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Ryan & Trista & Rob & Amber
Gordon Pepper

In the beginning, you saw Trista Rehn get her heart broken in a dating show, and you thought... "It's good." Well, maybe not so good for Trista, but very good for ratings, good enough that Trista gets her own dating show out of the deal. During that show, Trista meets... Ryan Sutter. Viewers saw all of this and thought.... "Very good." We once again saw them in the finale all huggy and kissy as we all say... AwwwwwBarf.

Around 18 months later, We get Trista and Ryan's wedding. On TV. During sweeps. Getting very good ratings. So good, that we see them again on Thanksgiving floats during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. So good, that they showed up again in "Fear Factor". So good, that you will see at least one of them yet again in ABC's "Dancing With the Stars". So good, that it was only a matter of time until we get to see something like a televised reality show marriage happen again.

Let's go back again. This time all the way back to "Survivor The Australian Outback", when we see a girl named Amber Brkich finish in eighth (though mostly trailing the coattails of Jerri). The ratings? The best ever for a season of Survivor. The second highest ever? "Survivor Marquesas", where we see Boston Rob Mariano's debut. Four seasons later, we see Amber and Rob coupling up on All-Stars, when at the end of the season, Rob proposes to Amber. We all once again say AwwwwwBarf.

Fast forward to... well.... a Fast Forward, which is featured in "The Amazing Race." Critics who feared that this was going to be the second coming of Allison & Donny were silenced when we saw perhaps one of the best teams ever to play this game, and certainly a team that could have won had it not been for a... ahem... pilot with a change of heart and 'karma'. The ratings on this show made this the highest watched Amazing Race ever, as it should, since this was a fun season.

Hence, it's only inevitable that we are subjected to the wedding of Rob & Amber. Before you all get up in arms and complaining this Tuesday about this potential mess about to happen, all I have to say is that it's you guys who gave them the ratings and hence, the incentive to display the marriage to millions of viewers. Whether we have to deal with any more reality show weddings will all be based on whether you watch this debacle. If you don't, we'll never have to see it again.

Chances are, however, that you will... or you will tape it at least. Or you will get it off of the web site. We like to watch. We like to see people munch on animal testicles (we've done this sort of behavior for five years now). We like to see millions of dollars wagered on the turn of the card, and part of why we like to watch it is to see the torment of the people who have just seen a dream come crashing down around them. We like to see "The Surreal Life" and see a drunken Mini-Me urinate all over the floor. We like to buy William Hung albums and go to

Why do we like to do this? It's in our nature, I suppose, since I admit to watching "The Surreal Life" (though I have NEVER bought one of his albums. I did see his "We Are The Champions" video. Yikes.)

I know I will be watching Rob and Amber, because I will have to. But deep  inside, I am wondering if a part of me actually wants to see this, and hence generate more of these shows coming in.

The movie tagline for the film "Sliver" was "You Like To Watch." Though it seemed silly when it was released 15-plus years ago, the answer is yes. We do like to watch. We most certainly do.

Gordon Pepper can be reached at


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