TUBE TALK - Dating: The New Blood Sport
TUBE TALK With John T. Forde
Dating: The New Blood Sport
If you’ve been put through the romantic grinder lately – or even if you’re a dried up loveless old cadaver – take comfort in The Bachelor (TV2, Mondays, 9.30pm) and Joe Millionaire (TV3, Tuesdays, 8.30pm) – two fabulously sadistic dating shows that’ll have you laughing hard into your empty vodka bottles.
Both shows have the same evil premise. Take an implausibly good looking guy, give him a haircut and an Armani suit, and set him up with 25 desperate single women who fight each other like hellcats to win his wedding proposal.
“I’m bored with the singles scene and going on blind dates to find me a maaah-an!” one of the Bachelorettes moaned. Exactly. Why put yourself through the humiliation of dating in private when you can humiliate yourself on TV in front of millions of people?
Alex, the first season’s Bachelor, was creepy and manipulative, with big goggly eyes like a Thunderbird puppet. This time, the producers have gone with safer, blander fare – Aaron Buerge, a strapping blonde giant with a personal fortune, a cute country boy accent, and dazzlingly white teeth.
In each episode, Aaron takes the women through a succession of unbelievably tacky dates, usually involving hot air balloons, fooling around in hot tubs and drinking daiquiris with little cocktail umbrellas. (It’s like The Love Boat, circa 1983, when Julie the cruise director was doing a lot of coke.)
The women, who are mostly ex-beauty queens, flight attendants and cheerleaders, smile sweetly at Aaron and follow him like lemmings, flicking their whiplash-length hair and sublimating their competitive aggression into bitchy banter. “You were Miss Idaho? That’s so cool!” said one gal to another, before going in for the kill: “But there aren’t that many women in Idaho, are there?”
My favourite is Christy, a blonde big-toothed maniac who’s rivalling Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction for the World’s Scariest Date. Convinced that she and Aaron are meant to be together, Christy keeps hanging onto his hand and having crying fits in wine cellars. “If I met him on the street, we would be together!” she shrieks. If anyone else meets Christy on the street, I’d advise them to run for cover or brandish a cattle prod in defence.
Even nastier is Joe Millionaire, where producers have taken a good-looking construction worker called Evan, stuck him in a series of cable-knit jumpers and floor-length leather coats, and transplanted him to a French chateau with 25 single women, who believe he’s recently inherited a $55 million fortune. Cue unbridled bitchery and hair-flicking as they compete for his affections.
The point of Joe Millionaire, apparently, is to see if Evan’s chosen woman will love him in spite of his being poor, poodle-haired and a massive liar. I’m also curious to know if she’ll stick around after she’s seen pictures of a pre-TV Evan modelling rubber hotpants for a gay fetishwear website. (Check out the “Arabian Boxer” page at http://www.californiamuscle.com and you’ll see what I mean.)
Crying on camera, power-bitching and rubber hotpants. God Bless America.