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Are You Hot?, Episode 1: The Meat Market Beginsby David Bloomberg -- 02/15/2003
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Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People premiered Thursday night against Survivor: The Amazon and numerous other popular shows. We'll discuss the ratings and that programming decision later in this article, but for now let's just look at the show itself.
The two-hour special was broken down into a "Countdown to Hotness" in the first hour, and then the first actual rankings, for "Hot Zone 1" - or what they loosely term "The Northeast" (I say loosely because they have Illinois, among others in this "Northeast" - they only have four Hot Zones).
We are introduced to the show with an explanation that they are looking for America's next male and female sex symbols. There will be no singing, no dancing, no telling jokes. Sex appeal is the only thing that matters. Each week 32 hopefuls culled from the thousands who applied across the country will be put in front of the judges to see if they are hot or not.
Those judges are Rachel Hunter, former supermodel and ex-wife of Rod Stewart; Randolph Duke, fashion designer; and Lorenzo Lamas, "international heartthrob." I wonder what the pay scale for "international heartthrob" is, and where do you sign up? It seems a rather odd job description.
After this introduction, we get… an introduction. Huh? Yes, now the host, JD Roberts, tells us all the same stuff we just heard. Apparently, ABC thinks the viewing public has a very short attention span.
We begin in Southern California for the first round of tryouts. Frankly, the butts and boobs and abs just kind of fly by, so there is little point in mentioning most of their names or descriptions. We'll just say there are some hot people there, and some who just think they are. Some of them, such as Selena the cocktail waitress, Candace the bartender, and Krystal the hairdresser, talk about themselves and why they are hot. Shawn says she feels bad hanging out with ugly people because if she gets all the attention they probably feel even uglier. It would suck to be ugly, she says. Maybe, but it would suck even more to be as shallow as a puddle in the desert.
We hear some snippets from our judges. Lorenzo, who is apparently supposed to be the Simon Cowell of the group, says finding the hottest people is not brain surgery. Ah, well, then they picked the right non-brain surgeon for the job. Rachel says she knows what it feels like to be critiqued. OK, so she is the Paula of the group. I guess that makes Randolph the Randy… hey - Randolph/Randy… Hmmm. Anyway, he says he is not a person to be blunt, but…
Next stop is Dallas, for more of the same. Oh, look, some of the losers are talking to the cameras about how wrong the judges were. Wonder where the producers got that idea! The theme in Dallas seems to be muscles, muscles, muscles.
When the folks from the Southwest Hot Zone meet the judges for pre-judging for the first time, Lorenzo tells one guy his hair it too Fabio. The guy asks if he can ask a question. "No!" says Lorenzo.
They critique abs, butts, and Lorenzo even suggests one girl should have a phone number of 976-SLUT. How clever. Rachel says that if one woman wants to do the stripper thing, she should get a pole in her bedroom and do it for her boyfriend (rather than on the show for them). Okay, maybe she's not quite the Paula of the group…
Next up is the Southeast, where Miami is the first stop. Lorenzo shares with us that he has a problem with silicone and collagen - if it doesn't look natural, they're out of there. Rachel says that arrogance is a turnoff. Then we are treated to lots of contestants smacking their own butts. Hey, I can't make this stuff up.
Atlanta gives us more of the same. There is one blonde who definitely fits the stereotype. She is apparently asked why guys like her and tells the camera, "Guys like everything about me because… uh… uh… uh… … …"
Now it's time for the Southeasterners to face the panel. Rachel finds one to be too cocky. Randolph says he doesn't want to say too much because he doesn't want to send them into therapy. Lorenzo retorts, "That's my job." And indeed Lorenzo is shown insulting a number of the contestants as the good Simon-wannabe he is. He frequently repeats, "This is going to be a problem." The only one worth mentioning is when he asks one woman, "Did you get those big boobs because you thought you needed to match your behind?" The only reason I bother to mention even that one is because the woman answered, "Yes." Oookay.
We move on to the Northwest and stop in Seattle. More of the same. Another dumb one saying, "In front of the camera I feel the most comfortablest." The she talks about her "most funnest experience." No, Melissa from Joe Millionaire has not found a side job. Randolph notes, "If you have a tendency to stick your foot in your mouth, I'd say, 'Zip it!'"
Next we are treated to shots of a number of different twins, both guys and girls. Well, that was exciting.
On to Denver, where the only thing worth mentioning is a belly dancer who is not in the prime of her belly dancing years holding a snake.
The Northwesterners face the judges. Again, more of the same. Randolph pulls out the old joke and tells one woman she has "a face for radio." Lorenzo tells one woman he doesn't care about her clothes because he's "imagining you not wearing them anyway." I guess sexual harassment isn't a big worry in this particular job.
Time for the Northeast, beginning in New York. Yes, more of the same. Oh, and some home videos for those who couldn't come to the tryouts. Nothing special to report, though.1 2 3 Next-->
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