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The Jake and Vienna Debacle: Why ABC Isn't in the Business of Matching Soulmates

Another Bachelor / Bachelorette pseudo engagement bites the dust, and while host Chris Harrison played the somber, sympathetic moderator in Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi’s confrontation last night, do you think he or any ABC executive really cared the match didn’t work out? Of course not: what they care about is ratings. And despite the fact that only one of its stars ever went on to marry and procreate with their pick (Trista Rehn with Ryan Sutter), viewers keep watching. Because, like ABC, we don’t really care if these people ever marry and have children. It’s just plain voyeuristic television. And ABC knows it. Here are five reasons ABC isn’t in the business of finding soul mates who will go on to marry and create families:

1. If ABC truly wanted to help their Bachelors and Bachelorettes find true love, they wouldn’t waste contestant spots with people like entertainment wrestlers who go by the stage name “Rated R” and are clearly are looking for fame, not love. Ditto on men who are prone to getting unsightly tattoos on their wrists to prove they are “there for the right reasons.” Did ABC really think current Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky might find a husband in one of those two characters?

2. ABC’s casting strategies aside, men and women looking to settle down meet spouses through friends, they join eHarmony, they go out to bars, they join clubs where they’ll meet potential soul mates with similar interests. They do all sorts of things: going on a reality tv program isn’t one of those things.

3. People looking to get married and have children in the near future don’t tend to quit their jobs to go make asses of themselves on national television. And ABC knows it.

4. If ABC wanted their stars to find love, they’d loosen the grip, let the Bachelor / Bachelorette see who they wanted when they wanted and not make them string people along til the end for suspense. Oh, and not make them refer to the process as a “journey” ten times every show.

5. Similarly, the contestants are quarantined during the show, unable to freely go out, contact loved ones and have a normal life during filming. That’s not how finding a soul mate works. That’s how prison works.

But, fellow viewers, until we tune out, expect more of the same: tawdry, short-lived, drama-filled engagements — and break ups.  If down the road any of these couples actually gets married — well, that’s just an anomaly. And an opportunity for ABC to produce a reality tv wedding.

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