Wednesday, March 04, 2009

And maybe they lived happily ever after

Shortly after the first of the year I tuned in to the season debut of “The Bachelor,” not because I’m a huge fan (I’ve never watched before), but because one of the contestants was a woman from my hometown. Many years ago I was in a Sunday School class with her parents. The hometown connection drew me in.

While I questioned a houseful of estrogen and national television exposure as a way to find true love, I watched out of curiosity. Some nights it was the train wreck you couldn’t turn away from. Other nights I thanked God I’d given birth to boys and didn’t have to deal with this sort of drama as a parent. When Jason, the first single-dad bachelor in the series' history, didn’t give Hometown Girl a rose a few weeks ago, I was somewhat disappointed but impressed with her grace and dignity, unlike some of the other contestants who cussed a blue streak in the limo ride home. And even with her gone, I’d invested a month or so in this series and wanted to see who he proposed to and if the spoiler sites were correct.

The finale aired Monday night and yep, the spoiler sites were right. But in the “After the Final Rose” show that aired after the finale, viewers got a shocking twist of events they didn't expect (unless you follow the spoiler sites). In the course of one hour – less than that if you subtract the time for commercial breaks – Jason broke up with the woman he’d proposed to six weeks earlier and announced to the world that he was in love with the woman whose heart he’d broken and finished as first runner up. And when heartbroken woman was brought out and he told her he was still in love with him, they proceeded to swap spit on national television and start working things out.

Oh. My. Gosh. This sucks, but what makes it suckier is he was jilted in the finale of last season’s “The Bachelorette” and women everywhere petitioned the network to bring him back as this season's bachelor. He’d had his heart broken and then did the same thing to someone else. The man went from adored to hated in a split second. And I’m not so sure viewers are all that sympathetic toward the-one-he-didn’t-choose-first-but-still-loved either. Conspiracy theories abound as they always will, and unless notorized documents outlining the whole series of unfortunate events show up, I doubt we'll ever know for sure.

This might be the stuff of reality TV, but ladies and gentlemen, it’s not the stuff of romance novels. I’m not sure an author could ever motivate a hero enough to let him get away with behavior like that. The Bachelor took six weeks to fall in love and six more weeks to fall out of love. Most romance novels take place over a short time and go from “Hi, I’m Joe Hero” to “You’re the love of my life and I can’t live without you” in sixty thousand words. But a romance novel is fantasy and I read one with that in mind. I want entertainment and a happy ending. They don’t necessarily have to walk down the aisle in the last chapter, but I darn sure want some assurance they’re headed in that direction. I don't want no maybe they lived happily ever after. I want it for sure.

Unlike a paper and ink novel, that TV show had real people with real feelings, real emotions and real tears. While part of me thought the dumped fiancée shouldn’t have pinned all her hopes and dreams on a man she’d only known for six weeks, another part wanted to cry along with her and inwardly shouted “Right on, sister!” when she publicly called him a bastard and handed back the ring. Personally, I'd have kept the ring and sold it on eBay. I can see the listing now: Dumped Bachelor Fiancee's Ring - New without Tags or Box. Platinum setting encrusted with 170 small diamonds and a center 1.9 carat marquise cut stone. Total carat weight: 3.18. Designed by Neil Lane. D color (low end of colorless rating), VS1 (contains a slight inclusion not visible with the naked eye). Includes GIA certificate. Starting bid $15,000. Shipped by Priority Mail Flat Rate. Insurance recommended.

Did you watch this season of "The Bachelor?" If so, what are your feelings about the outcome? Feel free to disagree with me. And how about your romance novels? Do you want assurances there will be a HEA?


Maven Linda said...

Huh. I liked Jason last season on the Bachelorette, and thought what's-her-name made a huge mistake. Guess she agrees too, as she has now broken up with the guy she picked.

This year, of the two last women standing, I liked Melissa best. Didn't dislike Molly, but it was sort of the same situation as on the Bachelorette: will he pick the good-time one, or the one he could actually build a life with? He chose the one he could actually build a life with, and let the good-times girl go. Then he cried about it as if his heart was broken. The good-time girl (I think her name is Molly) shed a couple of tears, but all she could say was "Are you serious?" and, later, "He's making a mistake." It didn't look to me as if her emotions were engaged so much as her ego.

Then he does a reversal and dumps Melissa, and goes with Molly -- whom his child didn't particularly warm up to, who was very awkward and inexperienced with his child, and who finished second in the build-a-life-with category.

I know there's stuff going on behind the scenes that the viewer never knows. Maybe Jason and Melissa didn't get along so well when the cameras were off. Maybe Molly is a great person and that just didn't come across on television.

Or maybe Jason is as immature as what's-her-name from the Bachelorette.

Do I think he and Molly will make it? Nope. And it's more because of how he acted than how she acted.

In a romance book, motivation is everything, because you have to be able to forgive the hero for being a jerk or the book won't work for you. I don't think Jason has any motivation other than what's in his pants. Run, Molly, run.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I haven't watched the Bachelor in years, and didn't watch this season. Reading this post, Im glad I didn't. {{sigh}} I'm not only appalled that the guy changed his mind, I can't believe the previously rejected girl took him back. My pride would have me walking away. I initially read "swapping spit" and something like "slapped and hit." Had to go back and read it again.

People amaze me. This isn't always a good thing. :-/


housemouse88 said...

Well, where do I start. First, I don't watch reality TV of any kind. I have a problem watching real people's life stories unfolding in front of me. I'm a private person. Having being brought up by a single mother and grandmother, I was taught not to air my dirty laundry in public.

Romance novels, murder mysteries, etc. are all I need to relax and escape the worries of the day. We all need happy endings whether real or fake.

My question for people to ponder is why do people feel they have the right to look into other peoples' lives. Just a thought.

Have a great day.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Well I don't watch The Bachelor, though I certainly knew peripherally about Jason the guy who got dumped and had the adorable kid. And I read the 'news' yesterday about this twist. And I thought, ain't no way in hell a romance hero would act that way.

Even the bastardiest alpha Presents hero wouldn't act like that. No, he'd marry the one he proposed to, because it was his duty. Then she'd tragically disappear later -- death by car accident, leave him, whatever -- and years later he'd run into the one he should have married.

There would by high drama, perhaps some revenge and/or a forced marriage, and then true love. Yeah, nutty, but I prefer my version. *g*

I seriously can't stand people with small kids who don't put the kids first. I don't have a child, but it seems a no brainer to me that your child comes first when he is small. When he's older, maybe you can be a little selfish. But selfishness and parenting don't mix, IMO.

Kathy said...

I don't watch the Bachelor series. It disturbs me to see anyone kissing/making out with 15 different people before deciding on who they prefer. Also, the contestants feel they have to one up the others in ways that, well frankly, sicken me.

Tristan and his pick are still going strong though and have 2 kids, or are expecting the second baby sometime soon. The only success story of this series, I believe.

What's shocking about reality shows is that most who try out for them feel like they have to behave outrageously in order to win public support. Call me old-fashioned, and I know this makes great television viewing, but I would not belittle myself just for money or fame or winning someone else's approval. Self-respect is a valuable commodity. ;)

Problem Child said...

Unlike a paper and ink novel, that TV show had real people with real feelings, real emotions and real tears.

See, I'm such a cynic I don't believe those are "real" tears and "real" emotions. I'd bet half of the behavior is prompted by the cameras. Maybe the contestants are manipulated into some emotions, but I bet in retrospect, their hearts aren't *that* broken.

Who was it that said, "Unlike reality, fiction has to make sense?" I'll take my romance novel hero any day of the week, because those on-camera shenanigans don't make a lot of sense.

Kathy said...

Don't you think most of it is scripted? Would producers actually allow people to do and say some of the things they do? Are people encouraged to behave outrageously? Does someone sign on to be the villain, seductrous?

I find it hard to believe that they would take the risk of just letting anyone come on the screen and bore us to tears.

Smarty Pants said...

Grr... Blogger at my longer post. Punchline - I'd rather watch Rock of Love with Bret Michaels where they're trashy and they embrace it instead of pretending they're really after "true love."

Christine said...

Who picks their child's mother in a reality show? Who? Ridiculous.

I watch Rock of Love--Bret Michael's is my guilty trashy pleasure. He produces the show--3 years later--he's a jerk, but at least he doesn't pretend to be anything more than that...


jen said...

Color me cynical but I can't help that think the producers have a good bit to do with how it all washes out.

Anonymous said...

I would not have given the ring back. Ebay that and treat myself very well with the proceeds. And if I were the other young lady, I couldn't trust him. And yeah, give me my romance novels anyday.
word verification - songl - didn't go through, next w. v. is atessoy - sounds dirty....