By Tim Hayes

The headline on Yahoo! News earlier this week screamed:  “Bachelor Juan Pablo Picks Nikki Ferrell: Former Bachelor Stars, Celebrities React With Shock, Disgust”

And the headline I wrote in my mind said: “Honestly, Who Gives A Flying Fart?”

The “news” story breathlessly explained, “She got the final rose, but not the ring! Juan Pablo Galavis chose Nikki Ferrell over Clare Crawley on the Monday, March 10 finale of the Bachelor Season 18. The 32-year-old Venezuelan-born single dad wasn’t ready to propose to Nikki, however, and instead asked the 26-year-old pediatric nurse if she would simply accept his final rose.”

Okay, two things immediately pique my curiosity about that paragraph.

One: I can’t believe this idiotic program has been on the air for 18 seasons.  Eighteen seasons!

Two: Does anybody – ANYBODY – actually believe the nonsense that these thick-headed people have sincerely fallen madly in love with each other, so much so that by the end of each season they’re going to get married?!

Perhaps somebody spilled the beans to good old Juan Pablo, who decided to not “buy the cow when he could get the milk for free,” as the old saying goes.

I’m sorry, but the glut of reality shows like “The Bachelor” polluting the full spectrum of TV channels just makes me want to puke.  If you spend more than two minutes applying even a smidgeon of critical thought to it, you will come to the inevitable conclusion that “reality” shows are, indeed, the least “real” programs on television.

Traced back to “Survivor” – or, as I call it, the Original Sin – these programs keep getting made and aired for purely economic reasons.  Cheap to produce, with a premise just bizarre enough, these programs attract sufficient viewership to support advertising rates that turn a profit.

TV’s a business like any other, I get that.  It just makes me sad that this lowest-common-denominator approach has taken over the airwaves to the point where it’s not only inescapable, but inexcusable.

For example, what in the world is “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” doing on TLC – which, incidentally, stands for The Learning Channel?  Could someone please tell me just what we are supposed to be “learning” from this Southern-fried embarrassment?  When they need to add subtitles to the dialogue – being spoken, allegedly, in English – I think we have nearly reached the low point as an American society.

Many reality shows build in elements of competition, too – some of it legitimate, much of it forced and farcical.  This may never occur to passive, low-information viewers, but guess what?  The “tribal” competitors on “Survivor” are being videotaped by other people with cameras, microphones, and playback equipment.  Do you think those technicians are scavenging for food and water?  Hell, no – they’re at the catering truck, eating their fill.  My bet is, so are the contestants, off-camera.  Let’s get real – truly real – here, everybody.

If your television viewing doesn’t require much thought, or can be sated with a bunch of amateur singers and dancers doing their thing, or by some chefs scrambling around a kitchen with a countdown clock adding pressure, or through watching a gaggle of “real housewives” scratching and clawing their way through an catfight scripted and staged by the producers – hey, more power to you.  To each his own.

But for me, these stupid shows are about as real as professional wrestling, with all of the attendant intellectual heft and value.  I just don’t get it, and probably never will.  And I can live with that – even without the subtitles, Honey Boo Boo.

Copyright 2014 Tim Hayes Consulting and Transverse Park Productions LLC