The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchiss offers a nightmarishly funny experience in which contestants seem to believe in finding something genuine in the world of reality television. This goes beyond paying lip service to the experience, not just repeating lines that everyone knows by rote: “being here for the right reasons” and “living a fairy tale”.
It requires an acquiescence to an established coda of “taking it to the next level”, meaning that the bachelors must make themselves “vulnerable” and “open to the process” by confessing personal secrets – family deaths and alcoholism being the gold standard. As depressingly amusing as this can be, it has its limitations, as exhibited in last night’s episode in which Andi, the bachelorette, is accused by Eric of acting for the cameras. Andi’s fury knows no bounds. “Every single day this is real to me!” She cannot abide Eric’s assertion simply because he has broken the fifth wall, that of non-reality reality; personal confessions cannot relate to the televised situation at hand,.
Ironically enough, Eric was killed weeks later in an accident, leaving the network and Andi scrambling to gain closure with a segment full of crocodile tears and trite pathos on the real world infringing on the reality of the reality world…or some horror like that.