The Bachelor

So it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of reality tv. And I’ve always watched The Bachelor, even though after…what is it…seventeen seasons, only one couple has married. I think a few other couples remain together in some way or another.

But this season (and if you don’t watch reality tv, or The Bachelor, bear with me. This blog post isn’t going to be entirely about this show), Jason Mesnick, single father and former season rejectee, set out to find love. And he narrowed it down to two women–Molly and Melissa. Now those of us watching this season were pretty darn sure he was going to choose Melissa. She was cute, funny, warm, and obviously head over heels in love with Jason.

And Jason did choose Melissa, and the engagement scene was so romantic. She squealed, and he proposed, and at the end Jason and Melissa and Jason’s 3 year old son all jumped into the pool together. Yay! Happily Ever After.

Well…not exactly. Because a couple months after they shot that finale, they filmed the After The Final Rose episode. And Jason came on and said he’d changed his mind, that he loved Molly. So he dumped Melissa on national television. It was achingly painful to watch, to see Melissa so broken hearted. And then they brought Molly out and within ten minutes of Jason giving Melissa the boot, he’s making out with Molly.

The whole thing was an epic nightmare. Now some say the entire thing was staged. There are rumors that Jason knew by the time he got to the last 5 girls that it was Molly he wanted, and ABC rigged it so he’d choose Melissa, then dump her. All for ratings. Ugh. Whatever. Even if it didn’t happen that way, the man has no honor. If he loved both women at the end he should have taken a step back and said he couldn’t choose, that he needed more time. He shouldn’t have proposed to Melissa. He should have never agreed to break up with Melissa on television. He has no integrity. I have no respect for the man.

So while I watched this debacle, it made me think of how I watch this show every season, and my expectation is to see the development of a romance. That my expectations are always high. That I want my Happily Ever After.

It’s like our romance novels, and the stories we read. As an author and as a reader, when I sink into a story, there are certain expectations I have. When I create a story, I know my readers expect to see my characters fall i love. To be faithful to each other, to weather the storms of the plotline and to come out at the end committed in some way to each other. My readers expect that Happily Ever After. When I read a romance, I expect that happily ever after. If I don’t get it, I’ve been let down. I feel the author has failed me. I lose trust. And once trust is lost, it can never be regained.

I think a reader and an author enter in a trust relationship. When you read a romance, that’s what you expect to get–a romance. If you don’t, you’ve lost trust in that author’s ability to give you what you expected.

When I write romance, I want my characters to end up happy and together. Because that’s what makes me happy. That’s what I work for when I write my characters’ story. Anything less and it’s unfinished, I’ve let the reader down.

I’ve lost trust in The Bachelor to deliver what I expect. I realize it’s not the same thing as a romance novel, but if you advertise that it’s going to be a romance, then you’d better deliver.

I think in the future, instead of watching The Bachelor on Monday nights, I’ll spend my time reading romance, where I’m assured of my happily ever after.

Did you watch The Bachelor? If so, what did you think?

And when you read romance, do you feel like you’re putting your trust in an author to deliver the happily ever after? What happens if they fail?