Given that I write about divorce for a living, I shouldn’t be surprised when yet another celebrity couple calls it quits.
And I’m not usually. Before Thursday, only two couples’ splits have fazed me — Tipper and Al, and Heidi and Seal. But after hearing that “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison is splitting from his wife of 18 years, my duo of disappointing divorces has become a trio.
Let me start by saying that, against all reason, I love watching “The Bachelor” and its counterpart, “The Bachelorette.” Not only do the shows give me great exotic vacation ideas (my boyfriend and I plan to travel to Belize in November after watching Ben’s season), they also make me feel better about myself.
Most of the ladies of “The Bachelor” seem perfectly nice — in fact, one recent “winner” used to frequent my gym — but I would never want to be one of them.
First, there’s the statistical improbably of “winning” the bachelor over 24 other women. “The Bachelor” formula has worked just once: Trista and Ryan are the only couple to get engaged on the show’s finale and make it to the altar. The other successful match, Jason and Molly, doesn’t technically count because he proposed to another woman on the last episode. (Luckily, the many contestants who leave the show ring-less — and “brokenhearted,” as the show’s voiceover reminds us — can extend their 15 minutes of fame by humiliating themselves on “Bachelor Pad.”)
By now, most women know that, should you attempt to win the Bachelor’s heart, you will likely find yourself in the back of a town car, rivers of mascara careening down your cheeks as you sob over how much you loved some guy you just met. Another deterrent, of course, is having to live with 24 other girls who secretly hate you because you’d all like to avoid said town car scene. And don’t forget that, no matter how “normal” you are in real life, the steady stream of champagne you’ll be imbibing during your tenure on the show will ensure that you make bad decisions for bloggers to mock the next day.
There is no sane reason to go on the show. As blogger Zack Jerome puts it, “The Bachelor” is a lot like “The Hunger Games:” only one woman makes it out alive. And, typically, she doesn’t even end up holding onto her “prize” for long.
Amid the crazy, however, there is Chris Harrison.
He’s the show’s host, yes, but he’s also the contestants’ counselor, sounding board and guide throughout the process. Sure, mostly he just hangs around and states the obvious — when the cocktail hour is over, when there is only one final rose left. But he is the show’s designated driver — the one who steers the contestants through their string of elaborate dates, rose ceremonies, and “situations” constructed by the show’s producers.
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