Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Jim can wax philosophic on Survivor, so maybe I can be the bottom feeder on reality shows.

The new fave rave at The League is "My Big, Fat Obnoxious Fiancee" which stars a lame Scottsdale girl and a dude who, for all appearances, is the missing Steans brother. Seriously. Character or not, "Steve" is very much in line with what one would expect from a member of the Steans clan.

The premise of the show, for those of you who are above such drivel and will not watch, is that Randi (a Scottsdale prototype if there ever was one) believes herself to be a contestant on a reality show in which, if she can convince her best friends and family she is in love with, and marrying, someone she met three weeks earlier, she will win a million dollars. The twist is, they've given her "Steve". Who is pretty much a sitcom sort of guy's guy. Randi is unaware that Steve is a trained actor playing an obnoxious clod. So she thinks she's pulling one over on her family, and being fairly clever doing it. Meanwhile, she believes the producers have stuck with an impossible dork of a man. BUT, if she can convince her family she's in love, and they go through with the wedding, she get's $1 million.

Yeah, it's so meta, it took me two episodes to figure out exactly what the hell is going on. I will say, it was morbid curiosity which drew me in, and it's malicious pleasure which keeps me there.

You see, Randi is probably a somewhat nice, if shallow person. And like all good current reality shows, this one sets out to punish Randi for being such a shallow, money-grubbing Scottsdale dork.

Last night's episode (of which I actually only saw the last half), reminded me of exactly why the Valley of the Sun annoys me so very, very much.

Randi's family came in from Scottsdale, and Randi had to spring it upon them that she was engaged. Her parents, in all honesty, took it much better than I had expected. But her siblings are the same jug-headed maroons who blast Snoop Dogg from their Kia Sorentos while cruising Scottsdale Road on their way to Sugar Daddy's. Her folks are the kind of people who can't distinguish between arts and crafts and who are the reason the "art festivals" around here can get away with charging $200 for a rusted copper back scratcher. All in all, it was nice to see them being so openly disenchated with "Steve", because at least they were being honest. Even if Randi's brothers are big old jug-heads.

This town isn't just full of these people, it PRIDES itself on being a boringly pedestrian place to be. I don't dislike golf in and of itself. But if you admit to not playing golf here, folks look at you like you just told them you think Stalin had some great ideas. It's bland, bland, bland and more than a little bit boring.

Look, I ain't pretty. And I ain't getting any prettier. So no small part of me is delighted to see Steve, who is also probably very aware of how unpretty he is, taking full advantage of the situation. Sure, he shows some small glimmers of sympathy for Randi. ut, really, he is more than aware that even if he is a great guy, Randi's the girl who's looking for the Accountant with the golf clubs already packed in the trunk of his BMW.

Steve's "family" is also great, and once again, they al so remind me all too much of the Steans clan. God bless 'em. I could totally envision my family encouraging me "to do the Moose", an act which defies both taste and description.

Like all Fox reality shows, the series will stretch out waaayyyy too long, and eventually really test my patience with all the pseudo-tense moments. But I think as long as I keep watching only the last half-hour of any given episode, the show will move long at a good clip.

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