I’m not sure which is more amusing: this blog post about TV’s worst pronoun-abuse offenders, or the fact that it’s posted on Patheos, “the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs.”
Sadly, it does little to strengthen my belief (or faith) in the sturdiness of English grammar – at least not in the context of TV romance-seekers.
The Bachelorette: Where Proper Grammar Goes to Die
When Emily Maynard sent Sean Lowe home last week, hearts melted and Nora Ephron turned over in her grave. According to US Magazine, Emily apparently borrowed a line from her movie “You’ve Got Mail,” to send him home in the limo of shame.
Emily said to Sean:
“I want you to know that I wanted it to be you so bad.”
The Meg Ryan character said to the Tom Hanks character in “You’ve Got Mail:”
“I wanted it to be you… I wanted it to be you so badly,”
Did you detect a very small difference? Emily shouldn’t have “wanted it to be you so bad,” because “bad” is an adjective and the adverb “badly” would’ve more appropriately explained the degree to which she wanted it to work. Of course, a missing syllable in a moment of heartbreak is no big deal, except that the producers of the Bachelor apparently look for five criteria in their contestants:
- Hot body
- A desire to “be there for the right reasons”
- The willingness to call other people out for “not being there for the right reasons”
- Inability to know when to use a nominative case pronoun or an objective case pronoun in a sentence
Numbers 2 through 5 are non-negotiable, but sometimes skipping Number 1 adds a little drama to the season (examples: Wes Hayden; Justin “Rated-R” Rego, Casey Shteamer).
In fact, Bachelor pronoun abuse is so frequent it almost seems purposeful. Here are real examples from the seasons I’ve watched:
“Everything feels good with Jillian and I right now. Everything feels good.”
“Today is all about Michelle and I.”
“Brad and I’s relationship is really moving forward.”
Note: using the nominative case “I” when an objective case “me” is correct is the “Smart Person’s Grammatical Error.” I know countless, very intelligent people who make this mistake because it sounds more sophisticated. What, however, can explain these?
“While you guys go find tequila, me and Jake are going to go for a little trip.”
“Me and Jillian, we had a great conversation.”
“I feel like after talking to Mike tonight, him and I have a lot more in common.”
“Me and Ashley were horrified to find out we had the two-on-one date.”
It’s gotten so noticeably bad that people have Tweeted in protest:
I share Joshua’s sentiments. To watch The Bachelorette on a weekly basis, one must suspend disbelief about the appropriate dating time frame before engagement, about how many people a person may simultaneously date, and about how wide one can open one’s mouth while kissing while the act is still considered a kiss and not something that Miami Police might attribute to bath salts.
Because we’ve temporarily suspended our beliefs about how people romantically go together, it was just too easy to suspend our beliefs in how words grammatically go together. Week after week, we’re assaulted by incorrect usage, and we’ve been desensitized to what’s correct.
What’s next? Will we suddenly think it’s permissible to talk on our cell phones in public restrooms? Is it really that terrible to chew with one’s mouth open? Plus, I looked good in shoulder pads back during the Reagan administration.
Another season of this, and I’ll be wearing a Snuggie, talking during movies, asking non-pregnant women when they’re due.
Does anyone know any English teachers who’d like to be the next Bachelor or Bachelorette? Please, for the love of all that is grammatically holy, give Chris Harrison a call.