This week's episode of The Bachelor comes with the ABC publicity department's wet dream: Controversy. Prior to the show, El Bachelor was caught on tape making some non-sensical anti-gay statements to a blogger. When asked if he thought there should be a gay or bisexual Bachelor, he told a reporter from The TV Page this:
“I don’t think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV. Obviously people have their husband and wife and kids and that is how we are brought up. Now there [are] fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that too in the sense of a household having… two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed… It is confusing in a sense. But I respect them because they want to have kids. They want to be parents. So it is a scale… Where do you put it on the scale? Where is the thin line to cross or not? You have to respect everybody’s desires and way of living. But it would be too hard for TV.”
I read that and initially thought "Did Juan Pablo hire Sarah Palin as his new speechwriter? That made no sense at all."
He later went on to say that gay people are "more pervert, in a sense."
Later, Juan Pablo issued the following apology on Facebook, explaining what he meant by "pervert":
"I want to apologize to all the people I may have offended because of my comments on having a Gay or Bisexual Bachelor. The comment was taken out of context. If you listen to the entire interview, there's nothing but respect for Gay people and their families. I have many gay friends and one of my closest friends who's like a brother has been a constant in my life especially during the past 5 months. The word pervert was not what I meant to say and I am very sorry about it. Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself. What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept. The show is very racy as it is and I don't let my 5 year old daughter watch it. Once again, I'm sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone."
Many of my fellow Bachelor snarkers decided to take up the #BoycottJuan banner and opted out of watching the show. I decided to accept the apology for what it's worth, and watch. Whether I watch next week is up in the air. The discussion about this controversy made me think about the reasons why I watch this show in the first place.
The main benefit of watching this show is that it allows the viewer feel superior to the people in the show. We can all sit back and think, "Geez, I'm so glad I'm either: a) in a relationship; b) happily alone; or c) not showing the world how pathetic I feel on national TV." Smugness leads to sarcasm, which leads to entertaining Twitter banter during the show.
Those who don't watch the show may believe that not watching is proof that that they: a) have better taste; b) are morally superior; and c) have better things to do with their time than watch bad TV and comment on it on Twitter. I hear this ALL THE TIME from people who don't watch the show, particularly my husband, whose idea of compelling television is a Travel Channel show involving people looking for pretty rocks. Yet, he refuses to leave the room when I am watching and demands that I tweet his better zingers.
In the past week, many on the interwebs have noted that the bloom is off the proverbial Bachelor rose now because of Juan Pablo's statements, as though this is actually news or something more important than the Justin Bieber's bail hearing. Personally, I'm open to a gay bachelor because it would be awesome if the contestants decided to run off with each other and leave the Bachelor holding all the roses. Tables, consider yourselves turned.
Juan Pablo does not do nearly as many interviews as previous bachelors, which I thought might be because of his English or his accent. After reading his interview comments, it may be that the Bachelor producers don't know what kind of crazy will come out of his mouth, and no amount of editing could make sense of what he is saying. It's better to be safe and just to use the loop of him saying, "She's super-fon and essy-going. I like that in a girl."
Maybe if they let him, he'd go all Richard Sherman, and start talking about how he's the best Bachelor in the history of the world and no punk-ass gay dad can beat him at the Bachelor dad thing. At least that would be more interesting that what is actually happening on the show.
ABC elected not to take on this controversy this week, instead, showing us the same formula of Bachelor we have come to expect. Highlights, for those of you taking the moral high road or were too busy having a life:
1. Individual Date with the very young single mom who repeated stated that she hadn't had a date in three years, coincidentally, the age of her child.
2. A Group Date that involved playing soccer in which Opera Singer Sharleen suffering some kind of concussion or brain injury which caused her to think she was a praying mantis. This was evidenced by scenes of her attempting to devour Juan Pablo head first in what has been billed as "most awkward Bachelor kiss ever." I expect this to appear on The History Channel's Valentine's Day special "The Most Awkward Kisses Since People Discovered They Had Lips."
3. Individual Date with generic blonde that involved bungee jumping off a bridge, and 10 minutes of "will she/won't she do it" that held up LA traffic and generally pissed off the audience. These women should learn to put "chocolate and booze" along with "visits from Neil Lane" on their application forms as "greatest fears", because you know if you put "heights" in that slot, you are going to be jumping or rappelling off something.
4. Rose Ceremony in which professional Free Spirit Lucy was let go, meaning she has to return to being semi-pro and dating the founder of SnapChat (though the evidence of that disappeared). The other woman who exited was one that no one even knew was on the show until the Rose Ceremony.
I don't know if I will watch next week or not. I take the issue of gay rights seriously, but I just don't take this show that seriously.
In other news, we received a card recently from a gay couple we know who announced that, after 33 years together, they were finally able to be legally married in California this summer. Huzzah!
To me, that's a real love story, one that deserves all the roses.