Married by America
Episode One – Recap
Help Me! I'm Beautiful But Can't Get Married!
Married by America is the latest brainchild of Rocket Science Laboratories, the same creative folks who came up with Temptation Island and Joe Millionaire. In that vein, it is no surprise that they have jumped to the next level, or stooped to the next level, depending upon your perspective.
MBA assembles people who are willing to get engaged to someone sight unseen. Their friends and/or family are participants in the process of selecting their fiancée from a group of five. Throughout the process, these folks do not meet each other, see each other, or otherwise communicate. There are times though were they do hear each other’s voices.
Episode one was a two hour special, and it probably needed to be, for there was a lot of ground to cover. Let’s jump in!
Five ‘contestants’ looking for marriage begin the game. Five potential ‘suitors’ are brought in to begin the process. They will be weeded down to two, through a series of group and individual questions posed by a collection of three friends / relatives / acquaintances of the contestant. Then the vote goes to the people, and via 800 numbers, you can decide their fate.
The rewards at the end are nice. Whichever couple is considered the best match will win a new house (they don’t say where), a luxury car (they don’t say what), and other perks purportedly worth $500,000 in total.
Keep in mind, this isn’t as risky as FOX makes it out to be… I know, shocking eh?... the couples do agree to spend time together after engagement, but they will reportedly announce on the last show if they are really going to get married.
The host is Sean Valentine, a local Los Angeles DJ who always seems to be taking a police defensive stance pose while he is on stage, and with this collection of fame hungry individuals, that might be well advised.
Sean was a little too excited for my tastes, but I suppose you could interchange nearly any host for this show and be fine. I think I would have gone with J Lo, she is an expert on getting married, and is demonstratively efficient in using her time to do so.
So who are these poor cursed people who seemingly can’t meet potential partners?
Jill Nicolini Age 25, a NY Islanders Arena Hostess and Announcer from Long Island. She won the Miss Long Island pageant last year, but had to surrender her crown when it was revealed that she had previously posed in Playboy. You know that Miss Long Island selection committee upholds only the highest standards for those young role models they select.
Jill’s Dad, who is the lead guy on her selection committee, says, “It’s all about Jill, all the time.” That tells me everything I would need to know. So Daddy’s little princess hasn’t found her prince yet? The odds seem low that any suitor will live up to Dad’s expectations.
Steven Savona Age 35, a Restaurant Owner from New York City. Is it Stephen or Steven? I don’t know as some news articles used Stephen, but the show went with Steven.
In any case, he is described as a hopeless romantic, and notes that he is tired of the bar scene, which is somewhat surprising given that he owns one. Steven’s sister says that he is a giving person, perhaps too much so. Steven assures us that he is open to a relationship, and hopes that America helps him out. Through the first show, Steven does come across as a likeable, sincere guy.
Billie Jean Houle Age 28, a Bartender from New York City. Her friends describe her as vivacious, beautiful, flirtatious, and wild. Shawn describes her as a firecracker. This woman is a FOX producer’s wet dream, as she is liable to do something crazy that will help ratings. She introduces herself to America by letting go of a string of profanities that were helpfully bleeped out. Aside from that, her whole attitude screams out “I am not ready to get married!”, yet she is here.
Jennifer Jaynes Age 27, a Real Estate Broker from Atlanta. Jennifer has a cat and a dog, and is very devoted to them. A very attractive woman, she feels that she is too analytical, and allows her head to overrule her heart. She might also be too picky. Based on what I see, I would describe Jennifer as potentially very high maintenance.
Matt Arden Age 26, ‘in the entertainment industry’ also from Atlanta. I wondered about that ‘entertainment industry’ line and a little research shows that Matt is already an executive with TBS, and has also been an on-air personality.
His Mom says that he has a great sense of humor, and that seems to be true, but I would avoid letting my Mom be the spokesperson for me…
Bill’s Mom: Just ignore that big mole on his face, little Billy is really smart, and he loves his mother, and he is soooo special, and he wants to have seven kids, and…
Bill: Shut up Mom!
Bill’s Mom: Then there was this really embarrassing story…
Bill: Shut Up Mom!
Matt says that he is not a player. In fact, he has “no game”. He also confesses that his girl picker is broken, which is a relief to many in the greater Atlanta area, as I am guessing that girl picking could be quite painful.
Right about now during the show I am shaking my head in disbelief. These people are having a hard time meeting marriage potential partners? Please. Steven and Jennifer alone could fill up the next month in their calendars with new dates just by heading down to the local supermarket. I have no sympathy.
You Can’t Tell the Suitors Without a Scorecard
Next, they bring on an endless parade of potential suitors for those five poor misguided kids. I’ll spare you the lengthy descriptions now. We know all 25 of these folks will be getting a shot at marriage, so it will be easier to deal with them as they appear in the program.
So who is our first lucky contestant?
We meet Jill’s three selection helpers, her mother, father, and her best friend. The best friend is even better looking than Jill, so the crowd loves her. While Jill settles into the sound proof booth, which looks remarkably like a Brookstone store display, we meet her five suitors:
Markus is a 28 year old Silicon Valley native who is a business development director. He goes with the light beard, leather jacket look.
Vincent, age 36, is a real estate broker. Vincent could step right in to one of those Soloflex commercials. “Hey, I am 36, and I am in the best shape of my life.”
Kevin G. is a former minor league baseball player, currently a marketing consultant. Now 34, he says that “chicks dig me.”
Brian, 28, is president and CEO of his own graphics design firm. Seems a little too stable for this type of program, I doubt he will last long.
Smithy. Who the hell calls themselves Smithy? In any case, he is 27 year old film producer who bears a remarkable resemblance to Doogie Howser, and also seems like a nice guy… he is going to get eaten up here.
One of these people doesn’t belong here. All of the men chosen are tall, well-built, and have dark hair except for young Doogie.
We begin with a question from Dad to all five suitors. Jill has cats that are very important to her, and he wonders if the men will love and respect her cats.
Four of the men swear on their mother’s grave that they will love those cats as if they were their very own children. They tell stories of cat rescues, and wonderful childhood memories of cats. I think a couple of them even brought along kittens to the show… or… perhaps they are just saying what needs to be said? Nah, they wouldn’t do that!
Brian breaks ranks though, and says that honestly, he is not a cat person by nature, but that since Jill will be so happy with him, they may need to get a second cat to keep little frisky happy. It’s been nice knowing you Brian… honestly has no place in a question involving cats.
Before we get to the first boot though, there is the little matter of the Meet My Folks-eque dark secret that will be revealed. Sean gives all the contestants a chance to confess, but if not, the secret about one of them will be revealed.
This is just silly. If you shut up, the odds of getting nailed are only 1 in 5, and as we all learned as little kids, never volunteer incriminating information. You don’t know what Dad really has on you, so take your chances.
The guys don’t volunteer anything, and Sean informs us that the dirty secret is that Markus’ first kiss was in college. I take it back, this isn’t MMF material at all.
Now they will decide whom to boot first, and clearly Brian is dead based upon the honest cat answer. Dad confirms it, but says the reason is that Jill would not like the way Brian dresses. What? Gee, I wonder where Jill gets her superficiality from?
Brian tries to argue a bit, but Dad gets the last slam in, saying, “this conversation starts with goodbye”. Brian slinks away in shame, he almost countered with the tried and proven, “I know you are, but what I am I?” comeback, but in the end, he unwilling to further challenge the brilliance of Dad’s skillfully played gambit.
Now, each member of the selection team gets to pose direct questions. Mom asks Markus about his multiple college degree background, wondering if he is settled in a career. Markus handles it well.
Dad asks Vincent about his stated desire to have children and adopt. He says that he spent time in the Russian Federation, and saw many orphans that he would like to help.
The hot friend asks Kevin about his large family, and wonders if he too wants a large family. Kevin has been slick all the way through, and isn’t going to fall down here. “Whatever she wants.” Way to take a stand Kevin.
Finally, Mom asks Smithy about small town versus big city living. He says that in the long run he prefers a small town, which is of course the kiss of death when competing for a NY gal.
Smithy is booted. They are all sure that Jill loves NYC, and besides, she isn’t going to step down from they professional hockey player she is rumored to be dating to get engaged to a guy name Smithy. Sorry bud, but the laws of physics just can’t bend that much.
The remaining three suitors are then shuttled off stage for private interviews, and at the end of the show we will find out who the final two are.
Steven’s selection team is his friend, a roommate, and his sister. He settles in to the now familiar sound proof booth, and the five ladies chosen are brought out:
Trisha, 27 years old, works in real estate, and seems to be a prototypical NY personality.
Alessandra, is 33, and a small business owner. She looks like the lady from Italy who lived next door to Tony Soprano (at least in his mind) back in season one.
Denise D. who is a 31 year old workaholic product specialist. She has a stunningly beautiful face, and in a rarity for television, a normal (read, not anorexic) body. She says most people don’t realize she has a wild side. I am rooting for her.
Denise L. She is also 31, and a retired bull rider. Denise has uhm… how would JR say it… rather large breasts. I have to believe that the bull riding might well have played havoc with her figure.
Darrien, a 35 year old, fitness professional. She says she is an alpha female, and is definitely intense. She also looks a lot like Billie Jean.
Steven’s friend asks, what is the most selfish thing you have ever done?
Denise L. says she has been a workaholic in the past. Wait, I thought Denise D. was the workaholic… now I am confused. Denise D. says that she is not selfish, in fact, she thinks she is probably too giving. Ho hum, these are boring.
Darrien moved out of town without even discussing it with her boyfriend… wow, the sex was that bad? Trisha says that she ate his leftovers. Yeah right, nice try Trisha. Finally, Alessandra admits that she needs constant attention, and that she may also be selfish. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
Once again, basic math skills prevail, as no one volunteers to confess their secrets. Sean didn’t want that anyway, as his deep secret involved Denise L., who posed for Playboy. Steven’s friend and roommate seem elated to hear that news. Denise L. says that she is proud of it, and that it was tastefully done.
As expected, Alessandra gets the boot. Steven’s friend says that it is clear that she needed a lot of attention. No kidding?
Steven’s friend, Mo, asks Trisha about her job as a waitress in a VIP lounge, and what did she learn? Wait a second here – didn’t she tell us in introductions that she worked in real estate?
I guess that is true, after all, the VIP lounge is located on land, which some people call real estate, so I suppose she does work in real estate… no matter. Trisha says that she learned to have fun, be patient, and that she makes loads of cash, so she can help out with the bills. This all sounds very suspicious to me.
Denise D. is tossed a softball question involving equality in relationships, and she hits it out of the park.
Denise L. is asked about the experience of being kicked out of her house at age 16. Wow, not something I would like being tossed about on national TV, but she does a good job of recovering and discussing how it taught her to be independent.
Finally Darrien is asked about her career. She has been trying to get to the Olympics for quite a while, to no avail, and the panel wonders is she is even ready to settle down. Darrien says that they can all kiss her highly toned ass… oh wait, that was what she was thinking, instead she smiled and told them that she now has a good balance of priorities in her life, and is definitely ready for marriage.
Now it is time for the boot, and the answer seems obvious. Trisha gets the boot, and while they joke about Steven not having any leftovers for her, I think it was probably the general evasiveness she displayed throughout that sealed her fate.
Off to the private interviews they go.
Jennifer and Matt are going to have to wait for their shot in a future show, as now it is Billie Jean’s turn. Billie Jean settles into the isolation booth and awaits her fate. The selection panel set up for her, is a bit eccentric. Her roommate Duane, a friend, and a coworker.
The five suitors chosen are:
Tony, 33 years old. He is a car salesman, and he looks like it.
Jack. Age 29, he is a former West Point grad and airborne officer, now a writer. Jack has also surrendered to the inevitable forces of nature, and shaved his head.
Jeff, a 33 year old designer, who also likes poetry. I am guessing he is going to try to play the Ryan angle.
Michael, who is 32, and a self described funny guy.
Kevin G. Age 34. Former minor league baseball player, now a marketing consultant. He says that “chicks dig me.” There is nothing like feeling good about yourself.
Duane takes charge and informs the men that Billie Jean needs passionate love, and that he wants to know what their sexual appetites are.
Jack says that his appetite is abundantly voracious. Very nice Jack! The folks at Roget’s Thesaurus would be proud of you.
Kevin takes a stand, and says that while he feels sex and passion are very important, this isn’t the correct forum to discuss it. Come on Kevin! This is FOX! What are you thinking? The skids are already greased for Kevin’s departure.
Tony says that he has a healthy appetite for sex, but he knows that it is best when the two folks are in love. The crowd swoons, as do the two ladies on the panel. Meanwhile I am laughing. If I knew this kind of corny obvious crap worked, I would have used it long ago… oh well.
Michael gives a snappy answer saying that he is “very hungry”. He does so in a way that pleases the judges. Jeff copies Mike’s answer, but quickly adds that he would be likely to just tear her clothes off at the door. Hmmm… in many states that will get you an assault conviction, but here on FOX, it probably ensures you make it to the end.
Once again, no takers for the confessional. Therefore Sean tells us that Tony has had more than one girl in bed at the same time. Tony jokes that someone needed to hold the camera, but that a gentleman never gives details. Yeah, you are quite a gentleman Tony.
It comes as no surprise that Kevin is departing. He wouldn’t have lasted more than five minutes around someone like Billie Jean. Duane agrees, saying that she would have ate him up.
Duane asks Tony what he brings to the table besides his good looks? Tony is stumped by the question, and finally stammers out “me”. Real convincing argument. For anyone other than Billie Jean, I would say Tony is the next to go, but he did have the threesome, so that probably satisfies her selection criteria.
Jack gave up his military career to be a writer. Billie Jean’s friend, Paige, asks him what kind of life he could provide for her friend? Jack responds that he has proven himself, and is sure the life would be good.
The coworker asks Jeff about spirituality. Apparently in the information she has, Jeff has said that it is very important to him, and for his mate, meanwhile it appears that the only spirit that Billie Jean follows is her own. Predictably, Jeff abandons his beliefs for the shot at getting close to passionate Billie.
Duane confronts Michael about a comment in his bio that says he is a momma’s boy. Michael handles it well, responding that momma’s boy is Greek for getting your butt kicked once in a while. I assume Children’s Services showed up at Mom’s door by the end of the show.
Time to eliminate another suitor, and Duane delivers the bad news. Jeff is booted. Apparently the panel felt that he was a little “incomplete”.
We are not treated too much of the individual interviews, and I am disappointed as they looked more exciting than the rest of the show so far, but then I remembered, this is FOX. Look for a Married by America interview special any week now.
Back to Jill, we see brief clips of her Dad grilling Vincent, Markus, and Kevin. Then Sean tells us what the final conclusions of the panel were:
Markus is easy going, sincere, and Jill will be attracted to him.
Vincent has a great career, but they worry that he will not want to move to NY, and that Jill is not going to be a stay at home wife. Though Vincent denied those claims.
Kevin was respectful, they expect Jill to be attracted to him, and he has strong family values, something that Dad requires. He seemed a little guarded to them.
So who will be chosen for the final two and America’s vote? Well, Sean decides to stand silently building up the tension for quite some time. During that quiet point though we can easily figure it out. Look back at the comments that were made about the three men… which one is missing a key element?
Yes… they didn’t say that Jill would be attracted to Vincent. It is so easy.
So while Sean continues to stand there like a cop writing a speeding ticket, waiting for the tension to build even further, we know that Markus and Kevin are the final two.
We endure some cheesy final pleas to America from Jill and her finalists. Jill wants a secure, confident, supportive man. Markus says that he is a city guy, and that family is important to him. Meanwhile Kevin mumbled something about “thanks”.
Steven’s panel discussed the Playboy shoot in detail with Denise L., and I am sure that Mo and the roommate were hanging on every word. They also ask Darrien about her tendency to get annoyed with people, and in a classic Perry Mason moment, they get her annoyed.
They conclude that Denise L. is self-driven and ready to commit, but that perhaps she is too concerned with her appearance.
To Denise D. they say wow! Their only negative comment is that she probably likes having things her way. I don’t think it is really fair to bring up her love of Burger King, but if that is the worst of it, then things look good for her.
Finally, with Darrien they compliment her ambition and goals, but they worry that she really is focused on her training, and is too involved with that to be in a committed relationship.
Once again we go through the completely unnecessary silent tension period. I can only guess at how bad this will get when they actually have voting results. Both Denise’s make the final two.
Steven asks America to not focus on looks, but instead find him the woman who has the best heart. I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that Denise wins.
Billie Jean’s roommate Duane is trying for his own court show, as he interrogates the men about issues ranging from being a neat freak, to excessive gambling.
They conclude that Tony is very charming, but that he seems insincere. He is a car salesman, and definitely acts like it. Ouch!
Jack has admirable experience and is an all-around good guy. However, they are concerned with his gambling.
Michael is funny and vivacious, but he may be lacking stability.
So who gets picked? Based upon the way they tore him down, I expected Tony to go home, but lets remember that Tony did have a threesome, and that carries a lot of weight with this panel. Say goodbye to Jack. Tony and Michael go to the vote.
Billie Jean asks us to pick her a strong athletic guy. He is going to need stamina too from the looks of it.
Tony says he is looking for something special, but I can’t tell if he means something special is auto financing or a woman. Michael says his clock is ticking, and I wonder which clock that is, but worse still, he says that he wants to marry his best friend. Well, go right ahead Michael! Who is she? Oh, you mean you want to marry your best friend that you meet through this show? Yeah… this is a good way to meet a best friend, what with the sight unseen part of it and all.
The fate of these folks is in our hands… or more accurately was in our hands. Voting is closed by the time you read this.
Next week arrives faster than you realize, as Wednesday night is episode two. We’ll find out some voting results, and get back to Matt and Jennifer who have been waiting patiently for their chance.
Comments are welcome. E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org