Empowering Women and Blacks on The Bachelorette? Nah

June 21, 2017

Even though listeners of the Matt & Ramona Show never cease to remind me that dating reality shows are garbage TV it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the mindless fun of watching The Bachelor franchise. I was ready to give up on the show, because so few real relationships have resulted that it’s difficult to buy into the fantasy anymore. When Reality Steve, the most famous reality TV expert,  broke the news that a contender of color would make it to Nick’s top 3 I tuned in. For those who have real lives, Nick with a history of snotty behavior. I was happy for her when he cut her. I was also pleased with the way ABC had handled race. Rachel made it far enough in the process for us to meet her family and see her at her predominantly African-American church. We saw that she has a White brother-in-law, so we knew in advance that inter-racial dating wasn’t an issue.

Frankly, I knew there’d be problems from the very beginning.  Rachel’s season kicked off when she met her first few suitors during the finale of the season she’d just completed. I still remember when my mom and I locked eyes after one of the guys hit her with the 1990’s cliché about going Black and never going back. Uh oh. Please tell me he came up with that one on his own and wasn’t fed that line by a network producer! It was the first sign that the Blachelorette was about to get played in front of millions of people.

The next issue surfaced when Rachel met the rest of the guys she’d be dating. Ticklemonster, Aspiring Drummer and Whaboom were listed as occupations. See the rest here. 

She isn’t the first person of color to look for love on TV or to be matched with people of a different race. There was a better lineup for VH-1’s ‘I Love New York’ which was a spinoff of Flavor of Love!’ Those shoes did a better job of showcasing the absurdity of the process. I watched both. It was obvious that Tiffany (New York) and Flavor Flav understood exactly what they were doing and how they’d be portrayed. I’m not so sure that Rachel knew how the network would handle race. 

Anyone with any sense knows the producers are casting with hopes of bringing some comedy and drama to the small screen, but on network TV it’s supposed to be a bit classier. It was classier a few seasons ago. Remember Emily Maynard from Charlotte? On her season there wasn’t a single Ticklemonster. Here's the full list of the 25 men that were casted in her season.

Just looking at the lineup of men it is no surprise that the show has dropped out of TV’s top 20 programs, losing last week to repeats of “Superior Donuts” and “Mom.” The most enjoyable moment so far has come to us compliments of the farewell battle between Whaboom and the Aspiring Drummer. After typing that I can’t even question why so many people think that viewership is responsible for a serious loss of brain matter. TV Guide described the blow up as “Gloriously Dumb”

I don’t blame Rachel for this debacle. I blame ABC. She is doing the best she can with what she’s been given by the network. The first Black Bachelorette, or heck, any bachelorette deserved better. I understand why she chose to tweet a put down in my direction.  She has “clapped back” on Twitter to people who might actually call attention to what has happened to her. During one scene this week, she was crying to a producer about the stress of being the first Black lead in franchise history. Most of America can’t identify with #TheStruggle of dating a dozen dudes on TV while visiting exotic locations and wearing fancy gowns. #TheStruggle for some of us has been watching Black men be portrayed so horribly. One hundred or so of her followers didn’t like the fact I called out the sad conversation with the producer. What they fail to realize is that when it comes to breaking ground for women and Blacks, this show isn’t doing much for either group. The overt racism from Lee so far has been disturbing. You can’t tell me the network knew nothing about him when they picked him to date a Black woman. No one in the casting department checked him out on Twitter?!? The guy’s negative views about feminism, the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter movement are no secret.

Read this Huffington Post article on this season of the Bachelorette. 

As the season painfully drags to its August conclusion, we can only hope that Rachel’s dog had a speedy recovery. The most interesting questions about the show revolve around what the heck happened to Copper’s paw?

There may be hope for Whaboom’s comedy career because he was somewhat amusing on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.

ABC owes her at a spot on ‘Dancing with the Stars’, ‘Battle of the Network Stars’ and at least one sit-com walk-on role… and even that won’t be proper payment for The Bachelorette.