Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Torture (and porn)

Clearly I'm doing blog titles to get hits from people who will have zero interest in our blog. Sue me. :)

We've talked here before about torturing our characters, how we need to throw the germiphobe into the dumpster, etc.

But doing that in real life, purposefully setting people up for pain, is cruel.

And, of course, I'm talking about The Bachelor. Yes, after SWEARING I'd never watch again (many seasons ago) I have again been sucked back into the busty-and-overly-made-up vortex. One of the times I swore I'd never watch again, I blogged about it, and called the show emotional porn. I stand by that.

And this season they've sunk to new lows. Yes, they always make sure the one who's afraid of flying ends up on plane, and the one who's afraid of heights ends up jumping off something high, but this season there have been two episodes that really made me angry.

One was last night. One of the girls, one of the more sane ones, actually, is deathly afraid of bugs. I mean, she seriously needs some psychological help. And clearly the producers knew this. So where do they send her and the bachelor on the only date she ever gets with him? Into a cave in Costa Rica. With lots of bugs. Nice.

But even more egregious was the Las Vegas episode. One of the contestants lost her Nascar-racer-fiancé in plane crash when she was only 18. Then she found out 3 days after he died she was pregnant. She hadn't been on a plane or anywhere near car racing since he died. Nor has she had a relationship. (and this girl is scary-beautiful. I thought she looked old for early twenties, but they've now shown her a few times without all the make up and my god. It's unfair for one woman to get so much beauty.)

And what do they do???? First put her on a small plane with the bachelor -- presumably similar to the type her fiancé died in. Then, they take her to a Nascar race track. Oh, and the exact same racetrack that her fiancé had a bad crash at when he was racing. Nice.

Sometimes reality TV is a good lesson in how to put your characters in difficult situations. But I ask... should it be?

The movie Stranger Than Fiction suddenly pops to mind, which explored the ethics of torturing fictional characters. But these women on The Bachelor are (at least partially) real. How do the producers sleep at night? Imagine the bad karma.

10 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

I have never understood that show and to some extent you figure well, these girls signed up for this so, you can't feel too bad. But every single reality tv show mines these emotional moments down to rock bottom so it feels so invasive just watching it. American Idol - the guy whose fiance was in a terrible crash and had a brain injury - of course the producers exploit it, but doesn't the kid to some extent? And then I'm sitting there eating popcorn and watching - an emotional porn voyeur... reality tv gives me heartburn these days. I'm back into fiction...

Eileen said...

Wow. That is incredibly cruel. I can see the bug thing. It's mean, but I'm not sure it's cruel. The dead fiance thing? That verges on diabolical.

Molly has a point, too, though. It's not like the people signing up for these shows don't know what the shows are about. Maybe you can't really know how bad it's going to be until you're in it, though?

Stephanie Doyle said...

I am also a Bachelor fan. Mostly because I like to mock the crazies who sign up for the show... and because it's like dating vicariously only instead of makeup and high heels I'm in jammies and warm socks.

Maureen you are right. That episode was icky. Mostly because out of anyone I've ever seen go on this show... she seems the most genuine. She should NOT be there.

She needs to go home, find a real person in her real life.

Because there is no shame in these shows... none.

The fiancee in the car crash on Idol... freakin cried my eyes out... just like they wanted me to.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Oh and if I ever did go on a show like this... maybe a dating show for spinster fatties... and they asked me what my greatest fear was ... I would NOT say snakes.

I'd say... sailing. Or shopping for diamonds. Yeah... that stuff scares the stuffing out of me.

Eileen said...

Oh, yeah, Steph, work the system. Work it, girl. Don't hate the player. Hate the game.

Maureen McGowan said...

Steph, LMAO

Angi Morgan said...

I wouldn't have done the cave. Wouldn't have gone to the track.
Wouldn't have jumped from a perfectly safe airplane.

Oh...Wouldn't have gone on the Bachlor. AND now, thanks to your sage advice, will not even WATCH the bachelor if it's the only station available.

Back to writing...
~~Angi

Sinead M said...

What sane, healthy woman signs up to compete against 25 other women for the time and affections of one man, in her search for her soulmate.. a man she just met.

They asked for it. Bugs and all.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Gosh Sinead... when you say it like that... :)

But for me that's the point. It's the crazy dating show.

Now ironically - I won't watch ANY of the crazies on Idol. That to me is total exploitation. I dvr it and only watch the people with actual talent audition.

You want to give me a sob story to go with that - fine.

But showcasing someone with obvious delusional tendencies, or a mental nervous condition... that's the sick of the sick and really brings a bad note to an otherwise straight up talent contest.

Maureen McGowan said...

I get that they signed up for it, but still... the ethics of the whole thing really bother me. Not that I'm above watching. ;)

I no longer watch Idol before Hollywood week. I think I've only seen one episode so far this season, just to see how it would be with new judges... They really do make fun of people on that show. It's not fair to the judges, either, putting them in that position.

And I don't think the ones they really make fun of did sign up for it. I'm quite sure that in their auditions with the producers (I think you go through at least 2 auditions before you get in front of the judges) they were all told they'd done really well and had a great chance of getting through. when clearly some of them were picked because they were strange, or tone deaf, or both.
Remember that America's Worst Singer show? The one where the judges heaped praise on the contestants and each week they voted off the best singer, but told the contestants the opposite? then didn't reveal the truth until the poor sap thought he was the winner? Mean.

On the other hand... I really liked the show... can't remember the name, (Joe Blow?) where everyone was an actor, except the one guy. I thought it was kind of clever. Sure, they duped him, but in an elaborate Candid Camera or Punked kind of way.

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