reality tv

OPINION: Yes, the Bachelors are three white men. But that's not the problem.

Those of us who are way too invested in reality television lost our collective minds when it was announced last night that The Bachelor Australia was now The Bachelors Australia, plural.

Instead of one Bachelor taking off his shirt and staring wistfully into the horizon wondering where his true love is, there will be three!

Like the pandemic, it's UNPRECEDENTED. It's a WORLD-FIRST. Get ready for all the promos from here on out to remind you of that fact.

The reaction to the news has been... mixed at best.

My initial thought upon seeing the three Bachelors, Felix Von Hofe, Thomas Mallucedi, and Jed McIntosh was: The first one is Tim Robards. The second one is Sam Wood. The third is an experiment.

Tell me I'm wrong. Image: Network 10.

Some people were pleased with Network 10's attempt to shake things up given the last few years of dismal ratings.

Others wondered if one of the Bachelors, musician McIntosh, was actually musician Machine Gun Kelly (that guy dating Megan Fox).

It was a very reasonable reaction, see evidence below.

We call him Machine Jed Kelly in our office. Image: Instagram.

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Many others pondered how the season will actually work logistically.

My own theory is that there will of course be female contestants just like previous seasons (originally I thought one of the Bachelors would be bisexual but Network 10 have seemingly laid that theory to rest) and the women will be able to pursue whichever Bachelor they want and vice versa.

Basically, there will be no separation between the contestants and the Bachelors could potentially all date the same woman - and ultimately choose the same woman at the finale. It's up to HER who she picks.

Add the fantasy suite - where the women can choose to sleep with the Bachelors - and you've possibly got a bit of drama on your hands.

But overall, the biggest reaction to the news about the three Bachelors was: WHERE IS THE DIVERSITY?

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So, here's the thing. I have something to share with you - it will be a shock so I think you should be sitting down for this.

Are you ready? Are you sitting down?

OK, good. Here it is: People of colour don't magically make everything better.

Now, I understand that those calling for more diversity have good intentions. As a Chinese woman, I appreciate it. I get it.

But people of colour are not magic bullets. If you had three Asian men as the Bachelors for instance, that doesn't mean they are suddenly more interesting than three white Bachelors. That doesn't mean they can "save the Bachelor" franchise and suddenly produce a smash-hit, based purely on the colour of their skin.

This is a reality TV show about dating. First and foremost, it must entertain. Sticking a person of colour on a show does not automatically make it entertaining.

You only have to look at last year to know that. Bachelor Jimmy Nicholson, whose heritage is part Fijian and New Zealander, failed to attract an audience. Brooke Blurton, who was the first Indigenous and first bisexual Bachelorette, did not fare any better.

Watch: The Bachelors are interviewed on The Project. Post continues after video.


Video via The Project.

It's not that I think there SHOULDN'T be people of colour on reality dating shows. It's just that I think there is something more important than diversity of ethnicity in this particular instance - and that's diversity of personality.

Don't just give me a suave guy with a blinding smile, perfectly coiffed hair, and abs for days. Give me a Bachelor who says more than "You look beautiful" or "I'm looking for love", for god's sake. Give me someone who has an opinion. Give me someone who talks about their childhood, family, values, dreams and hopes - outside of "finding The One".

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Give me someone funny. Give me a goofball. Give me someone who loves singing Disney songs. Give me a guy who likes to talk about food, who dances terribly, who tripped on his way to work once and was thoroughly embarrassed, someone who is a daggy dresser (when he isn't in a suit on a reality TV show, of course).

Give me someone who I will remember in five years. On that note - do you remember Blake Garvey? No? He was the second Bachelor. His heritage was part African American. No diversity problem there, folks!

The only problem was that he was a bit of an idiot.

How quickly we forget. Image: Network 10.

I think casting three Bachelors could potentially be an ingenious idea for Network 10, yes, even if it's "three white men".

Maybe these Bachelors will carve out personalities on the series. Maybe there will be MAFS-level of drama if they are dating the same women. Maybe it's the women who will outshine the men.

And... maybe not. Maybe the reality show will still do badly in the ratings. Who knows?

Here's what I do know: At this last federal election, we saw double the number of Asian Australian MPs and three new Indigenous MPs voted into parliament. The majority of senators are women. It's being called a watershed moment for diversity.

Now THAT'S reality.

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