The talking heads stare back, beleaguered, telling us of the ugliness, how unpresidential it has become. They count down the days in feigned exhaustion. Only 29 days until another president will be elected, and more importantly, when the spin cycle can begin anew and the next batch of ne’er-do-wells can be stoned.The talking heads say everything they can think of and they say it again and again – emails, rapists, locker room talk – except about how their ratings are only as good as the race is bad, that the crummier they make it, the more Viagra they sell. And so that’s what we do. We consume this reality TV, hoping that next season, in just four short years, the chosen one might appear and take care of us forever.
Unreal, Lifetime Network‘s new fictional reality show based on The Bachelor, has it all wrong. Their aim is to offer a behind-the-scenes scoop on how reality shows really work, heaping blame on soulless producers and production assistants who feast on guileless participants. And I’m not buying any of it.
Not only is Unreal‘s narrative dull, actually triter than the real thing, but it is founded on the inane premise that there is a star chamber in Reality TV.While the show purports to be yet another phase in the modern world’s self-deconstruction, it is merely a naive sidetrack.
The point of The Bachelor isn’t making a deal with the devil but rather sharing in everyone’s common stupidity. The contestants actually do want to find love and are willing to expose themselves, and all their frailties, in blind faith to “the process” espoused on the show. That’s the beauty of this train wreck…and our pathetic desire to watch.