Paradise Is Knocking: Why I No Longer Knock People Who Watch Reality TV

Paradise Is Knocking: Why I No Longer Knock People Who Watch Reality TV

I religiously watched "Bachelor in Paradise" this summer - and I'm not sorry!

I've always been the type of person to have really strong opinions for or against a topic/decision, and with that, I like to stick to whichever side of a given argument I've chosen. I feel disingenuous if I flip-flop on a choice I've so strongly and loudly supported (or opposed), so I try to never do that...but even the strongest opinions waver sometimes.

Since I've always been openly dissatisfied with the concept of reality TV, especially when it comes to dating competition shows, flipping to ABC to watch "The Bachelorette" this season was the shock of a lifetime for me, an unheard of occurrence. To that end, I have to backpedal on my war against all things that fall under the umbrella term of reality TV programming. This summer, I caved and became one of the many reality TV consumers I had so avidly spoken out against.

After having seen social media buzz about who was the favorite to win the 2016 season of "The Bachelorette," I was convinced I had to see the season finale. The last two men competing for season 12 Bachelorette JoJo's heart were Robby, a former competitive swimmer, and Jordan, a former pro-quarterback - and more famously, NFL Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' brother. Though I didn't really have a preference between the two chisel-faced men, I had a slight lean toward Jordan because of his ties to Aaron.

Anyway, I tuned into the season finale of "The Bachelorette" on August 1st to see if Jordan would get the gal and snag his final rose. Spoiler alert - he did, and all was well in the world. This isn't really where my enlightening happened, however. My reality TV epiphany happened once the proposal was made and finished and another show came on immediately thereafter - "Bachelor in Paradise," also known as "BIP".

As I was about to flip the channel to something less mind-numbing, I was reeled in by the mesmerizing theme song, "Almost Paradise," which enticed me enough to keep watching the remainder of the episode (and clearly, the season). I was formally introduced to an array of colorful, lively contestants whose end goal, I would soon discover, was to find true love in paradise. What a dream.

Though my doubts were aplenty, the pace of the dialogue, the dramatic contestants, and the vivid imagery sealed the deal - I was going to watch this crazy reality show. So I did. Every week on Monday and Tuesday nights, I'd tune in to ABC and binge-watch hours of "BIP" each night. I grew attached to the relationships being built, hated the same people as everyone on the show did, and talked crap about the annoying guys and girls with my mom. I hadn't ever been this invested in a reality show that wasn't related to cooking somehow. (Shout out to Gordon Ramsay!)

Prior to my spontaneous infatuation with "BIP," I had harshly dissed the entire "Bachelor" franchise and its viewers for years. I always based my judgment on the assumption that anyone who watches (what I formerly called) trash TV couldn't be a very smart person. Well, to all of you die-hard "Bachelor/ette" fans, I wholeheartedly apologize. Since I took the time to actually see what all the buzz was about, I realized that liking and watching reality TV doesn't speak to any aspect of the viewer's personality - people literally just watch these shows for fun.

I watched "BIP" because of the dramatic elements that fueled the intense emotions surrounding the seemingly perfect utopia where these lucky few gathered to find love. I watched it because I grew attached to Evan and Carly, Grant and Lace, and even Amanda and Josh. I watched it because that damn theme song embedded itself in my head and brainwashed me into doing so.

OK, maybe that last part isn't true.

In all honesty, I watched "Bachelor in Paradise" this summer for one reason: I wanted to. I wanted to, and I don't care who knows it! I'm finally able to admit to the fact that reality TV in and of itself isn't so bad; it's a great way to veg out after a long day at work, and it's even better for getting that extra dose of drama you can watch from the sidelines and not be directly involved in.

Regardless, I know some people will still roll their eyes when they hear the words "reality TV," but now, I'll take half a step back and listen with open ears 'cause if the next reality show has as addictive of a theme song as "BIP" does, I know I'll be hooked once more.

Cover Image Credit: EOnline

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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