So I’m new to this whole “Bachelor” scene.
There. I said it. I can now be classified among the millions of women in America who can’t seem to stop watching Ben Higgins on screen.
I’ve never been a Bachelor girl. Before Monday, I had watched two episodes of Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season and swore on my life I’d never again watch the show. I hated it and couldn’t believe people watched this garbage.
But perhaps I’m not the only one who’s been sucked into the vortex of “reality” “romance” television.
Well for one thing, I live in a house with girls who are big fans and I happened to tune in this week while it was being broadcast in my living room.
You should hear my commentary. I think the show is terrible, I make fun of every line, I roll my eyes, I normally make fun of people who watch it. But now I’m one of them.
As the episodes unfold, I watch wide-eyed and can only think about the many social and cultural trends begging to be academically researched. My mind races to analyze why I can’t turn my eyes away.
In a masters research paper, Suzanne Shedd looked at the rhetorical and narrative devices used in the show that seem to draw us in. She examined transcripts of the show and sought to uncover just what it is about this genre of reality TV that’s so enticing.
“These shows follow the classic formula of boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy and girl live happily ever after,” Shedd says. “Having been exposed to this concept for most of their lives, viewers can relate because it appeals to something they have always known and probably want for themselves.”
Ever since we were children, this fairytale message has been broadcast loudly, from playground days to junior high youth groups that told us “someday our prince will come.” We want the grandeur and bravado of roses and ridiculous dates, all in the name of finding true love.
My personal congratulations to the producer of the show, who have struck a vein in American millennial consciousness, a generation addicted to the romantic.
“Humans want to root for love because if others can find it, there is hope that we can, too,” Shedd says toward the end of her paper.
We’re looking for these stories in our own lives and when we don’t find them right away, we turn to staged and oversaturated romance shows that are probably the most unrealistic circumstances for relationships to happen like ever.
Tune in on Monday night for your chance at finding love.