02 August 2011

Ardor, n. The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge.

Ambrose Bierce


For those who don’t know, the bachelor is a reality television show where 25 women spend approximately three months competing to win the man of their dreams. Week by week, more girls leave the show, until, at the final episode, the bachelor has to choose between the final two remaining girls. One girl has her dreams come true, and the other has her heart crushed. There have been 15 highly watched seasons.

Every season they bring a new batch of 25 beautiful, highly successful, seemingly intelligent women to have their chance at love. However, they leave out a very important fact. The bachelor has a zero percent success rate.

Out of the fifteen seasons of the bachelor, one time the bachelor rejected all the girls, and the other fourteen times the bachelor and the winner went off to live happily ever after. At least that’s what the producers would have you believe. In reality, every single one of the fourteen couples is no longer together. That’s right, the success rate of the bachelor is a big fat 0.00%.

These women are primed by a lifetime of Disney movies to believe that their knight in shining armor is going to appear as if in a fairy tale and whisk them away to a life of happiness. The producers exploit this to the fullest, both with the contestants and with the audience. They convince 25 relatively normal and accomplished people to throw themselves on an emotional rollercoaster because success would be the fulfillment of all their childhood dreams. Perhaps the first few seasons the producers thought that maybe these kinds of relationships could work out, but at this point, it seems clear they cannot.

The producers should be ashamed. Some reality shows, like the biggest loser and extreme home makeover, have a clearly wonderful impact on people’s lives. This show just plays with people’s emotions, screws with their heads, and gives them nothing to show for it in the end.

I think the producers should be morally obligated to provide a disclaimer at the beginning of each show and a disclaimer to all contestants. It should say that the bachelor has had a zero percent success rate, and that all the language used to describe how this show will result in the perfect Disney scenario does not accurately reflect the outcomes that have been observed. The producers are like predatory mortgage salesman. They know that the dream they are selling will never come true, but they smile and sell it anyways.