Tonight is the finale of The Bachelor. If you haven’t been watching the show then:
a) I salute you for being a better human than I.
b) You’ve missed the best car crash TV ever created.
The concept of the show is simple: 15 or so women compete for the affections of one man. It’s like a promo for polygamous love.
The Bachelor in question is called Blake – a real estate agent.
He has a voice like a cross between Barry White and God.
He’s chiselled, has teeth so white they hurt to look at and abs you could bounce a medicine ball off – oh and he really loves his mum.
Check him out ladies…
Each week the women giggle, bitch and whinge their way to the ultimate prize of a red rose.
It’s so painful to watch it gives me stomach cramps, but I CAN’T LOOK AWAY.
If you want to learn more about the show I can suggest no better narrator than the marvellous Rosie Waterland from Mamamia – who posts a snort-inducing summary of each week’s show.
But let’s get to the reason for this post (over and above the obvious link bait of writing an article about the Bachelor on the day of the finale).
The Bachelor taught me how (NOT) to write.
Each week as I watch the immaculately scripted ‘to camera’ snippets from Mr B and his Bachelorettes I’m struck by the over effusiveness of the language.
Nothing is simply ‘good’, or ‘great’ – everything is arseclenchingly, elbow itchingly fanFUCKINGtastic!
Which got me thinking.
Part of the joy of watching the show is the second screening – especially via Twittter.
(Don’t believe me – check out #bachelorau)
I took a little Twitter poll last night of the most overused idioms and expressions on the shows and The Bachelor clan came up with these:
- ‘Light up a room’
- ‘Amazing connection / chemistry’
- ‘Blown away’ / ‘Mind blowing’
- ‘Incredible woman’
- ‘Take it to the next level’ / ‘Taking the next step’
- ‘Invest my feelings’
- ‘Moving forward in our relationship’
- ‘Swept me off my feet’
- ‘Open our hearts’ / ‘Open up to me.”
- ‘Put my heart on the line’
- ‘We have something special’
- ‘Breaks my heart’
- ‘See a future’
- ‘Fallen hard’
And let’s not forget all those over-descriptive words.
The dates aren’t just okay people, they’re ‘massive’, ‘beautiful’, ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible’ – leaving every single woman ‘speechless’. When the ladies leave the show, they aren’t sad they ‘devastated’, ‘so so devastated’ or ‘broken’.
The feelings so ‘genuine’ they seem all the more fake.
The language is so hyperbolic that it becomes meaningless.
It’s like the scriptwriters have ingested the entire Mills and Boon back catalogue and now they’re vomiting it forth in TV format.
So what can the Bachelor teach us about writing?
Recently I’ve seen an unpleasant spread of flowery language on the interwebs. I have my suspicions about who is spreading this adjective frenzy but I’ll keep schtum.
A lot of business owners (especially women) have started getting all happy-clappy and gushy-wushy in their copy.
They’ll be a ‘beacon’ that leads you to a ‘mind blowing’ ‘amazing’ ‘stunning’ business revelation.
Instead of designing your website, they’ll ‘drop the sandbags and let your business balloon soar’ – so go on ‘reach out your hand and let (them) catch you’. (Ugh!)
And while I’m sure this kind of Hallmark Valentine’s Day card copy works for some, for me it’s saccharine sweetness makes me gag. It’s like being beaten to death with a soft fluffy kitten.
Now look, I’m not above writing gushy copy now and again and I have a tendency to over use the word ‘awesome’. But people, let’s have some restraint here.
Here are some tips on ensuring your copy doesn’t have The Bachelor factor:
- Stick to the rule of three when it comes to adjectives – which basically says that the reader is more likely to consume information if it’s written in groups of threes.
- Read your copy out loud, if it makes you gag, rewrite.
- Ensure you don’t use words like ‘unique’, ‘innovative’ and ‘passionate’ they’ve become so over used as to be meaningless.
- Don’t over promise – while a new accounting software can be efficient and useful, can it really claim to be life changing and amazing?
But back to The Bachelor
Of course it’s not all bad. The show has given us a new way of thinking about and talking about love and relationships. A whole new lexicon of cheese.
And of course, we have the show to thank for the best hash tag ever created.
Don’t miss the Bachelor finale tonight – my money is on Sam.
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