Reality Bites: The Bachelor

Categories: Reality Bites

The lineup on HBO's "Cathouse" is more dignified.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

For all my other TV-related flaws, I considered it a point of pride that -- until this week -- I'd never seen an episode of ABC's The Bachelor.

Not like the network has made in inaccessible or anything. Since 2002, there have been 16 seasons, resulting in an impressive 128 episodes (three more than All in the Family, for those yet to meet their RDA for righteous indignation). Granted, longevity =/= quality programming, but clearly *someone* is watching this show. Monday's 17th season premiere seemed like a good opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

Two hours of my life later, I'm still not sure. This is possibly because my cerebral cortex shut down out of self-preservation roughly 45 minutes in.

To start with: this trend of letting these shows run two (or even three) hours completely baffles me. Actually, I take that back. A 120-minute running time isn't the problem, it's that so many of you choose to sit through them in real time.

6.81 million people watched the Bachelor premiere Monday night, less than the number for NBC's The Biggest Loser -- the show that ostensibly allows America to cheer as the morbidly obese shed pounds but in reality just satisfies a darker need we all have to watch fitness trainers yell at people who can't do a single pull-up (see also: Full Metal Jacket). This is encouraging in the same vein as finding out you don't have inoperable bowel cancer, just regular bowel cancer.

Admittedly, I skipped some of the spectacle. My grandfather, the first man I ever knew who muted TV commercials, never lived to see DVR technology, but I like to think he would've been proud of seeing his grandson mercilessly fast-forwarding through lingering shots of 29-year old Dallasite Sean Lowe posing thoughtfully on the beach, or wistfully on a hilltop. Sean loves family and shirtlessness, and also had his heart broken on The Bachelorette, so naturally he's out to mete out cruel vengeance to as many unsuspecting women as possible.

Ha ha, no. We do get an excruciating rundown of his post-Bachelorette days, with only his thriving career, loving family and rock hard abs to see him through. He believes his "great love" is out there. "Out there" being a location whose parameters are defined by exactly 25 26 women. Seems a bit limiting.

Before the ladies show up, Sean gets a visit from Arie Luyendyk, Jr., runner-up of the same season of The Bachelorette Sean was on (fun fact: Emily from that season was a previous winner of The Bachelor, and several of the premiere's contestants were on something called Bachelor Pad, lots of ... cross-pollination on these shows). Arie offers some questionable advice, punctuated with a lot of "dudes." I could've done without the Indy 500 scion giving Sean kissing pointers.

All he wants is *love*, people. Can't you let him love?

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I must be the only person that has never watched The Bachelor. I have no idea what the rules are or what the true purpose of this show is (although it reminds me of lengthy speed dating if that even makes sense). My DISH co-workers spent an entire hour trying to explain to me what is what and the significance of Kacie B. on this season of the show. So after all of this, I’ve decided to keep watching to see what all the craziness is about. The Bachelor airs when I’m at work so I’ve got my DISH Hopper ready to record the new season. It can record up to 2,000 hours of TV shows and movies so I don’t have to rush through what I’ve already recorded. That way I won’t miss any of the crazy shenanigans.

conebaby topcommenter

I'm pretty sure I watched the first season of The Bachelor, and maybe Bachelorette, but none since. I found myself watching this at the gym and then got sucked in -- mostly to see how he would react to the woman with one arm. I'm not sure if that makes me a horrible person.

Two hours later (yes, I watched it LIVE--torture) I was relieved to learn that this show is as stupid as I thought and I don't care about it. My favorite moment was definitely the girl who bit it on her second back walkover. Lesson: If you don't keep your junior cheerleading squad skills sharp, you will lose them.

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