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Guilty Pleasures


We all have a guilty pleasure. Mine? Watching The Bachelor. And The Bachelorette. And Bachelor in Paradise. Well, maybe not a guilty pleasure but more an addiction.

I resisted at first. Who wanted to waste their time watching a bunch of silly girls so desperate for marriage they’d expose themselves to public scrutiny and sacrifice their self-respect? But something made me sit through an episode. I’m not sure what, but I’d guess it had something to do with my remote needing new batteries, and I was stuck on the last channel I’d watched.

For some reason, though, once a week at the same time, that remote landed on the exact same channel. In an effort to curtail my TV minutes, I asked myself why I watched those shows. It took a couple commercial breaks into the latest one before I realized what hooked me: characters.

The plots of each episode are so predictable. Folks feel insecure about their time with the bachelor/bachelorette, conflict ensues, group dates accentuate the conflict, one-on-one talks reveal “deep” feelings, one-on-one dates always result in a rose, and some folks go home at the end but suspiciously the person who is the main source of conflict in the group remains.

The settings don’t change much. Yes, they travel to different countries once the group gets whittled down to a manageable size, but even there the group always ends up in a multi-bedroom suite as if those are common things in other countries. You also know there’s going to be at least one location on a beach, because we have to see women in bikinis and men shirtless.

The reactions have a pattern. When a girl sees a guy, she leaps in the air to not just hug him, but to also wrap her legs around his waist. Every. Time. It’s so consistent, you can make a drinking game out of it.

The difference lies in the characters, and even those have a predictability. The mix always includes the diva, the bully, the intellectual, the immature, the timid, the I-have-a-secret, and a whole bunch of mainstreams. But I soak in each episode to study their speech patterns, mannerisms, and expressions as well as the shade they throw at each other. It’s all material ripe for the picking.

So, now I can watch the shows without excuse and consider it research time well spent. I pick up on a few things and store them away for future use in a story.

Without realizing it, I’ve converted my relaxation time into work hours.

Which means, I need to find a new guilty pleasure.

PS - If I ever get a rose, I really hope it's from a garden instead of a florist. The best part of a rose is its scent! Yeah...I wouldn't do well on those shows.


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