The honeymoon is over for the current incarnation of ABC's The Bachelor as far as viewers are concerned, with message boards for the show loudly deriding the series – and the bachelor himself – as degrading.
"I think (Charlie) is the typical guy that most women try to avoid and yet these women are throwing themselves at him," reads one posting.
This season, sometime actor Charlie O'Connell – and younger brother of Crossing Jordan's Jerry O'Connell – is wooing his bachlorettes in a fashion much less formal than that of bachelors past. Rather than jet-set ski lodges and beach resorts, Charlie has brought his dates to a brewery, a bowling alley (as was the case this week) – and to his apartment.
"I don't get the feeling that he is really ready to settle down or serious about finding a long-term mate," declares one observer on the show's Web site. Other posts call Charlie "dumb," "gross," a "stinky slob," a "pig," and a "creep."
But it's not just the bachelor who's gone low-end. The entire atmosphere on the show, now in its seventh season, seems different: Limos have been replaced by taxis, and surprise rose ceremonies often catch the bachelorettes in tube tops instead of fancy dresses.
If ratings are any indication, audiences aren't happy with the new format. Some 7.5 million viewers watched Monday's episode, according to early Nielsen estimates. The Bachelor peaked in 2002, with 16.8 million viewers.
Still, not everyone is put off the show's earthier feel. "I don't know why everyone thinks it is such a bad season," posits Italygurl111 on the show's message boards. "Every other season was so like a fairy tale. He is just being real and not putting on a show."
As for the network, ABC told the Post that Charlie, who will make his final choice live on the show's finale next month, is "dating two (of the) women now."