The Bachelorette season 11 has descended upon American televisions. By now, millions of viewers have discovered that Kaitlyn Bristowe was selected by the men- who from this point forward will be the ones seeking to gain approval- to continue as the 2015 Bachelorette.
Some people would like to imagine that The Bachelorette is a new phenomenon, like speed dating, meeting someone on the internet, or any of the other millennial ways to find Mr. or Ms. Right. However, relationship TV has been around for 50 years or so. It started with The Dating Game. In the the 80’s and early 90’s there was Love Connection. In recent years, there have been shows such as Millionaire Matchmaker and Secret Princes on which people with great wealth were stationed. This showed audience members that, even with all of their advantages, those with money sometimes have trouble finding a person who actually wants to love them, rather than their wallet.
This season, even the adventure based, travel reality show The Amazing Race opted to use the romance angle to spice up season 26. The show selected 11 couples (six already in relationships and five who would be on some of the longest blind dates ever) to travel the world in search of love and $1 million. In the end, it was blind dating racers Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams, who walked away with the million and a new, lifelong friendship.
Perhaps society’s seeming unending obsession with pairing everyone off is the fault of shows like The Bachelorette. Many a single gal’s or guy’s life has been unhappily interrupted by a married friend’s asking, with the best of intentions “been single for a while now?” before suggesting how they have got the greatest new coworker that they think may be good for them.
Sometimes a partnered friend may go so far as to offer, “Hey, my brother/sister/cousin is coming to visit on Saturday, before suggesting that they drop by, because it seems that no one in a relationship seems to believe that anyone else can be happy without one. Sure, people like Colin Farrell and Ashanti can be single on purpose, but when someone is a next-door-neighbor type their pals feel as if they are failing in the list of friendship duties, so long as the person in question is unattached.
It doesn’t matter how much a person says, they are not interested. After all, if Clooney could find someone worthy of putting a ring on, no one can be that confirmed of a bachelor or bachelorette.
It is largely irrelevant if any one person watches or does not watch The Bachelorette or similar programs. Networks do not keep an unsuccessful genre around for 50 years. Chris Harrison, the host and producer of both The Bachelorette and The Bachelor thinks he knows why, love is the “one currency around the world that everybody uses and everybody understands. Everybody wants companionship. That’s not going to go out of style.”
Harrison is protective of both shows. When he and college sweetheart Gwen ended their 18-year marriage, he thought about making her a contestant on The Bachelorette, although he claims that he would not make a good contestant.
Furthermore, he has his own critique for people that critique the shows. He rebuffs claims any relationship created on are forced or false. He points to the five marriages that have blossomed into existence because of it. In fact, he thinks part of what makes the shows such an ongoing success is “believability.” In the end, it is the viewers that will decide if The Bachelorette is an encourager of society’s over focus on pairing off or just a fun bit of voyeurism as they observe someone’s search for Mr. Right.
By Martina Robinson
Parade: The Amazing Race Winners Tyler And Laura On Blind Dating All Over The World
Variety: Reality TV Stars Talk Sex and the Future of Dating Shows on WE tv Panel
ABC News: The Bachelorette’ Behind the Scenes: Host Chris Harrison Debunks Myths About Popular ABC Show
People: Chris Harrison: Having Ex-Wife Gwen As the Next Bachelorette Would Be ‘Epic Television’
Photo Courtesy of Sarah Ross’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License