Feminist Kryptonite: Episode #2 Part 1

Welcome back to the 2nd episode of “Ready for Love!” Last week, we met Tim, the lead singer of The Plain White Ts. He got 2 full hours just to himself. This week, beefcakey Ben (what hospital CEO has washboard abs, I ask you?) and exotic Ernesto have to share 2 hours.

I guess being in a band whose label is marketed by Universal Music Group (as in NBC/Universal) gets you a show all to your lonesome.

First up: Ernesto. He is delightfully humble and adorable, but not traditionally hot.

His girls: They each say a version of this–“I left my life behind to come meet Ernesto.” Modern-day Ariels, these girls are. One matchmaker found 2 girls who competed against each other in the Miss Universe Pageant. Of course, they both make the cut.

During Ernesto’s “reaping,” the background music is Maroon 5’s Daylight. A song about a relationship ending. Like these girls need any karmic help on this program…

One of the matchmakers used the phrase “To work on your brand…” in an attempt to get the women to “be real” with Ernesto. I wonder if any of these women are familiar with irony. If not, I can lend out 54 students who could teach them.

Ernesto’s date is building a house for Habitat for Humanity. Nice move, Ernesto. I might actually kind of like you. Unfortunately, the matchmakers (one of whom tells women they aren’t married because they are bitchy and shallow) have chosen some of the bitchiest and shallowest women I’ve ever seen. After the house-building, the matchmakers instruct him to spend more time with three girls, two of whom are quite fun-loving and edited as nice (and blonde, of course) and one brunette who comes across as a major, major shrew.

The shrew ends up in the bottom three. And Ernesto decides her drama is not worth it and sends her home. Major props, Ernesto. I think you dodged a bullet there.

In the teasers for the rest of the season, I’m struck by how many tears are shed, and I am acutely aware of my sick voyeurism. Watching the men agonize over who to cut, watching the women beat themselves up when they aren’t selected–it’s twisted. And as much as the women drive me crazy (yes, part of me is jealous of their physical attributes) my heart breaks for them. Because as many of them profess to be self-confident go-getters, are they really if they agreed to be on a show like this? The constant fear of rejection has to drain their self-esteem, doesn’t it?

Then again, they signed up for it. 

Come back tomorrow for Ben’s story…it’s a doozy.

Feminist Kryptonite, Episode 1

Every fiber of my being screamed “don’t watch it!” But I couldn’t resist the constant marketing of “Ready for Love” so I dove in.

Yes, I dove in to that awful dirty sludge and felt the mud ooze into my hair and I couldn’t stop it. It’s feminist kryptonite, this show. Here’s the premise:

Three uber-hot, relatively wealthy guys are so pathetically tired of being alone that they enlisted the help of three matchmakers to find them the love of their lives. The matchmakers selected four women, and the men select three of those women, which when you take the square root of human indecency and multiply it by product placement galore, each man has nine women to choose from.

So the uber-hot, relatively wealthy guy goes on a date with all nine women at once (and really, Mormons get a bad rap for polygamy? Puh-leeze.) And because of his male privilege, Tuesday’s date was doing what the man did for a living: write and perform music.

“Hi girls. Worship me. Sing to me. Finish the lyrics to this song that I can’t write, mmkay?”

(P.S. in the bottom corner while watching these girls sing off-key in a studio, an ad appears to buy the actual single on iTunes. Clever, Plain White Ts-man. Clever.)

This week’s man, Tim, calls the matchmakers to see who he should spend more time with. Let’s sum these up.

Girl 1: tells a story of how she farted on a guy’s lap once.
Girl 2: tells Tim she has a list of 50 qualities she wants in a man, and that he has over half of them! Half!
Girl 3: Puts the moves on by playing the piano and admitting she’s “darker.” (Code for baggage.) Girlfriend plays the piano and looks at Tim longingly. (Code for awkwardly.)

The next phase of the show involves the matchmakers taking the girls to task over how they behaved on the 9:1 date.

Matchmaker tells Girl 1 “You should never say f-a-r-t in front of a man.”
Matchmaker tells Girl 2 that her list is stupid. Though I’m pretty sure she disagrees with him.
Matchmaker tells Girl 3 that she really used her “eyes” to “make a connection.”

A word here about how the girls appear onstage: in glass encasements, similar to the drive-up banking tubes.

The matchmakers then select the three girls who performed the worst on the 9:1 date, and Tim gets to save one immediately. Tonight, he saves Fart-Girl. Then he takes two other girls to a fabricated garden and lets the other two girls beg him to stay on the show. Tim cries and feels sick to his stomach. He sends home the most unlikeable girl out of the nine, consoles her, and then watches her leave.

I haven’t really made myself blog regularly, and even though I never watched The Bachelor, I enjoyed Bill Simmons’ wife’s Bachelor blogs. So the plan is to blog this gem of a program each week.

Like Joel McHale, I’ll watch “Ready for Love” so you don’t have to.

Home Box Office

When we lived in California, many many years ago, my parents arranged for a little gold box to be attached to our television. I was quite young at this time, so I don’t remember how it got there, but I remember that if I pushed a black switch from left to right, I could watch Fiddler on the Roof, Pirates of Penzance, and Oliver, if it was the right time of day.

This was the first time I was exposed to cable, in the form of one a la carte channel–HBO. My parents went back and forth with HBO subscriptions for the past 30+ years. It was a great channel for days I stayed home sick from school. Without HBO, I never would have seen Auntie Mame or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Fraggle Rock. Fraggle Rock! Can you imagine a childhood without Fraggle Rock?!

But in recent years, my parents have bailed on HBO in favor of other premium channels, and where I currently live, to get HBO I would have to quadruple my current cable bill. I don’t even get ESPN, for crying out loud. So when HBO announced the they were producing Aaron Sorkin’s new program, Newsroom, I thought long and hard about sacrificing other creature comforts–you know, like food–in order to get HBO so I could watch it.

Then I figured the episodes would be on iTunes! So I hoarded iTunes gift cards in anticipation of the program’s debut…only to learn that HBO doesn’t release programs online for at least a year. So I proposed to my parents that I would pay for HBO to be added to their cable subscription, because then I could get HBOGO on my Roku.

Well, my parents being who they are added HBO anyway and won’t let me pay (though I have figured out a way to do it anyway), so I spent last night and this morning catching up on Newsroom. It’s only four episodes, so it’s not like I spent 20 hours watching TV. But then I made a mistake of browsing the other offerings through HBOGO. Back to the Future! The Wire! Documentaries galore! And one thing is very, very clear to me:

I’ve made a huge mistake.


Arrested Development – Huge Mistake from Russell Challenger on Vimeo.

Greatness.

This week has been a bit of a down week for me. Newspaper deadline went just fine–in fact, we finished a day early–and I still managed to get to the gym twice (this week’s goal: 4 times). But the closure and peace I felt a week ago didn’t stick around for long, and I’m just feeling not myself all over again.

And then on Twitter, someone I follow posted this.

Not the first time I’ve seen it, but Ron Swanson has some good advice for me:

**Greatness itself: The best revenge.

**Self-reliance: Trust yourself.

**Masonry: building walls makes you strong. Defending them makes you even stronger.

**Rage: One rage every three months in permitted. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it.

New Parks and Rec this Thursday. You should watch it.