So, on our premiere episode of NBC’s new dating show, Ready for Love, we’re focusing on the first of our Three Lovelorn Bachelors, Tim.
You’ve probably heard Tim without knowing you were hearing Tim. He’s the singer for the band Plain White T’s. Of Delilah fame. Well, Tim has already discarded one of the women Matchmaker Amber selected for him.
(What? You missed that part? Well, bop on over to my USA Today blog and catch up! Then come on back, refresh your drink, and dive into the rest with me! No, really. Don’t make me do this alone.)
So now it’s Matchmaker Matt’s turn!
Matt is our Brit Matchmaker. He runs a service called Get the Guy and has helped millions of hopefuls. (We don’t hear about how many he’s helped successfully, or if that includes himself, but he wears nice suits, so we’re assuming he does okay, at least with the money part.) He bases his choices on the fact that he understands how the male brain works, being in possession of one himself, so he’s selected women for Tim based on their independent lifestyle, which he assumes means they will tolerate/accept/deal with Tim’s heavy travel/touring/recording lifestyle. Is it just me, or does that seem entirely counter-productive? Who wants a relationship where both sides spend all their time doing their own thing? I don’t think that’s what Tim said he wanted at all. But hey….I’m not Matchmaker Matt of the natty suits, so what do I know?
First we have Taonaya, real estate agent from Florida, gorgeous and successful. Danielle is…we don’t get to know anything about her other than she would love to meet a nice guy. Same goes with Alexis who wants a best friend. And then there’s single mom Leah who apparently had a past relationship with Tim and is still in love with him. Hmm…. I thought Our Tim hadn’t had any serious relationships since his divorce? Or did she just mean they knew each other for six years? As friends. I also wonder if he is getting to hear these little film clips in the studio, or just us at home? Because, frankly, we know more about these girls already than he does, and we’re not the ones trying to marry them. So doesn’t that seem wrong somehow?
Taonaya gives her scripted speech, much the same way as Sara, then Danielle, who the screen tag tells us is a spa owner, tells Tim that their similar life experiences would be compatible. So, she’s also Sara. Alexis tells us she’s a radio personality (in the flattest droning nasal voice ever, which is kinda funny) and then, oh….no. She decides to riff and do a little beat boxing to go with. You know how, on The Bachelor, that first night when they get out of the limo, and you sit there half cringing at what horrifyingly humiliating thing they might do in hopes of being memorable (in a good way, although I’m not sure they really think that part through all that well.) Well this? Would fit right in. Oh, Alexis. Honey, no. Then Leah (make up artist, btw) drops the bomb, Tim does look completely caught off guard. I am not upset by this. He’s been entirely too comfy cozy up there. He’s all shaken up and I am surprised we don’t get the camera panning to the other women (because you know Sahim would be all on fi-yah over the idea that someone has come in with an unfair advantage of knowing him really well.) Of course, on The Bachelor, that didn’t work out so well for Kacie with Sean…so we’ll see.
Hostess Giuliana Rancic asks him if this was just a friendship or a past romantic relationship and Tim asks Leah to explain. She just says “we’ve had our moments.” Oh Tim. You dawg. And, let me just say, he seems far more “oh…shit” then he does “wow, really? Cool!” I’m thinking she’s Dead Kacie Walking. I just hope that, unlike Sean, if that’s the case, he cuts her sooner than later. She’s got a child at home. Let her get back to him and her life. Yikes. But no. He keeps her. (And there’s like no pay off. We get a two second clip of a hug and her dashing down the stage stairs.) This is so…weirdly edited. It’s edited as far more game show and far less about anyone truly getting to know anything about one another. He calls for Danielle to come around (again – no questions, just come on down! after a single paragraph.) Now, I know he can’t see them, but he’s chosen all the blondes first on both rounds, leaving the two brunettes as his last picks both times. So does it go to the rapper or the realtor? He picks the realtor. Oh, Alexis. She gets a hug, and it’s sinking through the Floor of Doom for her.
And, just like that, Round 2 is over. I know. I feel like we got more of a gauge on potential coupledom from the brief limo meeting than we did from this elaborately and expensively staged dealio. There is essentially no actual interaction. They give a two second speech, he picks, and he sees them for a split second before they’re ushered down the stairs, no one on one interaction At All. It’s weird.
Now we meet Matchmaker Tracy. She’s from L.A. and a best selling self-help dating author. Essentially, she’s the Rhoda Morgenstern of the trio. (Seriously, if you have to look that up, just Google Valerie Harper.) In addition to being a tell-it-like-it-is gal, she says she’s also gotten a lot of insight from raising her son on what men are really all about. She looks at matchmaking as matching two souls versus two personalities. Okay. (I mean, at this point, I’m just bumping along for the ride… No one has shown me anything, really, yet.) Sarah is an elementary school teacher who is ready for love and she’s got kind of a scary smile/eyebrow thing going on that’s really distracting. Sorry. But it just is. We’re apparently just skipping right ahead to her speech to Tim as she pops a bottle of champagne for a toast, which Juliana facilitates so Tim can join in with a glass without peeking. (Yes, Juliana, please make sure he doesn’t get a peek at her because the anticipation over the Big Non Reveal is just….zzzzzzz….) Aaaand they meet and she’s down the stairs gone. Hello. Buh bye.
I feel like I need a swiveling chair now. So I don’t get whiplash on how we’re just speeding through this heavily over-edited third batch. It’s like we’re suddenly short on time so we’re just going to paste this together faster and faster… Except for that part where it’s not a live show, so why is timing a problem? Christina is a Katrina survivor and a pianist who….oh. Who wrote a poem. And suddenly I’m not all that upset with the speedy editing. She’s also sporting some interesting tatoos. We get the blip of the poem, you’re in!, then the two second hug with Tim and she’s gone. NEXT! Is Jenna, another local girl from Texas, only this one he hasn’t fooled around with already. She’s a communication major who just graduated, so…a little young. She seems really rehearsed and a little gawky. But she’s blonde and he has a radar for that. But first we have to meet Lana from Atlanta, so we can try to worry about who he might pick, except how can we care when we know next to nothing about any of them? She’s out of a relationship with a cheater and…that’s all we know before he calls for…yep. The blonde. We don’t even really get to see him send Lana through the Floor of Doom because apparently we have TOO MUCH TO DO!!
Maybe we could have done without the ten minutes of pimping the show we’re already watching during commercial breaks and, oh, I don’t know, some time spent on the actual format of the show itself. you know, where boy meets girl, boy and girl spend more than two seconds with each other before boy kicks girl to the curb? Or even when he decides not to. We’ve already cut 12 down to 9, yet we know so little about anything or anyone at this point, much less have witnessed any real interaction between Tim and any of the women, there’s no substance to this of any kind. It’s the most bizarre dating show ever. And I use the term “dating” really, really loosely. As I do the word “relationship.” We have more of a relationship with the matchmakers and Juliana than we do with Tim at this point, and Tim doesn’t know anything more than name and hometown about these women. That and a brief flash of what they looked like as they ran down the stage stairs.
Aaaand, now we’re moving the 9 women into a huge, modern LA mansion that has been decked out with all the Tim-orabilia of his recording career. All the women are already drooling and sighing over the guy. They all knew he was the one they were coming out to meet before ever boarding a plane, so they’ve done their Tim Research, which is also kind of stalker-weird. They know so much about him, all of it superficial and second hand, like groupies do about their favorite rock star, making the set up is very idolatry based on their part,where they will fawn over who they think he is, instead of having any true feelings based on actual knowledge of the guy, which can only come from spending any time with him. Which they haven’t. At all. And he’s going in completely blind, making it a total Rock God & The Groupie set up. Which…ew. Hasn’t he been rejecting that very ideal for years now? Wanting something based in reality instead? Um, Tim? Yeah, this is SO not starting out to be anything like that.
Also, Eva? You promised this would be a whole new take on the dating show thing. And yet, we have women claiming they love a guy they haven’t even met yet. Which is EVERY DATING SHOW EVER.
Sorry, was I yelling? I’m just…annoyed. Still.
Now the matchmaking mentors take their teams aside and give them tips on how to fast track bonding with Tim. The tips themselves aren’t so bad, they are more like self-awareness notes than anything. The kind of thing anyone could benefit from giving some thought to, in any aspect of life. But, again…we’re spending time with the girls. And the matchmakers. And still not spending any time with Tim and the women. Together. On a dating show. All the self help tips in the world aren’t going to help if nothing ever HAPPENS.
Seriously, I’m going to need a lot more tutti in my fruity umbrella drink if I’m going to make it to Week 2 of this thing.
It’s finally time for the first date….and it’s Tim with all 9 women. Really, show? 1 on 9? Even The Bachelor gives them better odds than that. He psyches the girls out by telling them they’re going to meet his family…only as they circle around the back of the property, they realize that by family he means his band.
And he’s a tad too smug when he’s like “Here’s the Plain White T’s.” Like “how awesome is it that I’m a rock star. Are we having A Moment yet?” Like he’s Adam Levine and has just introduced them to Maroon 5. (Oh, if only, ladies. If only.)
Then the girls dance on blankets (and some of them shouldn’t have…just sayin) while he sings with the band. Because nothing says “lets get to know each other better” than standing on a stage behind a microphone singing to women who are still complete and utter strangers…and who will still be after you get done with your set. Of course, their giddy fan girlyness will only grow bigger and more ridiculous and unrealistic, and I am fast losing patience with this “new” dating experiment.
And then, the concert is over and we head inside. Finally, some time for him to….oh. Sing some more. Right. He sings a partially written song to them in the built in recording studio, then tells them they’re going to go off and help finish the second verse. Oh, and you get to sing it to me! Gosh, this is sounding like more fun by the minute. (I tell myself at least he’s not making them risk life and limb for his own twisted amusement like another bachelor we know.) And yes, yes, I get that he’s a musician so he needs to expose them to the lifestyle, etc etc etc. But shouldn’t they actually get to know him personally while they get to know about the lifestyle? So far it’s just Life as a Rock Star 101. No Getting To Know Tim time at all.
The girls seem to break up into random groups (we guess, we don’t know) and compose and brainstorm together. Tim walks in on one group while they’re singing and they’re all “oh my God!” like Mick Jagger just walked in. How is this going to work if they only see him as Rock God and not Tim, just a guy, looking for a girl? Oh, when he goes outside to the next group I realize they’re broken up into their matchmaking groups. Was there a screen crawl for the last group? Or was I just so mesmerized by Mr Rock God that I didn’t see it? Wait…no, that’s not it. As for Tim…I can’t tell if he’s a bit full of himself, or just not coming across very well, but it’s not often we get any true unguarded moments with him.
Aaaand, we’re in the recording studio now and it’s time to sing. As yet, he’s spent no time alone with anyone. At best it’s been 3 on 1 when he visited each of the teams as they were songwriting. Maybe he’s getting a teeny tiny glimpse of them in a group dynamic, but there has been no direct conversation with any of them. Just comments directed to them as a group. And they’re not really learning anything about him, other than a continuation of what they’ve learned online about him as a singer. Nothing really of him as a man. What he’s like, what his personality is like. It’s still all about what he sounds like as a singer and what he’s written as lyrics. And you can’t fall in love with that. You can’t even fall in lust with that. It would be comparable to falling in love with a celebrity poster on your bedroom wall.
It would be like someone thinking they knew me after reading a few of my books. And while, if you already knew me well, you would see a lot of me in my books, it can’t happen the other way around. And I’m not saying my characters are me. None of them are me. And yet all of them are me. Because it’s my mind, my point of view of the world that informs my characters, and in that way, you’ll “see me” and “hear me” in them. But no way would you get that if you didn’t already know me. So if I told you some guy was professing to be in love with me based on what he learned about me by reading about my career online, or reading books I’ve written about fictional people falling in love…see what I mean? Creepy, right? And yet…so far…that’s what we’re watching.
They each sing their lyric and they’re all good sports and some of them are actually good singers…and…what have we learned in terms of any of them and Tim finding love? Yeah, I don’t know, either. He’s liking hearing someone sing to him for a change, and telling him how they feel through song. Which is admittedly cool, and having someone get involved in the process of what he does along with him would be great for him I think. Only how much can they feel about him that’s truthful and real and comes from actual knowledge at this point? They can’t. They’re just singing about what it might be maybe can be hope it will be. So, while very cool and awesome in theory…not really meaningful specifically. Yet.
FINALLY someone makes a move. Only it’s not Tim. Leah, the one girl he has history with (as friends…kinda sorta) pulls him aside and asks if they can have a chat. But at least this is Something Happening. It’s only taken an hour and fifteen minutes for that to happen. (Which is like ten years in television time. The NCIS team has solved three crimes by now.) Leah takes him into the recording studio…where, very unfortunately the intercom was left on (or a handy production assistant made sure it was turned on) sooo all the other girls can hear every word they’re saying in “private.” None of them get up and leave, of course, to actually give them privacy. Stellar characters all around. Leah more or less “oh my god, like, totally, you know’s” her way through asking him if he wants to truly see where they can go and he says he admires her for taking the risk and is proud of her and how it’s just the sweetest thing ever…and all the while I see not a speck of chemistry coming from this guy for her. It’s friendship vibe all the way. Not that he’s not telling her the truth…but he’s not going to fall for her. Or he already would have. And, of course, all the girls are listening in to this, and so that’s awkward personified, especially when Leah rejoins the group unaware that they just heard her entire little speech.
While the girls all edge around each other, Tim checks in with the matchmakers and they tell him who they think he should spend some one on one time with. Which they decided back during his five second hug with them, so why not just go directly there instead of this useless date event? He sees one girl from each team, maybe the others in two group settings or something…I dunno. But this has been such a waste of time thus far. To the surprise of no one, Amber tells him to spend more time with Hailey, who, of all the women, I’d pick for him so far (but then I know more about Tim than she does at this point.) Matt picks Danielle, and I don’t think anyone from Matt’s team is going places with Tim, so whatevs. Tracy picks Christina, as she sensed a vibe and she knows Christina is a musician. I don’t know which I’d have picked from that group, so we’ll see….
Tim goes off for a sit down with Hailey (of the Dumb & Dumber joke.) And he immediately reveals he has a weakness for blondes. So the idea that he chose all the blondes from each group straightaway, before supposedly knowing what they looked like, seems even more suspicious to me now than it did then. They chat, she gets all nervous tears after being funny and charming, so it’s a little unfortunate. As is his asking her to tell him her most embarrassing date story,which has to do with farting at an inopportune time. (So much for channeling her sexy self, as Amber had asked her to do.) But, you see…this is who she is, so what’s the point of being all vampy when you’re really Inopportune Fart Girl? I mean, if he’s going to fall, he’s going to fall for what you are, not what you choose to show. I get Amber encouraging her to own her sexiness as much as her funny side, but the truth and the strength of who you are will out, so….what is the real value of that guidance? You know? Other than to hopefully make her feel confident that someone even sees her as sexy to begin with. Even if that someone is Amber. Then in her Private Camera Guy time she’s all teary and weepy about how awesome it was and how she’s so thankful that he likes her, he really likes her! Oh. Boy. (And I like you, Hailey, I really do. But man up already, will ya?)
Then it’s Danielle’s turn. She’s very easy, breezy, big smile girl. Chatty, direct, asks him his geekiest thing. He reveals he’s a big ol dork, which we kind of already knew, and she’s all “I LOVE it!’ and could stand to dial it back about ten notches, but it’s also nerves so I get it. Then she tells him she’s been compiling her Perfect Guy list, which is up to 50 items, and that he’s over 50%! Somehow he makes this kind of charming, where I’d be all like “nice to know ya! Gotta go now.” But something about her is off putting to me. However, every time the camera pans to him, he is full on 100% eye contact with her and he’s SO in it. So, yeah, she’s going to be around for awhile.
Now it’s Christina’s turn, and they’re the ones I see the most honest and natural chemistry with, which kind of surprises me. I don’t know if they’re ultimately a true match, but he’s sucked in and I totally get it. He’s right, she’s magnetism girl, full out. She pegs their differences, which is that she’s a bit darker than he is in her music, but she’s very calm and open and easy with him, far more so than the other two, making it very easy for him to just sit back, relax, and fall…
Matchmaker Panel: Now the 9 girls are back in the live audience studio with the hosts and matchmakers. The matchmakers are going to chat with the girls and they pick who they think are the Bottom 3. And from this group, Tim will send one home.
Tracy (and everyone else) have only positive comments for Christina. But Amber tells Hailey that she kind of sabotaged herself with the nervous tears. Which, I agree and already mentioned, but I don’t think things ended with Tim being turned off. She will have to get ahead of that, however, if she wants a chance. Of the three, I agree he definitely had a stronger connect with Christina (who I liked the best personally, but still don’t think they’re right for each other ultimately) and with Danielle (he was really in, even if I wasn’t.) But I think Hailey is the best suited for him overall, she just has to be careful not to go into Only A Friend Zone with him. Matt calls her out for pointing out she feels like the Old Maid – he’s totally right about that. Then he calls out Danielle (who looks even toothier now if that’s possible) for her 50 Shades of Crazy List, which she says she gets, but you know she doesn’t. Really. Then it’s on to Leah, who he congratulates for taking the reins into her own hands, but now she needs to move forward to new things instead of rehashing the old. True. They try and create more drama between her and the other girls, and that’s tired and I want to fast forward. Then Giuliana point blank asks just how intimate their prior relationship was. This is pertinent information. She dodges it though, and though Bill thinks this is the same as an admission, I took it the opposite way. She wants the girls to think she has the pow-ah, when, in reality…not so much. We get a brief moment with Sarah of the scary eyebrows and then….that’s it! We’re all done questioning. Oookay.
Bottom 3 Time: Tim comes in, and it’s time for the matchmakers to each pick one girl from their team as the Bottom 1. Tracy has Christina, Sarah and Jenna. She picks Sarah. Now, we saw nothing from Jenna. Nada. Zilch. But okay. Matt has Leah, Danielle, and Taonaya. He chooses Leah. Despite the fact that we saw nada, zilch from Taonaya. He says he wants it to be the make or break moment where Tim decides if there can be something more than friendship between them. It’s starting to strike me as all a sort of drummed up drama bit, but both of the Date Girls from the first two teams are still there and, end of the day, that’s probably more pertinent. Amber has Hailey, Sarah, and Siham. We saw nothing of the two S’s, so naturally it’s going to be Hailey. And it is. Because, god forbid, she showed her true self to him. Me, I’d have put Siham up there as I never thought that was the thing from the beginning, but I’m sure that will come later. She wants him to get to know her with no jokes and I don’t know… She’s the only Date Girl in the bottom and I think she’s getting a bit shafted, but nothing about any of this makes any real sense anyway. He doesn’t know any of them yet. Well, except Leah. That may be the only pertinent pick up there.
Tim’s Save: he gets to send one girl to safety and he picks Hailey, who still needs to get a grip. Now it’s between Leah and Sarah. The friend and the brunette. Yikes. They’re both screwed, really. And then the show gets even hokier (yes, this is possible. Who knew?) They send Tim and the girls into the tubes through the Floor of Doom into “The Garden”…which I thought was so he could talk to each one of them individually. But no, it’s just so he can face them both at the same time to have a really awkward and uncomfortable conversation where he says why he’s unsure about keeping them and they basically beg him not to. Yikes and…gah.
He says he feels sick to his stomach and he’s clearly stressed and you know he would gladly send them both packing and avoid the inevitable, which is that neither of them are going to win. But no, let’s keep the faux drama going and not put any of us out of any of this two hour long misery fest. So he’s all “I’m just going to make a decision” in the way you’d say “I’m just going to flip a coin” which is when if either of them had an ounce of personal integrity they’d opt to leave on their own merits and tell him to stick that coin, well…you get my drift.
In the end, he has enough personal integrity to send Leah packing, which is exactly what he should have done when she was in the first four…but I think that would have meant choosing another brunette, which might have been just as bad in his mind. But at least this story won’t drag out any longer. For their sakes, and just as importantly, really….ours.
Then, utterly anticlimactically, Giuliana announces to the audience that they’re about to see who he saved….as the glass cage slowly rises. There are screams from the audience, like they actually have some real emotion invested in who goes and who stays, as Sarah is revealed and…it’s just all way too hokey for me. What about this whole set up is good? What?
Oh, Eva Longoria. I wanted more. I wanted to believe. I wanted to be swept away. But this show so far? Is so not that. If there’s a way for this to work out, I’m not seeing it as yet. Maybe that’s where the hope and having faith really comes in to play. The really sad thing? Is that NBC already had a dating show that worked. So well that after only two seasons five of the couples are still together, several years later. That’s more than all the other dating shows combined. If they wanted us to be ready for love, then they should have found the right host, kept that post-The Voice time slot…and renewed Love in the Wild. Now THAT was fun to watch!
Now it’s my turn to reward you all for sticking with me. Okay, so it might have been the fruity umbrella drinks and Ghirardelli squares, but no matter how we got here, the important thing is…we did. And for that…it’s Giveaway time! I’m giving away an advance copy of my April 30th release, Honey Pie, to one happening Blog Babe! I know! And I won’t make you get in a glass box to do it, either.
To enter: Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “I’m Ready to READ!” in the subject line. Put an address where to send it if you’re the lucky winner in the body of the email. And that’s it! Nary a flaming baton to be seen and no awkward scripted questions to be answered. (A Blog Part1 reference. Really, go back and read it if you haven’t already. You’ll so understand my mood.) See, you’re already winning right there!
Then come back on over here and let’s DISH! Were you entertained? Are you swooning over Rocker Tim? Do you feel like you have a handle on what kind of guy he is? What about the women? See any match potential? See any show potential? And what about Ben and Ernesto? Am I the only one who has a thing for brunettes? Because more shirtless Ben is really the one thing that can save this show for me. What about you? It’s your turn!