Posts Tagged ‘ The Bachelor ’

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

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

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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Putting My Paternal Instincts to Good Use

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Nine months.

My wife is without a doubt a very strong, confident, and independent woman. However, there are times when I need to take control of the situation, as I see signs of her becoming overwhelmed with daily events.

Most recently, I took control of our son’s inability to fall and stay asleep. My wife’s maternal instincts made it very difficult for her to try the “cry it out” method, so I used my paternal instincts and now, our son sleeps all the way through the night (7PM to 6:20 AM). And when I refer to my “paternal instincts,” I’m talking about my ability to strip away emotion for the purpose of practicality.

However, it would do me no good to always remain in “emotionless” mode.  Because a big part of being a leader is being able to truly understand where others are coming from; I have to be able to relate to them, emotionally. The word is “empathy.”  In order to be a good leader, I must make myself a humble servant who understands (or at least tries to understand) what it’s like on the other side.

Granted, I don’t want to be the President or a CEO of a huge corporation. But as a father, husband, and a guy who joins the work force everyday, there are constantly moments where I must use my leadership skills to be as proactive as the situation calls for.  And this all ties into my mission of positively re-branding fatherhood.  Because as I’ve said before, being a good father doesn’t simply mean “being there,” it means being both actively and emotionally involved in the lives of your spouse and children.

I remind myself how crucial it is to be cool, calm, and collected, as well as, to be direct, assertive, and respectable.  I even keep mental images in my head of both real and fictional people who I believe encompass calm-assertiveness, including but not limited to the following random examples: 2012 Presidential candidate Ron Paul, Don Draper (at work, not home) on Mad Men, Chris Harrison (as host of The Bachelor), Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (okay, so he’s not actually human), and perhaps the most calm-assertive man I’ve ever heard of, Jesus Christ.

Even as the writer of this blog, I believe in the importance of being calm-assertive. I realize that in the blog world, it’s important to be controversial and edgy in order to engage readers and gain a following.  Interestingly though, I have learned, especially here on The Dadabase, that often when I try to be controversial and edgy, my efforts typically go unread, uncommented, and un-“liked.”

What seems to generate the most interest is when I write positively and directly about parenting. That is what has gotten readers excited in both agreeable and disagreeable ways.  Positively parenting with a sense of authority is controversial and edgy.

I believe there are a lot of people out there looking for a positive and proactive outlook in the parenting blog world.  I want The Dadabase to be the obvious go-to blog for that crowd.  I want my blog to be both a safe and realistic environment for other parents.  And I plan to do this by being a calm-assertive leader of the blogosphere.

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