SIB will be posting musings, advice, and her thoughts here on a regular basis. Be warned, this IS a sex column and although there won’t be any steamy visuals (it’s not porn, ya know?) the text WILL be NSFW.
We all know “The Bachelor” began the crazy dating show trend. Millions of people watch these shows hoping to see that love works; that people can really make it as a couple in this crazy, mixed up world. Then, there are the rest of us, myself included, who watch for purely for trainwreck possibilties, which are usually inevitable. It’s easy to deflect intimacy through humor, and I know I use being funny as one of my number one defense mechanisms. We’ve seen all kinds of crazy dating shows pop-up since that first “most dramatic rose ceremony ever.” Just to name a few:
- Temptation Island: FOX took established couples and hot singles and placed them in a tropical paradise setting to test the strength of the relationships. Believe it or not, there were 3 seasons of this show.
- Joe Millionaire: FOX again lowers the taste bar by having a bunch of women compete for the love of a man who they believe to be super rich, but who is really a poor construction worker. It also brought us “The Slurp Heard Around The World” implying that one of the contestants gave Evan a BJ in the woods.
- Average Joe: NBC took a beauty queen and gives her a group of your average guys to choose from rather than the typical über-hunks. I thought this one had some promise, but of course half way through production brought in the male models. Guess who won out? Also – I had no idea that this crap ran for FOUR seasons!
There have been many more as well – too many to even list here. But whether it was Monica Lewinsky and her cadre of masked men on Mr. Personality, or Hype Man Flavor Flav hoping to find a jewel in the hot messes he had to choose from on Flavor of Love, most of these dating shows never lived up to the popularity of The Bachelor, but usually ended up with the same results as their mentor show: No one ever stays together.
Recently, NBC attempted to make us think they fixed the formula with their new show “Ready For Love” brought to us from Eva Longoria. Let’s bring in experienced matchmakers who will choose and coach the potential women who will be competing for the heart of a bachelor. All of the previews implied that this was the game-changer in dating shows. Since I’m a hopeless romantic and sucker for this sort of thing, I decided to tune in.
The first three hours of the series (episode 1 was 1 hour and episode 2 was 2 hours) introduce us to the three single lonely men who just can’t seem to find the right woman for them. We also see the women the matchmakers presented them to choose from, which is done without the beaus being able to see their potential dating pool. I thought that was a nice start – keep the looks out of it. However, all of these women are extremely beautiful so I don’t think the “blind” part was completely necessary.
Meet Tim. Tim is the lead guitarist and sometimes lead vocalist of the band Plain White T’s. He takes us to meet his family as well to get an idea as to “who he really is”. Basically, most of what he says boils down to whining that being in a mildly popular band means he doesn’t know if women really love him, or his fame. So, starring on a reality dating show should completely solve THAT problem (insert sarcasm font). Much to my dismay, none of his potential lovelies are named Delilah. However, one of the women, Leah, is someone he actually knew! Apparently, they had some drunken make-out sessions in the past and I can read the stalker vibe all over her face. What would Tim possibly come up with as the idea for the first date with his ladies? Oh right – a free little concert by the Plain White T’s: Real original. I would tell you more about this one, but I only lasted about 40 minutes in before I had to turn it off. Leah was left heartbroken and sent home. I’m sure she’s got her text fingers already muscled up to continue her stalking off-camera.
Meet Ernesto. Ernesto is the son of immigrants and highly successful engineer who believes in giving back to society. He possesses an accent like Antonio Banderas and has the style of a sexier version of Stephen Dorff. I’m not gonna lie here – he is HOT; Brains, accent, heart of gold, so what’s not to love? Well, he is a complete mama’s boy in a slightly creepy way and has NEVER said “I love you” to a woman. Prediction: Likely rocky roads ahead. His potential love interests include not one but TWO Miss Universe contestants (one a former Miss USA the other a former Miss Puerto Rico), a girl who wrote everything she wanted to say to him on her hand and proceeded to read it verbatim (they called her out on it), and a woman who brought an actual frog onto the stage to tell everyone she was tired of kissing him (obviously was not chosen). His date was working on a house for Habitat for Humanity and it seemed like he was making a genuine effort to get to know the ladies. At this point, I started to think that just maybe this show might have some potential. Even Katie exclaimed, “I travelled 3,000 miles to meet Ernesto. I probably would have roller bladed here if I had to.” Victoria starts to feel slighted and states that “I’m competitive, but I never thought I would have to fight for Ernesto to pick me.” Isn’t that the point of the show? Did someone not give her the memo? Eventually, in the end Enrnesto says good-bye to Victoria and her bad attitude. She proceeded to get extremely rude with him and Erica, whom he chose to keep. Ernesto admonished her and scolded her for her behavior. Again – it was totally hot and he can punish me anytime. Wanna be my Daddy, Ernesto?
Meet Ben. Ben is a businessman who built a successful shipping company with his brother in Dubai and is also the CEO of a private hospital in Texas. In addition to being a workout freak, he also shows some signs that although he has a strong business sense, he is probably a pushover in relationships. The ladies who are going to be vying for Ben’s heart include Seneca who immediately tells everyone she has made up their celebrity couple name (Beneca), an overly optimistic (read as possible psycho) who brought a ready-made “Save The Date” card for her and Ben’s wedding that would take place in one year, and his most recent ex-girlfriend (Kari) with whom things ended quite badly. Obviously, confirming my suspicions of his pushover status, Ben stupidly allows his ex to stay and compete. He takes his new and not-so-new friends on a date to complete a muddy obstacle course. Because that is the best way to talk to everyone and get to know one another, right? In addition to seemingly having no backbone and allowing Kari to lurk around all of his discussions and intimidate the others, he also asks each woman why they are still single, which is a great way of telling these potential love interests he is looking for something wrong with them. In the end choice, Kari manages to manipulate Ben’s emotions and he allows her to continue, sending Rachel off into the sunset alone.
At this point, I decided I was done. This show had so much promise and had the potential to be the heart-warming and charming show that NBC advertised. Instead, it seemed to rely on made-up and real drama and the tried and true formula that most dating shows follow. They show us that only the beautiful people are successful in finding love. The coaching of the matchmakers was mainly aimed at the women, at times making it seem that each of the contestants are their own Eliza Doolittle, needing to be made over and change to capture the heart of a man. What about finding the person who is right for you instead of turning yourself into someone that the other person wants? How about the matchmakers take some time to address the obvious issues that may be blocking these men from finding love such as Tim’s inability to trust, Ernesto’s emotional unavailability, and Ben’s lack of spine? Lucky for my readers, I did not watch episode 3. Apparently, neither did most of America – NBC has now cancelled the show and remaining episodes will roll out in various online formats weekly through June 4th. I won’t be watching.
We need a dating show that starts to look at what really does make relationships work. Why do people who already have resources, fame, money, etc. get to be the ones who receive free dating help? Get me a matchmaker for free and I bet I would find a great guy eventually. Rumors also are that Eva is now dating Ernesto – maybe this was her ultimate dating show after all!