Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Bachelor: Crying and Cocktails

If you’ve ever watched a season of ABC’s The Bachelor, you know you can always count on the following:
  • Crying. It’s not The Bachelor without running mascara and unintelligible love-declaring sob-snorts for a man that’s dating lots of other women.
  • Tons of alcohol. We have yet to see anyone eat, but these ladies are never without a triple chardonnay.
  • Women overcoming their fears – primarily heights, deadly sea life and/or salsa dancing.
  • “The most dramatic rose ceremony ever.” Chris Harrison has the best job in the world. All he has to do is memorize three lines and put on a suit.
  • Hot tubs. Duh.
  • A predictable cast of characters including, The Good Girl, The Vixen, and The Hot Mess.
Season 16, featuring winemaker Ben Flajnik, has certainly delivered all of the above. Between the cattiness and painfully awkward moments, I spend entire episodes cringing, sometimes even covering my eyes, and feeling really bad for the women. They’re adults going on “group dates”, skiing in bikinis, and spearing live lobsters for dinner … all to literally “win” a guy they barely even know. Finding love shouldn’t make women act this ridiculous, right? But, it’s hard to turn away from a reality TV train wreck. And we just can’t seem to get enough of this cultural phenomenon … or the key players:

The Good Girl
Although cute 24-year-old Kacie B. recently started cursing while under the influence, she reigned supreme as The Good Girl. The sweet administrative assistant from Tennessee scored the first one-on-one date of the season, impressing Ben with her baton twirling skills (yes, really) as they walked the streets of Sonoma. She even declared she’d move anywhere for a man, because that’s how she was raised in the South. Aw, shucks. Let’s just say a second bout of baton twirling was the beginning of the end for her…

The Vixen 
This season’s beautiful, pouty, mean girl is Courtney, a 28-year-old model from California. She enjoys quoting Charlie Sheen (#winning!) and pretending to shoot the other girls with her finger guns. (You can watch a musical autotune mash-up of her most offensive lines here.) Despite her unusual social skills, she’s made Ben all googly-eyed by luring him into the water for a secret skinny dipping session in Puerto Rico and letting a gigantic tarantula crawl up her arm in Belize. Well, she seems like someone to bring home to mom!

The Hot Mess
If you’re watching this season, all I have to do is say the word “scrapbook” and you’ll know where this is going. There’s always one woman who engages in creepy childish behavior to show her devotion to The Bachelor. In a recent episode, Blakely, a 34-year-old “VIP Cocktail Waitress” presented Ben with a junior high style scrapbook to convey her excitement about their potential life together in San Francisco. By the look on Ben’s face, he clearly thought she was one sticker book and a Pound Puppy shy of a mental institution. Bye-bye Blakely.

We also need to give major props to this season’s original Hot Mess, NYC blogger Jenna. The poor girl couldn’t say a coherent sentence around Ben; cried under the covers during a cocktail party, and then was promptly sent home.

Between all the sobbing, conniving, and sheer desperation (one contestant quit her job and bailed on her BFFs wedding to win Ben’s heart), The Bachelor can be hard to stomach. But, whenever I get fired up about the way women appear on the show, I have to remind myself that they signed up for this. This isn’t The Hunger Games. They voluntarily went into battle against their most feared enemies: other perfectly tanned, toned women. Plus, the show has been airing long enough for them to count on having to jump out of a moving aircraft (why do they always act surprised?). If they think competing for a flower every week will lead to a healthy relationship, there’s not a whole lot us viewers can do for them from the couch … except eat ice cream and scream at the TV. We’ll just have to make it to the final rose ceremony and hope for the best.

How do you feel about the way women are portrayed on The Bachelor?

This post was written for Ogilvy Public Relations' WomenOlogy blog. Check it out for interesting perspectives on marketing to women.

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