In the 2+ years I’ve been writing these, I’ve often made remarks about how I hope young girls aren’t watching this show. I know I’m not the only one with this opinion. The thought of a remotely impressionable mind taking any facet of Paradise to heart and—god forbid—thinking it’s in any way representative of real-life romantic relationships is disturbing. That said, for the first time ever, I felt like last night’s episode was possibly (possibly!) not terrible material for the young viewer, in the form of a cautionary tale.
I admire Ashley I’s father’s great attitude on After Paradise last week, as well as his evident appreciation for how emotionally honest and expressive she is. His words: “I really value the fact that she’s got strong feelings for people, that she expresses them.” I certainly can’t disagree with that. But in my humble opinion, there comes a point where one only hurts him or herself by clinging to such feelings. How those feelings—when unrequited—aren’t feelings anymore, but as newcomer Ryan put it, “baggage.” Baggage slows you down, distracts you, and prevents you from filling that emotional capacity with positive, potentially reciprocated feelings. I believe a young girl could watch this show and, while undoubtedly finding Ashley I entertaining (because she certainly is), could take note of how NOT to act. How, if your goal happens to be the interest of a particular male, quiet confidence and dignity are far more powerful than tearful guilt trips or attempting to prove how “perfect” you are for them. How to not let one person’s lack of interest in them affect their self esteem and happiness to such an extent that they even joke about feeling “pretty darn 100 percent hopeless.” Daniel, who’s proven to be full of surprises, said it best when he told her, “Be confident in yourself and think, you know, ‘They’re not good enough for me. I want to be with someone who wants to be with me.’” I fully understand the role Ashley I is meant to play on this show, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Perhaps at the very least, in some inverse “lead by example” scenario, Ashley I will prove to be the ultimate role model.
Now on to some subplots (finally!)… As for the two “strong” couples, I’m not sure what I love more; how cute Grant and Lace are together, or how unexpected it is that they’re so cute together. With Vinny and Izzy, I thought Vinny dealt with the (brutal) blow Izzy gave him as commendably as anyone could. He was proud and dignified but not afraid to show his hurt. It would be easy to vilify Izzy, but personally I felt for her in her predicament. On one hand, yes, she and Vinny had clearly built something substantial. Sure, it’s only been three or so weeks, but the time spent together on this show is quality. (I’ve said before that I have more confidence in an engaged couple lasting off Paradise than off either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.) But isn’t the great joy of falling in love with someone and maybe ending up together the fact that you chose each other, not that you happened to be in the same place at the same time? Note the difference between that and being in the right place at the right time; they are not the same thing. Just because Vinny and Izzy were both cast to be on this show the first week and that they’ve lasted this long does not make them a perfect match, nor does Brett’s late arrival mean Izzy has a wandering eye. The only thing proven (once again) is that the format of this show is not at all conducive to “finding love.” Speaking of which…
Ryan stuck out to me as super normal and likable (plus you know I love me a little salt and pepper), so I found it painful that he admitted to coming to meet Sarah the day after she went home. Really, producers?! You claim to want these people to “find love,” yet allow a viable candidate for Sarah to arrive after she was eliminated? As though an overlap couldn’t have been arranged there? We know there aren’t any rules, after all… who do you think allowed Ashley I to stay despite being eliminated? Hint: it wasn’t the other contestants.
For more from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays on City.
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