‘The Bachelor’ Isn’t Killing Romance in America Because We Never Bought Into the Damn Thing In The First Place
Recently my attention was gauged towards an article written by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who ironically penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter about the damaging effects of a Reality TV show that features a bunch of men and women waiting to be picked as the love of the life of a Bachelor or Bachelorette.
ABC hit ratings gold with the signature script that was catapulted back in 2002 and has continued to deliver the expected results with bundles of expectations and maddening offshoots — that help to solidify the raging palettes of an audience that can’t be fucked with because they are basically doing the exact same thing.
Abdul-Jabbar is knightly in his pursuits as he tries to make the case of why an extremely popular TV show needs to be called to order, due to the misleading content that has all but vanquished any hopes for the young and dreamy to believe in the definition of true romance.
It has to be said that the notion of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette possessing the powers of a medium that threatens to cripple the audacity of “Happily Ever After” is beyond ludicrous. It’s actually downright unfathomable and captures the naivety of a beloved sportsman who exposed himself as way past his prime.
I’m not that young either — but my age bracket gives me the level of coherency that is relatable even if the message doesn’t deliver the exact translation.
I was lucky enough to be born into an era that gave so much and pampered me with the absurdity of knowledge and the freedom to condense what was necessary in order to remove the meat from the bone. And then I matured into a period where I was flailing due to the lack of accessibility despite all the tools built into my nature.
I had to wait until the miraculous convent of the internet opened the doors to browsing and cruising through the lanes that were just narrow enough to keep you from falling past the sharply-inclined cliffs, but if you needed to wreck yourself — there was the assurance that you might survive.
You just have to be a savvy navigator without the headlights of a deer.
Abdul-Jabbar didn’t grow up and mature during a season that requires a password in order to click your way into the page of a potential life partner. He never had to answer a gigantic survey that pricks through your skin like a blood test — in an effort to decipher whether or not you are robotic enough to stay human and if so can you adequately love the one you swiped with gusto.
He was part of a generation that was far removed from the reality of Reality TV and now he feels compelled to remind us why the festered pond of scripted fare won’t live up to the standards of what it means to be happily engaged into the realm of living — without the substitute of playing roles that don’t exist.
Yes, his essay deserves the accolades and recognition for it’s forthrightness — but that the end of the day — it only serves as a reminder of why old people sound old without realizing how old they sound.
The Bachelor and all the other extensions of that formula that populate the media haven’t done very much to destroy the myth of romance. In fact, they are revered for the duties they expel by simply presenting a more precise entry into a concept that very few have been able to seamlessly express.
The only season that got me was the Trista and Ryan Wedding and that was only because he was hot and she was entertainingly honest about all the reasons why they would fail. They are still winning which is grand and perhaps affirming, but it still isn’t the the norm.
The truth is that falling in love and feeling the reciprocated showering of the one that makes your heart ache with restorative abandon, is a fantasy.
It can only be initiated through the threads of time spent building the wall that will be torn down — the moment that contact is approved and logged without the haze of followers, numbers, and the pulse of the people — that hover with the mission of adding you to a collection that shifts with the tide of “likes” and “loves.”
America never bought into the damn presentation of romance and I hate to be the one to break this to someone who I respect and admire for his resilience and steadfast need to reveal why we are drifting away from the blueprint of life’s innocent conception.
Unfortunately, those days of swinging alongside childhood buddies who will follow you home for milk and cookies while your mother sets up the scenes — that play out with jaunts at the television and then an extended dialog in your room filled with posters of childhood idols that clap every time you both try to kiss without holding hands — is over.
It ended the moment we were bequeathed with the ability to create the end of the romances that never commenced because we are now incapable of staying still long enough to focus on one face. There are so many circulating eyes buried in bodies that beg for the same fucking thing.
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are shows that give Hollywood caches of endings that depict how White people fit the Hollywood prototype that erases the people that are shaded to darkly for such acceptance.
This is the one time when lack of inclusion is the perfect antidote to stupidity and detrimental flightiness. But, this doesn’t exclude the fact that we all need to be loved regardless of the hues that overcome us without permission.
If you can find it in this age of Tinder, Tender, Matching, and Saying Okay to Cupid — then please share the word so we can gang up and destroy the shadows of time and the space between us.
In the meantime, the aim of The Bachelor and his Bachelorette isn’t necessarily misdirected. It keeps us alive while romance keeps dying the death it deserves.