Is nothing sacred? As it turns out, reality television is not the most reliable means by which to find the love of your life. Who’d have thunk that a process involving televised dates and horticultural beneficence might be anything other than failsafe? Let me frank (which, at this point, is a lot better than being Blake), I have never watched an episode of The Bachelor. As best I can tell, it’s an awkward mix of Survivor and team selection for the lunch hour cricket match in primary school. Even though the series ended with a marriage proposal, it was impossible not to suspect that, in fact, the whole thing would end in tears.
Is nothing sacred? As it turns out, reality television is not the most reliable means by which to find the love of your life. Who’d have thunk that a process involving televised dates and horticultural beneficence might be anything other than failsafe? Let me be frank (which, at this point, is a lot better than being Blake), I have never watched an episode of The Bachelor. As best I can tell, it’s an awkward mix of Survivor and team selection for the lunch hour cricket match in primary school. Even though the series ended with a marriage proposal, it was impossible not to suspect that, in fact, the whole thing would end in tears.
It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for everyone involved. Not just the cast either; I’m talking about everyone remotely connected to the whole miserable experience from the catering staff to the dude who sweeps up after the rose ceremony. It’s difficult enough being rejected. To have it televised to the nation seems unnecessarily cruel, even by the lofty standards of reality television. That’s to say nothing of a premise that involves a large number of women competing for the affections of just one guy. That is not how I remember single life at all.
Things have clearly not gone to plan. It’s often said that the heart wants what the heart wants. As it turns out, the heart also wants a front-page story in a national magazine. I’m not sure whether to feel betrayed or a little worried for people who are so eager to lay themselves down on the media’s sacrificial altar. I shouldn’t judge. After all, who us can unlock the mysteries of the human heart?
Fact is, love and TV have had a long association. My personal favourite would have to be The Love Boat where hapless passengers were drawn together by a mutual fear of seasickness, an all-you-can-eat buffet and nightly performances by The Little River Band. Plus, they had a bloke called ‘Gopher’ who went on to represent Iowa in the United States House of Representatives (really). I can’t imagine a debacle such as the one we so recently witnessed on The Bachelor ever occurring on The Love Boat. For starters, Captain Stubing could have performed the ceremony on the spot. Also, they take a dim view of mutiny on the high seas. At the first sign of malarkey, someone would have been forced to walk the plank.
But unlike the Love Boat, the relationship between television and romance has not all been plain sailing. Attempts to turn real-life relationships into viewing fodder have almost all ended disastrously in the true Hindenburg, ‘oh the humanity’ sense of the word. The television show Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey ran for three seasons, which was almost precisely the length of the marriage itself. In Australia, we had Marty and Jess: An Outback Wedding that featured two former Big Brother contestants. They split after less than a year and a half of marital bliss. The evidence is clear: reality TV and romance are the ultimate odd couple. That’s because something as important as love should never be exploited for ratings by reality television. It’s best left to the professionals. By which I mean game shows.
Were it not an infringement of intellectual property rights to do so, The Bachelor should take a very big leaf out of the Perfect Match playbook. According to scientific research, music and (possibly) strawberries are the food of love. You’ve got set the mood. Try and hum the music for The Bachelor. Exactly my point – no one can. But if you were to substitute our National anthem with the theme from Perfect Match, I guarantee that everyone, from podium straddling Olympians to new arrivals would know all the words.
It’s often claimed that a good sense of humour is highly desirable in a potential mate. However, like the 38th parallel of the Korean peninsula, The Bachelor is a heavily de-humourised zone. In contrast, Perfect Match was stuffed with laughs, both intentional and otherwise. But whether it was the humour, the sliding wall that delivered so many ‘There must be some kind of mistake’ moments that we, as a nation, can cherish forever, or the spectacular permanent sets that perched on the heads of host and contestant alike, there was much to love. You may think that my lauding of an ancient dating game show is a mere exercise in nostalgia, but you’d be wrong. Perfect Match was about the future.
Dexter the Robot remains the most sophisticated piece of technological hardware ever seen on Australian television. One part Dalek and two parts empty ice cream container, when he wasn’t busy coordinating space shuttle launches, Dexter appeared on Perfect Match. Although his role was confined to spitting out stats, he was capable of so much more. Most people don’t realize that Dexter had full weapons capability. Imagine it – the last rose ceremony of the season. The Bachelor, ready to do the honourable thing lest he should feel the sting of Dexter’s futuristic wrath. Forget shotgun weddings. Laser beam nuptials are the way of the future. Excited, I emailed Dexter. The response, however, was as short as it was direct: Dexter and the Bachelor have a compatibility score of 0%. Rejected again. Alas.