[Nyerges, the author of several books, also writes a blog, and posts Youtube videos. He can be reached at www.ChristopherNyerges.com or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]
An example of what's wrong with modern TV
I have been watching Chris the farmer on the Bachelor show on television, along with millions of other fixated, voyeuristic Americans. I watched some of the last season’s Bachelorette as well, as my various feelings and thoughts about this “reality” show have jumbled around.
The show is obviously well-done, professionally produced, with exotic wonderful places they visit. Yet, on another very primal and basic level, the show epitomizes what’s wrong with our television culture.
I am bothered by the fact that the show makes a contest out of the most basic fundamental building block of society and social structures: the relationship between a loving couple. Yes, it is, at the end of the day, a contest to see which of the two dozen or so beautiful women will go home to the farm with Chris. They are all decked out, trying to out-do the other in their favors and attention to the handsome farm boy. It’s somewhat like two people getting all dress up for a date, except Chris can pick any apple from the tree. How realistic is that? It’s not, it’s TV!
In the beginning of the show, all the women are happy and having fun. Of course! But it is like playing the lotto – only one will “win.” So it’s sad and disheartening to see the beautiful women all lined up like boxes of cereal while Chris gets to decide what he wants for breakfast. It’s not real, and while everyone watches from their living rooms as women one by one are voted off, viewers don’t feel the very real emotional agony that the voted-off ones experience. It’s very real pain, and all unnecessary, all for the TV experience.
Relationships are very real, and the best meetings don’t occur in staged TV shows. The best meetings occur in everyday real life, where you will see the person as they normally are, going about their very real life. Meaningful relationships can begin at the flea market while examining ancient coins, or at the farmers market while selecting apples, or at the park while studying plants and animals. Life is that way. People meet and love flourishes where you least expect it.
Real life does not always live up to all the beauty and hype of a TV show. Chris the farmer is far more likely to meet the right person and have a fulfilled life by visiting more of the families in his farm community, where he’d find someone already in-tune with the life he lives.
Each time I have watched the bachelor I get the sick feeling that I am watching some sort of horse auction where one of the horses gets selected for the race track, except these are women, not horses.
At the root, I find the show demeaning, since it reduces the beauty and magic of relationships and love to a device of entertainment. I understand the popularity of the show, and yet, we are looking at very real individuals, who perhaps didn’t realize the full ramifications of the web into which they entangled themselves when the agreed to be part of the show. Viewers who watch the show might just be fooled into believing that real relationships can and should be developed by such an artificial method. But again, real life is very different. The people “dating” on this TV show are certainly not paying for all the rooms and vacations and decorated sets at all the beautiful far-flung locations. It’s a fantasy!
We watch as Chris is struggling with who to pick, and trying to decide with whom he might be “falling in love” with, and therefore who he may want to spend his life with. And I struggle each time the show is on to turn off the TV, and get back to the very real work of living life, and finding meaning and fulfillment in the real world.
As long as we don’t forget that the tale of Chris the Farmer and his assorted potential wives is fantasy, then we might enjoy the tale.
The big losers may be the “contestants” of the show: the women who publicly flaunted themselves to the star, only to be rejected, and the farmerboy himself, who one day may realize that he already lived in paradise where his ideal mate could have been found in a more organic and private manner.