Yes, it’s true, I watch The Bachelor. What can I say? Well, quite a lot, actually, as those of you who’ve followed my posts as Cheekychook on FORT (Fans of Reality TV www.fansofrealitytv.com ) and MRU (MisfitsRUs www.misfitsrus.com ) can attest.
I’m the first to admit that when this show first aired I thought the whole premise was insane. One guy? Twenty-five girls? Seriously? In fact, I thought it was so crazy I didn’t watch the first few seasons at all. I shook my head each time I’d see it advertised and I’d wonder “what are these people thinking?”
Then I watched an episode. It was Charlie O’Connell’s season. He seemed so laid back and normal I was intrigued. I started tuning in, trying to guess who would be eliminated each week, and before I knew it I was hooked. I watched the next few seasons and was proud of myself for getting the “winner” right each time, but I still wasn’t attached to the show.
Then my whole life changed. It sounds melodramatic, I know, but it’s true. In the span of a year my grandmother, my dad and my mother-in-law all passed away. My dad’s death was the most unexpected—pancreatic cancer—ten agonizing weeks from diagnosis to death. I was left reeling. I remember turning on the tv one night and seeing that the new season of The Bachelor was starting—Andy Baldwin-An Officer and a Gentleman. I wasn’t expecting much. The whole uniform thing doesn’t do it for me, nor does the blond thing, but I watched anyway. The first thing Andy talked about was how his uncle had unexpectedly passed away from pancreatic cancer and he’d started a charity in his honor. That did it. As soon as the first commercial break aired I was on my computer googling the charity. By the next week I was googling “spoilers” because I was dying to know if my hunch that he’d picked Tessa was correct (it was, I was right—she had him at “muffins”).
My spoiler search brought me to FORT, a prominent reality tv website where I discovered a whole society of people who liked to discuss/analyze (among other shows) The Bachelor. It was like the mothership had called me home. I’ve spent my whole life analyzing people and writing—it was the perfect blend of my interests. I started posting under the name Cheekychook (a nickname given to me by my Australian friends because I’m both a wiseass and a bit of a chicken) and became a very vocal regular.
When Andy’s season ended I didn’t go to the Bachelor site for a while. I watched Brad’s season without much enthusiasm. I could tell the two finalists would be Deanna and Jenni and for the first time I couldn’t figure out which of them would win. Turns out neither could he! The sympathy ABC stirred for Deanna made an impact on me and I awaited her season with renewed interest. I had no idea what was coming.
During Deanna’s season my life changed again, only this time for the better, and directly because of the show. I made friends with other posters on the forums, some of whom I’ve gone on to meet in real life, I rediscovered my love of writing, I realized I still had a knack for analyzing people (years of mommying hadn’t completely dulled my brain), and my previously unused background in film and television production came in handy as I started to dissect the show’s edit and realize how much they twisted around what “happened”.
Through bizarre twists of fate I wound up meeting several of the contestants from Deanna’s season—a nicer group of guys than anyone could ever hope to encounter. I also wound up being invited to join another forum, MRU, where I met even more wonderful new friends.
The following seasons were rollercoasters where the world proved to me how very, very small it is. I was used to having “inside info” from all the people I’d gotten to know on the forums, but then my real life collided with my cyber life and suddenly I knew people who were involved in the show from a whole other angle.
I’ve now settled back in to watching the show as what I like to think of as an experienced viewer. I’ve learned what to believe and what not to believe and I can watch the show for what it is—entertainment.
I didn’t post hardly at all during Ali’s season because I was busy with a different type of writing project. In the past year I completed my first novel, Meant to Be, and have gotten half way through my second, The Professor and Marienne. In many ways I have The Bachelor to thank for this accomplishment. The show got me writing again, more than I had in years, and it was the encouragement of a few special friends I met along the way that got me to start (and finish) the novel I’d had in my head for almost a decade. (They know who they are, and I’m eternally grateful for their support.)
I’m looking forward to the new season, Brad – Part II, and I’m sure I’ll be back on the forums offering up some sarcasm here and there…and posting some of my own thoughts on this, my very own blog. Incidentally, for those of you who’ve actually read this far, I’ve decided to launch my blog today, January 3, not only because it’s the air date of the first new episode of The Bachelor, but because it’s my dad’s birthday. If he were still alive he’d have turned 69 today. And he’d have been amused as hell that I was starting a blog.
So, that’s the story of how The Bachelor has changed my life. Who woulda thunk? Certainly not me!