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.