season's nemesis), let's call her Courtney, uses a different tack. She uses sex.
Anyone knows that if you want to get and keep a man, especially if you only have six weeks in which to do it, and dozens of other women are clawing around you trying for the same thing, you have to use sex.
I'm sure The Bachelor rules prohibit it, at least until the whole "Fantasy Suite" malarky, which hasn't even happened yet this season. There has been a whole lotta kissing, but not even any hot tubs to speak of (as in seasons past).
But there was this. Resident wench Courtney decided to break a few rules and corner Bachelor Ben at his hotel room. They went down to the surf to go skinny dipping. I would bet a year's salary that sex happened that night.
Courtney is annoying, but she's a model, and if I were Ben, I would for sure keep her around until Fantasy Suite time, for at least one more roll in the hay before dumping her.
But back to the good and innocence of The Bachelor. The show, ostensibly, is about true love. Or finding love. So what if, let's say, our heroine, Kacie B. does end up getting engaged to Ben at the end of the season, and she's sitting at home, watching the episodes go by, and she sees, what she didn't when they were all in Puerto Rico. She sees Ben's little frolic in the sand with the model?
Ben has so far been very cagey about whether or not he ends up proposing at the end. Or whether he's "happy now," which they always ask at the beginning. I suspect that even if he was happy for awhile, once he let out the "Oh, btw, I slept with Courtney" truth, that was the end of that.
But here's the thing. As a viewer of the show, even a viewer who mostly likes the show (even with all its "leap list" and bad writing, even with all its improbable dates), I watch every week, I wanna believe. But that whole thing with Courtney, and Courtney's smug attitude that Ben wouldn't even think about sending her home... Personally, I think it went like this. He said to her, "We can have sex, and I'll keep you till Fantasy Suite time, if you promise to not tell ANY of the other girls. If you do, you're going home in the next rose ceremony."
Cause she's been obnoxious and rude and braying about everything else, but about this big secret, this big elephant in the room, she's not lording it over anyone. There had to have been a deal made there.
Or maybe the producers came down on her heavy too. Cause it would really ruin the show, if all the other girls knew.
But aren't they all just sick to their stomachs now, seeing it unfold before them? I know I feel tainted watching it. Like there is some oily substance stuck to my psyche that I can't get off. Every time Courtney is on screen, I feel like throwing up.
We shall see... how it all evolves. But I bet Ben is alone when all is said and done.
What do you think? Sex on The Bachelor? Good thing? Bad thing?