I think The Bachelor is ridiculous.
Now, I say this without ever having actually watched an episode of The Bachelor. But I feel pretty comfortable in making this assertion. The entire concept of the show is flawed – I just don’t think it is likely that you can go on a television show and find true love. The record of successful relationships that the show has produced kind of proves my point. There are only a few “winners” that are still a couple. The show is all about the romance and the whirlwind of emotions; it is not about truly getting to know the other person and building a solid foundation for a relationship. It’s easy to be happy when the liquor is flowing and you are constantly being whisked away for elaborate dates. It’s not so easy when you are in real reality and not TV reality. I’m not saying that it is impossible for eternal love to blossom in front of the television cameras, but it’s highly unlikely.
And from what little I know of the show, it doesn’t sound like women are really portrayed in the best possible light. When my friends who watch the show discuss it, I often hear the adjectives “crazy” and “desperate” when referring to the women. That tells me all I need to know. I already have my issues with the casting of reality shows and The Bachelor sounds like more of the same. The whole thing just isn’t my bag and I tend to roll my eyes at it. But I get it – everyone has their guilty pleasures. I’m sure there are plenty of things that I enjoy that others would find ridiculous.
When I heard about the new Yahoo! Comedy web series Burning Love, a parody of The Bachelor, I figured that was more my speed. The series had some great comedic names attached to it; Ben Stiller is the executive producer and it features actors from Party Down and Childrens Hospital. I’m glad to report that I wasn’t disappointed.
The show follows the quest of fireman Mark Orlando (Ken Marino) in finding his soul mate. He’s looking for “someone who can make him laugh and who isn’t afraid of robots.” The women vying for his love are quite the assortment: one of the women is pregnant, there is an 84 year old “cougar” and another refuses to take off a panda suit because she doesn’t want her physical appearance to distract Mark from the real her. One of the women is Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Community) in drag. Several of the contestants appear to have only a loose grasp on emotional stability. There is also a very fun surprise cameo in the second episode. All the tropes of The Bachelor are included, though instead of asking women to accept a rose, Mark asks the women if they will “accept his hose.” There are a lot of “immediate connections” formed. It’s silly and encapsulates just about everything I dislike about reality dating shows. I loved it.
The web series debuted yesterday with the first three episodes already posted (you can watch them here, here and here). New episodes will be released every Monday and Thursday. They also have a series of background videos that introduce you to Mark and many of the female contestants (Meet the Bachelorlettes) that are worth checking out. I’ve already subscribed so I don’t miss any new episodes. Parody can be a difficult thing to sustain over a prolonged period of time, but I am confident that with all the great creative minds associated with the project that they will be able to do it. It’s not like there isn’t a lot of material to mine for comedy gold. I think the web series will be enjoyable to both those who enjoy The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and those who like to make fun of the shows. It’s definitely worth the 8 minute an episode investment especially for people who miss Party Down. It has a lot of the same comedic sensibility.
For all things Burning Love, check out the series’ webpage at http://screen.yahoo.com/burning-love/.