Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reality Show Dating

 If there was any hope for humanity, I believe it ended when VH1 decided to green-light season three of Flavor of Love. Reality dating is depressingly shallow, wildly unrealistic, and likely responsible for a spike in venereal disease worldwide. Despite all of this, it provides some of the most entertaining television I have ever seen. Although each one attempts to distance themselves from their competition, the majority of realities dating shows contain several essential elements:

1.       There must be at least one incident where several contestants dramatically reveal that    another contestant is “not there for the right reasons.” For example, I heard that Sarah never really listened to Whitesnake!

2.       Dates are distributed based on a contestant’s ability to complete increasingly self-depreciating, and unrelated, “challenges.”  For example, the first team to successfully traffic a human spleen to a surviving member of The Cure, gets to dine with me at Fazolis!
3.       All participants are required to tape “confessional segments” which quickly reveals their inability to verbalize even the most primitive human emotions. For example, I just hope he can feel how really real my heart is right now…

4.       The shows main character will constantly reiterate that they “had no idea that it would be this hard” to indiscriminately reject potential mates based on glowing superficialities. For example, I just don’t know what to do. This is so hard!”

5.       At least one contestant will be exposed as an adult entertainer and/or still secretly married. For example, “You guys, I think Meredith is in low-budget Scandinavian porn with her secret husband!”

6.       A “host” is utilized to maintain order and aid contestants in processing the most basic information . For example, “Ladies, there is only one rose left.” Or “If you did not receive a bone saw, please pack your antibiotics and go home.”

7.       If the show is fortunate enough to be picked up for multiple seasons, there will be an ever-escalating series of “surprises” revealed to the contestants. For example, “My mom is going to be here.”  Or  “One of the meatloaf servings you ladies ate was laced with rat poison and transmission fluid..”

8.       Each show must culminate in an overdramatic elimination ceremony that involves the distribution of an inanimate object. The person who does not receive this “love token” is immediately ostracized and ejected from the property.
* In some cases a body guard can be substituted for a host. The reason for this is two-fold: It sets the stage for witty banter and allows the show’s protagonist to weed out contestants with  low-grade fever sand mouth sores.
The component that holds the most fascination for me would have to be the elimination ceremony. ABC’s The Bachelor set the standard by using the distribution of roses as a symbolic gesture of affection.  Since then it has only gone downhill….

On Rock of Love with Brett Michaels, potential mates were given backstage passes (and perhaps Chlamydia) by the aging rocker to signify that they would have the honor of continuing to compete for his affection.  
On My Antonio, which featured General Hospital star Antonio Sabato Jr., the women were summoned to the elimination ceremony by a shirtless Hawaiian native blowing into a conch shell. Once Mr. Sabato had graced the women with his insightful commentary, he would present them with a traditional Hawaiian lei and coyly informed them that they “had been laid.” Humanity is doomed……
Flavor of Love brought us the amorous pursuits of Flavor Flav, the incomparable founding member of Public Enemy and father of seven who would bestow a rather large clock on the women he favored and ask (we assume rhetorically) if they “know what time it is?”
Farmer Wants a Wife was a mercifully short lived dating show that transplanted ten “city galls” to a farm in the Midwest to compete for the affections of a ruggedly handsome farmer. In this case, the potential mates were each asked to stand behind a live chicken. Once the command was given they elevated said poultry to reveal whether or no they had received an egg.
On Megan Wants a Millionaire, wealthy men competed for the affections of Playboy Cybergirl Megan Hauserman. They were each given a comically large credit card and told to “keep their account in good standing.” If they did not project the emotional and financial depth that she required, their enormous credit card was cut in half by an equally large pair of scissors.
The other essential component of a reality dating show involves unburdening the contestants of their Christian names (and by extension, their last scrap of dignity) in favor of an insightful nickname:

Birth Name
Chandra Davis
Miguel Angel
Tool Box
Jasmine Dare
Jerri Vega
Atomic Bomb
Torrey Samuels
Midget Mac
Lamonty Council
Joshua  Gallander
White Boy

Perhaps I am being unnecessarily derogatory to the participants of such shows. Indeed several realty show contestants have used their newly acquired fame as a catalyst for their own contributions to the human race:

Contribution to Humanity
Saaphyri Windsor
Flavor of Love
Launched her own line of unisex lip balm called Saaphyri's Lip Chap. She is currently serving a three year prison term for fraud.
Ryan Jenkins
Megan Wants a Millionaire
Charged with murdering his wife and stuffing her in a dumpster. Later committed suicide in a Canadian motel room.
Jillian "Genuine" Campbell
For The Love of Ray J
Full time facilitator of a museum dedicated to go-go dancing.
Dolly Gray
Real Chance of Love
Believes that she is the human reincarnation of a horse and eats toilet paper.
Angelique Morgan
Rock of Love
Starred in Limbo Bimbos 4  & Gina’s Filthy Ho’s 4.
Destiney Moore
Rock of Love
Sells her custom handmade bandanas through the mail.
Derrick "Sinister" Tribbett
Daisy of Love
Believes a high point in his life was being urinated on by twins at a sorority party.
Jason Rosell
I Love New York
Currently tours as a motivation speaker for overweight public school children.

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