by M.E. Haywood

For the past several years, at least five, I have been blissfully uninterested and ignorant of the goings on in the world of reality television, largely because of its incredibly unrealistic nature. That is of course with the exception of the delightful program American Idol which I consider to be more of the variety or talent show genre. I mean nobody in the early 80’s was calling Star Search reality television but I digress.

Over the last several months my friends and colleagues have been devoting serious and interesting conversation to this seasons “The Bachelor” with the cheesy subtitle, “On the Wings of Love”. Every Tuesday morning they would discuss who the bachelor Jake should choose and why it could work and I would mock them and their romantic naivety. Eventually my wife and I began to watch in an effort to gather Tuesday morning fodder and sharpen the barbs I would randomly launch across the office. But then unexpectedly over a couple of episodes something strange and troubling began to happen.

I found myself rooting for that goofy lip-sucking serial dating pilot in his quest to find a wife. Much the same way I celebrate and lament for my beloved New York Yankees in their pursuit of a World Series, I cheered for Jake. Long after the Monday evening show would end, I found myself laying in bed disappointed in Jake’s choices and questioning the character of all involved. Once outed by my friends as a closet fan, I agreed to join them in viewing the season finale where America’s Bachelor would choose between a voluptuous, artificially enhanced sexy cut of veal name Vienna and a fine aged, over tenderized (from a previous marriage) cut of lean authentic sirloin named Tenley. Just for the evening, I left my wife and baby at home and jointed my friends for the much hyped conclusion of The Bachelor season # who cares.

After significant prognosticating and conspiracy theorizing, we collectively were disappointed and disheartened with Jake’s preference in sex appeal over sincere character as he made his choice with a marriage proposal to Vienna. Much like the previously mentioned Yankees, after a season of competition, Vienna was the winner and collected her championship ring.

As I drove home all bummed out and clearly emotional vested in the love life of people I didn’t even know or like, it occurred to me. It wasn’t real. I was reminded of why I didn’t like reality television in the first place, artificial premises and sadly pathetic yet gorgeous people living in mansions without as much as a phone bill or birth mark. Admittedly, The Bachelor was entertaining and the catalyst for fun conversation but I was thankfully heading home to my real life with my real family who really loves me. And that is better than any television program, reality or not. Even American Idol.