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What I Watched Last Night

By Scott Buckner

There's a point during every network TV season where we'd have little problem throwing up our hands, turning our television sets into fish tanks, and joining the Amish. Or if we were really disgusted about things, become total Luddites living in cardboard refrigerator boxes in the woods next door to the Unabomber's old hovel. I believe I've moved closer to that point with Fox's More To Love, a reality-contest show about a guy built like a linebacker in search of love and happiness with a woman built like a linebacker.

In this age of political correctness, I'm not exactly sure how to address this show beyond my friend Kathy's description of, "Holy shit! It's chubby-chaser TV!" It's not that there's anything terribly wrong with giving a national TV audience to a guy like Luke Conley, a real estate developer who proclaims on the show's promos, "If she's got a big behind, she's a friend of mine!" I can see how Luke might think some women might find sentiment like this endearing, but paying homage a woman's expansive booty even in complimentary ways like this is like saying, "She really fits if she's got big tits!"

Nonetheless, I imagine Luke will become a national hero adored by women everywhere because he's not worshiping at The Altar of Barbie like the rest of us knuckle-draggers.

For sure, quite a few of the women on this show look damn fine. Personally, I don't mind if there's a little junk in the trunk, but I don't go making a public crusade out of it, or think anyone might care if I did. If I did, though, I wouldn't simply reheat The Bachelor by hijacking the crowd from Dance Your Ass Off. That's because - just like with The Bachelor - we really don't care who jamokes like Luke Conley end up with in the final episode because if The Bachelor is any guide, we know damn well nobody's going to be living happily ever after. Or even a month after. Jeez, if a guy like Bret Michaels still hasn't found his dream girl after blowing through a few seasons worth of hot, relationship-minded groupies on Rock of Love, Luke Conley is surely doomed, too.

So, since American TV is secretly wishing it could be Japanese TV anyway and there seems to be no shortage of women willing to jump through hoops to humiliate themselves in front of a national audience, I'd make More To Love an American version of I Survived a Japanese Game Show because there is no contest more entertaining than something involving contestants of any girth being launched against a wall of foam rubber dressed as a human ball of Velcro or racing about on little tricycles.

But I'm not running the show, so what we got Tuesday night - besides my son begging me endlessly to change the channel - was The Bachelor, except with women who range in size from curvy to the La Chola crying and getting all emotional about how hard it is to get dates and find someone to love them for who they are on the inside and how they're constantly judged by their appearance and blahblahblah. If the rest of the world was anything like me Tuesday night when all the chubtestants stepped out of their limos to meet and swoon over Luke like he was George Clooney as they entered the Ton of Love Mansion - where they will all spend the next few weeks synchronizing their periods and drinking too much and sniping at each other and scheming how to rope in the only guy on Earth who will pay this sort of attention to them ever ever ever again - our judgment was revolving more around why none of these women seem to own any fashion sense. Or a bra that fits.

But this wasn't the most disturbing part. That prize belonged to the fact that pretty much every single chubtestant is beyond any rational definition of the word "needy." We're not talking I-need-my-best-friend-to-go-to-the-grocery-store needy. We're talking the kind of crawl-all-over-you-at-first-sight needy that makes Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction seem like, well, Glenn Close's character in Damages.

At first I thought it was just me, even though I gave up on this show after a half hour because, really, there's only so much whining coming out of a 10-year-old boy anyone can put up with over a show that his 48-year-old dad found to be just as tortuous. So to be fair, I again consulted my very close, personal friend Kathy - who saw the entire episode beginning to end - to fill me in on what I missed. Believe me, if anyone could give a balanced assessment of More to Love, it would be Kathy, for two big reasons: Number One, she's a self-professed Size 12 girl who knows what it's like trying to live in a Size 2 world. Number Two, she once tried to bail out of my car at 40 miles per hour at 2 a.m. one weekend and then stood in the driveway of a cemetery kicking the living hell out of the passenger-side door of my car because she thought I didn't like her anymore. So she's pretty much my go-to authority these days whenever I need to know anything about crazy, needy women.

Her assessment of More to Love was not good, which surprised me because I figured if anyone could scrounge up some sympathy for even one of the chubtestants, it would be a Size 12 girl who has more than a passing familiarity with mental imbalance. But her take turned out to be worse than anything I could have ever come up with. "Oh my fucking God, this isn't even low self-esteem bad," she said, in summary. "You know those stories you see in the newspaper where some bus driver in India rolls a bus over a side of the cliff? Same thing. Only here it's a busload of fat chicks who swear nobody loves them that gets run over by a train at the bottom of the cliff. That's what this show is. I'm telling you, someone's gonna crash and burn on that show, so I hope they have a whole team of psychiatrists just waitin' in the driveway, because if there was ever a reality show where getting eliminated ever made someone want to go kill themself, this would be it."

As the very weighty comedian John Pinette - one of the funniest men left in America - might say about anyone who goes grazing at the buffet of love: "You been here four hour! You go now!"

Seems like good advice for everyone.

Overheard on TV
Judge, to defendant: Maybe you like to freak. The good news is, you're not alone.
- Judge Mathis (Monday 7/27)

Buz: What about the sandwiches?
Tod: I hope you choke on the salami.
- Route 66 (Tuesday 7/28)

Audience, chanting: WE LOVE STRIPPERS! WE LOVE STRIPPERS! WE LOVE STRIPPERS!
Jerry, to guest: You are certainly welcome on our show, yeah.

- The Jerry Springer Show (Tuesday 7/28)

*

Visit the What I Watched Last Night archives and see what else we've been watching. Submissions welcome.



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Posted on July 30, 2009


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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BOOKS - Chicago For Dummies.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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