The opening segment -- the only part I could stand to watch -- may have been the most scripted piece of television I've seen this season. It was definitely the largest middle finger raised directly towards what the producers were hoping would be my nonexistent IQ.
Let's think about Brad's original season. He rejected both women at F2. Why? Because in the ultimate analysis, he didn't feel he'd found love and didn't want to lie to either one. Why set up a false relationship for the network's benefit just because it's what virtually everyone on this show does before breaking it off a few months later? He told the truth: the ending to this fairy tale is 'and no one lived happily ever after'. And for this, people hated him. Because as much as a certain segment of this audience watches for the fights and fake drama and scripted events, others are watching for The Magic Of Artificial Romance, and anything which breaks the illusion must die.
So Chris turns down the show. Chris is too intelligent to let these people run his life a second time. They go to Brad as a backup plan, because to the producers, it's a redemption story! It's not that he didn't find love, it's that he didn't believe in love! But how are we going to convince our audience to take him back?
Cue opening segment.
It was as if they'd sat down with every pop psychology book written on the mindset of women and spent two seconds (total) skimming the chapter titles. Oooh, let's make him look vulnerable! Reach back into his past and find a reason he's unable to trust! Of course we'll have trouble if it's a mommy issue, so we'll make it a father one instead! Sure, that works: we're owned by Disney and absent fathers run our entire animation division. And here he is, visibly having Remorse over Not Believing In The Power Of Love. Here he is mourning about the reactions of those evil, evil bloggers with no window open on anything faintly resembling a blog and while we're at it, evil bloggers? Take that, Reality Steve!
Brad's vulnerable, faithful viewers. He's talking about his feelings: isn't that what all women covered in pop psychology books want to hear? He's so determined to open up, he's seeing a shrink. Who will testify on national television, working from no more than twenty takes, that Brad is Ready To Love. He will commit to your predetermined fairy tale. He will wear the armor, and it will shine.
Oh, and just in case a small segment of the audience starts thinking about all this, we're going to try for a hormone override. Off with the shirt! And keep it off! For the last fourth of the segment, never did we see a piece of upper-body clothing. Focus on the pecs, focus on the biceps, don't listen to the sound of the script pages turning, just look at the body and nothing else until the lust kicks in and screams 'Forget the non-crime he committed before in the name of the sexual assault I'm ready to commit right now!'
The opening segment had a message, and that message was 'All women have an intelligent quotient normally found in kumquats, and we used that particular fruit for this reference as a joke we knew they wouldn't be capable of understanding. All women think the same way. None of them can see what we're actually doing here. Most of them would be insulted if we tried the same tactics using a Bachelorette, but that's because virtually all females have an unbreakable set of double standards. Take his shirt off again!'
And after watching all that and never quite making up my mind between laughter and an angered scream, I turned the television off.
I was insulted by both the message they were sending and the way they tried to present it. I understand why everyone didn't feel the same way. And I do know people watch this thing just to snark at it.
But a significant portion of the viewership -- the likely majority -- fell for that con. And for that, I'm not insulted.
I'm just depressed.
Well, they got the double standards part right.