With the highly unsurprising breakup of Bachelor Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi making the gossip-magazine news rounds, CNN decided to probe into the psyche of reality-TV watchers and figure out why — given the abysmally low success rate of Bachelor and Bachelorette unions — people still tune in to the show. With a sample group of two pop-culture writers and two hard-core fans, the article came to a myriad of conclusions that can be boiled down to: love, sex fantasies, and that scapegoat of scapegoats, the recession!
First up, the romantics, as represented by Gilmar Gomes, a 55-year-old man who admits to getting heckled by his friends for watching the show. “Beautiful places, beautiful people. … I remember when [Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi] were on a date in California. That seemed like the right place to fall in love.” Aw. And while holding on to a completely staged reality-TV dating show as a source of love inspiration seems sadly misguided, we applaud Gomes for his optimism.
Next up, the oglers, like obsessive recapper Reality Steve. “I’d hook up with Ali, but I don’t know her. I don’t know anything about Ali other than what the show presents to me,” says Carbone (referring to, we think, her bikini body). We’re sure she’d be into it, Carbone. Give her a call!
And finally, according to entertainment editor Sarah Polonsky, people have continued to tune in to the show because of the recession. “It’s been a tough few years — a lot of people have lost their jobs and their money. We all wish we could fall in love in Iceland and Italy and Hawaii, but if we can’t, why not watch it [on TV].” While we’d love to refute her escapist argument (the show debuted to high ratings in 2002, at the height of the bubble), it seems, at least about TV viewing in total, she might actually be right.