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Cupid, Episode 2: Shooting Arrows in Men’s Heartsby Bruce Barker -- 07/21/2003
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He was nervous. He’d been admiring her for days and was completely taken with everything about her. The slightest toss of her hair or a casual nibbling of a pencil when working through a problem was enough to make him stare in fascination. Every waking minute seemed filled with thoughts of her. The young man was hooked and completely twitterpated. In short, he had it bad and that ain’t good. His best friend, noticing the changes in him, finally lost patience and said, “Just go over and talk to her! Ask her out!” He stared at his friend in horror. “Are you insane? What if she says no? What if she laughs? Oh God, what if she doesn’t like me or tells her friends I’m a jerk or makes fun of me or…”
This scene is replayed every day in every single high school in the world. There isn’t a guy anywhere who hasn’t felt that moment of sheer terror when he has to decide whether to step forward and declare his interest or let his desire remain unrequited. As we mature into manhood the experience is condensed into a few moments of nervousness in a public forum, or drowned in the courage that comes out of a shot glass in a bar, but it nevertheless remains with us. Our entire bodies transform into one giant white knuckle of tension and once the process begins ignoring the feeling is not an option. The fact that the young lady in question almost never responds with scorn or derision doesn’t matter nearly as much as the possibility that she could.
Cupid, Simon Cowell’s first American foray outside the world of American Idol, does its level best to set the dating process back centuries. It’s the show that makes men long for the good old days when things were a lot easier. No, I’m not talking about thirty or forty years ago, I’m talking about the good old days. Cupid is the sort of program that makes men think, “You know, it was so much simpler when we could just sneak up behind them, club ‘em in the head, and drag them back to the cave.”
For those who missed the first episode, or are trying to decide whether or not to watch the show, be aware that the premise is very simple. A very attractive and desirable woman sits awaiting suitors. As is so often the case, she is surrounded by her friends, and the men must walk up to her in front of God and everybody to try to break the ice. She looks like a million bucks, and in fact, since this is a reality dating show, that’s what she’s going to be worth to the lucky man she chooses.
The lady in question is Lisa Shannon. She is an intelligent auburn-haired beauty with a formidable smile that is almost guaranteed to stop traffic. One look at her and it’s easy to see why brave men throughout time have been willing to cross oceans, fight wars, and ride out to slay dragons for a chance at a lady’s hand.
Those dragon slaying skills may just be needed before it’s over, for she is indeed in the company of a real fire-breather. She has two friends to help her make her choices. The “safe” one is named Kimberly Tarter, and she patiently gives each potential suitor a moment or two to introduce himself and state his case before she makes her comments. She’s relaxed and understated and looks as if at any moment she might burst out with, “This one time… at band camp…” Her claws are sharp, but reserved for only those occasions when they are really needed. She isn’t the problem with Cupid.
Lisa’s other friend is Laura Restum, and I double-checked several times to be certain it was an “s” and not a “c” in her last name. She is a fire-breathing, razor-clawed, vicious creature who wouldn’t hesitate to stomp flat anyone who gets in her way. Basically, she has all the qualities that made the citizens of Tokyo run in screaming terror in those cheesy Godzilla movies. I’m sure her momma thinks she’s very sweet, but trust me on this: Simon didn’t pick her for her warm and fuzzy nature. I’d nominate her for our Reality TV Hall of Shame, but I’m worried she’d cook and eat some of the earlier inductees. There are some things that even Marcellas Reynolds doesn’t deserve. She makes Don Rickles look like Steve from Blue’s Clues.
This week’s episode takes the trio to New York City and Los Angeles in search of a prince for Lady Lisa. After a brief recap of last week’s winners and losers, the “audition” process begins and the men begin doing their best to stand out from the pack. After this final audition episode, the winners will continue on with one guy being eliminated by phone-in vote each week.
The first lamb to the slaughter this episode is Christopher. He gives them each flowers and then shows Lisa his heart – literally. He has a tattoo of a broken heart and wants to be able to have Lisa’s name written across it to mend it. Sorry, buddy - that line may work in the Brooklyn Bimbo Barn, but it won’t fly here. As he shows them his heart, they show him the door.
Steve walks in next and begins spreading broken cardboard boxes on the floor. Once he has them laid out in what still appears to be a completely random fashion, he begins to breakdance. In less than 20 seconds he displays all the hallmark symptoms of a yak having a seizure. He rises to his feet and proudly proclaims that he’s a failed copywriter and wants to “bask” in Lisa’s success. The women greet him with a stony silence and Laura escorts him out.1 2 3 Next-->
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