Sunday, July 26, 2009

59: The Bachelor/Bachelorette

The Bachelor may not have been the first program to offer a way to find a mate on national television by slowly winnowing out potential mates, one or so each episode, until left with a final choice of two, but it seemed to be to have the most legs over the long term, and perhaps the most influence to other shows of its format. This of course has become uberpopular, particularly on VH1 - from Flavor of Love, to Rock of Love, to I Love New York. Even with all this, without having looked ip, the only person I know associated with the bachelor is Trista Rehn, who was the runner up the first season of the Bachelor and became the Bacholette (yeah, that counts as part of the same show entry - it's the same show with four letters added to the end) and had her wedding broadcast on TV. That's it - one person's name I remember. From just the Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire special from a couple years before Bachelor started I still somehow remember both participants - Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger. I had to look up on wikipedia to see who the host of The Bachelor was - Chris Harrison - and the name didn't even ring a bell (a couple of the bachelors have more familiar names and I remember in hindsight I knew former Giants backup QB (and former Florida Gator) Jesse Palmer was Bachelor).

When I remember best, aside from people, is the rose ceremony, during which, at the end of each episode. The Bachelor would present a rose to each contestant he intended to keep - slowly going through one by one until it was down to two, raising the tension to see who he would be eliminating. Those ceremonies became ripe fodder for mockery - the definitive incredibly over-serious moment of tension which probably went on to represent the show more than anything else.

While others did it before, the Bachelor became the definitive love reality show, and it's a wonder that the idea even took this long to put together - you have all the cattiness and competitive spirit of Survivor with the mystery element of love thrown in the mix (Survivor got enough legs from the love stories and potential love stories that emerged in its midst - who doesn't remember Rob and Amber?). It's a combination that seems to provide at least 14 seasons worth of intrigue. People like love, and people like to see other people fight with each other, and if the Bachelor was never as big as certain other shows at any one time, it's managed to grind out successfully season after season for almost the entire decade which is definitely woth something.

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