Friday, 20 April 2012

Cookie-Cutter Love


 Something that not many people know about me, is that I absolutely LOVE watching trashy reality TV shows.   Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Jerseylicious, Toddlers and Tiaras – I live for the mind-numbing twaddle that fills up every episode of these less than intellectual masterpieces.   But there is one show that I was a fan of above all others, so much so that I even managed to convince my mother to spend her Friday nights watching it with me.   I am, of course, referring to ‘The Bachelorette’.

We started with season 5 – where Jillian Harris played the role of the Bachelorette - and were immediately hooked.   I mean, how could you not love a show that shoves a whole load of random gorgeous men in a house together, and lets an equally gorgeous women send them home until she finds her husband-to-be?   It has suspense, romance, heartbreak, and some great eye-candy that kept us coming back for more.   So naturally when the season ended, we were thrilled to hear that a new season of the Bachelor would be taking its place - with one of Jillain’s discarded love interests staring as the Bachelor himself nogal!  

It was probably about half-way through this season of The Bachelor, however, that my mom and I began growing disenchanted with the programme as a whole.   Not only did we discover that Jillian and her fiancĂ© had split up within a year, but all of the girls on The Bachelor seemed like clones of one another.   There was no diversity, they even all had the same long straight hair, and we started to wonder why the show didn’t include a broader range of contestants.   The same was true for season 6 of The Bachelorette, and I struggled to remember if we were seeing new guys or if they had merely re-cycled them from Jillian’s season.  

It is for this reason that I was very interested to hear that ABC - the creators of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette – are being taken to court for racial discrimination.   The two shows have run for a combined 23 seasons, and never before has there been a “person of colour” in the central role.   A law suit is said to be filed by two black men who auditioned for the show, but were excluded from the “normal” auditioning process.   Executive producer/creator Mike Fleiss claims that the show often tries for ethnic diversity, but that “they” (members of other ethnic groups) “don't come forward”.  

I am not sure whether this law suit is going to result in anything drastic, but hopefully it will make people think twice when watching these sorts of shows in the future.   Race and ethnicity aside, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette follow a definite stereotypical view of what is deemed “beautiful” by society.   Those featured on these shows are always sculpted to perfection and one is given the impression that only if one looks like this, will one find love.   Or maybe the American public just doesn’t want to see normal-sized people canoodling in hot-tubs, who knows?   Either way, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who has noticed the producers’ tendencies to follow a specific 
cookie-cutter method of choosing contestants ... fingers crossed that the rest of society will see it too.