Chris Harrison Says Gay 'Bachelor' Is Burger to Series' Pizza, Totally Misses the Point
So, is The Bachelor officially the Fox News of dating shows? Because after current bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis made homophobic comments (and subsequently apologized), and after the consistent criticism for having few contestants of color, there's yet another Bachelor voice speaking out about who should be allowed to fall madly in love on television. In an interview with the New York Times, host Chris Harrison weighed in on whether there would ever be a gay bachelor, or even just one that doesn't have a set of washboard abs.
Harrison immediately nixed the idea of having a "chubby" bachelor, saying "Because that’s not attractive, and television is a very visual medium, and I know that sounds horrible to say, but I know that at 42, in the eyes of television, I’m old and unattractive." As for having a gay bachelor, Harrison said although he's in support of gay marriage, having a gay bachelor would change the formula of the show.
The question is: Is it a good business decision? I just spoke at U.S.C. the other night, and I explained it like this: Look, if you’ve been making pizzas for 12 years and you’ve made millions of dollars and everybody loves your pizzas and someone comes and says, “Hey, you should make hamburgers.” Why? I have a great business model, and I don’t know if hamburgers are going to sell.
But Harrison doesn't realize the flaw in his analogy. The difference between a different sex Bachelor and a same sex Bachelor isn't like the difference between a hamburger and a pizza — it's more like the difference between cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza. It's still basically the same pizza, and if people don't like pepperoni, they can just order another kind of pizza (damn, this is making me hungry). That is to say, having a gay bachelor would in no way change the format of the show.
Having the finalists fight to the death for the one they love would change the formula of the show. Having the Bachelor mansion in the fifth circle of hell would change the formula of the show. Having a Bachelor where the women could be just as sexually adventurous as the man they're all dating would really change the formula of the show. But if the person the bachelor gave a rose to had a penis instead of a vagina? That's pretty much the same show, dude.
Harrison also seems pretty misguided in his assumption that everyone finds the same things attractive. Sure, television may be a visual medium, but just how appealing those visuals are depends on the eye of the beholder. Not everyone is attracted to the greased-up meatbags on The Bachelor. In fact, some people actually have the audacity to find people who are deemed "chubby" attractive (let the gasps and pearl-clutching ensue!). Humans are a pretty diverse, weird bunch, and having a bachelor who doesn't look like a well-dressed version of The Situation doesn't mean that everyone will change the channel.
Between the homophobic comments, the whitewashing, and the double-standards about sexuality, The Bachelor seems to be a complete anachronism as far as dating shows go — more a product of the Mad Men era than something that airs on the same channel as Modern Family. So while Harrison is hesitant to change any aspect of the model of the show, it's his kind of attitude that's holding the show back. Having a different kind of bachelor could spark conversation and attract more viewers to the show, giving new life to a show that's had 18 seasons. Change can only do The Bachelor good.