Reality TV is a misnomer. It should be called Surreality TV. Take The Bachelor Australia for instance. According to scurrilous rumours half of Sydney’s Eastern beaches set already has. If the hearsay is to be believed Tim Robards is quite the man tart – a situation which I applaud. Ker-chink! Ker-chink!
Despite my lack of interest in commercial television, Tim has crossed my radar. He was featured on a dirty great poster on the side of a bus when he crossed it – a bendy bus no less. Perhaps his appeal is too large to contain on a standard bus but I digress. My first thought bubble was “Another carbon copy of a lame American formula? Just what the country needs”. I find the concept behind this show depressing. Is the singles scene really so dire that 25 attractive and intelligent young women have to fight tooth and nail over one Ken doll of a guy? (Actually, as a graduate of the singles scene I can assure you – IT IS. Which is not to say it can’t be fun).
Of course the show contravenes the most basic feminist principles. Germaine Greer would be rolling in her grave except she’s not dead yet ( She is merely suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome). Political correctness can be a bore and viewing everything through the prism of feminism does not make for great entertainment. I fully get that The Bachelor is the televisual equivalent of a Big Mac and super sized fries.
The issue I have with the whole thing (despite not having watched it) is that Tim Robards hardly represents Australian bachelorhood. In my dating days I became well acquainted with the bachelor class and I did not encounter anyone remotely like Tim. I did work with a guy who looked a bit like him (tough job but someone had to do it). The dude in question was unsurprisingly NOT a bachelor.
Perhaps a more accurate depiction of a typical unwedded Aussie male would fall somewhere in between these two characters.
My own personal dating experience yielded a disproportionate number of IT professionals but there has always been something about me and techie guys. I think it is the fact that they are not particularly fussy.
The well known demographer Bernard Salt suggests that the typical Aussie bachelor is in fact overseas (perhaps cruising the bars of Bangkok), vigorously working the land or hiding down a mine shaft. However I doubt you’d find too many Tim Robards clones in Mt Isa.
As for the dates the singletons are treated to on the TV Bachelor – Wow! Lets just say its not what I have typically experienced following a few” getting to know you” emails. I re-iterate I do not watch TV* so I had to turn to Wikipedia for research purposes. (Yes there is a Wiki page devoted to the series). Apparently the lucky ladies are flown by private jet to Byron Bay to go horse riding along the beach. On another occasion a gaggle of girlies were taken on a helicopter ride over the Blue Mountains. There have also been glamorous photo shoots and fantasy shopping sprees in high end jewellery stores. I had to wait four long years and a pregnancy for my go at that one!
In my experience a date usually means some kind of variation on drinks, dinner and a movie. More often than not the dinner is Thai accompanied by a BYO bottle of wine. You might get Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc if your date is classy. You will most probably view an action block buster in a multi-plex theatre with him shouting the barrel of popcorn. If your date is serious he may squire you to an independent cinema and sit uncomplainingly through an art house film. The fewer explosions and car chases therein the greater the pressure to put out at the end of the evening.
Apparently the ratings for The Bachelor are dropping like Robbard’s boxers leading Network TEN to change the time slot. I’d wager however that flaccid interest in the concept will not deter TEN from making a series two, three and beyond. You’d never expect a TV network to allow a tired concept to die with dignity. Meanwhile I’d suggest that if the producers want to inject a dash of virility to their flagging franchise they should start with a generous dose of “real” reality. Here a some new real Australian bachelors who are ready, willing and able to take the starring role. Just sit back and watch the sparks (and the mobile phones) fly!
Fess up. Do you watch the show? What’s your opinion of it? Would you like to see more realistic Reality TV?
* By now you probably don’t believe me.