MISSED HER PERSONALITY:
Meh. Meh Meh . . . . that show was meh
I'm all a fan of new spins on the reality-dating genre, and the whole asymmetrical information thing pioneered by Joe Millionaire
was worth repeating with other variables.
But in Fox's new
Mr. Personality, we've got guys with no faces, sure, but the woman dating them has nothing engaging about her, the host has a poor track record when it comes to the whole "confidante" thing, and the show has no discernible slant to it yet. Let's review:
Look, I had been rooting for Mexican Lucha masks
since the day the concept was revealed. Instead, we got grey masks with numbers, and now, ten remaining guys in simple color masks -- Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Light Blue, Mr. Red . . . all like a too-literal Reservoir Dogs
I wanted to see the scene where the guys fought over the mask colors they'd have to wear. "I don't want to be Mr. Brown -- Mr. Brown sounds too much like Mr. Shit!" "Alright, who's going to be Mr. Teal, and who's Mr. Periwinkle?" "I want the Sasuke mask!"
And, so far, what's under the masks stinks. We've got none of the charming lunkheads who were the Men on Ice from Bachelorettes in Alaska
. Instead, we've seen fairly bland, even repellent (#17 - the motivational speaker) guys, none of whom seem physically unattractive, though I am a fan of the Asian unemployed guy who, thank goodness, isn't Mr. Yellow.
Her name is Hayley Arp. She is pretty, I guess. But seems to have no sense of humor, seems to be attracted to overly confident men, and has none of the appealing "what the hell am I
doing on this show?" skepticism that made Evan Marriot such good television from day one
. Instead, guh, she seems earnest about all this. She really thinks she can find the right guy through a television show. Ha!
Well, according to the show's official bio
, Monica Lewinsky "graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. For the past few years she has been designing an exclusive collection of handbags and accessories that are available at www.therealmonica.com. Raised in Los Angeles, Lewinsky currently lives in New York City and is considering a future career in law."
Oh yeah, she also once shared tobacco products with the leader of the free world.
I'm not a Monica-basher by any means. I don't fault her for anything that she did -- she was young, naive, impressionable, captivated by power and secrecy, and, anyway, she's not the one we elected. I felt bad for her for all the abuse she suffered, all the judging and blame and public ridicule, for something that was very human and understandable.
That said, once you get beyond the curiosity factor, she didn't show me anything during the first hour of this show to suggest that she'll provide any entertainment during the remaining hours. So far, she's pleasant, I guess, but doesn't have much of a presence
. Then again, she's competing against our memories of JM
butler Paul Hogan at this point, and that's a high bar to meet.
All this adds up to the big problem -- this show has no angle.
All the successful reality shows have, as a base, some unified worldview communicated through its host. Joe Millionaire
was edited as a campy hoot, with a snarky, seen-it-all butler leading the way and reassuring us that none of it was to be taken seriously. The Bachelor
, on the other hand, is premised on hyper-seriousness, with host Chris Harrison reminding everyone that the purpose of the show is for someone to get married
. And the best of the reality competitions -- Survivor
and The Amazing Race
, have bright, subtly funny hosts in Jeff Probst and Phil Keoghan who always communicate both the intensity of the competition and the fact that it's still just a game for money
with equal aplomb.
And Mr. Personality
? Well, no one has
to get married, so it's not that
serious. But reliance on astrologers for advice aside (and wasn't that a Reagan thing?), neither does this show treat itself like a big joke. It's just kinda there
, filling up space on Fox's schedule, hoping we've got nothing better to watch.
In television, as in dating, first impressions are important. By that standard, Mr. Personality
may not get a second look. A reality dating show can choose to be serious or it can choose to be cheeky, but it cannot ever
choose to be boring. That, fellow viewers, is an impeachable offense of the gravest degree.