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As real as any soap opera

Don Rogers

I didn’t make it past the first three, four minutes of the first bit with Vail’s hunk, Ryan Sutter. But I did check in on a minute or two of each contestant, and endured the entire rose ceremony. No, can’t say I was riveted. While of course I wish our guy the best, I’ll definitely pass on the next episode.

But at least I know what these folks look like. Trista was annoying and shrill as hell, and the boys obviously were working their angles just as hard as they can possibly work them. Some things really don’t change from generation to generation. Thanks for some awkward memories, mine thankfully not televised.

Now I can understand, if not quite get, the water cooler analysis around the office between shows. This is a classic case of knowing – dare I say intellectually? – that this is a story of great interest even if I personally couldn’t possibly care any less about it. I mean, well, gag me.

The show has legs, too. The week before last week’s episode came in at No. 19 in the Nielsen ratings. Forgive my relief, though, that it didn’t outdraw the president’s State of the Union address dealing prominently with the prospects for war. “Joe Millionaire” was among the 11 I’m sure scintillating shows that managed that trick.

You don’t need to take my panning of this stupid, stupid program seriously, either. I’m wholly unqualified for television criticism, taking pride in never having seen hardly any of the shows on the weekly Nielsen radar, ever.

I favor crap that roosts way, way down the list. Sci-fi stuff like “Stargate” and “Star Trek.” Sports, mainly pro and college basketball, and even “classic” games from back when I was Ryan’s age. So it’s not like my habits with the boob tube are exactly edifying, either.

Being an all-too chronically insensitive bastard at core, I can’t say I embraced the yackety yack about emotional needs, completion, feelings of closeness and distance from second to second, deep evaluation of personal tics. Geez, is that all they can talk about?

The displays of sincerity were probably the most irritating. All this love everyone is falling into, or about to fall into, or could fall into if only the parties could find some middle ground between oh so seriously discussing the “relationship” and making pointless small talk for 14 million or so rapt viewers.

Each character struck me as determined to prove that they had transcended the boundaries of cameras and contest. Seemed they were really working this “sincerely in love” stuff, and well past believability. But I thought the acting was about on par with your standard soap opera, though without the script writers.

The clincher for me was watching Ryan on the TV news – the news? – playing the interviewer Wednesday night as if this show hadn’t wrapped months ago and he was just, you know, so genuinely concerned with what might come next. That Charley, he sure seems to have the inside track, and there might be a broken heart in Vail in a couple of weeks. We’ll just have to tune in and see …

Don’t think so, dude, thank you. It’ll be back to “Sports Center” for me. I actually get that soap opera, and there’s no posing as if more than a game were at stake.

In any case, even I can see ol’ Ryan can do better than the ditz. And now he might even be able to land a date with a Vail gal. Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.com


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