Should we really be crying over The Bachelor’s Melissa, the crestfallen25-year-old who got the heave-ho by Jason on national TV this week?Maybe not: Reality show history demonstrates that some losers can goon to prosper on the small (and big) screen – especially if they madetheir public debut on gold-standard franchises like American Idol and Survivor.We certainly remember what the former did for flunkers likeJennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry, but let’s not forget how one-time Survivor contestants Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Colleen Haskell fared after they got voted off the island. (Though Haskell’s forgettable appearance in the 2001 flick The Animal opposite Rob Schneider certainly pales in comparison to Hasselbeck’s successful – though notorious – run on The View.)
Melissa certainly seems like an interesting candidate for a future in front of the camera – after all, The Bachelor wasn’t her first foray into reality TV. She appeared on CMT’s Making the Teambefore she threw her dignity out with her old tubes of mascara toappear on The Bachelor. There could even bean opportunity for her back on ABC: The network’s co-head of alternativeseries, Victoria Dummer, told EW she would “absolutely be open” tomaking Melissa the next bachelorette “if she were open to it.”
But not everybody thinks that Melissa should keep pounding the pavement in Hollywood. “We have a name for people like Melissa – reality roadkill,” saysHoward Bragman, author of Where’s My Fifteen Minutes? “While they’retrying to find love, make a little money and flirt with fame, theproducers are secretly hoping for just the kind of ending that theygot – much to Melissa’s dismay. So people like Melissa go home and theirfriends and family tell them to resurrect their image. They say theyshould write a book, go on The View, and turn lemons intolemonade. The problem is this: Fifteen million people saw her humiliation.So she’s not big enough to sell a book, have her own show or even geton many talk shows. Add to that the fact that she signed awell-crafted, ironclad contract that allows the producers to control herdiscourse on the show; won’t allow anything disparaging to be said; andshe can even be forgotten and ignored by her producer friends. Whileshe may want to dust herself off, get back on the horse, and go to therodeo, she should instead get back on her horse, go quietly into thesunset and look for a real job.”
What do you think, Bachelor watchers? Do you think Melissa should tryher damn hardest to extend her 15 minutes of fame? Would you watch herin an installment of The Bachelorette?