Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jillian & Ed – love, surprisingly

It’s a shocking format for a mainstream TV show when you stop to think about it: woman dates 30 men over a few weeks — individually and in groups — whittles them down, sleeps with some, and couples with the last man standing. That’s The Bachelorette, the US reality series that’s been running, on-and-off, since 2003. What legitimises it in the eyes of puritanical Americans is that it’s all for the sake of true love and marriage.

Jason Mesnick, who Jillian pursued in The Bachelor
Season 13 — unlucky for her

Well, in theory. It’s a spin-off of The Bachelor (where the genders are reversed) which, after 13 seasons, has yet to result in a marriage, despite 6 proposals. But then, The Bachelor has it all round the wrong way. Men’s minds are not wired to deal with being the pursued — some will see it as an all-you-can-eat buffet and others will just melt down in confusion.

Women, though, have their mental checklist, designed precisely for this scenario. It’s there, running in the background, all the time — even when they’re in a long-term relationship. For each potential partner there are columns for pros and cons, with a running total kept of the tally. The list expands to be as long as necessary, new items being added at any time.

If the two totals get too close, like a Twitter counter approaching 140 characters, the numbers go red, and the woman starts questioning things. The partner should take this seriously, and strive to get him/herself back into the black!

Anyway, this difference in mental wiring probably explains why The Bachelorette has had a far better success rate: of the 5 seasons there have been 4 proposals and one marriage.

Interestingly, each bachelorette has already been through the wringer on The Bachelor, ending up a runner-up. But I think the success rate would be similarly high with ‘virgin’ bachelorettes. Um, possibly a bad choice of words, as these women most definitely are not virgins!

No virgin — Jillian wears her sex life on her face

In fact, Jillian Harris was only too happy to sleep with Ed the same week she’d tried out Kiptyn and Reed in the sack. Ed famously got stage-fright, which had Jillian questioning whether to choose him as one of the final two. But then...

¡Ay, caramba!

Yes, the producers actually cut away to an erupting volcano! Of course, they were on Maui at the time, so quite apt.

And so, Ed’s list had the top score and she allowed herself to fall in love. Kiptyn no longer had a look-in, and as carefully as the sound bites were edited as he met the parents and so forth, he was clearly out.

But then Reed returned. Reed had failed to make it to the final two because he was unsure of his feelings and found it difficult to articulate them. His flight back to the mainland had given him plenty of time to figure them out, though, and he determined to win back the girl.

Reed, whose volcano erupted first time round, returns

This rocked Jillian’s world, and all of a sudden it was like a real life version of a thousand trashy novels. Fortunately, the very fact that she was now deeply in love with Ed gave him a whole heap of points. She sent Reed away and her certainty in her choice became firmer than ever. Ed proposed, and Jillian literally jumped for joy.

Tangible true love — a rarity on our TV screens

Despite the artificiality of the circumstances, this is the real deal — true love — Jillian’s version of it, at least. She has already migrated from Canada to the US to be with him, and they plan to marry within the next 14 months. The Guru’s prognosis? Excellent, at least for the near future. (Let’s not spoil the mood by bringing up that old chestnut, sexual variety.) There’s a good chance they’ll marry — probably in TV-land. And what could be more fitting than that?

Images: Go!

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