The Unorthodox Nature of Dating on TV

The Bachelorette.

She loves him. I can see it in her eyes when he pulls her into his arms and holds her close. It’s like a fairy tale as they talk and laugh, as he plans a future for the two of them, and as she says nothing to dissuade him from those plans. They’re dressed in dinner wear, the handsome couple that turns everyone’s heads when they go out on the town. He even brought her home to meet his entire family, and they too could see the love between them. A week later he is in tears because she said she doesn’t feel the same way about him as he does about her. Now. At this late hour. And the cameras are rolling when he gets the news.

No, this isn’t real life, but it is at the same time. This is a television show, but it’s unscripted, and the “actors” are real human beings who want a legitimate shot at discovering love, at finding their own “happily ever after.” Is it right to throw these desperately longing creatures together in a house with their rivals and hope for the best? Is it okay to think that having one woman determine their fates is the best way to treat their fragile emotions anyway? And why am I so fascinated by the show?

After watching the latest episode last night, I thought back to bachelorette Andi’s hometown trips, where she did a very good job of making it seem like each of the four guys was the only one for her. Four mothers told her how much they could see the attraction and emotional connection between her and their son, but one of those mothers either lied or was seriously mistaken — Marcus’s mother. She wanted the best for her son, having already lost two other children in tragic circumstances, and she had us viewers thinking that Andi was that proverbial best. A week later Andi was breaking her son’s heart on national television.

And we all watched. Well, I watched anyway.

Aside from the cameras and making the guys live together, though, is it really that unorthodox a dating scenario? I mean, a lot of people date more than one other person at a time. Maybe not to the extent of 25 guys at once, but at least two or three. No promises or commitments are exchanged, but eventually they find what will make them happy, or at least what they think will make them happy and they stop dating the others. No roses necessary. Slam, bam, thank you ma’am.

heartbroken-17But you put cameras on the scene, in every scene, and you make all the suitors live in one large house, and you have the perfect recipe for drama and dramatic disappointment, like the scene that was witnessed when Andi cut the suitors down from four to three after getting the A-okay from each of the gentlemen’s families. It seems a little callous with the timing, of course, but if she doesn’t feel the same level of connection why should she string the guy along and get his hopes even higher? If this were the real world, her friends might tell her to just let him go, even though she herself admitted that he would give her the world if they were together.

Apparently she doesn’t want the world. Apparently she wants either a farmer, an ex-jock, or a two-faced weasel instead. It’s her prerogative, but it begs the question. Maybe good guys who are susceptible to heartbreak shouldn’t go on a nationally televised show for the purpose of finding the love of their life. It usually ends up badly for them, and we all get to watch and grieve with them. But she wasn’t worthy of him anyway, was she?



8 thoughts on “The Unorthodox Nature of Dating on TV

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  1. I’m not sure the people on those shows are actually looking for love, though. I think they are looking for fun, screen time and future opportunities. 🙂

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