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Reality Hit List, June 9: Blocked Entrances and Defaced PaintingsPage 4
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As for THE GUY himself, Rob Campos, he’s basically got that standard upper income bracket but not super rich thing going that’s been de rigeur on most editions of The Bachelor: lawyer, soccer player, owns own sailboat, close to family, yadda yadda – so basically out of the reach of a lot of us, but not enough so to be completely intimidating. Also in keeping in line with most The Bachelor editions, he’s nice to look at but personality-free. At this point I’m starting to feel like this show is put together by macro. Girls arrive, we’re introduced to them one by one, they settle into a gorgeous mansion, bio video of the guy, group meeting, individual time, eliminate ten people right off the bat. Along the way we get such tried-and-true reality dating show golden oldies as "I came here to meet a husband, not to make a bunch of friends!" "The gloves are going to come off!" "The game is beginning!" "Every girl you look at is your competition!" "I believe in love at first sight!" "It was overwhelming meeting them all! One’s more beautiful than the next!" "I think it’s very possible that within this group there’s a girl that could be right for me!" "This is really hard for me... I wish I had gotten to spend more time with you!" I’m pretty sure that "journey," "connection," and "soulmate" were also bandied about at some point, so really all that was missing from "Stock Reality Dating Show Answers" was "fairy tale." Seriously – this is kind of like "Instant Reality Dating Show – Just Add Manure!"
OK – so when Rob, who’s starting to rival Evan "Joe Millionaire" Marriott in the sheer inanity of most of his confessionals ("I liked her dress! It was lowcut and had a little piece of metal! It was kind of exciting!"), said about Paige, "She was nice! She had spunk!," did anyone else hear Lou Grant in their head saying, "I hate spunk!"? Meanwhile, Melanie is busy practicing her smiles because she has the goofy smile, the genuine smile, and the smile her mother says is the real her. OK, Sybil. And Stacey says if there’s a connection, "There’s no stopping us! There’s no stopping us!" Thank you, Ollie and Jerry.
I’m rewatching Rob meet woman after woman and I’m starting to think there’s nothing wrong with him that a cattle prod couldn’t cure. Seriously – "It’s nice to meet you!" and "I’m doing great!" all come out in the exactly the same tone of voice one would use to say, "The newspaper’s on the chair." Well, if this doesn’t work out, he’d fit right in at Passions.
Actually, I think Rob’s even kind of starting to look like Evan to me – or maybe I’m just on reality overload. But when the girls answered the door at lunchtime to find him there, at first I seriously thought Evan was making a guest appearance. Oh – and, "I told them that I would go around the room and have them each sit next to me for a couple minutes"? Whoopee.
Oh, pass me the sickness bag. Now Paige is telling Rob that she’s wearing a promise ring as a promise to herself that she won’t compromise herself or have sex without love, yak yak... Next week, no doubt, she’ll be walking barefoot through the forest healing the sick and communing with the animals. You know, I don’t like Paige for the same reason I don’t like Charity on Passions – in both cases, the show is ramming them down our throats as being so good, so pure, that it’s absolutely nauseating. I mean, the way this show is building her up, it’s like Paige made a wrong turn on the way to The Song of Bernadette auditions or something. "Sometimes I just don’t buy it," said Lauren about Paige. OK – Lauren can stay. She also looks so much like my former coworker Megan it’s not even funny. (That’s a good thing.)
Another thing that gets really old about this show really quick is the need to hear everyone’s opinion on everything. For example, when the checks are presented, each girl gets a confessional on what a million dollars means to her, and none of it is particularly interesting or enlightening. Then, Jordan puts the checks away in the SECRET ROOM, and as each check gets put in, each girl gets another confessional about the exact same thing, and it’s even less exciting the second go-round. This culminated in what could have been described as THE MOST DRAWN-OUT ELIMINATION ROSE CEREMONY EVER! Seriously – this thing was THIRTY-THREE MINUTES LONG – with THREE commercial breaks!!! And basically it boiled down to, "Say contestant name, compliment appearance, say one nice thing about them, expound a bit, give decision, summarize everything in voiceover." EXACT same formula. FIFTEEN times. And none of it was particularly interesting or shocking. Thank God for fast forward. Oh, and gee, wasn’t it shocking when Rob chose St. Paige over Evil Cristy at the end? It’s not like there were about a thousand Anvils of Foreshadowing predicting it or anything. Oy.
This all led to the loopy "You’ve got to see it to believe it" finale in which the losers are led to the SECRET ROOM and forced to throw their checks into the fire. They intercut shots of this with the chosen girls popping open champagne to emphasize the Cinderellaness of it all. Again, another musical cue was wasted by not using Polly Brown’s tacky 1975 disco classic, "(Up, Up,) Up In A Puff Of Smoke."
In case we didn’t get the point the first ten million times, the show ends with someone chirping in voiceover, "I had a one in fifteen chance at a million dollars! Now I have a one in ten chance at a million dollars!" Gee, thanks a heap. Never would have pieced that one together on my own.
OK, so the show did have a few genuinely fun moments – like when Erin said, "Come on – any one of us could go out there and marry a millionaire if we really wanted to," and Melissa shot back, "I can’t even find a guy that’ll hold down a steady job!" Ditto Melanie’s, "I could lunge my way around this mansion and still not have the legs that I wanted to have for this thing!" and Kirstin’s, "I don’t want to end up as the crabby aunt who has a lot of cats!" Christina also had a valid point when she pointed out the absurdity of asking your competition how you look. These were my favorite women, along with Catherine, Lauren, and, believe it or not, Kelly. I hated Kelly the first time I watched this, but the second viewing, quite honestly, I found her refreshing. I think she’s one of the best "Bad Girls" I’ve seen on a reality show in a long time – mainly, I think, because she genuinely seems to be having fun – and really, I think she seems more concerned with having fun herself than deliberately trying to stir up trouble with other people. Overall, I’m hoping this proves to be a consistently entertaining trashy trainwreck like Joe Millionaire as opposed to one that fizzles like Married By America or Mr. Personality. Either way, I’ll be back next week calling it as I see it!
Brian James is an actor/writer/singer in New York City. An avid reality show, Passions, early Ryan’s Hope, retro music, and Internet discussion board junkie, he can be found holding up "Will Snark For Food" signs in subway stations as he continues to search for that elusive "day job." Brian would like to stress that his writings are based solely on what he sees in each episode, and realizes that there may sometimes be more to the story and that people may behave quite differently under normal circumstances. Comments and cybertomatoes accepted at email@example.com.
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