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Tube Talk - Beware of Bachelors

Tube Talk - By John T. Forde

Beware of Bachelors

A new year brings with it renewed optimism that you’ll be less of a TV-watching slob. As the sun shines and you enjoy your holiday, you imagine achieving all kinds of spiffy self-improving goals: going to the gym more, spending more time in the kitchen slaving over that Jamie Oliver cookbook your Mum gave you for Christmas, and forgoing another new pair of shoes so you can pay off your Visa bill instead.

Within a week, of course, you’re back on the couch, binge-eating on left-over Christmas mince pies and watching some really mindless crap on TV2.

This year’s summer/autumn TV line-up looks fantastic – new episodes of The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Six Feet Under and the Golden Globe and Oscar shows. (Go, The Two Towers!) One of TV2’s promo ads, set to head-throbbingly loud techno, was so racy and sexy that my friend, the dedicated socialite Jackie du Bois, accidentally snorted some rat poison and tried flicking her Brownies torch on and off to simulate a dance party in her bedroom.

Unsurprisingly, none of the good shows are here yet. And while repeats of Kath & Kim and The Office are welcome, we need something fresh and absorbent if we really want TV to distract us from worthier endeavours.

I found my distraction with The Bachelor, a truly hideous reality TV/dating show that fuses the cheesiness of Blind Date and Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire? with the unbridled aggression of Survivor.

The Bachelor’s premise involves setting up a goggle-eyed single man with 25 prospective brides, filming the dates and then asking him to eliminate all but two of them. Not by killing them, of course – but after watching ten minutes, I sure wanted to.

Because it’s American TV, the guy (Alex) was an Ivy League-educated Kennedy lookalike with a thing for busty blondes, and the women were all seven feet tall and sporting whiplash-calibre hair extensions. My favourite was Rhonda, who got so upset about not being chosen for a second date that she started crying and hyperventilating on camera and was carted off by an ambulance. Trouper that she was, she was back on the show a week later with a new hairdo, talking about her ordeal as the best time of her life. That’s the spirit, girlfriend!

As we waited to see which of the two finalists Alex would choose, the other contestants sat on the couch with the slimey-dicked presenter, artfully sublimating their bitchy comments about each other into girlish laughter and a lot of hair-flicking.

Meanwhile, the finalists – Amanda, a 23 year-old event planner from Kansas, and Trista, a Miami Heat dancer – were undergoing Death by Family Dinner with Alex’s scary dad, uptight mother and bitch sisters. Despite his mom’s protestations, Alex bit the bullet and proposed to Amanda, who gleefully accepted. Hell, wouldn’t you if it was national TV and someone gave you a Tiffanys diamond ring?

Dating as blood sport, big hair and tears on camera – it’s shaping up to be a great TV year.


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