SCREEN TIME: Laurel
“I had watched pretty much everything I had wanted to watch and I had several different groups of friends who had long talked about The Bachelor and I was always left out of conversations. I found out that it was the first season with a Black bachelor, which made me think, ‘Ok maybe the franchise has come around a bit since the mid-2000s when it was entirely superficial and obviously a money grab!’ I was wrong, for the most part, but I still got hooked. It’s been a long time since I had to wait every week for a new episode of a show, and I relished every time I could tune in again. It was so much fun to yell things at the TV and scoff at the drama that I’m absolutely sure I would never get myself into, and fangirl over the cast members who I really wanted to win or go home. I’ve watched a lot of back seasons now of all three shows (The Bachelor, Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise) and I do really like how empowered cast members--namely women, both as the Bachelorette and contestants on the Bachelor--have gotten to be able to say things like, ‘No that wasn’t ok with me’ or ‘nope this isn’t gonna work’ and they leave or send someone home. The difference in vulnerability and communication between current and previous seasons is, to me, pretty stark.
Since I started watching in Jan 2021, I’m in regular contact with old friends in different cities--various group-chats that light up throughout the week as everyone is able to watch the most recent episode, trying to avoid spoilers for one another, and ripping contestants new-ones when we all agree they were just doing too much. I do like it when we disagree about a situation because it reminds me that we all experience things differently (and also the show is so incredibly produced that I’m sure we never see all of any one interaction that happens). It’s a show that’s easy to have on in the background when I’m cooking or folding laundry, and it’s a show that’s easy to get wrapped up in when I pay attention and text with friends to give them my real-time reactions. There are a lot of reality shows I’ve never gotten into, and I’m certainly not counting myself a member of Bachelor Nation, but I do love this stupid TV show and the time it filled during my most isolated and sad times in the last two years.” - Laurel
It’s surprising to me how many folks have moved during the pandemic. It can’t be an easy thing to do...especially buying a property with so many precautions in place, slow processes, limited housing supply, and exploding home costs. But Laurel and her partner, Peter, pulled off a great move into a sweet little tucked away neighborhood in Baltimore. Furnishing the house came a little bit easier, though due to some sadness. Grandmothers have left housefuls of stuff that they have been able to fashion their new home with and carry on the legacy of some memorable pieces...including a plant that gets just enough light through the basement window. Another wonderful addition is a carpet from the rug dealer at the local farmer’s market. Mountains of blankets, including one stitched by Mom, give the cooler temps in this basement den, a warm vibe. But the warmest attribute of the TV/office/workout room is Laurel’s many expressive faces as she watches her show. It’s easy to see why screening a silly reality show can bring such joy in the midst of a dark time. As she sips her whiskey and nibbles a chunk of dark chocolate, Laurel stays connected to friends by texting about the latest rose ceremony. A happy new home, indeed.