Why This Dad Isn’t Watching Ben Flajnik’s Bachelor Season

13 months.

For the past couple of years now, I have consistently published my own recaps of The Bachelor, drawing in tens of thousands of views on my personal blog site, NickShell.com.

It made me laugh that I could make 300 people a day stumble upon my site when they Googled “Is Ali Fedotowsky Jewish?” Not only blogging about the show, but watching it every Monday night with my wife, had become a fun tradition.

This week, the new Bachelor season premiered featuring Ben Flajnik, the Slovak-Italian-German-English (but not Jewish) winemaker from California.

But the magic just wasn’t there for me anymore. Unlike previous seasons, it felt like the main focus was just on how ridiculous (and pathetic) the contestants could appear to be. It was like the show had merged with its sleazy cousin, Bachelor Pad, and all those trashy reality dating shows on VH1.

I guess I’m becoming more morally convicted about contributing to the exploitation of other people; even if they don’t realize or don’t care that the world is laughing at them, not with them.

A switch has flipped in my head. Is it because The Bachelor has (just now?) finally jumped the shark?

Not actually. My sudden disgust in The Bachelor got me thinking deeper. I realized that the underlying issue here is that I’m starved for redeeming value, not only in entertainment, but in real life.

I started thinking about the TV shows my wife and I have plowed through this past year on Netlflix. (We don’t have cable. We watched this week’s Bachelor episode online.)

They included Big Love, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. In my opinion, all three are very well-written, well-directed, fresh, original, and premium quality entertainment. But just yesterday I realized something they all three have in common:

The protagonist cheats on his wife, she cheats on him, or they cheat on each other.

It made me start thinking about all the good songs we love to sing along to which are about someone getting cheated on. Yeah, good songs like “White Liar” by Miranda Lambert or “You Lie” by The Band Perry. In every genre of music, it’s common for enjoyable songs to be about infidelity.

I may sound like a Republican grandma from the Eighties, but I’m really tired of all this negativity in pop culture; especially when it comes to the way marriage is portrayed.

The truth is, I’m struggling right now to think of a good modern TV series that features a happily married couple who aren’t constantly (even though comically) cutting each other down. I miss Jason and Maggie Seaver from Growing Pains.

Here on The Dadabase, I have written several times about how dads are negatively portrayed on TV. But I failed to focus also on how negatively marriage is portrayed, as well. That’s just as big of a deal.

I miss the cheesy “musical moral moments” at the end of Miller-Boyett sitcoms like Full House, Family Matters, Step By Step, and Perfect Strangers where I was always fed a bite-size life lesson, teaching me to care more about others than myself.

Starting now, I am going to be deliberately seeking out entertainment (and real-life ventures) that have a high redeeming quality.

As part of her Christmas present to me, my wife agreed to watch the first season of Lost with me. She’s never seen it, but I’ve seen every episode.

Lost is the kind of thing I mean when I say “redeeming quality.” I love to see the moral struggles of the characters as they try to forgive others and themselves for the wrongs they have committed in their lives. I love that they ultimately become accountable for their actions.

I love to see a story actually go somewhere. I love to see people redeemed, not exploited.

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  1. by Patrick Greene

    On January 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    It’s ironic!!!! My wife, Cheryl and I were just talking about that the other day! We noticed that everything….or the perception of everything….is morally decrepid. Sure we watch them, and some are really good. But, there tends to be no moral value achieved. That’s sad. It’s even as if the good or moral characters on shows are the town village idiots. When did it become unpopular to come to a moral conclusion? When did jt become unpopular to witness a spouse actually NOT have an affair? Or children respect their parents, or their rules. Then we realized that the time that is actually spent watching “Mommy and Daddy” shows has dwindled to the point that we’re watching “Wizards of Waverly Place”, “Gumball”, “Phineas and Ferb”, “Spongebob”, and HGTV/Syfy Channels, and ENJOYING THEM!!!!

    Patrick Greene.
    West Virginia

  2. by julia

    On January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Try Friday Night Lights — it’s streaming on Netflix and has one of the best TV marriages I’ve seen.

  3. by Sarah

    On January 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Check out Once Upon A Time on ABC. It is a WONDERFUL show, that sucks you in.I believe its from the craps of Lost.

  4. by Melinda Gordon

    On January 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I could not agree more. Awesome post!

  5. by Nick Shell

    On January 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks friend :)

  6. by susan dodge

    On January 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    My husband and I started feeling this way about a year ago. Not much to watch on tv once you get to this place. However we have found a couple we like! One is Last Man Standing (with tool time Tim) and Up All Night (about an adorable couple with a newborn). I’m hoping they don’t take them off the air b/c not enough people watch ‘em b/c they’re clean.

  7. by Nick Shell

    On January 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    We love Up All Night!

  8. by Pauline

    On March 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I have an incredibly strong marriage, to a man who is most definitely not an idiot, and who most definitely doesn’t treat me like a burden. It’s sad that we have so few programs that show this kind of marriage is real and possible. In other words, thank you for writing this! Try White Collar on USA. For a pretty basic comedy about a con man, the moral struggles are reasonably solid and the marriage in the show is lovely.