It's The Dating Game for the 21st century. Millionaire Matchmaker to the nth degree. The Bachelor plus The Voice. Tonight, NBC premiered Ready for Love, the Eva Longoria-produced show set to take reality TV dating to the next level. The premise: Three established, successful pro matchmakers -- Amber Kelleher, Matt Hussey, and Tracy McMillan -- build a team of potential matches for three different bachelors, each of whom will have entire episodes built around them and their quest for love. So, basically, if you've ever watched a season of The Bachelor and wished their matches were picked by a matchmaker-turned-dating coach instead of a casting agent, and also, that each season followed three bachelors instead of just one measly guy, then this is the show for you.
Having the matchmakers as a central part of the bachelors' hunt for love should make this fresh, exciting, and maybe even "deeper" than The Bachelor! Well, or so you'd think.
It's cool that we get a rationale from the matchmakers about why they chose so and so to come on the show and meet the bachelor -- who, this week, was divorced, 31-year-old rocker Tim Lopez of the Plain White Ts. That makes it more "real" and less contrived to some extent. Nonetheless, the show still can't seem to escape many of the cliche, stale, sensationalistic, and downright ridiculous pitfalls of existing reality TV dating shows.
At times, I had to check to make sure I wasn't watching Burning Love (the spoof series that mocks The Bachelor and Bachelorette). Like when all the girls were hating on Leah, the random "surprise!" contestant who has allegedly been "friends" with Tim for six years and somehow weaseled her way onto the show to make a grand, bold statement of her love for him. And then hosts Giuliana and Bill Rancic (who I have to say I love no matter what and may be one of the show's major saving graces) actually asked Leah if she had ever been intimate with Tim. OMG. What?! Thankfully, she somehow, gracefully deflected the Q. But really, was that necessary? Guh.
And just like The Bachelor, the contestants all live with Tim -- or at least hang out -- at his house for the duration of the Hunger Games-style competition "search for love." But unlike The Bachelor, they ALL have to come in for a Patti Stanger-style, post-dating analysis in front of an audience and the three matchmakers. And then the guy has to eliminate one of them. This week, Tim said "see ya" to ... Leah. From the beginning, you could have guessed their past was never going to translate to a future together. Or it would have already -- and that's exactly what Tim said when he axed her. Ehhh -- it's all good, cuz I'm already rooting for Hayley, the art teacher who's got a frat boy sense of humor Tim seems to adore.
Next week, it's a new bachelor, Ernesto, who gets all new teams of potential matches! And then there's the third guy, Ben, too! And then we'll go back to Tim to see how he's doing. Whoo! And if that won't be enough to satisfy our desire for overproduced reality TV dating, I'm not sure what could be.
How do you feel about Ready for Love so far? Do you think you'll watch the whole season?
Image via NBC.com