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Former Northwestern football player eliminated from The Bachelorette

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It was the most Northwestern performance on the Bachelorette imaginable.

ABC

In the end, Anthony never stood a chance on The Bachelorette. He made almost no impression on anyone—the producers, the audience, Rachel. He only really made an impression on his fellow contestants in the mansion, but while they probably could have been great friends in real life, they were competing head-to-head on a reality television show for an imagined love. It’s weird. American reality television is weird. Anthony was not weird.

For those who noticed, Anthony was a smart, handsome and collected person who is going to be just fine when he tries to find love in the future. It just really baffles me that he thought The Bachelorette would be his calling card. Unlike Lucas, Lee, or “Puppet Man”, Anthony did not try to make the show about him. In fact, he barely appeared in most of the episodes, except for his pleasant but rather awkward one-on-one date.

The episode, for Northwestern fans, went simply. After the stupidity between Kenny and Lee finally ended, Rachel decided that she should really focus on trying to eliminate the contestants who she couldn’t see moving forward. In the thinning process, 6 of the 12 contestants were sent home. Anthony was among them.

I really thought this whole exercise would be more fun that it actually was. If Anthony had been as entertaining as Josiah, the self-centered attorney, maybe these recaps would have been more substantive. Instead, I was often left with little to root for, only sustaining my interest through the inertia of the show. You were tacitly aware after Anthony got no screen time post-Episode 3 that his chances of total victory were low. However, you still rooted for him and analyzed whatever small victories and minor conversations were on the docket, until finally it ended, without any particular fanfare.

So yes, rooting for Anthony was exactly like rooting for a Northwestern football team. Anthony essentially went 7-5 with a bid to the Foster Farms Bowl. Who is surprised?

Unfortunately, I set up this whole Bachelorette recap series, complete with outstanding video recaps, in the hopes that we would avoid a Northwestern football situation. Going on the Bachelorette is the most anti-Northwestern football thing I can possibly imagine. It is the most un-Fitzgerald-ian activity in existence. The Bachelorette is the hit show of the summer. Northwestern football is the grim, masochistic grind of the fall. The only similarity is that roses are attained at a great price, and even then, you still may not end up close to the championship.

Then again, most Northwestern sports fans do not care about The Bachelorette, thankfully. Anthony losing has no outsized effect on a Northwestern alum’s life, even though, ultimately, we have no control over either experience.

Because I am the editor-in-chief in these parts, here’s a few paragraphs that I’ve been kicking around in my head to adequately wrap up my viewing of this terrible but sneakily brilliant television experiment:

The persistence of human life ultimately hinges on our pursuit of free will. No matter how fated we think existence might be, there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning without believing that any individual action could be life-changing, and that we can freely choose to continue toward the pale, but intoxicating light at the end of the tunnel. This pursuit is an idea central to America and American rhetoric, the “pursuit of happiness” central to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

The Bachelorette, although it is a distinctly American telelvision experience, dampens free will at an alarming rate. In fiction, we watch because the choices that fictional characters make are interesting and told in a compelling way. We want to see what Walter White does. We want to understand why Tyrion Lannister despises his father. On the other end of the spectrum, we watch reality television to observe crazy decisions. But The Bachelorette doesn’t even let us watch those decisions in peace. It has to force feed us everything, from censored horse dung to manufactured WHABOOM drama all the way to the Fantasy Suite, which, apparently, is the first time the bachelor and bachelorette can even really talk about what’s important to their lives.

Maybe the show didn’t start out like this, but the endless quest for ratings and exposure have turned it into a farce. Okay, all reality television is farcical, but this particular farce is just insulting to the viewer. Maybe this season was strange, but this season of The Bachelorette has scarcely been about love and freedom of choice at all. Even a show as trashy as Jersey Shore or Keeping Up With the Kardashians still feels more real because the free will of the participants is somewhat respected. In this show, it’s so obvious that certain contestants are being kept around. The fake blood BS from Kenny/Lee was just so fake.

So yeah, reality television is not a blight on society, but I’d rather not watch a reality show that is this fake. I’d rather watch reruns of Days of Our Lives. There has to be something real, which Rachel, I assume, will find.

Fantasy Update:

Not gonna lie, I have no idea what happened to this fantasy league. There were multiple redrafts as contestants lost, and they were ineffectively distributed across the various teams. Right now, jt12305 is in a commanding lead, but no one else has really been able to put together a full team to challenge him. We’ll have to see how this prize aspect is going to work, but right now I’m kinda sad the fantasy league failed. Oh well.