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Reality TV: the art of flakey romance

How reality's fake people manage to make fake love

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Last Wednesday, ABC concluded the fifth installment of The Bachelor, where Byron, a 40 year old bass fisherman from Nevada chose his "soul mate" in a dramatic "final rose ceremony." So now the question: how long will they last? Judging from previous series of the same genre, the odds are against them. But why have all of these romances, from The Bachelor to Joe Millionaire failed so badly after the cameras had disappeared when they seemed so beautiful in the dying seconds of the season finale? Perhaps it is time that some of these series were culled until networks can stop these embarrassing break-ups.

Many people who apply to appear on tacky reality like Big Brother, usually seek fame, money or just the distinction of being on national TV. There does not seem to be any effort from producers of these series, or the networks who broadcast them to make an effort to make the romances last. Isn't that what these shows are all about? Until networks can realize that romance reality shows are to find romance for a person, casting will continue to remain poor on both sides of the coin (no more rich tire empire heirs or super-successful financial planners), and many more will suffer broken hearts and red faces. While there has been one success, this case was a rarity amongst a sea of failures.

Look at the statistics: so far, all four Bachelors have broken up (one even dubiously broke up with his choice at a Starbucks), and the jury is still out on number five, Byron. The first Joe Millionaire, underwear model Evan Marriott, has already dumped his choice and is now dating the runner-up. The two Average Joes have broken up with their supermodels, the second "Joe" actually breaking up with the supermodel because he got jealous when she mentioned that she once dated Fabio. And the woman from For Love or Money has broken up with her choice. Looking at this record, it is not hard to see the pattern: while male-centric romance searches have all failed, even female-centric romance programs are not immune from this plague of failure. There simply must be a better way.

However, the viewers seem to lap up every single moment, regardless of the happiness and well-being of these people. Perhaps these networks have a hidden agenda: if the relationships work, then there is a cash cow for the wedding specials. If they fail, then these people will be all over the tabloids, and more money is made. It is extremely repetitive and boring to see these TV romances look so good then fail so badly in the end. So bring on more Survivor and Alias. Even Survivor has produced an engaged couple; that's one more than shows that are supposed to be finding love for their stars. As for Alias--hey, who knows? Maybe Sydney Bristow and Agent Vaughn will finally get together. It is better than any Joe Millionaire couple, n'est-ce pas?

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Comments

whats ur major dude? - u have too much time on your hands........

There does not seem to be any effort from producers of these series, or the networks who broadcast them to make an effort to make the romances last. Isn't that what these shows are all about?

Are you kidding? You actually think the purpose of reality TV is to find true love and spread happiness generously throughout the world?

I would venture to say that no one -- not the contestants, not the producers, not the networks and certainly not the viewers -- except you actually expect a television show to live up to these grand notions of matchmaking and noble intentions that you so desire.

It's just a TV show.

I am at least expecting that such producers would actually give just one iota of a fuck, which unfortunately even that is too much to ask for.