television

Link Love Thursday: Harry Potter is Back!

CA.0802.harry.potter.hallows.2.Good afternoon, friends! We are (sort of) back to our regularly scheduled programming here at So It Must Be True, and once again, I’m excited to share the latest batch of Link Love. Hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July weekend filled with friends, family and ESPN’s hotdog eating contest!

Happy reading! What are some of the best links you’ve come across this week?

The Weekend Five: TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up TogetherA pop culture junkie through and through, I can’t help but have some strong opinions about the television shows I have watched over the years. From universally hated finales to unhealthy relationship pairings, even our favorite TV shows will disappoint us from time to time.

This week, we’ll talk about the ones that got away – the TV couples who should have been together when the series ended. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

1. Dan and Blair (Gossip Girl)
Throughout Gossip Girl, both Dan and Blair experience their share of relationships. The Upper East Side’s Queen B begins the series in a long-term relationship with golden boy Nate Archibald, falls into an emotional on/off affair with bad boy Chuck Bass over several seasons, and even marries the Prince of Monaco. Dan, a writer and outsider from Brooklyn, falls for socialite Serena van der Woodsen (Blair’s sometimes-best friend), briefly dates Hilary Duff and begins to raise a child he soon learns is not his. Let’s face it: these characters have a lot going on.

At the start of the series, Dan and Blair come from very different worlds and have nothing but disdain for one another, but as the seasons wear on, we learn that the two actually have a lot of common interests and chemistry of their own. They form a very close friendship that eventually evolves into a brief relationship, but the writers quickly force a breakup because the two characters were never supposed to be endgame material. Blair ends up with the emotionally and physically abusive Chuck (who once traded her for a hotel), while Dan ends up with the aimless Serena. Moral of the show? Shared interests and the ability to have real conversations with another person are nothing compared to rocky relationships with emotionally unavailable people! (“Dair” was pretty great while it lasted, though, and it definitely made the show a lot more interesting.)

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2. Shawn and Angela (Boy Meets World)
Many of us grew up watching Boy Meets World and wanting the idyllic Cory/Topanga relationship, but to me, the more interesting couple was always Shawn and Angela. Shawn, Cory’s best friend, had a rough family life and difficulty staying in a relationship longer than two weeks. Angela was the first girl he really committed to, dating in high school and college, and his character grew a lot during that relationship. They part ways when she leaves for Europe to be closer to her father (which is a valid reason to leave), but the couple never really gets closure.

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TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together3. Rory and Jess (Gilmore Girls)
First, let me just say that I hated Rory’s Yale boyfriend, Logan. To me, he never really came off as a fantastic boyfriend, and I was happy to see that she breaks things off at the end of the series and leaves for her dream job (a positive portrayal of a young woman who temporarily chooses career over relationship). However, if Rory was meant to be with anyone, it was always Jess, Luke’s nephew. Although a troublemaker who doesn’t always know how to be the best boyfriend, Jess grows in his relationship with Rory and (much like Dan and Blair of Gossip Girl) the two have some very real shared interests. Both experience their highs and lows over the next few seasons, but Jess ultimately grows up, achieves some of his goals and becomes a better version of himself. In some ways, he and Rory are at a much more similar point in their lives by the end of the series. I’d like to think that after Rory fulfills her dream to work with Christiane Amanpour and Jess publishes his next novel, the two settle down and live a happy, drama-free life together.

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4. Jackie and Hyde (That 70’s Show)
I know that everyone is looking back nostalgically at Jackie (Mila Kunis) and Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) because of the actors’ real life engagement/pregnancy, but I always preferred the pairing of Jackie and Hyde. Although an unlikely pair, the two characters work well together on the show and develop considerably throughout the relationship. Things go downhill when Jackie demands an engagement and Hyde marries a stripper, but with the way the show was written, it all felt like a wild misunderstanding that would eventually be resolved. However, the writers never seemed to explore the relationship again, instead bringing Jackie and Fez together in a final season that felt a lot more like fanfiction than the actual show.

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TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together5. Ted and Tracy (How I Met Your Mother)
Yes, readers, I am still mourning this devastating loss! The show How I Met Your Mother, in which Future Ted tells his teenage kids about how he met their mom, opens with the story of how Ted met Robin, a woman he immediately thought was the love of his life. We quickly learn that she is not their mother. Ted and Robin date for a few seasons, but have some fundamental differences that would affect marriage and children in the future, so they eventually split. Over time, we realize that Robin truly is not The One for Ted, and he finally lets her go right before she marries his close friend, Barney. At the wedding, Ted meets the bass player, Tracy, and immediately falls for her. During their conversations, we quickly see how perfect they are for one another – their pronunciations of “Renaissance,” their dorky shared interests, the many ways they unknowingly crossed paths over the years.

The writers do a great job of convincing us that Tracy is Ted’s soul mate, the one who made nine seasons of heartbreak all worth it. Then, after the characters meet, Future Ted reveals that Tracy died and that he’s in love with (now divorced) Robin again. The entire episode felt like a slap in the face and like complete regression of his character (and possibly an April Fool’s joke), but the writers stuck to the ending they had planned years earlier, ultimately disappointing their fans. After all Ted has been through, he deserves his happy ending with Tracy!

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What are some TV couples you think should have ended up together? Do you agree/disagree with any of the above?

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From ‘How I Met Your Mother’

One of the very sweet moments of the series finale, in which Ted and The Mother finally meet.

One of the very sweet moments of the series finale, in which Ted and The Mother finally meet.

On Monday night, many of us experienced the end of an era: the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. It was a highly anticipated evening, as we looked forward to seeing those first few moments between Ted and the eponymous Mother (finally revealed to be named Tracy McConnell), and learning what would happen among the other characters over the next 17 years. Although I only started watching the show a few years ago, I was quickly hooked, especially as protagonist Ted navigated his way through failed relationships and substantial life changes to which most viewers could relate.

 Watching the series finale, I loved the first 50-some odd minutes. It was those last few that completely ruined the episode for me – and my perception of the series as a whole. Without diving into the spoilers, I felt personally betrayed by the writers that I had put my trust in over the years (as did many fans), and I was heartbroken by the way the writers decided to end such a beautiful story. But then I took a step back, remembering how much I had loved the series and the impact it had on me, and realized that in spite of those last few moments, the series still taught a lot of valuable lessons when we needed them the most.

This week, in honor of a show so many of us fell in love with, I would like to share five of those lessons that How I Met Your Mother taught.

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From How I Met Your Mother

c5b3eddbde2fcccfa0eab606694c28454cbbe938ee1170a3af0d285801d0404c1. You can choose to express your anger, or you can choose to let it go.
Throughout the show’s nine season run, Ted endures more than his fair share of #singleguyproblems. He says “I love you” to a woman (later revealed to be “Aunt Robin,” future girlfriend) on the first date. He falls for a married activist whose latest protest interferes heavily with his work. He even gets left at the altar on his wedding day! Ted has plenty of reason to feel downtrodden and even angry. But in one episode, when he has the chance to approach Stella (the woman who left him at the altar) to give her a piece of his mind, he ultimately decides against it, and lets his anger go. It is a teachable moment for many of us (not just his children) when Ted tells us that we can only move forward from the difficult situations in our lives by giving up on our grudges.

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2. The ninth step to the Platinum Rule is coexistence.
In one episode, Ted’s friend Barney illustrates The Platinum Rule, which discourages people from dating coworkers, neighbors, etc. His eight “steps” to The Platinum Rule go through the different feelings the characters will encounter after engaging in one of these relationships, ending in awkwardness and negativity. But Ted creates a ninth step: coexistence. Sometimes, when a relationship ends, we are fortunate enough to separate ourselves from the other person, but sometimes, the circumstances require you to still cross paths on a regular basis. Ted’s ninth step teaches us to coexist – to smile and remember the good times, and much like the previous step, let go of any anger we once felt.

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images3. Suit up!
Ted’s friend Barney is well known for his catchphrases. One of his most famous? “Suit up!” While his catchphrases are generally silly, we can definitely all benefit from suiting up once in a while! I’ve always believed that it is important to present yourself well, and that includes investing in a good wardrobe.

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4. Life turns up.
There are times in the series when Ted feels pretty hopeless when it comes to love and life. He is convinced that The One is not waiting for him in New York City, and he nearly leaves his entire life behind because of that. Little does he realize that the future mother of his children and love of his life lives only a few blocks away, that they have crossed paths before, and that their first moments together are just around the corner. It teaches us that we mustn’t give up on the things we want, and that things will get better when we least expect it. Ted spends the entire series searching for that love, but he does find it, and it is more than he ever imagined.

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5. You may not appreciate the way something ends, but you can still learn from it.
This can be applied to many aspects of our lives: relationships, jobs, even series finales. :) After the HIMYM finale aired last week, my friend Rachel and I were discussing the ending, and came to that very conclusion. The show may not have ended the way we preferred, but we still enjoyed the series as a whole, and learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years. Similarly, you may experience a difficult breakup, but that doesn’t mean the relationship wasn’t worthwhile — after all, you may still have positive memories, and you likely learned what you don’t want in your next relationship.

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What are some of your favorite lessons/memories from How I Met Your Mother? Did you enjoy the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends on Television

marissa-cooper,-the-oc-129434

Last week’s edition of The Weekend Five focused on some of the worst boyfriends on television, so as someone who believes in gender equality, I think it is only fitting for this weekend’s post to focus on the worst girlfriends on television! (I’ve also written about the worst boyfriends and worst girlfriends in literature.) We may be huge fans of these characters, but I doubt that any of us would, in good conscience, introduce these ladies to the single males in our lives.

What TV character do you think would make a terrible girlfriend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends on Television

1. Marissa Cooper (The O.C.)
Okay, this show has been off the air for quite a long time, but Marissa Cooper was a memorable teen soap character for so many reasons — mainly, the drama she often brought with her. From shoplifting to dating the lawn guy just to upset her mother, Marissa constantly needed to be rescued, and often dragged the men in her life (especially bad boy next door Ryan Atwood) down with her. While nice enough on her own, Marissa Cooper was always better off single.

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2. Catherine de’Medici (Reign).
I mentioned Catherine’s husband (King Henry of France) in last weekend’s post, but of course he didn’t get to be the way he was on his own. The fictional version of Catherine de’Medici is power-hungry and conniving, not to mention one of the worst mother-in-laws currently on TV. You wouldn’t date her for the same reasons you wouldn’t date Lady Macbeth.

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Jan3. Jan Levenson (The Office).
The Office may no longer be airing new episodes, but Jan still stands out as terrible girlfriend on TV. Once the love interest of Michael Scott, Jan revealed herself to be crazy and unpredictable over the course of the series. After losing her job and moving in with Michael, she even commands him to get a vasectomy, reverse vasectomy and another vasectomy at different points. Jan becomes even more insane and uncomfortable to watch over time… which means that she does not get better with age. Better avoid this one!

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4. Paige McCullers (Pretty Little Liars).
A lot of Pretty Little Liars fans enjoy Paige’s character and believe that she and Emily Fields (one of the Liars) make a great couple. However, what people fail to remember is that before the two high school swimmers ever dated, Paige tried to drown Emily in the pool during a fit of jealousy. Someone like that is not someone you should ever trust again in close quarters!

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ouat5. Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time).
Let me preface this by saying that Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, is an awesome heroine and an interesting character to follow. I have nothing against her. But bad things seem to happen to the men who fall for her: the Huntsman has his heart literally crushed by the Evil Queen, Adult Pinocchio almost dies and is returned to childhood, her New York boyfriend turns into a flying monkey, and don’t get me started on Neal/Baelfire, the father of her son! While I am not-so-secretly rooting for Emma and Captain Hook to wind up together, I fear for his own safety in a relationship with Emma (a.k.a. The Savior). Besides, Emma is often too focused on breaking a curse or saving the town to even think about being in a relationship!

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Your turn! What TV characters do you think would make the worst girlfriends?

The Weekend Five: Worst Boyfriends on Television

dating-high_expectations-dating_agencies-man-unrealistic_expectations-the_dating_game-nsu0042lLet’s face it: even though fictional characters are not our soulmates, we all have our television crushes. From the dashing and brave to the brooding and sullen, there is a guy on TV who will make many women (and some men) swoon. Some of the men on TV are perfect gentlemen, while others aren’t exactly the kind you’d want to be in a long-term relationship with.

I’ve written about the worst boyfriends and worst girlfriends in literature, but what about the men who grace our television screens every week? Today, I’ve compiled a list of the worst boyfriends on television — the ones that you might find very attractive but should avoid at all costs if you ever find yourself in their TV universe.

The Weekend Five: Worst Boyfriends on Television

1. Ezra Fitz (Pretty Little Liars).
Many fans of Pretty Little Liars will defend the Ezra Fitz/Aria Montgomery pairing to the death, but I’ve never been an advocate for their relationship for a number of reasons. First of all, Ezra is Aria’s English teacher (several years her senior), and his taste tends to skew a bit young (we also learn that he previously dated Aria’s friend Allison before the series begins). Then (spoiler alert!) we learn that he has been spying on Aria and her friends for the past couple of years, and is only dating her so he can write a book about Allison’s murder. Some fans will argue that Ezra has redeemed himself, but in my eyes, no girl should have to endure a relationship with a guy who only wants her for the story.

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fitzgerald grant2. President Fitzgerald Grant (Scandal).
Unfortunately, it seems like if “Fitz” is anywhere in a guy’s name, then you are just asking for trouble. Scandal fans often ask me if I am Team Mellie Grant (Fitz’s wife/First Lady) or Team Olivia Pope (the woman with whom Fitz has engaged in a long-term affair), to which I say, “Neither. Both women deserve better.” Fitz stays in an unhappy marriage with his wife simply to keep up appearances as President of the United States, and strings along Olivia Pope, pulling her back in every time she decides to walk away. Fitzgerald Grant is manipulative and forceful, and doesn’t seem to treat any of the women in his life with the love and respect they deserve.

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3. King Henry (Reign).King Henry of France has a wife (the mother of three of his children), a mistress (the mother of one of his children) and a secret mistress (the best friend of his future daughter-in-law)… but somehow, he can’t manage to keep any of them happy. At one point, he even plans to behead his wife, Catherine de’Medici, simply so that his out-of-wedlock son can be legitimized and become the next king. Of course, none of this is historically accurate, but the fictional King Henry is a horrible significant other.

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Benedict_Cumberbatch_filming_Sherlock_cropped4. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock).
Sherlock Holmes is a genius, but hardly boyfriend material. He is emotionally unavailable, honest to a fault (imagine if you asked him how you looked one day!) and often rude without trying to be. His observational skills would wear on you after a while, and you’d grow tired of constantly correcting him on how to behave among dinner guests. (Let’s not forget the fact that he actually entered a relationship with one woman only to gain the clearance he needed to solve a mystery!) While he ultimately has a good heart, Sherlock Holmes isn’t ready to settle down. When he is ready, Molly Hooper will be waiting.

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5. Almost all of the baby daddies on the Teen Mom series, except Corey.
I had to throw this one in here! As an unashamed reality TV junkie, I can say that the majority of the guys on Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 are absolutely horrible to their baby mamas and children. From cheating on the girls to being absentee fathers, these young men are hardly the guys you would want in your life.

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Who would you consider the worst boyfriends on TV? What about the best boyfriends? Share yours in the comments section below!

How To Win “The Bachelor”

bachelor-juan-pablo-galavisIt’s Monday night, and for many of us (read: women across the country between the ages of 18-49), that means it’s time to tune into the latest episode of The Bachelor. Now, I have not disillusioned myself into believing that this is the ideal way to entrap attract your ideal mate, but I’ll admit that the show can be incredibly addictive, even if you aren’t enamored with bachelor du jour Juan Pablo Galavais.

On each season of The Bachelor, grown women cry when a man they barely know (but have determined is the only man for them) decides he doesn’t feel an immediate connection and sends them home without a rose. Of course, much heartache and suffering could be spared if these women learned the ins and outs of wooing America’s bachelor. Luckily, through several viewings, I have been able to unlock the code for winning The Bachelor competition, and I’m sharing the wealth with you! Ladies, if you’re thinking of auditioning for The Bachelor, look no further. This guide will guarantee you airtime and at least a spot in the final four, if not a proposal.

You do not talk about winning The Bachelor.
Although The Bachelor is, in fact, a dating competition, you are not supposed to acknowledge this. To do so is a HUGE betrayal to both the Bachelor himself and to the other contestants, who will personally take offense to the fact that you see them as competition. Instead, befriend everyone to a degree, and look down upon anyone who says, “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to find love.” This person will emerge as the season’s villain, and will rarely win.

courtney-the-bachelorYou DO NOT talk about winning The Bachelor.
Seriously, must I repeat myself?

Have a cliché catchphrase that is SO you.
My favorite is, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Wear a sundress with cowboy boots and find a meadow to stroll through while you say this, because it creates a nice visual that viewers will find charming, feminine and nonthreatening.

Turn your dates into metaphors.
Going cliff-diving? Tell the camera crews that you can’t wait to “take the plunge” or “take a leap of faith” with The Bachelor. Spending the night in a dark cave? “___ has made me see the light.” Be creative but not too creative – your metaphors should be accurate, but still somewhat predictable in relation to the date itself. The more you are able to do this, the more airtime the producers will give you, so that even if The Bachelor doesn’t fall in love with you, America will.

the-bachelorMake dramatic confessions that aren’t that dramatic.
It is important to “open up” in a serious but not too serious way. For example, tell The Bachelor that you have a confession to make, and then confess that your parents have been married for 30 years and that you want a marriage like theirs. You can brush on family life and loosely discuss past relationships, but avoid any mention of political beliefs, religion, or anything else that could cause discomfort. Instead, wait until he proposes and then let it slip out when your families meet.

Be memorable, but not too memorable.
Quirkiness can come across as adorable, but you can only take it so far. There is a difference between “Zooey Deschanel–quirky” and “I am growing a mustache on purpose and I have a pet possum” quirky. Try to avoid the latter.

the-bachelor-lindsay-shows-up-in-wedding-dress-shocks-sean-455x422Stock up on evening-wear and casual “I put 4 hours into looking effortless and low maintenance” outfits.
This shows that you can be the graceful trophy wife he’ll want to show off to all of his friends, but that you’re also laidback and “up for anything.” Buy as many evening gowns and cocktail dresses as you can, because you will be seen in them and you can’t wear the same thing twice on television.

Stay out of the drama.
As soon as you tattle on one of the other girls (even if she is 100 percent wrong), you will be sent home – or, at the very least, you will be the last to receive a rose in that night’s ceremony. Even worse, the girl you’ve told on will likely receive the rose before you do! If you think that someone is doing something wrong, encourage one of your “friends” in the house to tell on her instead!

Fall for him immediately.
It doesn’t matter that he’s two feet shorter in person than you imagined him. It doesn’t matter that you have nothing of substance to talk about. It doesn’t matter that he embodies most, if not all, of your pet peeves. As a contestant on the show, you are not allowed to have an opinion on these things. Because of this, you need to envision a future with The Bachelor immediately and talk about it a lot when interviewed.

Worst case, you can always tragically exit from the show and become the next Bachelorette! :)

Link Love Wednesday: Brackets & Buzzwords

jargon_push-envelopeHope everyone is having a wonderful week! I can’t believe the first week of fall semester is about to begin, and for the first time ever, I’m not enrolled in classes! Coincidentally, my schedule at work happens to be at its busiest yet, only to get crazier next week. Because of that, I find it more important than ever to uncover some interesting articles and links to de-stress and maintain a fresh perspective! :)

What are some of the best articles you’ve come across lately?

Spoiler Alert: Next Season on ‘The Real World’

1333904005936_3463943After a week-long reality TV binge, I discovered an entirely new talent worth pursuing: casting for MTV shows. Although I lack the personality traits of the typical reality show contestant, I have watched enough to know how to handpick the perfect cast.

Because of this, I would like to provide my own guide on how to select seven strangers to live in a house, have their lives taped and stop being polite/start getting real.

1. Everyone should have an affinity for going out and drinking. Potential cast members, this is the time when you should talk about your love for tequila shots in an interview. If you like to stay in some nights and curl up with a book, you are clearly in the minority of all people between the ages of 18 and 24 and therefore shouldn’t even audition. You should be ashamed of yourself.

2. Make sure that one cast member has been sheltered for most of her life, and likely to make naive comments. This person is likely to bring a lot of the comic relief to the show, albeit unintentionally.

3. Choose one member of the LGBTQ community, and one person who is “uncomfortable” with homosexuality. This person is probably from the South. This person may also overlap with the person from #2, and his/her discomfort may border on bigotry. The two will probably share a bedroom.

real-world-logo4. Select one cast member who is in a committed relationship. The other cast members will mock this person when they find out she (it’s always a “she”) doesn’t plan on hooking up while on the show. She will claim to love her boyfriend, but they will either break up preemptively because of their perceived long-distance relationship problems (mini rant: um, hello? you will only be long-distance for two months at most, so just chill out and enjoy a new city for a change!) or she will cheat on him with one of the other housemates.

5. Select one cast member who wants to be single and vows never to date any of the housemates. This person will fall in love within the first two weeks of the show.

6. The more explosive the personality, the better. Pick cast members who “tell it like it is” and aren’t afraid to confront each other.
7. Look for at least one person with serious emotional issues. Instead of referring him or her to a professional, cast this person on your show. He or she will quickly reveal his or her deepest secrets with the other roommates in a matter of days.

8. Select at least one male cast member who is clearly only in it to get girls. Chances are, he will bring a lot of young ladies back to the house, where they will make a mockery of themselves and maybe even boost ratings.

9. Select at least one cast member with a dark and hidden past. He or she will share this information with the cameras on Day One, but act completely shocked when he or she learns that the whole world is about to find out his or her secret.

10. Leave them in a house together with access to only certain bars, restaurants, stores and attractions. The drama will unfold on its own – no scripting required!

Readers, am I missing any of the core casting rules? Who would you look to cast?

What If “The Bachelorette” Realistically Portrayed Relationships?

931245_581100941922086_1773207484_nThis week on The Bachelorette, Desiree treated the men to a group date with rapper Soulja Boy, where they filmed their very own rap music video parodying the show’s earlier seasons’ contestants. This group date, although entertaining to watch, was probably one of the more ridiculous dates ever filmed on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, and this is coming from a girl who already thinks the show is bananas. (The whole time, I not-so-secretly hoped that Desiree would give the rose to Soulja Boy, and that they would ride off into the sunset together in the convertible that ABC gave her for the show.) Meanwhile, on the first one-on-one date, Desiree exhibited stage-five clinger behavior by wearing a wedding dress for the afternoon. As someone who is not a total cynic when it comes to relationships, and for whom marriage may one day be on the horizon (albeit a horizon on a distant planet that hasn’t been discovered yet), I would like to warn men everywhere that if a woman wears a wedding dress on the first date, it may be wise to change one’s phone number. But I digress…

Reality dating shows are never realistic. We accept this as fact from the moment we begin watching, and so when we learn that the Bachelor du jour and his pretty blonde administrative assistant fiancee have called it quits just months after taping, we are not even remotely surprised. We’ve been expecting this the entire time.

brad-womack-proposes-to-emily-on-the-bachelor-march-2011I’ve been observing the mockery that shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette make of dating and relationships. They follow the same basic formula: A woman meets 25 attractive men, goes on adventurous dates that are somehow metaphors for the relationship, converses with them about what love means and what their past relationships were like, whittles it down to a few top contenders and chooses her final match while an 80s love song plays in the background. The men in the house create their own drama, ultimately ganging up on the one man who seems to want the other men out of the picture. The conversations are superficial at best, and the word “engagement” becomes synonymous with “dating someone exclusively and not ruling out an eventual marriage.”

Of course, these shows are purely for entertainment… but what if they weren’t? What if shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette actually portrayed a budding relationship more accurately?

The show would go something like this: A woman meets 25 men. Some of them are attractive in a generic sense, some are not as traditionally handsome but interesting enough in a way that she finds especially attractive, and some are just not her type but are worth a shot. On the first night, she eliminates several of the men because, while briefly dating them might be nice, she can tell that the long-term potential isn’t there, and she doesn’t want to waste their time by making them sit through a few more doomed weeks on the show. Her first dates with each of the contestants are extravagant and fun, but as the show wears on, the conversations become more serious, and instead of having endless discussions about “love” and trying to vaguely define it, they discuss their interests, goals (not just family-oriented, but personal goals too), preferred parenting methods… and perhaps, eventually, taboo topics like religion and politics.

JEF, EMILY MAYNARDNot all of the men fall immediately in love with her, and some will leave the show on their own accord because they don’t see a future. Some are there to take advantage. The woman may weed some of those out, but a few may slip through the cracks.

Not all of the dates are wildly glamorous – some include movie nights and grocery shopping and day-to-day tasks that normal, non-TV couples have to endure. The woman’s friends may meet the contestants at one point and provide their own two cents, because sometimes there are red flags in relationships that we are unable to see. On one date, the woman takes a contestant to an important work event in order to see how he interacts with her co-workers and how he would behave at these functions if they dated long-term.

Occasionally, the woman may argue with the contestants, but this doesn’t cause her to send them packing. Arguments are normal; the way they are dealt with determines whether or not the woman will keep the contestant around.

The woman says “I love you” when she feels ready, not when she is contractually obligated to do so. She sends all but one man home when she knows whom she cares for the most and sees the most potential with. (She doesn’t need to send three men to the fantasy suite before deciding!) The show does not end in an engagement, because they haven’t known each other long enough to commit to something so serious, but the dates do give her an idea of how they would behave in a relationship together.

Of course, none of this would ever last for more than a season because it would hit too close to home! Maybe we like to suspend disbelief for two hours a week, so that we can observe these snapshots of “love” without letting it border too closely to our own relationships. What would your version of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette entail?

The Weekend Five: Unhealthy Relationships on Television

As busy as I may be throughout the semester, I happen to be an avid TV viewer. I’m not ashamed of my silly television habits, and many readers will note that I love to discuss some of the fictional (and non-fictional!) characters in relation to my beliefs about dating, ambition and more. Today’s blog focuses on the less healthy relationships that have been recently portrayed on television, some of which are fan favorites, and my thoughts on each pairing. :) Enjoy!

The Weekend Five: Unhealthy Relationships on Television

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1. Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl.
Don’t get me wrong… I used to love this couple (when I was seventeen). When the show first planted the idea of Blair, the scheming Queen B of the Upper East Side, and Chuck, the wealthy and womanizing bad boy, a part of me thought that the pairing was just crazy enough to work out. I enjoyed watching as their relationship developed, with both characters struggling to admit their true feelings for one another, but after the second season or so, things took a turn for the crazy. Chuck traded Blair for a hotel, hooked up with a character’s younger sister on the night he planned to propose, and even became physically abusive to Blair, who ultimately married and divorced a Monaguesque prince. A relationship this rocky is not worth the time or heartache; in fact, both characters thrive when they aren’t together. Personally, I believe that Chuck needs to go through a ton of rehab, and that Blair is much better off with Dan Humphrey, her best friend and intellectual equal. (As a couple, Dan Humphrey and Serena van der Woodsen are a close second for unhealthy couples!)

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2. Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor from The Office.This couple was hilarious to watch throughout the show’s run, but definitely not a “healthy” relationship. Kelly herself was one of my favorite characters while she was still on the show, probably because of her knack for the dramatic (ie: faking pregnancy or swallowing a tapeworm to lose weight), and Ryan’s pretentious behavior was enough to make you love to hate him. While Kelly constantly latched on to Ryan, Ryan only showed enough interest to keep her around. In fact, when Kelly moves to Miami, Ohio, with her new pediatrician boyfriend, Ryan moves there as well (seemingly to get her back). In real life, this kind of relationship would be troublesome, but on the small screen, Kelly and Ryan are one of the most entertaining unhealthy couples to watch.

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3. Belle and Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time.
Okay, let me start out by saying that I really am pulling for these two to end up together. I think Belle is exactly what Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin needs to stay grounded and not let his powers overcome him. However, in its current state, the relationship could arguably use some improving. While Belle remains supportive of Rumplestiltskin and committed to making him a better man, Rumplestiltskin struggles to put his love for her in front of everything else. Once he finally changes for the better and isn’t so obsessed with making deals with every single fairy tale character who ever existed, I believe that he and Belle will make a great couple.

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4. President Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia Pope from Scandal.
Olivia Pope, the former communications director for the White House, has an affair with Fitzgerald Grant during his presidential campaign and long afterward. Although the President is married to someone else and expecting his third or fourth child, he just can’t quit Olivia. The two are so drawn to each other (although, to this day, I’m unclear on why) that every scene between them is extremely emotional and intense. Every time Olivia tries to break things off, Fitz does something crazy to win her back – for example, having his Secret Service men kidnap Liv in the woods so the two of them can have some alone time. His need to be with Olivia borders on controlling, and the fact that their relationship must be kept secret is enough to make it unhealthy. (Don’t forget – his wife is pregnant!)

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5. Victoria Henley and her mother from Cycle 19 of America’s Next Top Model.
As a huge fan of Top Model, I couldn’t let this one slip by! Victoria is a homeschooled girl who now attends online college, and she has never really been apart from her mother. Immediately in the season, she talks about her devotion to her mother, as well as the idea that she never wants to pursue a romantic relationship with a guy in the foreseeable future because her relationship with her mother is fulfilling enough. Now, I love my Mom and talk to her about nearly everything, but Victoria takes it to a whole new level, crying out “Momma!” and bursting into tears every time she rings up her mother on the phone. This attachment is a little scary, considering this girl is getting into her twenties and hasn’t formed a relationship of any kind with anyone else.

What TV relationships do you think are the most unhealthy?