Jewish Journal


March 6, 2008

Let’s stay together


Why can’t people seem to stay together? We invest time in their relationships. Applaud their triumphs as couples and mourn when things don’t go well. So why is it that everyone is breaking up?

I blame the networks.

While my adorable hubby was out of town at a conference, I was able to enjoy watching the myriad reality shows that he watches with me. From the time he left, until the time he returned, two of the shows that we watch every week: “The Biggest Loser” and “Big Brother” went from couple-themed shows to solo shows. The two were even touted as being shows based on partnerships: NBC’s “Biggest Loser: Couples” and CBS’s “Big Brother: Til’ Death Do You Part.”

On the NBC show, teams of friends (and one team of strangers) were working toward a common goal – good health. Their stories were inspiring; the way they worked together to accomplish something can teach any married or dating couple a lesson in loyalty.
The other show, what could be termed brain candy (something that feels good when you are in the moment, but makes you feel sick after), paired up strangers that CBS declared were “soulmates.” Hardly—although it was fun to watch the drama and the make-out sessions.
But this week something happened.

The couples on both shows, who were voted off by their fellow cast members as couples, were split. “Big Brother” even dropped “‘Til Death Do You Part” and now just has a heart inside the show’s logo.

I understand the need to maintain ratings at any cost —but would it have been so bad to allow the couple experiment to continue? Yes it would have meant a shorter season, but as Jack on one of my favorite shows, “Lost,” says so often: “If we don’t live together, we die alone.”

In a previous blog post, I talked about a new ABC reality show called “Here Come the Newlyweds.” The concept was cute, but the kicker: the couples have to vote each other off. Last week they eliminated a pair who opted to take 10,000 over a guaranteed immunity. The other teams rationalized that they had the money already. At least ABC won’t be splitting up these pairs, I hope.

On Monday, the granddaddy of break-up shows, “The Bachelor” is having a ‘Where Are They Now” special. We know where they are: Not together. Of the dozen bachelors and three bachelorettes there is only one – ONE – who is married to their “pick.” And even she was a reject from the show’s first season.

Here’s a novel concept. Let’s have a show where couples start together and stay together and no one is kicked off. If you do well you get more points, but you don’t have to leave.
The one show that comes close to this relationship nirvana is the CBS show “The Amazing Race.” Couples have to work together, never are asked to sever their relationship and only are eliminated by their own doing.

Is the formula working? “The Amazing Race” is the only Emmy-award winning show mentioned in today’s post. You be the judge.

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