It's the thing we all hate to love – reality TV.
Once again it's that time of year where the final rose is handed out, and the constant competition is reduced to only one woman in the finale of "The Bachelor." At 10 p.m. next Tuesday, my friends and I will gather around with our wine and chocolate and cackle at Nikki and Clare (two bad apples in my opinion), watching to find out who Juan Pablo has chosen to "spend the rest of his life with."
According to The New York Times, viewership of last season's "Bachelor" increased by 7 percent in the 18-49 year old range. Everyone, it seems, has been sucked in.
Perhaps we were attracted by Juan Pablo's Venezuelan accent, soccer athleticism, and the sweet Skyping of his daughter during downtime on "The Bachelorette" when it aired this past summer. I know I was.
But the show is not all it promises. In the 26 combined seasons of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," 75 percent of "winning" couples have gotten engaged. But out of all the seasons of both shows, only three couples actually married – only four couples are still together.
So why watch? Maybe we commiserate with the contestants. Despite the fact that we are smart, attractive, hard-working college students, we know the fear of being alone. Many of us are happy in our singledom, but only if we can assume it is only temporary and will end when we are older and more established. These men and women, however, do have their lives together (for the most part) – and yet they are still alone.
That's kind of scary, because it means it can happen to us too. A show that promises magic, fairytale love – even if it's a sham – is somehow reassuring.
But it's a twisted version of love when the guy you're dating is simultaneously dating five other women, dates are only confined to exotic locales and alone-time without cameras can only be procured if you make it to the top three and score a night in the fantasy suite. I digress – there's an even darker side than the ludicrous set-up of "The Bachelor."
First, look at the diversity of the show. This season's bachelor, Juan Pablo, is the first Hispanic participant and the only minority to ever be the featuring bachelor. "The Bachelorette" has been running since 2003 and there have been no minorities featured as the title character. Though this issue has been brought up multiple times in recent years, even with a failed lawsuit, producers have not done much to change it.
What does such sparse minority representation signify? Does society only find the love stories of white people entertaining?
That's not even to mention the same-sex possibilities. Unrealistic as it may be to expect it of Disney's ABC, a show with a homosexual man or woman would also be a step toward inclusivity.
In the end, maybe it is just a silly TV show and something we watch to make our Monday nights just a little bit more entertaining. Maybe it's America's weekly dose of schadenfreude.
But the next time you sit down to watch a rose ceremony, think about what watching this may be promoting. At least that's what I plan to do – but only after I find out what happens next week.
Victoria Knight is a senior in microbiology. She can be reached at email@example.com.