Joe Millionaire hosting a dating show involving fakes? Surely you jest!
GSN: (April 2004 - June 2004)
In the early 2000s, the dating show was enjoying a renaissance of sorts as shows like Blind Date, 5th Wheel, and more noticeably, The Bachelor have made Dating Shows popular again, and everyone wanted in on the action. In 2002, FOX came up with one of their few brilliant ideas with a show involving an Average Joe construction worker pretending to be worth $50,000,000. It was called Joe Millionaire, and it was a great experiment in greed over love. Joe Millionaire himself, Evan Marriot became an instant celebrity. He was doing TV shows, interviews, you name it.
In 2004, the dating show explosion had waned a bit, with only Blind Date and The Bachelor continuing on the airwaves, with the last runs of Average Joe and For Love Or Money airing on NBC at the time. GSN, deciding it was time to rebrand and try out new things, decided it was time to try a brand new dating show. The idea was that 1 girl would go on a date with 2 guys, one single and one already in a relationship. They also thought that having Evan Marriot host would be a great idea as well. Well, seeing as it is being spoken about here, it's was nothing more than a disaster of epic proportions. Let's talk about Fake-A-Date.
Like I said earlier, Joe Millionaire himself, Evan Marriott is the host. I don't know what it is with him, but he fails so hard at hosting this type of show, that it's embarrassing to say the least. Maybe when he was getting tips from the Butler of Joe Millionaire, he could have learned how to read a prompter, or a cue card, or not look like a complete doofus when receiving a pedicure. His reading skills and monotone delivery don't help the cause at all. Another thing about him that grates on my nerves is that his lame lines that he has to read off, making his already weak performance even weaker. I don't know why they do this? Maybe its because to make up for weak formats. I mean, didn't they do this for The 5th Wheel and Shipmates? Talk about a weak formats.
Speaking of weak, let's talk about this shows format. A lovely lady is sent on a date with two people at the same time. One of the guys is single and ready for love as the intro states. He's also called the Lover. The other one is already taken and has a girlfriend. Naturally, he's called the Liar. I don't know who's naming of the people is worse, this or Who's Still Standing's Hero Vs. Strangers. At the end of the date, if the lady picks the single guy, they get to go on a romantic getaway. If she picks the taken guy, then the taken guy and his girlfriend get to go on the getaway. Yeah, sounds like a fleshed out version of Love Triangle to me, just without the lie detector and all that horribleness.
During the date, well, I should be clear. The date is more of a daytrip to various places to do romantic things.
Like having a psychic reading with someone who give you a pendulum that supposedly tells you who is telling the truth or is faking you out. Great, just what we need in a dating show about trying to find out the fake dater is more faking out in this useless mysticism. I know some people believe in the supernatural, such as psychics and telepathy, but I just don't buy it. Everything happens for a reason, like how when the Patriots don't play up to snuff, the Giants win the Super Bowl. I guess some people don't like me and my inductions at GSN, so we were treated to Love Triangle and now Dancing With The Stars reruns. But, I digress.
During this fun-filled time, the medium gave her thoughts on the two guys, in the hope to whisk away the confusion and bring her chakra into brighter days, telling her about the two guys. Cold reading at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. And then she goes on talking about the guys to the dater saying that he likes this or acts like this or something like that. I'm getting sick of the mysticism. The only time I want that is when I'm reading a fantasy book or playing a video game. Either way, at the end of it all, the psychic says who's the liar and who's the lover. Already 5 minutes into the show and I'm bored out of my mind.
So, let's continue the boredom and have the gentlemen help give the lady a pedicure. Well, I didn't know a pedicure also meant getting a calf and lower leg massage. Learn something new every day. Not only that, you get to see the two guys try to smooth talk their way to the lady. Yeah, it's becoming so predictable that the only way it'd be even more predictable that if the liar's girlfriend was actually there acting as the assistant to the pedicurist so that the liar would have a harder time lying.
I had to ask. Yes, the liar's lover is present to try to skew the lover from the liar and the dater's perception of who's the lover and the liar. It's times like this that I'm glad I didn't have GSN at my house in 2004. I would have broken more things at the abnormalities of the shows, such as Kenny Vs. Spenny and this one. I would also like ot point out that she got a pedicure from the pedicurist, so she's staring all three of them down. Yeah, if that's not a reason to yawn and turn away, I don't know what is?
Oh, here's another one: the obligatory one-on-one time with each other while the other one is away in hibernation, probably to go away and cry and give those stupid cut-ins that completely disjoint the show itself. The usual dating show stuff happens here: putting down teh competition, giving her sweet nothings in her ear, having Evan help open a bottle of nail polish, you know all of the traditional dating reality shows that are otu there. It's times like this where you gain a newfound respect for Love Connection. The date descriptions were much much more enjoyable to listen to and it was just left up to the imagination, rather than seeing everything. Now what's next? The liar's girlfriend meeting the dater?
Yeah, I thought so. This gets to even higher levels of awkward, the likes not seen since puberty. It's more of a do you know who I am thing rather than a small chat. I guess it's because we had to just get the pedicurist's opinion on who was the lover or the liar. Yay for mindless babble.
After getting rubbed, we have the oh-so-commonplace dinner for three, complete with alcoholic drinks. I don't know why, but this dinner for three has to make for some awkward dinner conversation, and this scene is no different. Both try to schmoose up to the lady in the hopes of trying to win her heart. More than likely they were doing this to beef up their reels, but that's just me. Anyways, we've gone about 20 minutes of show without something that normally happens in a dating show like this happening. So does it happen?
Who are they to dissapoint you the joys of watching them make out like baboons. I should also mention that one of these people is the liar, so not only do you get lying, you also get something close to throwing away a relationship, just to win a $4,000 trip. Talk about sleaze. Either way, this would wind up being the last part before she makes her final decision the next night.
Oh, I should also notice that they're the obligatory limo ride with more teasing and all that other fun stuff. More questioning about who's the liar and who's the lover, who's got the girlfriend or not. All this talk is giving me a headache. I just want this to be over with.
And it will on this rooftop setting. Now we get the long, process of the final arguments and find out who's the lover and who's the liar. Yes, it's the tired and true, I love you and I don't have a girlfriend and you'd be the only one I care about garbage that permeates through stuff like The 5th Wheel, For Love or Money, The Bachelor/ette among others. Then we finally get the decision. But does Evan make the reveal or does the person she picked?
Nope, the girlfriend makes the reveal. Thus, the mystery is solved and the thirty minutes of this show is finally over with.
Ugh, aside from being a carbon copy of other dating shows at this time, namely Elimidate and For Love or Money, the additions to the format made by the producers of this show make it worse. Evan Marriot is absolutely terrible at everything, especially when it comes to building up the drama at the end. The date comes off as cheesy and PG rather than Elimidate and others that were around at the time, and not to mention the aspect of cheating at the time made me throw up a little bit. It's not the worst relationship show out there, but it brought nothing new to the table and what it did bring to the table was horrific at best. It came as no surprise that this was the first original that GSN produced after the rebranding that failed. I guess we can chalk it up to a failed experiment that wasn't any good to begin with.
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