Earlier this week, a long-awaited decision dropped on reality television. Matt James chose his mate in the 25th season finale of “The Bachelor.” But instead of celebrating the typical fanfare of an engagement, the show ended with a confrontation of race and the nuances of “happily ever after.” The show has only dealt with this superficially in its 24 other seasons.
“I think scripted television is either based on preconceived notions, or stories we’ve heard, or our version of stories based on some sort of fantasy,” says Ri-Karlo Handy, editor and owner of Sunwise Media and the Handy Foundation.
However, love and real life are more complicated, and reality TV writers have a tough job of telling a story with those nuances, he says. “We tend to want to put everything in these very neat boxes, and life is not like that.”
“I think for [Matt James] and for many Black men that are either put on TV or put in these positions, you’ve seen yourself or you’ve seen Black people portrayed on TV in different ways, and you want to make sure you don’t come off in those tropes. Because you know, real life doesn’t really reflect what people have been seeing on TV for years,” he says.