Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If Mary Ann and Ginger are on 'The Batchelor,' I'll watch. But until then...

As Billy Shakesbeer once said, "TV, or not TV. That
right there is the question."

It's not hard to come up with the answer these days.
Television has gone stupid. Unless it's The Weather
Channel, a ballgame or an AMC movie, you might
want to steer clear.

Goodbye to the rabbit ear days when three channels
were all you got — but at least there was something
on you could watch with grandma.

This week I ended my first foray into the world of
what they call reality television. I can't tell you a
thing about the Jersey kids or the "Survivor" people
or where the Real Housewives live. Fantasy Island,

But this week, I ended a six-week run of "The
Bachelor." And not a minute too soon. Picked it up
in midseason, vowed to watch it 'til the bitter end at
the invitation of two of my bestest friends, and they
guided me through what was a Barf Fest of epic

I can now say that I have watched what modern
culture calls reality television. Happily, I retire. It's
back to "Green Acres" for me. I don't have enough
game to keep up with modern television.

You've heard of "The Bachelor." It starts with a guy
on a dream date. "A dream date" is defined here as a
date in which the girl and the money and the
wardrobe are provided! The guy just has to show up
relatively sober! The network's got his back! He
doesn't even have to shave!

From a Girl Pool, he whittles the bevy of desperate
females down to One Lucky Girl. Then they in theory
get married. Because they've found True Love. On
national television. On Superficial Island.

Coming soon is the next season of "The
Bachelorette," in which one of the girls who got
deep-sixed on the just-completed "Bachelor" will
pick from a pool of guys who have cashed in all
their vacation days and sick leave at the chance to
find True Love. On national television. On I-Left-
My-Pair-At-Home Island.

These shows are about as real as "Flipper." This is,
if anything, unreality television. On "The Bachelor,"
you are given spending money, accommodations at
exotic resorts, deodorant, and transportation,
including helicopters if needed. But what happens
to the couple's dating life when the network moves
on to another Dynamic Duo? I'll tell you what
happens. Waffle House. An upset stomach. A flat
tire. Reality Island, For Reals.

If "The Bachelor" were reality, at some point the
bachelor would be performing the one-man luge on
a couch in his underwear watching a football game
or a cowboy show and his "date" would be asking
him if he would mind getting on the business end of
a vacuum cleaner or a lawn mower "sometime this
century like you PROMISED!" and he would just
pretend to be deaf and eat some more Cheetos and
things would deteriorate from there. A burb would
be involved. Everyday Island.

And "talking." They would talk on Everyday Island.
Something like, "Remember when you used to take
me helicopter riding and swimming in lagoons?"
And he'd say, "Remember when you used to wear
fancy clothes and tell me I was the only man for you,
even though I was sort of the only man on the show
and you really didn't have a choice?"

Why would these nuts do this on national TV? Why
would a nut like me watch? Brain cramp, I guess.
And I just "HAD to see!" But if I'm going to watch
reality television from now on, I want it to be real. Like "Gilligan's Island" was.


From The Times and The News-Star, March 7, 2010)