Monday, August 17, 2009

So Much To Haaaaate

Forgive me for the sputtering incoherence of this post.

Have you seen this train wreck?


I'm unfamiliar with the whole dating reality show genre. I've managed to avoid every season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette purely out of disinterest. This show however, sucked me in by having the time slot directly following Hell's Kitchen. I love me some Gordon Ramsey.

This show annoyed me from the jump with all its damn commercials about "real women" looking for love. All the stats about the average size of the American woman versus the average size of the reality dating show contestant. I'm sorry, are the women on all of those other shows cartoon characters? Are they figments of our imagination? And come on, skinny women aren't really the biggest obstacles to reality on any of these shows.

Given the setup, I was fully expecting a whole, "big girls are beautiful, we're here and we're curvy sodealwithit" love fest. I was expecting a group of women confident in their own skin, having a great time, fighting for the affections of some dude. That would have been something.

Like I said, I'm unfamiliar with the genre. I wish I still were.

These women are so saaaad. And the show totally takes advantage of their self esteem issues and filters their entire life stories through the lens of being overweight. Rather than portray the contestants as confident in their bodies and comfortable with themselves, the show does everything to make it clear that "fat" and "pathetic" are basically synonymous. It almost seems as if the more they talk about their weight and body issues, the more screen time they get. It's even obvious during some of their narrative interviews that the producer sitting there is prompting them to circle everything back to weight. It became painfully clear after the first episode that these women hate themselves and every episode is going to pick at the open wound of their self-loathing. On top of that they've layered the promise of Mr. Wonderful and the happy ending of a marriage proposal. Because, you know, marriage totally makes everything easier and better. The wedding is the end of the story.

And they're so young. One woman is only 21 years old (!) and while she's the youngest, I would guess the average age is about 25 or 26. They're talking about how they've never experienced real love and that they've waited "their whole lives" for someone like Luke (Mr. Wonderful) to accept them for who they are and not what they weigh. Really? How is it possible that they think this show is going to be about anything other than their weight? When we first met these ladies, climbing out of their limos and walking up the red carpet to Mr. Wonderful, they were captioned with their name, age, height and weight. Who exactly is accepting them for the wonderful person they are on the inside?

Why are we even calling this a reality show? We all know there's nothing real going on here, right? Do these women know it? I'm just asking, since more than one of them claim to have never been on a date. Do they know that private jets to Vegas, horseback rides, gondolas with sparkly lights, dinners in rented out restaurants, and diamond effing promise rings are not standard dating procedure? Do they know that none of these excursions are Mr. Wonderful's idea? That he's a giant puppet (and I mean giant. Homeboy rings in at something like 6'5", 330lbs) being manipulated by the producers? They keep swooning over how no guy has ever been so romantic or imaginative and how thoughtful Luke is to come up with these wonderful experiences. While he seems like a nice enough guy, he's obviously not long out of the frat house. I'm guessing if left to his own devices, date night would be sucking down beers and wings at the local sports bar with all his buddies.

The last episode was all about Mr. Wonderful presenting them with dresses and taking them to the "prom". In the set up he talks about how he's sure most of these girls had negative experiences with their proms and probably didn't get to go and so he wants to make it up to them. And they're all so excited to go the prom because they never went to prom or their prom sucked or they went with a big group and without a date. And of course all of the bad prom experiences resulted directly from their weight issues but it's all better now because Luke's taking them to prom. Right. Because there's nothing creepy about waiting around to be told what you're going to be doing and then being told what to wear to that activity, when you find out what it is. And you're calling hanging out with some dude and 8 other women "a date".

There's so much that is wrong with this show. Reality television in general is a disaster but this is just awful. I wonder if these women knew what they were getting themselves into. I wonder if they're sitting at home watching this fuming that they're being portrayed as blubbering, needy messes. I sincerely hope that they're angry that every scene and episode shows them eating or making references to food. I mean, there are close up shots of them biting into some kind of beef on a stick and sometimes it's just a close up of the food. Like, let's see what the fat girl is eating. Alcohol doesn't seem as prevalent on this show as others but there seems to be food everywhere. This show is objectifying these women just as much as all the other shows do to thin women, despite the protestations to the contrary in the commercials.

I'm gonna keep watching though. I admit I'm hooked on the spectacular awfulness and even though I'm fully aware of how contrived and manipulated every situation is, even though I get that these women are being reduced to caricature, I'm interested to see what happens next.

I'm so weak.


Rinny said...

We watch the train wreck too. Also because it is right after Hell's Kitchen (Ramsay is my boyfriend). It is manufactured. We laugh. It seems they chose the most self conscious, sad, pitiful women to be in the show. So much crying it is unreal!

Lora said...

I don't like GR, he is too loud for me. Plus I don't like watching people cook, so I almost didn't watch the Fattie Parade.

BUT, I watch the end of each show, just so I can watch them cry.

I just typed blubber, but that was a loaded word choice so I erased it.