What brilliant executive put Alex, a guy who seems like a sexist bigot with no personality, as the centerpiece of a reality show?
Letís begin with the introductions. We meet Alex, his parents, and the perfunctory reality show host doing a poor imitation of Jeff Probst. Next, one by one beauty pageant style, ABC introduces us to 25 women in evening gowns exiting a black superstretch limo. This might have been exciting or impressive if the airdate wasnít the night after the Academy Awards, when REALLY gorgeous people stepped out of elegant chauffeured vehicles. In comparison, these ladies mostly looked like mousy secretaries stuffed into tight dresses.
Okay, I wanted to laugh at the woman with the boring day job, with the very low cut gown, who admitted to being a Hooters Girl at night. Another woman said she was a cheerleader for some previously unheard of pro team. Do you think she made it up? These women, for whatever unearthly reason, are open to marrying Alex with only an itsy bit of information about him. What social rejects! What an embarrassment to their families! They tell us, in front of the television audience and all of humanity, that they cannot find a man on their own, so they are willing to marry a total stranger with a good educational background. I canít fathom who is the biggest loser here.
Somewhere in my desire to blush for all of them, I began to root for a few favorites. The Jewish/Italian looking attorney - pretty, intelligent, witty, self-deprecating - she could be my best friend. Iíll claim her. ABC recorded this Alex guy saying he liked her -- she was a challenge. I began to take notice of ethnicity. First, there were several Asian American women. I counted one each: an African-American and one Latino. About two other girls looked as if they might be Jewish.
The show seemed like a cross between Survivor and PopStars. The next segment was the "Kiss Up to Alex Cocktail Party." If any of these women were alive and watching television during the past two years, they know that you NEVER EVER EVER say anything negative to the camera on a reality show, or people will start calling you "Jerri the Bitch." In between the brown nose dialogue, we were treated to outtakes of ladies, yes, extolling Alexís few virtues, repeatedly to the camera, as if that could help their longevity on the series. We know he had few virtues because each comment was virtually identical to the prior outtake.
The next part was unbelievable. Did you notice each woman had a different name-none of the 25 shared a first name? That was to make it less confusing for our Stanford graduate. The host then takes Alex away to a room with 25 framed headshots of the women with poor judgment in the other room. Alex stares and stares, ponders and ponders -- all the pictures together, one picture at a time -- as if he was trying to assess the value and quality of the picture frames.
Alex has to choose 60 percent of them to stay on the show. Next he returns to the party with roses and one by one, asks 15 women to come up and take a rose. In the cutaway, he says he can see the other 10 getting angrier and angrier when they arenít selected. Next, they allow the other women to say goodbye to the castoffs. During that sequence, The Bachelor was seen cowering in a corner, as if he expected his rejects to gang together and beat him up.
Who did he choose? All the bleach blondes and busty women, except for the possible Jews and Latinos. A cross around your neck definitely helped here. He asked back the token black. And guess what? A rose went to each and every Asian female.
Okay, single women, how many of you have a guy who you completely lust after who says heís holding out for the right Asian woman? This friend may or may not have gone on a sex tour of Bangkok? This same guy probably hangs out at strip bars or Hooters, goes to major league sporting events to watch the cheerleaders, has binoculars in his bedroom to peer at his neighbors while they are undressing? And heís sexy and gorgeous and you donít ever want him to touch you because you donít know where heís been?
Sound familiar? That was my feeling about Alex -or ABCís view of their ideal audience for this program. This feeling intensified when ABC began to show scenes from future shows. In that segment, Alex is shown making out, even laying on top of, woman after woman after woman. One woman who didnít want to kiss him, it seems, was given a guilt trip. After all, she did consent to the show, allowed herself to be housed in Malibu for a month and have producers choose her wardrobe? Didnít she understand she was supposed to act like a whore?
By the end, I wished I had made a videotape of this. It makes Rick Rockwell (Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire) look like a saint. Just when I think TV can go to no lower depths, ABC brings us The Bachelor. Before you forget, ABC is also the network that brought a Victoriaís Secret fashion show to primetimeís audience. Can we guess that the Supreme Courtís "childrenís viewing hours" only applies to cable?
In the credits, you might recognize a name or two. First, there is Mike Fleiss, ex-madame and ex-convict Heidiís cousin. Next, our buddy Lisa Levenson, the producer of last summerís Big Brother 2. You just wonder if she fashioned this show with an evil twist-to make this so bad you just crave another installment of CBSí awful housebound epic.
Bring back Watching Ellie and put it in this time slot. Even run the same episode twice back to back. I couldnít stand that show either, but it is Citizen Kane compared to The Bachelor.
It crossed my mind that this program might get cancelled like The Mole, and we wouldnít know which woman won the marriage proposal. We would never know. That would be a shame.