Disclaimer: so you thought I only watched *cough* high-brow cult shows. Not true, I love me a bit of junky reality – Survivor, America’s Next Top Model, and now “The Bachelor” has lured me in; like a Lake Macquarie whiting being hooked onto a young Tim Robard’s fishing rod.
Last night’s episode of “The Bachelor Australia” (aka my “Favourite Televised Harem”) bugged me.
It wasn’t Ali’s ridiculously fake fawning, or Danielle’s lack of sympathy for anyone but herself or Tim’s contrived, “I thought I knew who I was falling in love with” soliloquy, complete with dramatic wringing of hands and bowing of heads (seriously I’ve never seen anyone so desperate to go live in Utah and be done with it). After all, this is manufactured “reality” drama at it’s very finest (OK, at it’s most trainwrecky).
What bugged me was how the producers set Sarah up.
Sarah was pissed off with having to share Tim, and didn’t want to hear about him snogging her competitors. In response to this, Tim’s other “ladies”, and Tim himself, vilified her for not being “mature” or able to handle the situation. Granted, she is 22 and young, but she lashed out at the whole bullshit scenario – admitting feistily (and a little snarkily) that she didn’t like hearing about Tim with other women. But bugger me if hers wasn’t the most reasonable response of all (in my opinion). Her reaction was most unlike the other “mature” ladies who sat there with an, “I’ll just smile vapidly with a stinky nappy underneath my nose and pretend I love hearing about that other b*tch pashing MY MAN” look on their perfectly constructed robotic faces.
Tim’s interactions with Sarah were uncomfortable as well. At more than one point I pictured Tim with Ghostbuster slime all over him, crying, “She emoted all over me!” as if there is something gross and sticky about being upfront and having a f*cking emotion.
The show bugged me because it is a recurring theme – those who don’t show emotion are rewarded and those who do are voted off the Island. It happens in real life as well as in “reality” TV. The producers of “The Bachelor” were no doubt rubbing their hands with glee at Sarah’s honest reaction, and they are not the only ones.
I remember poor old Brandon Hantz having what looked like a psychotic conniption on the last season of “Survivor”. I have to tell ya, I felt sorry for the bloke. OK, he came across as a bit of a dick and descended dramatically into a pit of paranoid quicksand, but I reckon I might have had the same reaction to 7 measured strangers in my tribe “playing the game”, reluctant to tell anyone else what they really think. Smile at your opponents, bitch to the camera.
I think there’s a difference between calling bullsh*t in a feisty way and having a gigantic tantrum. I don’t think the way Sarah went about her disgust was inflammatory or childish – she was “what you see is what you get” and that can’t be said for the others. And she was ultimately punished for it.
Reality TV may be contrived – the producers let you see what they want you to see, but I think it’s more reflective of the real world than we might imagine.
So, who can’t wait for the pash-filled trainwreck next Wednesday?