A new Reality TV show on the Lifetime network, called ‘UnReal’, exposes the dark, twisted and actual reality -or more aptly put – the virtual non reality of a ‘Bachelor’ type dating show. Personally, I only watch reality TV when I know some of the cast members, which happens frequently when you live in a city like Los Angeles. Having watched some of my friends’ reality TV shows, has been more of a comedic break for me as I know how exaggerated and contrived these often ‘scripted yet not scripted’ shows are made.
In 2002, when the Bachelor first aired, my friends and I loved to watch it, as it fulfilled our adolescent fairytale dreams that stay with girls as we matured. You know… the dream that Prince Charming will show up and sweep you off your feet, making your life a living fantasy of wonderment? A few seasons into the show, the fantasy bubble of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’ was forever irrevocably broken for one of my best Girlfriends and me. FANTASY BUSTED…..
It was Girlfriends birthday, and as the Boyfriend had made a quick and jarring exit a month prior, I was Girlfriend’s date to her family sponsored birthday dinner. As we waited in the swanky restaurant for her parents to arrive, I offered to buy birthday girl a birthday drink while we waited for her notoriously-always-running-late parents to show up.
It was at the bar, seated and sipping on our glasses of Cab, when a familiar voice squeezed himself in between the two of us, sidling up as close to Birthday Girl as was humanly possible, in an attempt to order a drink at the already crowded bar. He was handsome, and that voice…so familiar. As he made idle chit chat, I looked at him inquiring “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” At which point, he said, “Well, I was on this show called The Bachelor.” Of course, he was familiar from TV, and honestly, in LA the innocent – ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere’ – question often results in the person being famous, and then the questioner, in this case me, looks like a complete idiot.
BACHELOR went on to enchant Birthday Girl with his sparkling personality, and she seemed quite enthralled, I mean after all, he was the BACHELOR. The man who had 30 women clawing and scratching each other’s eyes out week after week for a chance to receive one of those damn cherish red roses he tossed around; the man who rolled in a limo and dripped of elegance, charm, sophistication, and success – that man was hitting on Birthday Girl.
As I sat back letting the two get acquainted, I wondered if Birthday Girl had picked up on the fact that BACHELOR had a lisp. My mind started to wander wondering how the producers had manage to hide his lisping ways – until thankfully, the notoriously- late parents finally arrived. Bachelor took down Birthday Girl’s phone number and I was glad to finally be seated at the table. I did remark that it would have been chivalrous of him to have bought us a drink, but my remark was lost on Birthday Girl,who was now not only happy to be celebrating her birthday, but had the added birthday gift that maybe, just maybe, the BACHELOR would end up being her very own Prince Charming.
Before he left the restaurant, he popped by our table, giving Birthday Girl a gentle squeeze on her shoulders, wishing her a happy birthday, and informing her parents that he WAS going to take their daughter out, before saying good-bye. Okay….so it seemed gentlemanly of him, but all that really mattered on this day, is that this chance encounter had made Birthday Girl’s birthday.
Three weeks went by before Girlfriend – who had already given up hope after day three with no contact – before BACHELOR called. He explained away his absence as he was busy relocating from the South Bay and moving to LA to continue to pursue his now famous self and see where it led. BACHELOR invited her to dinner and a play, which after all was fitting with his ‘TV BACHELOR persona’; so with a plausible ‘delayed calling excuse’ and a classy invite, Girlfriend accepted.
Girlfriend had to take a half day off of work, as the play started at 7 pm in downtown LA, and BACHELOR wanted to take her to dinner prior to the play. So he had arranged to pick her up at 4:30 pm, giving them enough time to get downtown, eat and still get to the play on time. I am not sure if guys realize this or not, but on a first date women put a lot of effort into getting date ready: Mani –Pedi, Blow Out, and maybe even a new outfit; an all-out effort, an expensive effort I will add, to make a good first impression. So Girlfriend didn’t mind taking a half day off work, as it did give her extra time to glam it up.
At 4 pm, she was ready – Hair ‘salon’ styled, nails and toes polished to perfection, wearing her classy black evening cocktail dress – ready and waiting. At 4:45 pm when my cell phone rang, and I saw Girlfriend’s name come up, I picked it up with that ‘oh no’ feeling in my gut, knowing they were supposed to be half way to downtown by now. Girlfriend hadn’t heard from him, so we chatted, me trying to distract her, until around 5:10 pm when she said in a somewhat frantic voice “Oh, that’s him, gotta go”, as BACHELOR was calling. BACHELOR of course apologized for his tardiness, the commute from the 405 was taking longer and he said he had basically just left Orange County and would get there as soon as he could. I am not sure what is worse at this point – someone cancelling or being disgracefully late, because when you are dressed up and ready to head out, you now have to sit there and wait…and there is not much you do as you don’t want to mess up the look it took you half a day to create!
At 6:25 pm, BACHELOR called Girlfriend and said he was outside, and could she come down as they were running late. So when Girlfriend came down and a beat-up-late-model Honda Accord covered in dirt – that was double parked, honked, she was certain it wasn’t for her. Imagine her surprise when BACHELOR’S head poked out from the driver’s window and said, “Dude, over here.” As she approached the car, she noticed it was packed with BACHELOR’s life – surfboard, boxes, junk – stuffed to the point she worried about his ability to see out the back. She stood there frozen until the passenger door swung open, and the not so chivalrous BACHELOR said “Dude, get in, we’re running late.” Girlfriend, now in shock, got into the car knowing her dress was headed for the drycleaners the next day, not sure what was more appalling, the filthy car or the fact that he kept calling her DUDE.
As they raced through traffic, BACHELOR – as they had obviously missed dinner – said, “No time for a sit down, what will it be, Del Taco or Taco Bell?” and Girlfriend noticed there was one each side of the road. Girlfriend started to wonder if a camera was crammed somewhere in the back and if she was on a hidden camera, maybe for some new reality dating show about bitchy LA girls, so as irritated as she was, she maintained her lady like composure and acted pleased with her greasy chicken taco and Diet Coke.
As she politely ate her ‘cheesy-ass-greasy’ Taco Bell, they finally arrived at the theatre, it was now 7:30 pm, and instead of doing the polite thing and waiting until intermission, BACHELOR insisted on entering the play annoying and stepping on toes of the seated audience as they were trying to get to their seats. The play was entirely in Spanish, a language Girlfriend doesn’t happen to speak, which gave BACHELOR the opportunity to show off his linguistic skills and translate the dialogue whispering into Girlfriends ear and further irritating the other patrons of the theatre.
Finally, at 8:15 pm it was intermission, and Girlfriend couldn’t wait for a glass of wine. Actually she wanted to drown herself in alcohol at this point, and politely asked if they could grab a glass. With the long line to the bar, they were finally served at 8:28 just as the two minute warning announcement came asking everyone to return to their seats. BACHELOR said, “Dude, drink up, slam it, we have to go back inside.” By this time the nice girl lady gloves were starting to come off. A now dusty, hungry, annoyed, irritated Girlfriend decided that SLAMMING was the last thing she was going to do, and slowly….ever so slowly sipped her wine resulting in them arriving late for the second half.
On the way home, BACHELOR of course never offered to buy her a proper meal, but this time, he did of course find a space to park and ‘politely’ walked Girlfriend to the door. As the key went into the lock, and the door ever so slowly started to open, BACHELOR poked his head into her place and said, “Got any wine in here?” Girlfriend said that she was tired, and thanked him for the night, turning her face so the only thing he managed to kiss was the side of her cheek.
And that was the last Girlfriend heard of BACHELOR, actually, it was kind of the last the world heard from BACHELOR as his fame faded likely before he managed to get his junk out of his trunk, so to speak… The Reality TV show Producers had a cast a handsome lisping surfer boy and had turned him into Prince Charming…a Prince Charming that millions of girls watched, fantasized, and wished would be their own.
They say you have to kiss a lot of Frogs before you meet your Prince. In this case, the frog….more aptly put, was a warty toad! Reality TV …..Forever….BUSTED!
You can watch episodes of Unreal at: