May 22, 2012

Dating on Television

I'm not usually drawn to spoilers. I have zero desire to thumb to the ending of a book before reading it. I don't like knowing what my presents are before opening them. I don't even like knowing the flavor of a new Jelly Belly before trying it. So I surprised myself when I searched the web to find out who this season's Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, likely picks as her "final rose recipient." (And no, I won't spoil it for you.)
I'm no longer as into those dating shows as I once was. Gone are the days when I imagined what it would be like to have one of those fantastical helicopter dates swirling through the Alps. No more am I hoping certain girls get picked in the end. But I'm still curious to see certain aspects of the production, like what angles the producers are using to draw in viewers. And this time around, it's having a Bachelorette "unlike any they've seen before."
Emily is a hot single mom. She has values. In fact, she's nixed the obligatory hot tub dates typically seen on these types of shows.
Emily recently told The Christian Post, "I wouldn't get into a hot tub with a guy on the first date in my normal everyday life, so I sure as [heck] am not going to do it on 'The Bachelorette!'" (I no idea which word was replaced with "heck" but I'm assuming The Christian Post opted against having H-E-Doublehockeysticks in their article.) And she's attempting to have some relatively "normal" first dates. While some guys will get to fly in jets and have private concerts promoting the next hottest music star, others will get to do the boring stuff. Like this guy, Ryan, who spent the day carrying groceries to Emily's house and made cookies.

Knowing the ending might be the only way anyone can get through this season without dying of boredom.
The producers are doing their best to appease Emily's aversion to Hollywood-izing her love life while trying to build some suspense. Will the most hated guy of the house stick around? Yes. Will one of the guys admit he's not ready to be a dad? Yes. All of the moves of the season are pre-planned for your entertainment. According to Bachelor Insider Jesse Csincsak (himself a former "final rose recipient"), the ENTIRE season's dates - including which guys Emily will will choose for those glorified "at home" dates - are chosen after the first night. Says Csincsack, "On night one “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” pick their final four. That’s right. Think about it – filming starts a 8pm and stops at 6am and you’re telling me if you were in a room with 25 guys for 10 hours you couldn’t pick four people to travel the globe with for the next 6 weeks and get to know better?"
Yes, 8pm - 6am. Your all-nighter studying for final exams just seemed better than filming before sunrise just so all the evening lighting matches.

It's far from "real life" dating. But dating in real life just isn't as fun to watch, is it?
When I first started telling my friends about my 31 Dates in 31 Days dating project, they'd each ask if I'd have some sort of camera following me. The assumption made sense; I'd been working in the television news industry since the '90s. I spent most of my childhood thinking the television was my babysitter. And I followed shows like The Bachelorette and even understandably-forgotten shows like Dating in the Dark and Beauty and The Geek. But I couldn't bear recording my own dates. I wasn't interested in making my first dates even more painful than I expected. Plus I wanted them to feel real.
After all, people act different when a television camera is around. That's why reality shows use a lot of actors. They just appear more comfortable on television. In fact, the other day while I was at a class at The Groundlings I saw two shows on the call board looking for actors. Both were dating shows.
When it finally came to Date #31, I was asked by my friends at Good Morning America if they could follow me along. This was a second date, so I wasn't as wary of the cameras following. I suggested they join us for dinner, but the rest of the date was my time. The crew came along, with blinding lights the size of watermelons beaming in our eyes. The crew had planned a scene - halfway during dinner, two of the co-anchors (my friends Kate Snow and Ron Claiborne) would crash our date to interrogate my chosen Mr. Right. He was unaware of the surprise. We would catch it all on tape to air the following morning. He was a trouper.
And that's one reason I fell for him.
(For those of you who don't know my full story, I won't spoil that ending either.)

And just in case you don't believe me that everything on television is pre-planned, here's the clip of Kate and Ron crashing my 31st date.
It was the 2nd take.

Don't watch if you don't want to spoil the ending of my project!
Read the book! And let me know if you read the last page first.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Post! Author of the Bachelorette Blog here....we feel ya as this season is off to a slow start, not really a big Emily Fan but making due. Anyway, just wanted to say enjoyed the peice. Also check out: Bachelorette Compromise #Fail Video)

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