Once again, I have to start off a new show by admitting I never watched the first season. So, there you go – I didn’t watch the first season of Who Wants to Marry My Dad. Was it good? I have no idea. Will this one be? I have my doubts.
I’m Lucy, and I’ll be taking you through the first three weeks of this season, until I go on vacation and the wildly capable Greenie takes over.
I can tell you right now, if you came to this recap expecting me to lavish adoration, tears or sympathy on this show or the people in it, you are in the wrong place, my friend. If the sight of well-preserved, over-made-up women flicking a teardrop from their mascara with a carefully manicured nail makes you sniffle in sympathy, well….I’m sure there’s a country club for you somewhere. But that sight makes me snigger. I recognize this show takes itself waaaaayyy seriously – my first clue was the uber-sappy music played whenever a woman we hardly knew got cut – but I am constitutionally incapable of taking anything that seriously. Honestly, I buy snarky Hallmark cards, even for Valentine’s Day. “Shoebox” cards are made for people like me. I love Maxine.
Wuv, Twue Wuv, is What Bwings Us…Togetha…Today
In case you missed all the many promotional commercials, the idea of this show is for a man’s daughters to weed through a group of women to find him a wife. Our bachelor dad this season is Marty Okland, a tanned, hairsprayed 40-something with three grown daughters. The daughters are all pretty and they all look pretty much alike to me. So expect it to be a while before I figure out which is which. If ever.
The action starts with the daughters’ plan to have Dad go undercover to meet the women who’ll be vying for his hand. “You girls are sneaky,” Marty says. So sneaky, they probably crept out of the house in high school to go to parties, those wild things. They ask if he trusts them. Pause. “I trust you.” Famous last words.
The interchangeable daughters’ names, by the way, are Jennifer – who says she’s a reality check on her sisters; Brooke, the baby, who claims to go by instinct; and Nicole, the oldest. They are confident they’ll pick the right woman for daddy.
To get the earliest possible start on that, they nip outside, where the women are arriving in limos. I guess we’ll have to introduce them all. Even though if I said, “She’s about 40, obviously works out, and has on too much makeup” I would pretty much have described them all. Anyway:
Marilyn: Bounces out of the limo to one daughter murmuring, “Dad’s going to love her.” She looks like Susan Lucci. She’s 40 and divorced and, unless my powers of spotting a job have seriously waned, has had “enhancements” in the chestal region.
Michelle: Or is it “Machel”? Looks kind of like Debbie Harry.
Debbie: 45, is used to wearing the pants in the family but is ready to give
Nicole: 40, never married.
Sharon: 34, believes in fate, helps it by wearing miniscule skirt.
Tammy: Wants to win over the kids.
Layne: 42, plans to be herself.
Sarah: Looks really cute and young till you see her up close, but is still cute. In fact, she reminds me of Kelly Jo from the Blob season of Bachelor. And is that a clue I’m watching too much reality TV, when one contestant reminds me of another? Anyway, she has a 13-year-old son.
Lola: She was a showgirl. With yellow feathers in her hair, and a dress cut down to there.
Suzanne: 38. She looks like a shellacked ex-prom queen.
Tina: 36, vows that she’s going to marry this man.
Whew! The daughters coo over all of them, then read out a letter from Marty that puts tears in their eyes, and has Hallmark calling offering him a job. But not in the Shoebox division. In college, I once attended a “poetry slam”, where people read out their original work and the audience critiqued it out loud whenever the mood struck us. I still remember one guy yelling "Hallmark!" after a particularly trite exhibition. It was not a compliment, people.
Ring A Ding Dumb
Normally how this works is, man and woman (or women, on reality tv) meet, fall in love/lust/like-just-for-the-duration-of-the-show, and THEN they go pick out a diamond ring, which the woman can keep or hawk on Ebay when they break up. But none of that predictable stuff for this show! Oh no! We’re picking out rings FIRST. So not only can most of these women say bye-bye to Daddy, but they can envision the ring they could have had.
The women and the daughters arrive at the ring store, where they’re told each woman will pick out her ring in a private room, away from the cameras, with a store employee. But aha! Here’s the sneaky bit. This is where Dad goes incognito. The producers have slapped a pair of eyeglasses on him and named him “Craig,” and he’s to help them pick out their rings while surreptitiously finding out a bit about them.
Marty’s not a terrible actor (something he probably hopes Hollywood casting agents pick up on.) He pretends to know nothing about the premise of the show, and asks the women why they’re on it and whether they really think they can find love on TV. They, in turn, think he’s hot, and one says in a confessional that if things don’t work out with the dad, she’s coming back to the ring store for Craig. Poor tricked woman.
This Mascara Not Tested on Lab Rats
Back at the house, the women are shown their room. Yes, room. Singular. Women. Plural. They’re bunking in together like lab rats in one of those experiments where all the rats are jammed in together and they act nuts and it’s supposed to demonstrate what people are like in cities. Or something. Also – and this is a little-known fact about lab rats – they must share one bathroom. They’re aghast. And since they all look like it takes quite a bit of bathroom time to get them looking like this, I can see why.
The next morning, the
lab ratsladies are awakened at 7 a.m. by the daughters, who tell them Dad’s on his way. A mad rush for the bathroom ensues. Slaughter is imminent. This is Darwinism at its most basic, people.
The women finally make it downstairs, all looking pretty much as coiffed as they did last night, which makes me wonder just how much hairspray they use and whether any of them are the sort of woman who gets her hair done once a week in a salon then doesn’t touch it the other six days. Anyway, they wait expectantly for Dad’s arrival. But instead of him at the door, it’s a letter, telling the daughters they must eliminate two women before Dad even gets to meet them. Ouch, that’s a bit harsh. I’ve always felt bad for the people eliminated first on these dating shows. I mean, it’s pretty much saying, “After knowing you for two hours, I’ve decided I don’t like you.”
The daughters and ladies are all equally aghast at the orders. The daughters apologize in advance and trot off dutifully to confer. Alone, the three agree they wish they could see their dad’s reaction to the women before picking two to banish. They argue a bit over a couple of women, and return teary-eyed. I hope a mascara manufacturer is sponsoring this show, because I haven’t seen one instance of smeared mascara yet, despite the fact that it’s 20 minutes into the show and people are already crying all over the place.
Anyway, Tina and Debbie get the boot. Tina is philosophical, saying she’s disappointed but she believes in karma. I think she means karma will find her a man, not that karma will bite back at the daughters for kicking her out. I hope. Debbie says she wasn’t ready to go, but that the girls know their dad. They depart to absolutely sappy music, as if we’re supposed to weep over these women who graced our TV screens for all of five minutes and whose names we wouldn’t remember except that the daughters just announced them. Also, they leave in a van that advertises itself as a shuttle service: “Here Today … Gone…Today.” Ironic much?
Mixing It Up
As the other women go back in to gloat internally while sniffling on the outside, Marty comes up behind them, announces himself, and whips off the glasses. Mass gasps ensue.
We cut to a montage of old pictures of Marty playing with the girls as kids. The daughters tell us he was young when they were born, and worked six days a week to support them. To their credit, this family does seem very close. There’s no mention of what happened to mom, by the way. But I’m guessing divorce. Although “locked in a tower” would be more interesting. So would “eaten by lab rats.”
Back to the here and now, Marty apologizes for his little charade. The daughters have planned a “mixer”, which tells me in no uncertain terms that they are graduates of sororities. In my world, a “mixer” is the liquid that is added to the vodka. Mostly for color. But to each their own.
At this mixer, Marty takes each woman – all of whom seem to be wearing black dresses – off for some alone time, and to give them each a diamond necklace of her initial. Do you know I own absolutely no jewelry involving my initials? Nor do I own any jewelry involving diamonds.
Anyway, with every woman, he gives the necklace, they chat a bit and then have a slow dance. Several ladies rave about how nice it is to be close to him and how good he smells. I’m guessing here, but … Aqua Velva? Just maybe? Or Brut?
After 13 slow dances, Marty toasts the women, and – classiness of classiness – a fax arrives. Loudly. It tells them that after breakfast the next day, the daughters must choose the two least compatible-with-dad women to clear the table, and one will be going home. The women look like scared rabbits. Scared, mascaraed rabbits.
Does Barry Manilow Wear a Toupee?
Dad’s at breakfast, and notes Nicole hasn’t said a word. She says she’s listening. He looks skeptical. But before we can probe this fascinating conversation further, it’s clean-up time. The women chosen are Layne and Sarah, who says, “I have never been voted least compatible with anyone.” Because, you know, in real life, these things get voted on all the time.
Carrying a plate or two for the look of the thing, the two enter the kitchen, where they’re greeted by a dour, strange man, who demands to know if they’ve ever taken a polygraph test. “No,” they squeak in unison. Well, they’re about to.
Layne walks the plank first, and says she feels like a “caged animal.” Since this is the only really entertaining, snarky bit of the whole thing, I guess I’ll list the questions. But I want to insert a little public service announcement here. Lie detector tests do not say you are lying. They measure your heartbeat and stuff, and reflect which questions seem to make you more nervous, on the theory that you get nervous when you lie. So really good liars, or someone who has managed to convince themselves they’re telling the truth, can fool one. Just FYI.
Ok, ok, I’ll shut up. Questions are:
Would she let Marty use her toothbrush? (She says yes, which is truth)
Would she still love him if he liked Barry Manilow? (She says yes, an obvious lie, despite polygraph dude’s thumbs up)
Did she dye her hair because she heard he didn’t like blondes? (Yes. True)
Is she pretending to like the daughters so they’ll choose her? (She says no: survey says, that’s a lie.)
Would she like Marty better if he didn’t have kids? (She says no: again, polygraph dude says she’s lying.)
It’s Sarah’s turn. Her questions are:
Would she help the kids pay the rent? (She says yes; survey says she’s lying)
Is she a good cook? (She says no, and it’s the truth)
Would she love Marty if he was bald? (She says yes, it’s the truth, and I have to agree, bald can be sexy, although I’m not sure if Marty could pull it off. He looks more like a toupee man to me. As in, one is already on his head.)
Would she flirt with the daughters’ boyfriends? (She bravely says yes, and it’s the truth)
Does she feel mature enough to get married? (She says yes, polygraph man says no)
With that over, the girls look at each other, worried, and note that both women lied. Well, duh. Finding that your man is a closet Barry Manilow fan is a love-killa.
A Mole-Hole in the Plot
It’s booty-kicking time, and Layne and Sarah flank Marty, holding his hands. The daughters apologize, then kick Layne to the curb. Sarah cannot suppress a smile of victory. Layne gives hugs all around, and departs saying that there is still someone out there for her, she just needs to look around her. And avoid Barry Manilow concerts.
In the first decision he’s been allowed to make, Marty gets to choose a woman for a nightcap. But --- here’s another trick! We don’t see who he chooses, because she’s a mole (a very popular concept with reality shows these days). Um, could they not have mentioned this earlier? It could have made for more suspense. And by “more” I mean, “any.” She’s his sister-in-law, planted among the women to find out about them and report back to him. I hope these ladies are watching their words. Because the minute one says, “Toupee? Or not toupee?” you know she’s going to be history. But hey, I bet Hallmark makes cards for that. “Roses are red, violets are blue, Telly Savalas is bald, but you have hairplugs.” You know, something like that. It’ll be in the Shoebox section.
The mole is revealed, there are two eliminations, and at least one daughter seems mad at the women. Looks like the tried-and-true stepdaughter/stepmother cliché is in NBC’s scriptbook. Like we doubted it for a second.
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