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Last night’s “The Bachelor: Paris” had a truly jaw-dropping moment.

For those of you who haven’t watched one of the last seven seasons, when the eponymous bachelor gets down to four ladies, he goes to spend some time with their families. Ostensibly, this is to observe the girls in a more comfortable setting, informing his eventual decision. In reality, it provides for some of the most awkward moments on television, and last night’s episode provided a classic.

Travis, a handsome, emergency room doctor from Nashville, goes to San Clemente, California, to meet Moana’s family. Thanks to the wonderful art of editing, we skip the small talk and go right to the juicy bits, not that her father seemed to do much but smile through tightly pursed lips. We are introduced to Moana’s father, mother, stepmother, and siblings. Almost immediately after sitting, Moana’s stepmother Virginia tells Travis that she is disgusted by the concept of the show, since it “undermines marriage and mocks families.”

Huh? Sure, the behavior on the show can be in less-than-good taste at times, although Travis has, unlike other bachelors, comported himself as a gentleman. And it’s not like this is “Married by America,” in which the audience chose who would pair up; without giving it too much credit for family values, we can still say that “The Bachelor” is all about thinking long and hard about what’s most important in a spouse and considering options carefully. As for Moana’s disgruntled stepmother, should a woman who has married a divorcee be telling Travis that he is taking part in a program that undermines marriage? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with divorce–unless, of course, you happen to be a person who claims to be extremely concerned with the undermining of marriage in this day and age. Divorce, it would seem, is high up there on the list of things that undermine marriage. And as for Travis, he holds his own, at one point responding that his parents have been married for well over 30 years and that he is taking everything very seriously.

Later at dinner, Moana’s father asks if Travis is a Christian. Travis responds that he is a Presbyterian, but that he’s open-minded. Moana’s father inquires as to what “open minded” means, and Travis explains that he keeps an open mind since he knows many good people from many religious backgrounds.

Now, editing is a funny thing, and in fact, Moana bemoans the fact that the show’s editing led to a negative portrayal of her family. (She makes that claim on her on her myspace.com page.) But, editing or no, Travis certainly had his 30 minutes in the Lion’s Den.

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