Robin Hawke


Bachelor Pad 8/9/11
August 9, 2011, 4:01 PM
Filed under: Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , ,

I watch reality television. One reason is that, until a few years ago, my television only received one channel. With no choice, I began watching whatever. Reality television caught me by surprise. It was fascinating despite the absurd premises. People were making the choices a character in a book would, but they were not two-dimensional beings with one three-dimensional hang-up. They were full-grown three-dimensional beings with several two-dimensional hang-ups.

Bachelor Pad has one of the worst premises of all reality shows, finding love while competing for money. But, last night, there was a sterling example of what makes reality television so intriguing.

Two characters, people, Jake and Vienna, once engaged with a publicized split, are thrown together. Jake makes what he believes is a peace offering and Vienna accepts it with a stony expression.  His private comment to viewers, “I was able to do something nice for someone who did something terrible to me and that make me feel good.” She confesses the scene, conversation, was torture and she thinks he is a phony.

There is unfinished business between the two. On the face of it, it looks as if Jake is trying to put a cap of friendship on closure. Or at least a cap of good will. Yet, his delivery is awkward and lecturing. The subtext seems at odds with the offering. But, viewers know, from episodes of The Bachelor, that Jake has a wooden aspect. We also know he has an image as a good-guy to protect. The words sound right, but there’s something about his expression that doesn’t ring true. Contempt?

My questions: Is he trying to be mature and does he, in fact, want to mend fences with Vienna? or Is he trying to save face and look good for his public image?

I couldn’t tell! And that, that, is the hook of reality television: figuring out subtext, as if people were characters.

The third rose (approx 12 mins. long):

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