Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several years, you are aware of the cultural phenomenon known as The Bachelor/ette. If not, it is a reality show that promises to help
some poor sap a lucky man, or woman find their soulmate. The show’s track record so far ain’t so hot; out of the ninety-nine seasons which have aired, there have been two successful marriages.
Yet people keep coming back for more. True, the contestants are paid, pampered, wined, and dined, but we all know what the Good Book says about the love of money: it’s a root of all kinds of evil. The fact remains that some, questionable though their judgment may be, are really there for love. Others, as we’ve established are there for the money. Still others are there for the fleeting notoriety they get by being on the show.
I understand this perhaps best of all. I have done questionable things to make my name known. It may work for a time, but the truth wins out. We all of us have an inner “Holden Caulfield,” are thus able to sniff out “phonies.”
So it was on the most recent season of the Bachelor. There was a contestant named Tierra, who was one way with her housemates, and another with this season’s bachelor, Sean.
Meaning that she stayed on the show much longer than anyone thought she would. Make no mistake: the producers are looking to create as much drama as possible–because this is what keeps us watching! We love the drama (and are secretly glad it isn’t us up there with our faults on display). There is a German word, schadenfreude, which essentially means “taking pleasure in another’s misfortune.” This I contend, more than anything else, is what keeps us tuning in week after week:
Who’s going to lose it this week?
Thus it is that the producers pick, from amongst the prospective contestants, people like Tierra. People who are oblivious to the drama they create around them. Because it’s just so much darn, nasty fun to watch somebody melt down, and play the blame game.
Which has been going since the beginning, by the way:
Adam, to God, “This woman You gave me…”
Eve, to God, “The serpent deceived me…”
The difference now is that the serpent is no longer a visible presence in our world (make no mistake: we see his works), so we turn to that which is closest to us:
In personality theory, there is a school of thought called “locus of control,” and thus locus is generally either internal, or external. Meaning that, by and large, we believe we are in control of what happens to us, or are controlled by what happens to us. Yes, there are things which happen than at outside of our control, and indeed we cannot control other people, but broadly speaking locus of control is about taking responsibility for ourselves. It is borne out of each of our explanatory styles–the way we each explain our lives to ourselves.
In the case of Adam and Eve, Adam says he ate the forbidden fruit because of the woman God gave him. His locus of control was outside of himself. The same with Eve–she blamed the serpent.
While all God wanted was for someone to own up to what they had done.
This may all seem very far afield from the world of the Bachelor/ette, but it’s not. You see, the producers deliberately choose certain personality types to create as much drama as possible. And we eat it up when people like poor Tierra blame everyone around them for their failure to get along with her. Her locus of control, and explanatory style, tell her that she is a victim of circumstance, of forces beyond her control.
But no one made her go on the show. I won’t reproach her, but rather the producers who take advantage of people like her to make a buck.
Because in the end creating compelling television, rather than being about love as they claim, is really all about the almighty dollar, about the money to be made at the expense of other’s misfortunes.
We all know what the Bible says about the love of money: “for it is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Shows like the Bachelor/ette play upon our innate desires to:
Love, be loved, find love
To make ourselves feel better–about ourselves
To enjoy the discomfiture of others
“My brothers, this ought not to be.”
I know, I know–you think I’m taking this all too seriously. I might be. After all, it’s just a TV show, right? What harm is there in watching it? Well, ask yourself how you feel before, during, and after watching it, and get back to me.
Do you feel good about yourself?
(You don’t have to answer that here–it was a rhetorical question. Just make it a matter of prayer and consideration).