You Are Not Above This

Perhaps you watched, and were suitably bored and disgusted by, the latest season of the Bachelorette, a series that—along with its companion show, the Bachelor—features a parade of half-bright male bimbos and dimwitted drama queens acting out unconvincing fake romances. It turns out that there’s another iteration of this interminable show, know as Bachelor in Paradise, in which the losers of previous seasons are transported to tropical locations and are compelled to have lots of sex with each other. That’s pretty much the entire gist of the show—some people call it “Fuck Island” because of the base, perverted bacchanalia of it all—but of course they try and inject it with some kind of meaning, and of course it’s all very tiresome and useless.

At the Huffington Post, a trio of enterprising young Millennials asks why Bachelor in Paradise is “giving potentially abusive men a platform.” (“This isn’t fun anymore,” adds a subhead, as if it was ever really all that much fun.) The authors have a problem with this season’s Paradise insofar as it has given screen time to two idiots: dead-eyed muscle man Chad Johnson and ex-baseball player Josh Murray. It would be difficult to pick out either of these guys within a large group of white men; indeed, it really would be hard to pick them out from a group of cardboard refrigerator boxes. But the ostensible appeal of both of these men seems to rest on their “bad boy” status: Chad is an aggressive, lumbering bullock of a man, and Josh is reportedly an emotionally abusive jerk. The folks at HuffPo are having none of it:

Some things should be worth more than ratings. The “Bachelor” franchise might not agree, but the show now risks alienating a huge swathe of its fan base by clogging up episode after episode with aggressive men obfuscating and being excused for their dangerous behavior. What would it actually take for “Bachelor in Paradise” to draw a line? At this point, even persistent verbal abuse, violent threats and physical aggression on camera haven’t crossed their line.

Please, ABC: Address this insidious problem before the franchise is irredeemably poisoned. Hopefully it’s not already too late.

The authors left out one critical plot point: in addition to the rest of his nasty behavior, at one point Chad got falling-down drunk, fell asleep and allegedly pooped in his pants!

In any event, it is something of a wonder that anyone thinks Bachelor in Paradise could somehow be “irredeemably poisoned;” that is to say, it is incredible that somebody out there thinks this show was pure and un-poisoned to begin with. Here is a very shocking announcement: the entire Bachelor franchise—or at the very least, Bachelor in Paradise—was already sleazy and nasty; it was already a cesspool of foul debauchery and low-life turpitude. That’s what drives the ratings: shallow, half-bright doofuses making out and having sex and squabbling and getting drunk. To the extent that these “aggressive men” “poison” the show, it is a purely aesthetic and, as it were, insulting upshot: they act like boorish, idiotic louts, but it is also so patently and obviously fake and contrived that we feel offended just watching it.

Every iteration of Bachelor needs a villain—either an imbecilic muscle-bound clod-man or a scheming backstabbing Queen Bitch to spice things up—so this is hardly new. But these stupid characters on this already-stupid show are still rather pathetic, even within the already-pathetic realm of reality television. I guess it speaks to the natural human inclination to separate and demarcate “good guys” and “bad guys:” the ones who behave themselves and the ones who cuss at women and then crap their pants. Or maybe pants-poopers and emotional abusers just make for good and interesting television in a way that eludes me.

Then again, who am I to talk? I watch the damn show, I can’t look away, and I, too, am scandalized by Chad’s destructive behavior. Thank goodness they sent him home.

Comments are closed.