Who the hell are these people? Blank-slates, The Bachelorette & the state of franchised romance.

Excuse me please producers of reality TV. Would it be possible to witness an actual conversation between the Bachelorette and one of her suitors? An exchange about their respective jobs perhaps? A line or two about something in passing or a few sentences that might provide insight into character?

Because I still don’t know what Ali does for a living (apart from her current role of face-on-screen). All I know is that she’s been unlucky in love, enjoys nature walks, and has a penchant for ‘exciting’ pursuits such as taking selfies and going on speed-boats (they haven’t pulled the helicopter ride out of the hat yet but that might come later).

I wonder why this lack of natural conversation is omitted from the show so rigidly, why every conversation orbits the central premise of the show in such a predictable drone-like fashion.

Personally I’m getting sick of hearing the same conversations repeated over and over. Intimate talks about importance of family, the vital role of trust and communication in successful relationships. Yeah. So what’s new? That a person desires a kind and loyal partner who can communicate feelings effectively should be a given, not a topic of conversation rehashed endlessly from episode to episode.

But we won’t discover any of the contestants political opinions or social values as the season continues – if Ali supports the removal of refugee children from Manus Island or if Box-jaw Bill thinks the Australian government should take immediate action on climate change before the planet dies and there’s no natural habitats left to stage romantic, picnic-rug themed getaways.

Of course it’s too difficult to allow contestants to express their views on subjects. Much less messy to follow a bland set of scripts that reveal next to nothing about the person, but if the producers were to allow contestants to open their mouths I think it would make for much better television. Instead of the current state of stuck-in-a-loop droning we’d got a better look at what’s under the hood, we’d be more invested, be able to make estimations as to compatibility and become more engrossed in the unfolding narrative.

But blank-slates with pretty faces are the staple at the Bachelorette and no doubt will be until the eventual demise of the behemoth franchise, after all, the blissful state of ignorance splices nicely with the workings of romantic love, a love that relies heavily on surface sheen and a whole lot of projection.

Far easier to fall in love with a creation in our minds than a messy warts-and-all person.

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