February 17, 2004 -- ARE the folks at Fox truly evil geniuses? Or just evil? Or just geniuses?

Last night, their premiere of "The Littlest Groom" proved that - in the reality-game game anyway - they are all three. And in the reality-game game, you gotta be.

So, to twist things up, Fox came up with a dating show where all the contestants are over 21 years of age and under 48 inches in height. Absolutely irresistible - or completely resistible? Bachelor Glen has to choose between a bevy of little beauties and pick a bride.

As a viewer, right off I was torn - who in their right mind could resist such a spectacle? But who in their right mind could condone such a thing?

So I invited my most PC friend over to watch it with me. If I were guilty of vicarious laughs at the little folks' expense, Dona (that's my friend) had permission to beat me about the head and neck. (Because she's so PC, I knew she'd never do it.)

I'm here to report that we were both captivated - and, in fact, after the first minute (literally), we forgot that bachelor Glen wasn't a 6-foot blond instead of a 4-foot blond.

And each one of the women was just as captivating. It is, in fact, a serious eye-opener for us average heighters. OK - so I'm not exactly average height myself. Anyway, Glen and the babes got to know one another, and then he had to eliminate all but five. I was shocked by his choices.

They had a group date, and Glen got to pick out one of the babes for a private dinner. Again, we were shocked that he picked the nicest girl, not the hottest one.

Then it went bad. Instead of Glen eliminating more dames at the end of the show, the producers brought in three tall beauty-queen types to compete with the little women who were already competing with each other.

I'm here to report that in reality, these little people are as competitive, lusty and, yes, lucky (or unlucky) as everyone else who ever showed up on a reality show.