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Does Reality Shows Kill Romance?

There may be no superior way to end your marriage in Hollywood than to appear on a reality show. Just look at Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (“Newlyweds”), Britney Spears and Kevin Federline (“Britney and Kevin: Chaotic”), and Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler (“Meet the Barkers”). Reports of two new splits hit the media today. Hulk Hogan’s wife, Linda Hogan, allegedly filed for divorce from her husband, one of her co-stars on their reality show “Hogan Knows Best.” According to an Associated Press report posted on Yahoo! News, Hulk Hogan and his wife had been presence marital counseling and were submissive prior to the divorce filing.

In a separate news report from the Associated Press on Yahoo!News, former “The Bachelor” competitor Mary Delgado was arrested just after late night on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Delgado had appeared on “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose” a few days earlier with her beau, fisherman Byron Velvick. The pair was advertising by “The Bachelor” as one of its two success stories over its 11-season run. What accurately leads to the demise of these happy Hollywood couples who appear bound for happily ever after until their reality shows kill their romance? Paradoxically, it may just be that none of these elf tale romances were built on the firm ground of reality. Take our “Bachelor” couple, for example. The premise of “The Bachelor” is that a lucky but lonesome bachelor gets to choose among 25 contestants vying for his affection. Over the course of six weeks, the contestants and their bachelor get to canoodle in every fantasy situation conceivable, from luxury suites to helicopter rides. Once the contestants are adequately optimistic and “in love,” the bachelor picks out a huge rock and is supposed to propose to the winning lady love in his life.

But unluckily, the reality of “The Bachelor” scenario is that none of it is actually real, as in real life. The challenger and the bachelor are playing a game, not dating or getting to know one another in real life circumstances that us normal people have to slush through. “The Bachelor” is an ornately constructed fantasy land for grown ups who still believe in fairy tales and badly want to win the game and get the suggestion and the big, shiny diamond ring. As for our unlucky reality show celebrities, it is not far fetched to say that their reality shows depicted characters rather than real personalities. Grand romantic gestures, luxury surprise getaways, and fabulous sex adventures make for dramatic television and exciting lives. But sustaining such drama for any length of time is impossible. Once again, real reality, not reality show reality, is far more difficult. When the cameras stop rolling on these famous couples, the dream seems to end as well.

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