Last night, as I watched the premiere of what seemed like the 100th season of The Bacheorette on ABC, I realized my favorite hatewatch isn't racist at all — at least, not in the traditional sense. If there's any group that producers have excluded from casting, it's the interesting. Get ready for the most painfully engrossing yet boring season of The Bachelorette... ever.
Previous seasons of the show required contestants to travel to Los Angeles for filming, but because Bachelorette Emily has a young daughter and is based in North Carolina, the entire operation was moved to the Tarheel State, the state that loves marriage so much that just last week it added an amendment to its constitution designed to "protect traditional marriage," like the kind that happens after two months of filming a reality TV dating show wherein 25 or so bros vie to woo a single member of the opposite sex by telling her over and over again that she's pretty and that they have "that connection." There's also exotic location bungee jumping, hottub makeout spit sounds, and suggestive shots of hotel room doors closing right before commercial breaks. Traditional marriage.
Bachelorette Emily's not an interesting person, even though her back story is a tragic one; her late fiancé, Ricky the racecar driver, died in a plane crash, a fact that the show repeats approximately once per minute lest the audience find itself distracted by the endless head-to-toe pans of Emily's nude paneled Vanna White dress. And even though Emily says she doesn't want to talk about the fact that she used to be engaged to Ricky, who is dead, all of her dates seem keen on talking about how Ricky was in a plane that went down, long before she could fulfill her dream of achieving a "minivan full of babies." Emily is also very serious about protecting her daughter Ricky from the dangers that might come from the outside world, which is why she felt that featuring her young daughter on two seasons of a reality show might be a good, protective thing to do. How can a fiery plane crash, Bristol Palin levels of oblivious stupidity, and an invitation for years of procreative sex manage to be so boring?
But surely somewhere in the parade of financial advisors, real estate salesmen, accountants, and "brand representatives" lurked something interesting, right? What about the guy who showed up with an ostrich egg, which represented his love and also the fact that he was a weirdo (don't give a woman another animal's ovary as a present)? What about the luxury brand consultant who luxuriously arrived via helicopter like Bruce Wayne? What about the guy who managed to remain straight faced as he instructed Emily to refer to him as "Wolf" (real name: John, which I guess sounds kind of like "Wolf")? As with every season, after about 5 besuited suiters sauntered or jauntily danced up to Emily, their monosyllabic names and boring white dude faces began to blend together. Matt? Mike? Travis? Brad? Bravis? Trike? Brick?
There were a few "wAcKy!" guys thrown in for the sake of diversity that extended beyond tie color, but even the contestants' personalities were reconstituted blends of preexisting cliches. There was the green shirted party DJ who I almost immediately pictured being really serious about trick roller blading at indoor rinks. The guy with long hair. The racecar driver who worried that Emily would have flashbacks to her dead fiancé because of his dangerous car driving job. The hot, dumb looking one that presented Emily with a note that read "you're beautiful," which she accepted with a tittering laugh and a vacant grin.
Part of the role of The Bachelor/ette in American culture is reminding viewers that everyone is terrible. Emily's a dumb idiot who brags about failing science in high school, because it's adorable when girls are stupid. The men are horny teenagers who can be convinced by a fake tan and hug pressed up against a great rack that they've met the woman of their dreams, men who think telling a woman that she's "beautiful" is just about the best compliment a fella can pay a gal. It's social regression theater.
At some point between the awkward parade of introductions to guys who were practically emitting visible cologne rays and the part where all the guys were sitting in the living room discussing how Emily, a woman they'd just met, was the "perfect woman" ("perfect" in this context means "hot"), my own fiancé became so upset with the state of humanity and left the apartment to take a walk by himself on the rat-infested streets after dark. Hate watching this season of The Bachelorette will not be for the faint of heart.
Nonetheless, I'm hoping my continued self-destructive commitment to the show will result in some form of payoff. According to the THIS SEASON! ON THE BACHELORETTE! preview, the whole season is basically the boring dudes crying and tattling on each other. They apparently go to London, where I'm sure someone will do a really terrible British accent. Yes, there are spit sounds, and yes, everyone on the show is terribly, painfully boring, but I hope that from their awful interactions I'm able to ruefully laugh. No matter what, I'll still be drawn to this show once a week, if only to have something reliable to hate on.
And yes, in case you were wondering, the black guy got eliminated.