So I’ve been doing recaps of The Bachelor episodes for a few weeks now and I’ve had tonnes of positive feedback from people about them. But I’m not going to be doing them any more.
There are several reasons for this.
There are issues of time. Recaps like the ones I was doing take a lot of time. For an hour show I was spending upwards of three hours writing and screenshotting. I’d spend a whole evening doing it, go to bed late, and then be shattered in the morning because my toddler likes to be awake early. And that was kind of doable but I start back in full-time paid employment next week and there’s no way I’ll have time and energy to devote to this, no matter how much “people on the Internet” might enjoy reading my efforts. Even if someone were paying me for it, it still wouldn’t be doable.
Also, as I watched Episode 8, in which there is a cocktail party “showdown” between Chrystal and Alysha, I found that I was getting sucked into it. But when I took a step back I realised that it was pretty much a bunch of arse. I mean, two women with quite different personalities basically just rubbing each other up the wrong way (which happens in pretty much every workplace everywhere, every damn, day) and yet it was all telegraphed throughout the episode and packaged together like it was the fucking drama of the ages. As if at any moment, they might pull out flick knives or uzis and fuck each other up instead of merely sit at a table with defensive body language and purse their lips in each other’s direction. I guess I just had a “why am I watching this shit?” revelation. Why am I okay with women being portrayed as bitches for ratings?
Because, make no mistake, The Bachelor is shit. More than that, it’s formulaic, contrived, manipulative shit. I mean, it’s entertaining and all, but in order to be entertained you really do need to switch off your brain and let the caricatures and synthetic “glamour” of it drown out the part of your brain that does the critical thinking.
And there’s actually nothing wrong with wanting to do that. Life is full of mundane reality (acne, cranky toddlers, terrible drivers during the commute to work, hairy toes to name but a few) and television is our escape from it a lot of the time.
But in the end, I felt like maybe I wasn’t critiquing the show as much as I was just giving it free publicity. So I’m not going to do that any more. Partly because I’m super pissed at TV3 right now and the Sword of Damocles that’s hanging over Campbell Live as its fate is decided.
Because shows like Campbell Live should not be fighting for survival when shows like The Bachelor are being trotted out and promo-ed to within an inch of their lives. It’s okay to want to switch off and be entertained by television some of the time… just not ALL of the time. There has to be a place for actual reality in free-to-air programming. A place where genuine stories of love, drama, and the events that affect us all can be told.
I know that you can watch The Bachelor AND Campbell Live and enjoy both. But it seems to me that as a society, we’re not doing that. We’re only interested in the fluff and not the substance. We are collectively deciding not to think and I don’t know what to do about it, but I definitely don’t feel like watching this particular example of “mindless drivel” any more, not even for the easy jokes.
Apologies to those of you who have enjoyed my recaps. But I’m sure you’ll struggle on in your life, somehow, without them.
(Featured image, Withered rose, Public Domain via Pixabay)