Watching "The Bachelorette" feels like rubbernecking. You know you're not supposed to do it, but you can't help it. While the show pretends to help couples find real love, it more often helps them to discover who they're most attracted to. As this season wraps up, current "Bachelorette" Emily Maynard is most attracted to Arie, the race-car driver, and Jef, the sustainable water bottle company owner. But in all of their "dates," have these men really revealed much of their character? Each date was ridiculously romantic, over-the-top, and set in an idyllic location. These men have been holed up in five-star hotels, with endless room service, no cell phones or Internet access, plenty of free alcohol, are temporarily unemployed, and their only commitment has been to check out exotic locales with a pretty lady. Of course they are relaxed, happy and laid-back! What guy wouldn't be "like the perfect guy" (a repeated phrase from Emily) in this scenario? While no one believes the show is true reality, it stands to reason that if ABC wanted their couples to last longer than a football season, they should attempt to give the burgeoning pairs a date with an ounce of reality. Everyone needs to see the guy's true personality. That means seeing what he's like when he's tired, stressed, exhausted, taxed or generally how most people function during a normal workweek.
Typical fights couples encounter are usually started by something banal -- like backseat driving, not wanting to go to the other's function, forgetting your keys, in-laws, deciding whose family you are visiting at Christmas, etc. Jef and Arie think Emily is the perfect package, but maybe she's a lazy, nagging, prima-donna princess. Who knows?
So ABC producers, here are some suggestions for your future "Bachelor" and "Bachelorettes" that would be both good television and have some relationship accuracy.
1. Picking a Movie on Netflix on a One-on-One Date
Let's be honest, most dates involve dinner and a movie. Going to the movies is the quintessential date night. As work, kids, and exhaustion get in the way, a Netflix subscription becomes the new movie theater for couples. Most couples know there will always be some compromise with the Netflix queue. Some women might push for a romantic comedy while her guy wants to see the latest Liam Neeson release. Since most of the "Bachelorette" contestants would probably bow to whatever movie Emily wanted (get ready for "The Vow" fellas), they should be forced to open their own Netflix queue and reveal what they've been watching. Maybe Jef is a die-hard Jason Statham fan. Maybe Arie is really into Shark Week and watches shark videos from The Discovery Channel repeatedly. Will either of them ever watch "The Hunger Games" with Emily and understand her Team Gale status? Will she share her addiction to "The Vampire Diaries" or just keep that on her iPad? Is this information damning? Not at all. But a guy's taste in movies says a lot about who he is and what you'll be sharing as a couple while Ricki is tucked away in bed.
2. Take the Guys to a Trivia Night at a Local Bar
While it's hard to believe that many "Bachelorette" contestants would do well at a trivia night, it would make for good television. Stupidity is hilarious. Then again, Emily doesn't seem like the sharpest tool in the shed. A trivia-night group date would be a fascinating way to watch the men's competitive nature amongst each other as well as a way to gauge their interests, hobbies and general knowledge. Who wouldn't have enjoyed watching Ryan and Kalon (whose only interest is themselves) try to out-douche one another? The best part of having the contestants go to a trivia night would be finding the actual smart guy in the group. Frankly, listening to endless conversations about how important their family is to them, how they really want to settle down and how they want to find love is so boring.
3. Plan a Weekend Date in October
Why October? October means football season, baseball playoffs and basketball gearing up. These guys want to walk along cobblestone paths and talk about their desire to be a good father? Fine. But for the majority of women out there, the real obstacle in their relationship is their husband's sports team. Finding out a man's sports obsession is key information. Heaven forbid your man participates in a fantasy football league, a baseball fantasy league, or worse yet, both. Because in fantasy leagues, practically every day is a sports day! Fantasy league updates will have him checking his phone constantly, idyllic locations aside. Emily should get them to discuss their favorite teams and how devoted they are to them. Find out what they played in high school and for how long so she can be prepared to love Arie's Diamondbacks or Jef's Utah Jazz. Is every man a sports fan? No. But look at the size of the necks on half of the guys in this show. Die-hard sports guys are the typical contestant.
Yes, there are plenty of female sports fans out there, and a lot of couples enjoy sports together. But Emily doesn't seem the type. It's fine to think they just want to spend every waking moment with her, but that's probably because they didn't get cable in Curacao and Dubrovnik.
4. Let The Guys Spend a Long Weekend With Ricki
Emily has made finding a good father for Ricki her priority, yet neither Arie nor Jef look like they know the first thing about kids. That's fine, but what wouldn't be fun for audiences and illuminating for Emily to have the final two guys spend a long weekend at Emily's house to manage all of Ricki's activities? Young guys think parenting is all about playing catch in the backyard and putting Band-Aids on scraped knees. Ask any mom or dad, and while they say how much they love their child and how it's the greatest thing in their life, let them also explain how parenting can feel like being part chauffeur, part short-order cook, part nurse and part bad cop. Their weekends are filled with kids' birthday parties, play dates and Pixar movies. When they aren't exhausted from waking at 6 a.m., they should remember Ricki is the prime age for Brownie meetings, soccer games, teacher meetings, school fundraisers and gymnastics class. Forget about enjoying a neighborhood BBQ with Emily and just prepare to follow Ricki around as she screams, "Watch me!" from the pool. After these excursions, the guys should try coming home to feed her. Do these men know what picky eaters most kids are? When they aren't complaining that, "I don't like that," they love to tell you, "You don't make it the way mommy does" even when pouring cereal. Good luck gentleman. Let them experience what parenting actually is, and ABC could surely amuse audiences, and Emily might see if the guys actually follow through on their excessive "I'm ready to be a dad" talk. (Well, maybe not traumatize Ricki with this experience, but give the guys something with an ounce of the real day-to-day life of parenting.)
Follow Claudia Maittlen-Harris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ZerosB4TheOne