Card-carrying cynics like us and many others are having a grand time swatting the large piñata that is Juan Pablo, along with his unfortunate female castmates. It seems that even TPTB are getting in on the act. But to the extent we want this show to survive it may be time to put the cat o’ nine tails back in the bag for now.
The internet has, for good or ill, eliminated much of the mystery and naivete from life. Things that used to make us wonder, explore, read, etc. are resolved in a matter of seconds with a Google search. But a cheap payoff usually means the lesson isn’t as lasting or memorable. Why stand in line for 2 hours in the blazing sun to see Star Wars in the cinema for the 12th time? Because it couldn’t be downloaded and viewed on a loop on one’s computer which didn’t yet exist. Social media, whatever you think of it, strips away any inscrutability. 99% of those in the Bachelor contestant demographic would sooner live without food and water than their phones.
In short, we have gone from ‘I have a healthy skepticism about the process but will defer judgment because lightning might strike’ to ‘This is a farce and a joke but I’m here so I might as well play along and have a laugh.’ I daresay even Chris Harrison has crossed this particular Rubicon.
I have no brief for some of the decisions made by Mike Fleiss et al but in the era of 350 million Truman Shows airing simultaneously, he has a thankless task in establishing and maintaining his bubble of isolation around the contestants.
We used to mock the average cast member for sounding clueless and getting caught up in the fairy tale (although some revealed their true selves in Bachelor Pad, a much-missed outlet for the also-rans), but now we are hard-pressed to compete with the jaded, tongue-in-cheek attitudes of the contestants themselves.
This show and its whole-cloth soap opera are easy targets but if we want them to be around in future we sheath the long knives for now.