Monday, June 12, 2006

So was really bad

"I'm not exactly sure what to think about this date. Mike's a really nice guy, but I just keep asking myself, 'Am I really having an entire conversation about sour Blow Pops on a date right now?'" -- The Party Girl

Tonight I decided to check out ABC's How to Get the Guy, the newest how-to reality show on dating and love. I must admit that I was drawn to the show initially because it's set in my beautiful city, San Francisco, a city with a (false) reputation of being a dreadful place for single, straight women to find single, straight men. And I was also drawn to the show because its subject feeds directly into the fiction I've been writing this summer.

The show focuses on four different women, each of whom gets instantly categorized into a different stereotype of single womanhood, The Dreamer, The Girl Next Door, The Party Girl, and The Career Girl (their real names and real personalities seem insignificant to the show as we are constantly reminded of the "type" of woman that each has been labelled as rather than who the real woman actually is), and the difficulties that they have finding "The One." They are "coached" by two alleged experts in dating, but I'd think "pimped" might be a better word for it; their coaches offer supposedly inciteful "rules" of dating such as: Drop the hankie (make eye contact for four seconds, smile, proximity). They kept repeating this one again again again, and I think it was supposed to be some sort of metaphor or symbol, but it never worked; women don't carry hankies these days, do they? Maybe I just wasn't taking detailed-enough notes. In response, the women (and the men they meet) offer loads of cliche responses about finding the one and being incomplete without him (or her).

Is this supposed to be revolutionary learning? Are we supposed to be enlightened? Is this really going to inspire anyone to run out and "drop the hankie"?

The coaches often sound like they're reading bad dialogue from a Lifetime For Women movie starring Gabrielle Carteris and Lisa Dean Ryan. The women often just laugh uncomfortably. It was so bad, I found myself asking, "Is this supposed to be ironic? It has to be. There is no way people living in 2006 can believe this nonsense." Are women so stupid and desperate that they must be talked to -- and portrayed -- in such a condescending, one-dimensional way? And why is virtually every man they show a total loser? I live in San Francisco, and I can attest that there are plenty of smart, interesting, funny, monogamy-professing men here (and plenty of smart, interesting, funny, monogamy-professing women looking for them).

I'll keep watching it of course, as there is so much material here for my own writing. And like a 40-car pile up on I-80 (preferably one involving a turned-over truck carrying chickens, jars of honey, elephants, and clowns on unicycles) it's something I simply cannot keep my eyes from.


Blogger Ceije said...

I was watching the previews on TV for that show, and I thought that it would be horrible. BUT, something about it made me want to watch anyway - classic train wreck situation!

Maybe I will catch the next episode. Maybe.

7:32 AM  
Blogger greeneyes said...

I was sort of curious about this show, but if I tried to watch it my husband would NEVER let me live it down.

And about the female host--wasn't she a host on one of those TLC decorating shows? And now she's a dating least she said so on Good Mornign America. An expert, she says, because of all her bad dating experiences. That's like saying "I've been fired so many times, I can definitely tell you how to land a job!"

P.S. The Kate Spade...very nice!

9:38 AM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

I actually taped it for inspiration for the story I'm working on. I kind of felt sorry for the women, especially when they had to take some oath about finding love. Corny isn't exactly the word I want to use, but it's close.

Yeah, the female host did look familiar. If she's the same person, I found her equally annoying on the TLC show (I think it was a makeover show?) I loved how their "credentials" were that he's married and she's found love (or something like that.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Parisjasmal said...

Isn't Teresa Strasser a coach on this show?

She and I exchange emails. Seriously. We have been keeping in touch for a while now. It is a long story--Do not ask! HA

I must have missed this show.

5:58 AM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

Well, I'm recording it (again, research) so if you want it when I'm finished....

(Though I'm sure you can EASILY catch up on Monday!)

I want that story, btw! (On how you and Teresa are e-mailing buddies.) Do tell!

1:16 PM  

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