Chick Wit: Fantasy TV as fantasy sports

Juan Pablo and Clare spend part of a romantic evening in a hot tub on "The Bachelor."
Juan Pablo and Clare spend part of a romantic evening in a hot tub on "The Bachelor." (ABC)
Posted: March 17, 2014

If you start betting on guilty-pleasure television, does that make it guiltier?

I created a fantasy league for The Bachelor.

Fantasy Bachelor is just like fantasy football, but with more crying.

I figured upping the ante would make watching the show more fun, so I recruited a few other friends who also enjoy The Bachelor ironically (yeah, OK, we just like it) to join in my pool.

Turns out, being a bettor made me worse.

I thought I liked Bachelor because I'm a romantic. But when I had money on it, I became a cynic.

My strategy was that Juan Pablo would base his choices on sexual attraction alone. He constantly talked about wanting a stepmother for his daughter, but I wasn't buying it. I put only one of the single mothers in my top five, and she was at the bottom.

I don't have money to waste on fairy tales.

Which was good, because Juan Pablo was no Prince Charming.

I chose Clare as my number-one pick because Juan Pablo was all over her from the start. If he weren't so handsome, the word would be lecherous.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. Or the game show.

After weeks of Juan Pablo sticking his tongue in Clare's mouth every time she talked, she initiated a clandestine midnight swim, etc. - an offer he took her up on without hesitation. But the very next day, he chastised her for inappropriately sneaking extra time with him and going "too far."

Any other season, I would've been shouting at my TV screen for Clare to leave this hypocrite. This time, I had the empathy of Bobby Knight.

Get over it, Clare, we have a game to win.

She forgave him. And from then on, Juan Pablo's bad behavior played into my bets perfectly.

When his dopey conversation irritated Sharleen enough to bail - great, I had her down as the one to leave of her own accord.

When his narcissism became a deal-breaker for Andi - even better, I always had her in the third-place spot.

Juan Pablo's wrongs were all right with me.   

Finally the unmagical journey was at its end. The two remaining were my star player, Clare, and Nikki, a dark horse I didn't have anywhere on my team. The stakes were high.

For me and my 10 bucks, not for the people choosing a spouse on TV.

I invited my girlfriend and fellow fantasy-league competitor over to watch the finale, a typically bloated and boring episode.

Not this time.

Juan Pablo outdid himself, whispering something to Clare in the helicopter - always a helicopter - that, according to her, was so disgusting and offensive that she couldn't repeat it.

My friend and I had a field day trying to guess what it was.

But then Clare cried. And I was reminded this wasn't a fantasy league of well-compensated professional athletes. These were women like me.

OK, like me but with better hair and makeup.

Ultimately, after endlessly jerking her around, Juan Pablo rejected Clare. And she wouldn't hug him.

Instead, she told him off in the best way possible.

As she said on the after-show, "I had never been able to stand up for myself to a man before. It was so liberating to be able to stand there and say, this is exactly how I feel, and it's not OK."

We were so proud of her, we applauded the TV.

Twitter exploded, along with my fantasy bracket.

But I've never felt so genuinely happy at the end of a Bachelor season. For once, the show and the viewing audience seemed to be on the side of the real woman, instead of just the fantasy.

I lost.

Women won.

Look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's columns in their latest collection, "Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim." Lisa's new novel, "Keep Quiet," comes out April 8.

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