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For Love or Money: It Couldn’t Have Been Scripted Betterby David Bloomberg -- 09/09/2003
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For Love or Money is over – the show ended the way it was supposed to. Erin picked Chad because he was the man she was falling in love with, rather than Wade, who would have just been a fallback so she could get the money. And then Chad picked Erin, after a suitable fake on his part to make it look like he was going to go for the money (I have to admit, I’m still wondering if he was going to take the money but then the pouty look on Erin’s face changed his mind). The two of them will hopefully live happily ever after, though of course we know that’s a rarity on reality TV dating shows.
But let’s look at the entire show, from the start of the first series right through the end of this one. I contend that this show could not have turned out better had it been scripted – and I also wonder if the producers didn’t know that from the beginning.
We’ll start with Rob. He’s a good enough looking guy, but when he opens his mouth you know you’ve got trouble. To make things worse, when he gets a bit of alcohol in his system, he gets grabby. The more the first series wore on, the less viewers liked him and the more they rooted for whichever woman he picked to dump him for the million bucks. Then we have the coincidence that Rob’s past sleazy behavior was revealed just before the episode in which he acted sleazy. It couldn’t have been scripted better. Was it really a surprise to NBC, or did they leak that information to The Smoking Gun? Obviously I don’t know, but it certainly didn’t hurt the ratings.
So, we have millions of viewers hoping that Rob would pick Erin – who had been shown to be faking her feelings for him so she could win the money. But we all had been led down the path that he would likely pick starry-eyed Paige.
We tuned in and watched as Rob did the unthinkable – he went with Erin. Erin did exactly what she was supposed to do – she dumped Rob. A cheer went up across this land!
But what about Erin? Sure, she got the million, but she had come looking for love. The producers had that one well in hand. They brought Erin back and gave her a second shot. She could find that true love – and she could even end up with more money as well!
Erin began thinking mostly about the money. We saw her gradually change her tone from one of picking the “sure thing” who would definitely pick her and thus give her two million dollars, to leaning the other way. For me, the key was when she sent Eric packing. He had shown that he liked her a lot and he had made a comment about how no amount of money could buy him off. Sounded like a sure thing to me! But she gave him the boot. Why? She was more interested in the other three.
Even when it came to Rob, she didn’t give him the boot right away, but allowed him to stick around a bit longer so they could talk more. The woman who had tried to use the ice queen personality was now melting. She wasn’t there for the money anymore. She was there for love.
So at the end, when she was left with Chad and Wade, the ending was obvious. She could have chosen Wade and probably gotten the money. But she had to choose Chad. We could see it in the way they talked, in the way they interacted. When Wade came down for Erin’s final decision, she greeted him with a hug. When Chad came down, she greeted him with a big kiss on the lips. The answer was clear.
But the story would not be complete until Chad agreed to pick her over the money. He hemmed and hawed and faked her out, but in the end, he chose her. And to “prove” that she just wasn’t in it for the money, she gave him ¼ of it (no, not a half – half of the part that she won this time around).
Will they live happily ever after? Who knows. Once the pressures of being separated from their real lives is released, anything can happen. But they have a good start and both seem to be sincere. The only thing left on the script is a big wedding televised (perhaps next summer) on NBC.
So, do I think the show was scripted? No. Do I think the producers knew what they were doing? Damn straight. I think they cast Rob knowing full well that he would not be a sympathetic character. They were hoping the woman he picked would turn him down. They wanted that woman to be sympathetic herself so they could lead directly into FLoM 2, but if she wasn’t, I’m sure they could have found a way to get somebody who was (for example, if he had picked Paige, they could have still gone with Erin for the second series by saying Paige had her million, now it was time for Erin to have a shot). The show might not follow a script, but I certainly believe you can predict in what direction certain things will go. The producers for this series are reality show veterans – they knew what they were doing.
In the end, everybody I’ve talked to has been happy with the outcome. No, it wasn’t scripted. But if it had been, it couldn’t have turned out any better.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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