The Bachelor used to seem more exciting to me--even when it was filmed in boring L.A. I used to watch the Bachelor religiously. Obsessively. Friends and I would gather round the television and watch with our glasses of wine in hand. We would analyze, predict and wonder about each of the Bachelor's choices, and what would happen in the future to him and his final pick. These were smart women too. Professors at UC Berkeley, lawyers, and teachers. We were women who fully and utterly identified as feminists. Yet still we watched.
No matter how enlightened and non-traditional we all were, we were still drawn to the romanticism of this supposed fairy tale love story. We put our own spin on it with a post-modern feminist analysis of each bachelorettes' action and movement, but we still fell for the fairy tale. Of course not one of the Bachelors has actually married his chosen Bachelorette. In fact, they seem to usually break up about 5-10 minutes after production ends. We knew these relationships were doomed, but we still hoped against all hope, and still we watched.
I don't watch the show nearly as often as a I used to. Yes, I'll still watch the finale, and yes, I still have a general sense of which Bachelorettes made it how far, but it doesn't hold the same interest for me anymore. The show has certainly lost it's novelty five seasons in. That's part of it. Bachelor whittles his choices down to two (it usually comes down to "good" girl vs. "bad" girl), and then after some media blitz, they break up. We've seen it over and over now.
I'm jaded about the Bachelor's choices and plot lines, that's true. The show itself is wearing thin. But I think I'm jaded about other things as well. I'm a few years older than I was when I sat around with my friends watching the first few seasons, and a little more jaded about relationships now too. I don't believe in many fairy tales any more, post-modern feminist ones or not. But rather than seeing this as a negative change, I actually see it as a positive one. I may not believe in fairy tales, but instead I think I now have a more positive and realistic understanding of what it takes to sustain a successful relationship. It takes work, communication, patience, humility, luck, and humor--among many other things.
I thought I was different from the bachelorettes on t.v. because my prince charming was going to be some indie rock boy who read deep literature, and not some independently wealthy bank manager water ski specialist. Even though my fairy tale was more non-traditional, I still believed in it. It allowed me to believe that I didn't have to work at relationships, that they just happened. I know better now, and I'm happy about that. I'll still watch, just not quite so obsessively.