48 Comments

Mary, you can glean insight everywhere you look! Thanks for letting us see with your eyes. So true: We’re all hooked on arguing about the show while the truth tellers and peacemakers are unpersoned and the producers run the world. But we can always choose to jump over the fence. Meet you there!

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Perfect summation, Katie. Happy to join you on the other side... wherever that turns out to be!

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Thank you for the laughs I didn’t know I wanted but obviously needed. Only you would find insight in the most artificial of all artifice. Thank you for taking one for the team.

What is Choice Forward?

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You're welcome, on both accounts. Sometimes I feel desperate for a shower after I watch an episode 😳.

Choice Forward is my fictional name for a future imaginary govt. program, set up to skinny down our choices while purporting to do the opposite. Like every other govt. program.

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

I cannot express how much I loved this post. Finding Meaning & Metaphor in The Bachelor. You're such a delightful writer, Mary, that I'd follow you anywhere but this destination of analyzing pulp drama was right up my alley!

I will watch anything to bond with my daughters. I learned all the political nuances of K*pop and how to distinguish the boys in the band who changed hair color, cut and style every season and all met the exacting standards of Korean beauty (see, that one has a fox face tilt to his eyes, and this one has a rabbit mouth...)

The Indian matchmaker show (which I didn't see) was watched early in my youngest daughter's romance. I attribute the survival of their relationship to the shared outrage over one character 'cheating' on the love match.

I've seen far too much of the 'Love is Blind' one where they can't see the other until they propose.

But my last birthday, 66th, we watched The Golden Batchelor, in which their friends thought I should be a contestant. Although I didn't say it, I've found few things more deeply depressing. Give me a corrupt economic system any day over 20 stunning women debasing themselves for a decent-looking widower who says nice things, because they don't want to 'give up on love.' WTF? Has it really come to this?

Although, as my daughter's client said recently, "At my age, friends with benefits means you know a man who can still drive at night." So maybe it has!

Thank you for this.

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Tereza! I read your comment out loud to my daughter and husband and they both couldn't stop laughing. That driving at night quip is PRICELESS.

And so is the idea of YOU on the Golden Bachelor. Omg, I can just see it. You would eat that decent-looking widower for lunch! Looking fabulous, of course 😂

I'm so glad this post delighted you. It was fun to write, too, so that's a plus. xox

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

I'll definitely be citing your article and quoting my comment next time I talk to my daughters ;-)

Do you think I could be well-behaved enough to get on the GB? Maybe if they didn't do any research. Or had no idea what I was talking about. I think, ala your idea, I'd plan an insurgency among the women. We are not territories to be divided and conquered by a mild-mannered dentist! And in the episodes we watched, he was unnerved by driving in LA at night ...

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Given what I know about you, and admittedly, it's not a ton, no, I don't think you could be well-behaved enough! Even if they did no research at all, I'm pretty sure you would flame out in the prelims -- that is, if you were remotely honest in answering their questions...

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And I feel like I've just made inroads to convincing your husband and daughter that you should all come stay with me next time you come to the West Coast. Now I'm a real and funny person to them!

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Hahaha! Friends with benefits, driving at night. That's a good one. I watched the Indian matchmaker show and the Jewish one. So interesting and so different from our culture. I bonded with my daughter with Desperate Housewives. Haha...she is well adjusted and a wonderful human, and luckily for me, it didn't wreck her for life.

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Analyzing people is one of my favorite things to do with my daughters, especially the one going for her license as a therapist. These shows do provide ample fodder!

Thanks for your act of courage in admitting to DH. Glad our daughters have all come through the gauntlet of dating TV intact ;-)

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

God forbid that people give up the fight for what they know to be real, but yes, you show so clearly the successful job that's done of turning people into mere 'good consumers' by the junk that's pushed and compulsively swallowed. I kept reading only because it's you and you'd be making a point that was worth it. You'd make a silk purse out of any pig's ear! I'm left wondering if your daughter reads your substack?!

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What a compliment, Fiona, thank you! Yes, she reads it. In fact, she is often my go-to reader before I publish, because I value her opinion so highly. She and I are working on a book together.

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I stopped watching tv back under O when they switched to digital. The roof of my antique was scary looking & it wasn't worth a $300 antenna, not to mention an installer crashing through the ripley roof into my living room.

Reality tv struck me as phenomenally stoopid from the get go, so I already was reduced to watching only for local weather forecast & a few select programs on PBS. About the only thing I enjoyed was the dramatic runup to blizzards & 'canes, & then they ruined that when they started naming every sprinkle & dusting.

Maybe if I'd had someone to watch & mock with, but just me, some birds & doggos.

This is not intended as holier than thou. I just found other things to piss away my time on... 😁

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Phenomenally stupid it is, for sure. Watching alone is like drinking alone -- deeply depressing! Thanks for being here.

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

And...coming up with Polar Vortex and all the rest of that crap. "Let's name a totally normal occurrence something really scary and watch the madness!".

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Yes! So true.

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

This goes to show that value can be found in the most unexpected places. Thanks.

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Thank you for that, Sounder, and for upgrading. I deeply appreciate your support!

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Mary, I love you so much for not only admitting to watching this show, but then extracting tons of insight from it. I've never watched an episode and frankly, I'm shocked at the number of spin-offs. WTH?! If it makes you feel any better, I'm addicted to "The Adventures of Merlin" now deemed just "Merlin" on Amazon Prime. There's nothing sexual beyond a rare kiss and even the violence (beheadings, war, etc.) are PG-rated. As if beheadings and war should be PG-rated. I can't blame my daughter here, I'm just a sucker for any Arthurian tale. Good vs evil at its finest.

Thx for breaking it down, pics and all. XO

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Barbara, thank you. You are SO better off never having watched it. It's truly execrable, but somehow, when watched with the right people, it brings an odd joy!

Adventures of Merlin, eh? I'm a sucker for Arthurian tales, always have been. Might have to check it out... xox

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Oh, Merlin is so good! They took lots of liberties with it but I love the story they created.

I had to look up the word "execrable"! That bad, huh?? 😂

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Yep, that bad.

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Oh my goodness, Barbara. I recently found Merlin on Britbox and its now a regular for me. Another way in which we align! Funny world.

I get bored the sword fighting but put up with it for the potions and dragons.

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Kathleen! Yes to the potions and Dragons!! 🐉 The dragonlord episode! 😭😭 And the Unicorn episode! The last episode slayed me. 😭 I fast-forwarded through the battles and stupid sword fighting. Can you tell how much I love it?? XO

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

I can tell!

Loved them both. (I wanted Merlin's father to hang around longer, until I learned Merlin couldn't assume the dragonlord title while he lived. Ah, well. ) Still, I often feel I could write the screenplays better - obnoxiously, I know. Mostly though, I slip easily into this world.

I want a dragon I am lord over. That's okay, right? 🤷‍♀️

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Don't we all?

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

I know!! I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve watched the whole five seasons more than once. 😬 That’s when we start noticing necessary screenplay rewrites. :) Why didn’t anyone tell Arthur that Gwen was enchanted to fall for Lancelot?? I loved when Merlin summoned Kilgarrah for the first time…🤭🥰 Ok I’ll stop…

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The two of you are highly entertaining; who needs to watch Merlin?

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

😂

Clearly, we'll need to do an in-depth Merlin debrief at some point, Barbara.

Too fun.😘

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Clearly I’m not embarrassed by this. 😂 I mean, I wrote a post called “Magic Have Your Way With Me” (or something like that.) I just came from the woods where I sat with the Merlin Tree. It’s my own little Camelot. 🧙 🌲🥰

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Love this! I have not watched said show, but any reality show is probably like that. We 'see' what 'they' want us to see, and come to conclusions that are manipulated. The similarity between these 'shows' and the farcical process of a captured Republick is an eye-opener. The great and powerful Oz can take that curtain and shove it where there is no surveillance, as far as I am concerned. Good one today Mary!♥

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That's hilarious, SadieJay. The Oz part, of course...😂

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Feb 18Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Fabulous parallels with our larger "reality show". Great work!

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Thanks, Pete!

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Feb 20·edited Feb 20Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Yup, so many "Amur-i-cons" have fallen' under the "stand with X" or "stand with Y" paradigm, yer with us 'er against us, this one BAD this 'un GOOD--an' so many more limited cherces vs sayin' screw it, it's all one lightbulb so we ain't gonna put it in yer pre-made socket an' light up like ya want. This "show" (never sawr the thing... but goin' from yer clear dee-script-shun) seems ta just reinforce the "script" they want us all ta foller which is WHY some've us cheer fer the underdawg -- but that (I'm near-sure) is planned too... there is no real "live teevee" -- most outliers are scripted-in then we go back ta the same time / same channel, tune in tomorrah. What yer pointin' out is the SCRIPT the PRODUCERS foller'--they do not wanna have the "audience" aware of the artifice, the planned limitations...

So while I full-out agree with this: "We all have that choice."

With this part-- " It is written." I'll humbly quibble cuz....

It's UNwritten! YOU an' I an' all've us thinkerz kin make a slate blank of our own accord--we do not have ta go with whut's written, we "write in" our ballots, our nuanced "neither side" takes, our objections, our thoughts... as you do here!

When I wuz a little snapper an' we went out ta eat--be it the "Big Boy" in the Midwest 'er Ratners... I wuz always the (polite) thorn in the waiter's side long 'fore basic eateries took "requests" 'er "substy-2-shuns"--I'd want fried clams (only Ho Jo's had 'em--NOT Big Boy) 'stead of the burger, pancakes fer dinner (but not at the pancake house), MORE ROLLS at Ratners (New Yawkers 'll know this wuz a SIN! --I LOVED those grumpy waiters...) But ya see.... goin' in an askin' fer the UNwritten (not on the menu), writin' in yer own candy-date... all've it is whut AmeriCANS should be doin'--- wha'heppened?

as alwayz Mary, thanks for the thinks!

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Love this take, Daisy. I probably should've made the last bit clearer, because what I was trying to say is that by my writing "We all have that choice," it was thus "written" -- as anyone can do. Maybe I can find a way to convey that, if it didn't register...

Thanks for the journey through your childhood in restaurants -- I can just imagine you as a young'un, politely going against the grain. Does not surprise me one bit. 😊

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OH, I didn't git that part but I see yer meanin' now--sure, makes sense--you're writin'--got it.

I should add that tho' I often tried ta order whut I wanted (menu 'er not) SOMETIMES waiters actually tried ta appease the requests comin' from a toothy kid doin' her best Tatum-in-Paper-Moon "Addie smile"-- an' if they didn't have the item itself (of the case) sometimes they'd bring sum' extree fries or a paper hat from the kitchen (like the cooks wore--I gotta few 've 'em) er a colorin' page... Lesson--if ya "imagine" a world without a menu sometimes ya git a nice surprise!

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Lovely lesson, Addie. And oh how I loved that movie...

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Wow! I'm speechless. You are amazing, Mary, always full of surprises with your subject matter. I also enjoyed all the humorous exchanges from such a gathering of clever, quick witted commenters. It was very entertaining, thank you all. I can hardly wait to see what next week's offering will be!!

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Thanks so much, Rocket. I was delighted to read through the comments, too. What a fun bunch, eh?

Ooh, the pressure to perform 😳😂

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Feb 20Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Who are you kidding? You love to perform. It's in your blood.

You're on...

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Wow! I'm thinking 'Bachelor Hunger Games', or maybe 'Bachelor Truman Show'. Maybe 'Bachelor Wizard of Oz'!

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Good options, all!

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Thanks for keepin it real, Mary. I knew there would be insights, and I wasn't disappointed.

Can honestly say never watched the show, and thanks to you, don't need to.

My TV addictions lean in the direction of cozy mysteries, (Father Brown) and then any mystery, and (as my son tells me) a narrow wheelhouse of shows for kids. Yup.

Even when escaping, we still find hard realities though, don't we? Bonding with your daughter over anything is worth any cringe-factor.💕

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Glad to be of service.

Mysteries, eh? I rarely watch or read them, because I can't stand the suspense. When I was young, I would always read the last page first! No wonder I became a writer -- at least in my own work I know what will happen.

And you make a great point. Hard realities cannot be papered over indefinitely! No matter where you go, even into Cringetown, there you are...

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Feb 19Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

lol - that's too funny, Mary.

I guess I like suspense. I have occasionally skipped to the end in mystery books - but only after I thought I knew who dun it to see if I was right - a symptom of my infernal impatience.

best.

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