Looking for Love in Televised Places

Text & photos by Shannon Kelley

In a world where every aspect of our lives can be played out on
one screen or another — friends made and tallied on MySpace, career
opportunities seized or blown on Project Runway and The Apprentice,
and very personal, very dirty laundry aired, well, pretty much
everywhere — who’s to say that true love can’t be found on a
champagne-soaked TV game show?

I guess it would depend on whether you’re a Pollyanna or a
pessimist. While my more cynical side scoffs at the idea of finding
love in between spots for Teen Spirit and Tampax, part of me (the
part that digs a happy ending) thinks genuine
chemistry — unpredictable, illogical stuff that it is — is as
likely to be discovered within a prime-time crucible as anywhere.
And it seemed that many young ladies are equally optimistic,
judging by the impressive turnout of Santa Barbara’s most eligible
bachelorettes at last Friday’s casting call for ladies for the next
season of that reality TV mainstay, The Bachelor.

Summoned to the Hotel Andalucía’s rooftop bar, El Cielo, they
came, each more beautiful than the last, one in particular not too
proud to wear her gimmick on her sleeve — or cape, as the case may
have been; she was outfitted in full Superwoman regalia, a tactic
the producers seemed to enjoy, much to the couture-clad’s
overwhelming chagrin. Unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of
catty comments slid in between the sugary niceties and blindingly
white smiles. The most stinging, though, was from a wee young thing
who asked, “Why is everyone, like, so old?” Ouch. If you can’t beat
them, I suppose the rationale goes, talk shit about them. Which is
likely a fairly effective strategy for becoming one of the chosen
few: after all, what’s a reality show without a decent dose of
drama? I said as much to two hopefuls, suggesting that perhaps, if
they began pulling each other’s hair, they might catch the casting
agents’ attention. They were not amused.

The producers were tight-lipped on the details: The love-seeking
ladies jumped in with nary a clue as to where they might be going
or whose roses they might be angling to accept. And that pesky,
cynical side of me could rationalize why they might want in: After
all, even if true love remains elusive, the contenders are treated
to a mini-vacay, put up in a sweet house likely found in an amazing
location, and flown — probably by helicopter — to even more
fabulous spots for their “dates.” And, if they do manage to score a
soul mate out of the deal, they might even parlay that romance into
beaucoup bucks via a televised wedding extravaganza, à la Trista
and Ryan. But the prevailing explanation these ladies offered for
their willingness to expose their hearts, souls, and cleavage on
network television was simple and sweet: Why not? Neither side of
me had a good answer, so I bid them good luck. And if that makes me
a Pollyanna, I’m not especially surprised. That bitch always

Where will your peeps be? Email shannon@independent.com.


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