TV: The Bachelor and the State of Humanity

Written by Meg Walter on . Posted in TV

Brad Womack is this season’s bachelor on The Bachelor — and his reputation certainly precedes him.

This is Brad’s second run on ABC’s hit series, having ended his first shot at TV love without a fiancé. His great sin, as far as I can tell, was telling two women that he was not in love with either of them and, therefore, would not be marrying either of them.

This confuses me. Isn’t honesty an admirable attribute? Isn’t it far better to call it quits on a relationship before the ring?

This season’s hopeful Mrs. Womacks sure don’t seem to think so. Rare was the woman who, when meeting Brad, did not say, “I saw your season, you have a lot of explaining to do,” or “I hope you’ve changed.” One girl even slapped his face on behalf of all the women in America. Now that’s the way to catch a man.

Shockingly, the slapper was not the craziest of the bunch. Madison — model by day, vampire by night (fangs and all) — not only made the cut to appear in the initial group of women, but was given a rose and advanced to the next level. If there’s one thing that should be avoided in the search for a potential mate, it’s fangs. And the thirst for blood. (I’m looking at you, Bella.)

Along with crazy, this season also has its fair share of catty. One of the best parts of The Bachelor is the individual interviews with the girls. The girls pretend to be “besties” when together, but then when they’re alone in front of the camera they express their true frustrations with, most often, the girl The Bachelor likes most.

There’s a clear frontrunner on the backbiting front. Michelle from Salt Lake City (woot!) nearly passed out with envy when she was denied the “first impression” rose. Even though all the girls share concerns about Brad and his supposed inability to commit, there were still quite a few “I’m not here to make friends,” and “These girls better watch out,” the standard reality television declarations of “I will win and the rest of y’all are will leave here crying.”

It doesn’t take long to tell that The Bachelor is not actually about the bachelor. It’s about women wanting to be better than each other — wanting to look hotter, flirt better, kiss longer and get married faster, because, gosh dang it, without a man thinking we are The Best, we’re nothing. The Bachelor is essentially Survivor with skankier dresses. These girls don’t want Brad. They want a trophy (ring).

That, I believe, is why so few Bachelor/Bachelorette relationships have made it to the altar. To actually get married, you need love. Love beyond $2,000 dates and hair and makeup artists and vacations to exotic locations every week. The kind of love that can eat ramen noodles for dinner every night and play Monopoly on the weekends and pay bills.

The Bachelor is consistently a trainwreck, and Brad and his new lady friends should not disappoint. I thought the Jake-Vienna season was a disaster, but this season promises so many more catastrophes. I had to remind myself to exhale when the season preview ended — so many tears, so much kissing, so many exotic locations and so much girl hate.

It’s not good television. It’s awesome television. Television that makes you appreciate your own stable relationships. Television that makes you squirm with embarrassment on others’ behalves. Television that makes you question the state of humanity.

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