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Thursday, April 11, 2013

TV Review: Ready For Love

This is the only time Eva will be on screen for this show.

Let's see: a TV show about three bachelors who are rich, good looking, and emotionally available?

Finally, TV is giving help to people who need it.

Ugh.

Ready For Love, a new reality romance competition in the vein of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, is executive produced by Eva Longoria. The claim is that they want to do a better job than those shows, and really find someone that's a good match. 

Aw, look at the poor, I mean rich, bachelors.
The premise is that each of the three bachelors, a rock star, a philanthropist, and a hospital administrator, will be assisted by three professional matchmakers. Each of the matchmakers selected four candidates for each bachelor out of the claimed thousands. Most have traveled very far, some claim to have quit their jobs to participate. That sounds nuts to me, but it is TV after all.

This is straightforward reality TV fare. Sexual innuendos are par for the course, and the obligatory "we'll find out after the break" happens again and again. Much of the show is in front of a live audience, so very sincere there. 

Interesting aspects are that in the first show, the first bachelor has to talk to the four candidates from each matchmaker dating-game style, with them behind a wall where he can hear but not see them. They make their pitch, and he asks some questions, then selects the three he wants to stay.

All of the best women
come out of the floor
What's up with people coming out of the floor these days? Maybe I'm overstating it, but it seems like a lot of reality and game shows have people rise from the floor. Most recent is The Taste, and now Ready For Love. The ladies rise from the floor then leave the same way if they don't make it. I guess it's better than spinning around in a chair.

Now, you can probably tell that from the start, I'm ready to hate on this show. It's got everything I would never want - produced emotions, setting people up in a forced competition, acting like somehow this is real. I do think it's funny that TV produces shows where women are treated like property. Even though this show is supposed to be different than previous shows of this type, with the cattle call mentality of selecting the women, the game show dimensions, I feel like I'm watching a variation of ancient Roman Colosseum entertainment. I'm not saying I think it's immoral, and of course all of the participants must know what they signed up for. Still, it's just an awful premise. Using love for a TV show is bad enough, but at least The Dating Game understood where the relationships they tried to create existed. One date, maybe one more, and then they were on their own.

I assume that the bachelors aren't required to get married if they don't find someone. But how disappointed would the producers, participants, and audience be if they didn't?

I will give props to one aspect of the first episode. The first bachelor, Tim Lopez of The Plain White T's seemed to have cradar. That's crazy radar. Of course, it could have been the producers who led me to that conclusion, but you know how when you meet certain people, you just know they are way too crazy to hang out with? None of these women seemed like they were meth heads or back street mauls. But Tim manages to avoid the more subtle, needy crazy three of the bunch. Maybe that's not quite fair for the young woman from Arizona who is apparently a radio personality; she was just goofy, and in her group, the probably crazy needy one was the woman who Tim already knew. 

I'm not crazy. I just left my child at home to come and tell
you I've been in love with you for 6 years on national TV.
That's right, one of the ladies, Leah, is apparently someone who the bachelor already knew, and if I'm reading between the lines correctly, they definitely hooked up. Since Tim claims he can count his women on one hand, that's pretty huge, and if he hadn't selected her, he would have come across as a real heel. Pretty tough position they put him in.

But the other two rejections were one woman who said her last ex cheated on her and she's just gotten over it. Perfect for a touring rock star, right? No, not right. The other was kind of angry in her video, demanding and asking "why hasn't she found love?" No craziness there.

Again, it could be what the producers selected, but it was the one bright spot in the show - someone who didn't automatically go for the most crazy women.

Something that also occurred to me is that the show kind of portrays these women as stalkers. They come in already "in love" with Tim. Everything they say is about how they're going to get him, and while it's understandable given that this is a competition, at the same time, it's kind of creepy. This gets reinforced with the selected nine move in to the house they're staying in for the competition. Everything around them is about Tim: photos of him, albums from the Plain White Ts, musical equipment. Add some candles and a dead cat and this is a "Tim Lopez Murder House™". Seriously, this stuff is weird.

Normal, psychopath,
Mad Men wanna be.
It goes further. Two of the matchmakers, Matt Hussey and Amber Kelleher-Andrews, were very mercenary about their advice for dating. Matt was almost Machiavellian; he tells them to stay away from logic, and stick with emotions. Which sounds okay at first, but the way he puts it, it seems like he's telling them to manipulate Tim. Shades of The Art of Seduction.

Amber's advice was to talk about branding. Really? Yes, that's not untrue, but again, it's more about competition than it is about determining if Tim is right for them. It's as though both of these matchmakers assume Tim is perfect for these girls.

The third matchmaker, Tracy McMillan, gave what sounded like the best advice: be in the moment. Again, a small glimmer of hope that this isn't all just about making "good" TV.

And then, the weirdest thing happens: they do a group date, where Tim and his band plays for them. What?! I'm a musician and performer. Let me say that a date which is a performance is weird. WEIRD. Even when they know you're good, it's totally unbalanced. But it's even weirder when you have nine women as your audience. Who are all competing for your affection. And there are no other people there.

Hey. I thought a good way to get to know me was watching
me do something without you and then have you tell me about it.
What?!

I once had two women who were interested in me at a show, and not only was that extra weird, but I lost both of them (I know, humble brag). Only TV could force women to stay in that situation. Let's admit it then - this isn't a date, it isn't about discovering what's real about love. It's the same stunt laden malarkey that you expect from a show like this.

I won't go on. I watched the show all the way through, but I don't think I need to say any more.

If you like this kind of show, this is another one. If it's any better, it's only incremental. If you like The Bachelor or its ilk, you'll probably enjoy this, too. Not me, though.

Ready For Love
NBC

4 out of 10 elevators

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