Cupid, Episode 1: Beauty and the Bitchesby David Bloomberg -- 07/12/2003
Well, here’s a familiar looking face. It’s Simon Cowell, whose name is not exactly synonymous with “love,” and it’s finally time for the much-advertised Cupid to begin. Cowell is an executive producer and he will also be commenting on the first two shows (much to the chagrin of Fox, who passed on this show but may now be having second thoughts as the guy they made famous in the U.S. is now on a competing network).
Simon says the age of romance is dead, the dating game is a jungle. It’s embarrassing, it’s awkward, it’s ruthless. (Hmmm, kind of like Simon.) He says they are going to cut thru all of that. With the help of her two friends, we’re going to find Lisa Shannon a husband. First they have to weed out the uglies, losers, and freaks. There will be no soft focus, no violins, no mercy. Pretty much what we’d expect from Simon.
But although Simon will be adding comments at least in the first two episodes, the show has a separate host, Brian McFayden.
Here’s the scoop on the show. Lisa comes with a million-dollar dowry – only if she and last man get married and stay married for a year. Lisa and her two friends (more about them later) will narrow down the field to ten men who will live together. Then they will date and we will call in with the loser going home each week. Hmmm. That concept sounds vaguely familiar. Wonder where I’ve seen it before. Anyway, the winner will propose and, if she accepts, they’ll get married then and there.
The men each have thirty seconds to impress Lisa (though once we get into it, it sure seems longer). Laura and Kimberly are her two friends who join her. Simon calls them, “a nightmare.” Mind you, this is Simon Cowell saying that! A guy only makes it thru if at least two of the three say yes.
So why would any guy put himself through this? Lisa. She’s 25, beautiful – she has kind of a Courtney Cox thing going on. She grew up outside Detroit but has not been able to find Mr. Right. She says she’s not the greatest at picking guys. She’s also never left Detroit and so doesn’t know what else is out there. Family is a huge part of her life. She writes TV commercials.
Kim and Laura are like her sisters. Kim works on commercials at a TV studio and so knows Lisa’s creative side – Kim is a powerful dreamer. Laura is the realist. She works at salon and met Lisa there, where they clicked right away. Laura has been married and divorced, and doesn’t want to see Lisa go through that. She really cares about her.
They say the ideal guy is funny and has a great sense of humor. Mr. Wrong is a liar and a cheater. However, as we’ll see, there is a lot more than that for Laura to find wrong with guys.
OK, Simon says Lisa is ready, the rottweilers are ready, and the guys are like lambs to slaughter. First up it’s Chicago. There are a couple hundred guys in line. We meet Superdan, who has an FBI cap. We’ll meet him again later. I bet you just can’t wait.
Lisa is really excited about Chicago because there should be a good mixture of well-rounded guys. We’ll see…
Michael, 41, is a postal carrier. He comes in and is the first we see being ripped to shreds. He’s had 16 years with post office and proceeds to talk about great he is. Laura thinks he’s overconfident and asks if he can handle Lisa. He says he’s dated beautiful women. Laura touches his hair and asks if his – no, Hair Club for Men. She makes a face. So, what about past relationships? He was married – and divorced. He had a gambling problem a few years ago and she left him. Does he drink? He hasn’t had a drink since 1987. The fact that he provides the specific date of his last drink is a major clue that he’s a former alcoholic too. Laura says he’s dreaming to have Lisa as wife. He says he’s human and made mistakes. They give him three no votes.
Simon is back to tell us he had high hopes for Chicago. But then the first guy was ugly, an ex-drunk, and an ex-gambler – well done, Chicago. (Because it makes sense to judge a whole city by one guy.) But the worst is yet to come. I agree – but not only with the guys.
Superdan is back. He says the martial arts is a major part of his life. He and his friend come in to the audition room and start setting stuff up before even saying hello. The women introduce themselves, in case he was wondering, and ask about the FBI hat he’s wearing. He says it stands for “Full-Blooded Italian,” but he’s only half. Um. Okay. Then he strips to shorts and a t-shirt and starts whipping around a pole, then punches and kicks pads his friend holds. Kim and Lisa ask if he read her bio – he replies that he just saw her picture. His goal is to become the ultimate fighting champion and walk to the ring with her on his arm. Laura asks if he means like a trophy? Yes. Whoops! He tries to claim they are putting words in his mouth, but he was the one who said it! After he’s tossed, his friend tells the camera that the three women judged him because they’re insecure about themselves. Er, or maybe it was that he acted kind of like a psycho.
Dominic, 21, is next. Before going in, he tells us he’s bringing two special people from his life because Lisa did the same. He walks in with a picnic, including a blanket, candles, and wine. He’s going for a Master’s for entrepreneurship (you can get a degree in that?) and wants to open up a restaurant. Kim says 21 is a bit young, is he ready for marriage? Yes, and he wants children. They ask if he is close to his family. This makes a good opening for him to bring in the two girls who are special in his life, his mom and his little sister who has some sort of impairment (maybe Downs). He says Mom teaches him what is right in life and sister Julie teaches him not to take things for granted and that the simple things in life are great. Laura says she is trying to find something to pick him apart and can’t – he’s first to make it.
Lisa says had hoped there would be hundreds of Dominics, but it’s more like looking for needle in haystack. We see several more guys, including one who says he doesn’t even know how old he is. (And from the look on his face, he probably doesn’t!)
Simon is back, saying that Lisa is one of most beautiful people he’s ever met, intelligent, has a million dollar dowry, and this is what guys do to impress her? We see a guy with kazoo, some bad singing, bad poetry, etc. One guy strips to his underwear and shakes his booty. Laura rips into them repeatedly. One guy tells the others outside waiting just how brutal she is.
And here comes a perfect example of that brutality – and not in a funny, “let’s make fun of the loser” type of way, either. Kevin is a massage therapist who brings his own massage chair. Kim jumps in and he starts giving her a massage. They ask him questions. He hasn’t been married but he has a daughter. Does he provide child support? Yes. But she lives in the mountains and he goes out every three months for about five days.
Here is where I think Lisa and Laura just go overboard. Lisa starts to lecture him on being a parent, as if she knows everything in the world about it and about him and his specific situation. She talks about how hard it is being a parent and how horrible it is that the mother has the kid almost all the time. Um, Lisa, you know nothing about this guy or the woman or their relationship or why the daughter lives far off with her mom, so get off your friggin’ high horse. Then she self-righteously asks him if he knows what happens when you have sex. He replies, “I’ll show you what happens.” In my opinion, he was kind of trying to lighten the mood, but Kim – the only one who hears him since Lisa and Laura are too busy still being self-righteous – doesn’t take it that way. She tells him to get out while Lisa says he makes her sick.
OK, since they were on their soapbox, I’ll get on mine: Get over yourself! He has a daughter and that daughter and her mother live elsewhere. What should he do? Move out there? Maybe he should, but the women didn’t give him a chance to explain anything. Frankly, it’s ridiculous and makes me not care a whole lot about Lisa or whether she finds the right guy.
Kevin folds up the chair saying, “These poor men,” and then tells the other guys about how he saw the evil in Lisa. Simon then comes back and calls him “creepy Kevin.” Excuse me? I guess they edited out the part about him that was “creepy.” Simon continues that Kevin nearly drove Lisa off the show. Oh please. You know, Lisa should just marry Simon – they seem perfect for each other.
Ken, a trader, is next. He brings single long-stem roses for the women and says he is doing his dream job, as is Lisa (I guess that was in her bio). She loves that he loves his job. He wants to live in a hut in the Caymans with his family, kids running around in little grass skirts. Hmmm. Anyway, she loves him and they all say yes. Privately, she says he is a tall drink of water.
Back to Simon again, who says that what he likes about this country is if you get knocked down, you get back up. Michael, the ex-drunk ex-gambler we saw earlier, is back. He brings a rose for Lisa. Laura asks if he showered before he came. “Obviously, c’mon, I’m not a pig.” Laura says obviously he didn’t. OK, he admits it. (Wow, he sure held out long on that one.) She says to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” He does and when he gets to “one, two, three strikes, you’re out,” Laura and Kim join in and point to the door. Ouch. Wonder how long they’d planned that one or if they used it on other guys we just didn’t see.
Lisa says a lot of guys think they’re God’s gift to women. But she’s more interested in a guy who is more interested in people other than himself. Joe, 25, in real estate development, says he wants somebody who believes in relationships, not infidelity. He doesn’t mind if she works but doesn’t want his kids calling a nanny “mom.” He brought his family with him – brothers and sisters. Lisa asks one sister to tell an embarrassing story. His sister says he can be annoying (oh, that’s a way to sell him to the women!) and gives big hugs. The three women think he’s cute and loves his relationship with his family and welcome him to Cupid.
Moving on, Kim says you can find out a lot about a guy by what he is willing to reveal about himself. Hank is another trader (options), with five sisters and two brothers. He brought a picture of himself at age seven with the first shark he caught. It’s something he kept from his dad, who died when Hank was 17. Lisa asks if she can hug him and they welcome him to Cupid. Lisa says he understands importance of family, is a hard worker, and a genuine and honest guy.
So found four guys in Chicago. Next up is Miami.
Once again, we meet a few real losers in line. One is dressed in a grass skirt and makeup. Oh my.
First up for the cameras in the audition room is Jose, 24, a singer who brought his own CD. He says he’s going to be her Spanish lover. This does not immediately start the women swooning. In fact, they point out that this isn’t a soap opera tryout. Laura tells him to go out and come in again, hoping for something better. Nope. She thinks his accent is a fake. He starts singing and actually does better than some on Fame. But is he a triple-threat? Maybe a spoiler? Never mind. Anyway, Kim and Laura think he’s fake, and Laura makes fun of him as if he were a soap actor. He’s gone.
We see several loser clips in quick succession. One guy admits he wants to be on TV. Lisa doesn’t like one guy who is 5’8”, saying he’s too short. So I guess being under 6’ means you’re a loser like the weirdos. Yeah, I’m really getting the good vibes from Lisa now.
The next guy is about to go in and he has a handful of what he thinks are flowers but the host says are weeds. He decides to leave them behind. OK, so what’s he do for a living? He’s a groundskeeper at the Orange Bowl. The host can’t understand how he couldn’t tell flowers from weeds, but the guy says he doesn’t work with flowers, he works with grass. The host says he can tell. Heh.
Once he gets in to the audition room, he tells the women he hasn’t been on a date since 1983. Frankly, this guy scares me just through the TV. He’s 44. but he can tell them how to keep their youthful looks and never get old. Well, he can’t say it on TV, but in person, because of legal actions. Um… He takes the three “no”s well, which is good, ‘cus I would have been worried to be in the room with him.
Micah, 22, an art auction manager, is next, dressed in a white suit and hat. He pulls a lei out of his hat – literally (Laura points out that it’s fake flowers). He reads a poem that sounds kind of like he used a random word generator to create it. Laura asks about the suit and he says used to work in suit store. Laura asks, “for Pimps and hos?” He takes it well and just says he’s not a pimp and doesn’t hang out with hos. He talks about the stigmata of age. They laugh at him and ask if he knows what the word means. They point out that he meant “stigma” and explain “stigmata” to him. Sorry, that’s three “no”s. After leaving the room, the host says now he knows the true meaning of “stigmata” because “brother, you just got crucified.” Ouch.
The women are hoping and praying for a good guy when a former college football player comes in (I couldn’t see his name ‘cus we had a storm warning symbol blocking it – maybe Nate). He’s getting his real estate license and says he’s family-oriented. Lisa says yes while the friends are on the fence, so they agree.
Paco, 25 and a bartender, thinks some of the other guys are kind of goofy. He brings his mom and his best friend, who looks like a surfer dude (long blonde hair with a knit cap). The friend says he’s there to make sure they don’t tear him up. Paco is covered by tattoos and I’m just waiting for them to rip him apart and send him home. His mom’s portrait is tattooed on his arm – he got it for Mother’s Day. He adds that his mom is a single mom and a big part of his life. He and his roommate just opened their own shipping company, and he says he’s ready for marriage. Mom says he’s hubby and father material. All three surprise me by saying yes. Privately Lisa says that under normal circumstances she probably wouldn’t have stopped to talk to him, but that’s what this is about. Oh, really? I thought it was about insulting guys.
Speaking of which, we have Darren, 36, a chiropractor who brings his mom (though she doesn’t come in with him right away). He brings her orchids and talks about how he saw them and had to bring them and went to a lot of trouble to pick those out. Laura points out that you don’t tell somebody that you went thru a lot of trouble to pick something out – you should do that. He agrees and tries to move on. He brought a chiropractic adjustment table and will turn their power on. Lucky them. Laura says she doesn’t like him, he looks like he had plastic surgery. Also, his pants are too tight, high waisted, and too short. Mom comes in and says this is not nice – he’s a great guy and they are not giving him a chance. Laura says they both used the same plastic surgeon. Ouch.
Simon chimes in that he knew she was gonna be a handful. She’s aggressive, nasty, ruthless, a bitch. His kind of girl (he actually says that, it’s not an editorial comment on my part). We see a bunch of clips of her being a bitch while a song about being a bitch plays in the background. OK, we get it. She’s a bitch. I won’t disagree! She calls people freak, boring, loser, loser, loser, etc. One guy says she hasn’t gotten any in a while so she had to take it out on guys. Well, that’s one possible explanation, I suppose. Or she’s just a bitch, as we said.
Coming off the loser segment, we have Mike, a traveling ski instructor, who goes in to talk about the many places he’s been. Lisa asks how he would support a family. He says he can work anywhere, even Antarctica. Lisa asks why he’s take his family to Antarctica?! The women say he’s not a family man, he’s not even home. He interrupts Lisa to show a picture of himself skiing. Laura asks to see it, takes it, rips it up. They tell him to leave. He ignores them. They say no again. He says they are losers. The host comes in to tell him to go. He says he has more stuff. Kim says they don’t care. He says they care but they’re in denial. So the security guard comes in to take him. He does a handstand. Yes, you read that right. Laura is like, “Hmm, maybe I should give him a try now.” Yeah, that was sarcasm. He says Lisa’s missing out on best guy on the planet. Uh, yeah, sure. Out with the other guys who have yet to go in, he says he’s really pissed off.
Certainly we’ve had enough losers, right? Yes. Darren is a 28-year-old equities trader (it seems like being a trader gives you an edge in this competition) who grew up in London and went to law school in Chicago. He brings a toy that is two teddy bears together, and if you push a paw they sing “I Got You Babe.” Three “yes” votes.
So with that, they got three guys from Miami. Next week is New York and L.A. to add to the seven they’ve already picked. From the previews, it looks like we can see more losers and Laura being a bitch again. Woohoo. I can hardly wait.
It appears I was not the only one not overjoyed by this show. While I can’t say how many turned it on and then turned it off, the ratings do tell a story of a show that did not premiere particularly well, though not horrible. Despite the huge amount of advertising and the inclusion of well-known Simon (or maybe because of his participation), Cupid only ranked second in the timeslot – behind a rerun of Law & Order. The show did beat L&O in the 18-34 age bracket, at least, but it lost viewers from Big Brother, airing before it and was the lowest premiere of the six reality shows on the major networks that bowed this summer.
When contacted about the less-than-great ratings, Simon Cowell said it was because “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was not the show’s theme song, and that if it had been, they’d have been number one.
OK, that’s not true, but considering how he made the same ridiculous claim when talking about the Ruben vs. Clay sales battle a couple weeks ago, it wouldn’t surprise me if he has a similar excuse this time.
By now, you’ve probably gotten a feel for my opinions of this show. They’ve tried to merge American Idol and various dating shows, but they are focusing, as AI did, on the guys who are not among the best. AI did this for far too long this season, and I think the same is true here. We didn’t need two full hours to see the guys being slammed. In fact, because of it I now don’t particularly care if Lisa finds her soulmate or not, and that should be a key factor in getting people involved in the show! Maybe I’ll feel differently once the first round is over, but then again, I might not continue watching it by that point, and other viewers might feel the same way. One major point is that it’s one thing to rip guys who truly deserve it – as some of them did. But to rip guys for horrible reasons like these three women did, it just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Luckily, I’m just filling in for this first episode, so I can go gargle some mouthwash and had it off to Bruce Barker, who will be taking it over next week. Maybe he’ll have a better feeling about it than I do.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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