On Saturday nights, you can typically find my roommate/best friend and I studying at home. This past Saturday was no different. But as we diligently worked away and dutifully sipped our coffee, a blip presented itself in our routine.
She sent me a link to a four-minute video from this season’s The Bachelor.
I hit the play button even though I knew it was a bad idea. I knew that, if I pressed that play button, I would effectively be rendering my hard-earned productivity that evening useless. Needless to say, what ensued after that four-minute video was two hours of catching up on the episodes we had missed thus far, notes strewn haphazardly across our desks. By the time we emerged from the rabbit hole, it was two in the morning.
Let’s talk a little bit about season 20 of The Bachelor. Ben Higgins, a software salesman, is the star of the show. Ben Higgins is also a very handsome man. Now, I am not a “Bachelor” aficionado, by any means. The extent of my knowledge comes from a couple of episodes during high school sleepovers and the occasional perusing of magazine articles at Shoppers Drug Mart. But Ben Higgins has a quality about him that immediately captivated my roommate and I (plus millions of other women, no doubt). Besides his pretty face, Ben has a seemingly genuine desire for love that many people hope for in their significant others. He is also well-spoken, endearing and hopelessly charming. He just seems like an all-around good guy. Of course, reality television never portrays actual reality. But Ben Higgins has a cool, relaxed vibe makes him feel very real. This is precisely why he sells.
Besides a certifiably great choice in the candidate for The Bachelor this season, the makers of the show should also be commended for the measures they took to ensure that, even at season 20, The Bachelor remained far from stale. In the batch of seriously gorgeous women this season, there are your typical drama instigators and soft-spoken crowd favourites. But there are also a few very crazy ones and even a set of identical twins, Emily and Haley Ferguson. It’s interesting that, while every other woman has an occupation listed under their name, Emily and Haley only have the word “Twin.” (Incredible, I know.)In addition, during the first meeting with Ben, one of the women (a dentist) decided to give the bachelor a teeth cleaning in order to prepare him for a potential kiss. Unsurprisingly, he did not kiss her. On the first one-on-one date, the pair were accompanied by Kevin Hart and Ice Cube on a “Ride Along.” Reportedly, these first two episodes pretty much set the tone for how the rest of the season will play out – very strange, but also very entertaining.
It’s easy to sit here and debate over the subjectivity of what is good television and what is bad television. However, it is widely agreed that The Bachelor is not a good television show by its own merit. No matter how attractive Ben Higgins is or how entertaining the story line becomes, I know this. My best friend knows this. Society knows this. Good television series exist far and wide, but The Bachelor is not one of them.
I am certainly more predisposed to watch shows like Transparent over The Bachelor. Often, fundamentally good television shows (such as Transparent) or movies explore deeper themes and require more attention or emotional investment. While those are always fantastic to watch and gush over, it may not be a bad idea to revisit an old childhood movie (She’s The Man, anyone?) or a “trash” TV show when you’re just seeking a much-needed break from the daily stresses of school and life. It’s important to spend time being entertained over something as silly as a dating show; while it may not be a “good show,” it’s worthwhile simply in its ability to help you let loose. Spending time to be mindlessly entertained every now and again – or spending time for yourself at all – is something society has engrained within us as wasteful and inefficient. But it’s really important to not feel guilty about taking a breather; it is both a rejuvenating and regenerative activity that may benefit you in the long run.
My best friend and I met at the beginning of first year and have been inseparable ever since. Both of us are in the same program and have a pretty aligned set of values and interests. In fact, many people who meet us fall into disbelief when they realize we only met a year and a half ago and have not known each other since childhood. She is endlessly caring, kind, assiduous, intelligent… I could go on forever. I trust her to the world’s end; there are few things I wouldn’t do for her.
Lately, however, we have both been so busy that we rarely see each other despite living in the same apartment. Maintaining a healthy balance of school, extracurricular activities, work and friends is a massive challenge that many of us are tasked with. When other areas flare up, particularly school, it’s easy to let others sit on the back burner for a little while. Recognizing this, both my best friend and I have decided to make some changes in our respective schedules to fit in a time each week, no matter how brief, where we spend time unwinding together. Now, we have a date every week to watch the new episode of The Bachelor.
The Bachelor has certainly made me see that watching what is widely regarded as a bad show doesn’t diminish my personality or my other interests in good shows. It debunked my fear that watching it automatically places me in the categorwy of “people with poor taste.” It’s really not that serious. Sometimes bad TV simply makes for a really good time with your best friend.
Header Photo Credit: Star Pulse, in-article: Felicia Graham