Mr. Personality the Dating Game in Iron Masks
As this premiere episode opens up, I find that I am having a deja vu moment. It's Monica Lewinsky in a big white house with a rose garden. Then I realized I wasn't watching CNN I was watching FOX and the premiere of Mr. Personality. Thank heavens, I was worried that I might end up watching CSPN next if my tv continued to pick its own channels like that.
The premise of the show is that 20 men will work to win the heart of one woman. The twist is each man will be wearing a mask so she will only get to judge them by their personality (or possibly their body odor).
First we meet Hayley Arp the woman who will be courted by the various masked suitors. Hayley is an investment associate, she is from Atlanta and she seems to be very attractive. Hayley was probably a debutante at some point too. We are then subjected to a lot of Hayley's family talking about Hayley and I have to say that each time I saw the name Arp on the screen I want to say it like a barking seal. ARP-ARP-ARP clap clap clap. Anyway, we watch Hayley primping and preparing to meet the men and the whole time she gazes at herself in the mirror we listen to her rattle on about how looks don't matter. Well, I guess that will remains to be seen. SEEN, get it? We get to SEE the men and she doesn't bahhhhhaaaaaa.. We also get to meets Hayley’s sister and her brother who is named Dodger. I hope his real first name isn’t Artful.
The first meeting begins as Hayley walks down a long flight of stairs in her ball gown holding a mask in front of her face and we hear voice-overs from the men hoping she is going to be hot, pretty, hot, and hot. The men are all have their backs to Hayley. She drops the mask at exactly the same moment as the men turn and face her. I am amazed at the choreography. Fox has put out some serious bucks for this show, they have a "celebrity" host, an ostentatious house for the show to take place in, the events look very pricey, and a director/choreographer too? I wonder if it is to show up ABC and their dating shows, if they are trying to recover from the disaster that was Married by America, Joe Millionaire or perhaaaaaaaaaaps it's May sweeps.
No, not FOX, they wouldn't do anything outlandish for sweeps now would they? Well, I don't know but the precise half turn pivot was pretty good and right together. The men looked like a twenty man dance squad. Matching tuxes and masks. In fact they were all gray, like that movie The Man in the Iron Mask. I did have a moment of doubt that she would be able to tell them apart, since we were informed by our host that they couldn't tell her their names, occupation or salary, but I saw that they each had a number on their mask. Whew, otherwise it could have been a disaster, all those men and no way for Hayley to eliminate any of them. She would have said " umm the guy in the gray mask" and bam ! Show over they all leave.
I want to stop here a moment and just focus on this mask thing. First of all for some of the guys I bet it really does have some pros. It worked for Batman and Robin, and Jim Carrey got a lot of mileage out of one in a movie from 10 years ago. One guy mentioned that there were some pretty good looking guys there so at least he was on an equal playing field. Well, this is true, and I am also thinking that for those guys with bad skin, one ear, scars, balding, or simply those who don't want to fix their hair or shave this is a great way to go in the dating world. However, if you're not the owner of a nice set of teeth or you perpetually have dragon breath you could be in trouble. Also, if you're a pirate and only have one eye it could be bad too. The inability to see facial expressions is a hard one for me, I get a lot from peoples' expressions and I would feel like I was only getting half the message each time. Of course Joan Rivers has been botoxed to the point of no expression and I don't have a problem figuring out what she is saying. She continues to say “Can we TALK” when what she really means is “Shut up and Listen to ME Talk.” Well, anyway for the moment all the men are in gray masks with numbers and smiling like idiots from behind them, they all have head covers too, so Hayley must pick which ten of the twenty men in the iron masks she wants to keep for this round.
THE DANCE AND THE GIFTS
The first round of the show goes on with each "suitor" taking a turn to dance with Hayley for a few moments. I couldn't keep up as they all started to look alike. Men! The only one who remotely stood out was #17 a motivational speaker and he talked about using a subliminal message to keep Hayley
interested. Can men do that? Talk to us subliminally?
Well, it must have worked because Hayley mentioned finding out more about him. The men then moved on to presenting Hayley with gifts. Now, I personally liked this part of the show and think it should be mandatory on all first dates. Bring a gift and women can judge you worthy of going on or not. Guy shows up with a bottle of wine and flowers and we smile and on we go, guy shows up with a dust buster and we take it, turn it on his crotch and go out with the girls. Can someone get me the number of the date rule maker?
The men give Hayley quite an array of gifts. Men, let me say here if you have any question what-so-ever even a tiny doubt you should ask at least one woman who isn't your mother if it is a good gift. Better yet take a woman shopping with you. These guys were all over the board with the gift giving. We had a number of journals, some Teddy Bears, a music box, a home made picture frame, a photo album of one man's dog, a book of sports quotes, a set of quirky frogs, a painting, a championship ring, and a set of walkie-talkies. Ok, I think they pretty much speak for themselves. But, for some of you men out there I will delve a little further. First, never give a woman something for her house or something she will have to run and dig out to display every time you come over. If she doesn't help pick it out or your not one of the guys on Trading Spaces then don't attempt to help decorate her space. Teddy Bears , small ones, are for putting in flowers at Valentines Day, I won't touch the photo album of the dog. Book of sports quotes, hmmmm because we don't hear men talk about sports enough?
Men, this is important: Do not attempt poetry ala Ryan from the Bachelorette on a first date. It really does not work unless you're the lead singer of a really good band or you have been dating a long time.
The walkie talkies are great if your phobia of cellular transmitters prohibits the use of cellular phones or you’re going on a trip to an amusement park, but it kind of gives a “we are going to be separated on our dates” impression. I did think it was pretty good that one guy wanted to give her his virginity, but alas he had already given it away. Oh a re-gifter, watch out for those kind. All in all I think the journals were ok, the championship ring was a bit much but very sincere. I would like to have seen her receive a nice bouquet of flowers for the first date maybe a small trinket to wear on a later date . The little silver frog from Red Envelope was a cute idea. The Conquistador and Lady Frog figurines, however, a bit much. The music box was sweet too. Well, I could go on all night about appropriate gifts but I will stop.
HER MOON, HIS STARS, FOX’S HOUSE
After the gift giving we are treated to the talents of an astrologer to help Hayley pick the best suitor. The astrologer tells Hayley about each man’s prowess in the bedroom. Ok, now I haven't mentioned Monica Lewinsky yet and I assure you I am getting to her, but I do want to make a small note here and ask, do you think this astrologer telling each man's sexual horoscope was
Monica's idea or input for the show?
Each man gets a chance to respond to the astrologer and the comments are predictable. Except for the man who likes to please and please and please his partner then please himself. I would never have predicted the please his partner part. Hayley, take note not to shake his hand later.
Ten of the men are shown standing under what looks like the Bio-Dome, only without Paulie Shore and Stephen Balwin, but then again, we’re not really sure as we haven’t seen the guys yet. As Hayley walks down a large stair case towards them, I noticed that she is still in the same dress but she has had three different hair-dos. First an up do, then all down long, now it is pulled back in a low ponytail. What's up with that? All this dough Fox is spending and they forgot to get a wardrobe consultant so they decided maybe if we change her hair no one will notice? As if all the mothers of young girls in the audience didn’t recognize the Barbie DreamDate outfit she’s been wearing all night.
The ten men are told they have not been chosen and they will introduce themselves to Hayley and remove their masks. Again the work of the choreographer comes into play as each man removes his mask in a most dramatic fashion. I think they actually rehearsed this. "Men, when asked to remove
your mask, bend 90 degrees at the waist, remove mask and head cover all at once by pulling at the back of the neck. While still bended fluff hair then stand quickly and smile at Hayley" I mean they all did it just like that.
Of the ten men sent on their way we lost the following:
A CEO of an Investment Company
A Personal Trainer
A Pharmaceutical Rep
A Marketing Director
A NFL Team Mascot
A Bar Manager
A Computer Tech
A Loan Officer
A Shoe Salesman
I want to point out here that most of these guys gave the geeky gifts. I think motive, sincerity and intention are all important in gift giving but when there is competition go with a sure thing. Wait till you really know her to fall back on " it's the thought that counts".
Most of the men were polite and wished Hayley very well and most were average looking except for the personal trainer he was pretty good looking. Hayley seemed sorry to see him go. The only one who seemed to have a real problem was the NFL team mascot. He gave a sour grapes speech about Hayley allowing an astrologer to pick her future. Not only did he express his disappointment, he came back to yell at her more after turning away. Hayley stood her ground, but he looked a little psycho and I was expecting Monica to dive under a desk for protection. He was kind of grumpy and crabby and I wondered just which mascot he is for the NFL. I don't remember any NFL teams adopting a Disney Dwarf for a mascot. Those guys are pretty funny and happy most of the time but he just was not in a good mood. I am surprised he didn't do better seeing as how he makes a living hiding his face.
WHO ARE THOSE MASKED MEN?
Finally we meet the ten men Hayley will get to know better and they get to wear a colored mask, not a stylish little over the eyes black mask like The Lone Ranger or Zorro. They don't tell us how they have assigned the colors and I personally want to know. It's a fact that certain colors evoke certain feelings and well I just think they should have had some process for deciding.
We meet the following:
Pete - Un employed - Gold Mask - average looking
Will – Millionaire/Developer - Silver Mask- He's a geek in the looks dept
Peyton – Investment Banker - Orange Mask - another geek
Brian - Criminal Defense Atty - Blue Mask- picture little boy blue as a trial lawyer
Joseph- Real Estate - Lt Blue Mask- This is the hottie in my opinion
Chris - Motivational Speaker - Dark Green Mask - Another hot one
Stan - Software sales - Lt Green Mask - He is hot but not smokin
Ted - Musician - yellow Mask - not great but gets points for the musician thing
Michael- publicist - Red Mask - nice face, balding sort of a Boy Scout look
Jim – Graduate Student - Purple mask- and he is again hot not smokin'
Now that the men are in colored masks I guess she will call them Pete Gold, Will Silver etc. But I am wondering if Fox couldn't have come up with a few more colors instead of Blue, Lt Blue, Green, and Lt Green. There is turquoise, Pink, Black, just to name a few. And I about lost it when the guy in the blue mask showed up I was sure it was a member of blue man group. I wonder if one of those guys was on the show if they would let him wear his
own get up? I am personally hoping some of the guys who think they are losing will switch masks at some point just to see what happens.
Ok , Ok, I am getting to her. Now when I first heard that Monica Lewinsky was going to be hosting this show I really didn't know what to think. I wondered if she needed money. I wondered if FOX was crazy. I wondered how many people would watch the show because of her and how many would not watch the show because of her. Which would Hillary and Bill do? Maybe both on separate TVs in separate houses in separate states. I know she has been designing purses as a career after her stint as a White House intern. I also wondered if after her involvement in the Clinton scandal if doing this show would be considered moving up in the world or scraping the bottom of the barrel. I am thinking it has got to be moving up. I mean after all when a girl will for ever be known as the woman who went down , I mean brought down an American President, hosting a reality TV show has got to be moving in the forward direction. I was a little confused as to whether Miss Lewinsky would be giving dating tips to Miss Arp. I don't think Monica dates does she? I am sure we would know about it, we know everything else about her.
Besides, what kind of tips would she be giving? I could really digress here but I won't pull out the obvious comments about stain removal, cigar choices, men in power, wearing berets, books of poetry, befriending older ugly women, or where to sit when visiting the oval office.
I will offer that Miss Lewinsky was pleasant as a host. She said her few lines and other wise seemed to act as a sort of friend / future maid of honor for Hayley. She giggled and whispered, she wrote down who gave Hayley which gifts so Hayley could send the appropriate thank you note. And she remained a pleasantly smiling wall flower during the ball. She looked nice, but she wasn't wearing that great lip-gloss she wore on the Barbara Walters interview. I don't remember what she said in that interview but I know that along with all the rest of the 20-40 yr old women in America I went looking for that gloss the next day.
Bottom line I will have to say that I liked the first episode more than I thought I would. I was sort of expecting a touchy feely version of the old dating game. Monica would be the moderator and Hayley would be asking these men questions up close and personal. I expected more of the typical FOX style, cheap sets, cheap contestants, and “I can't watch this it is so humiliating” moments that we always seem to watch to their conclusions. There may be many of those to come in future episodes but for now, Monica despite her reputation is doing ok, I will reserve my opinion on Hayley for later re-caps and the show itself looks like it might be somewhat entertaining to watch not just read in re-cap form!
Thanks to LG for her second set of eyes. If you are interested in contacting the author (especially if you were involved in making the show, as I’d love to interview one of the ten guys who left at the end of the first show), please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Till next week, here's a big kiss thrown your way and wave bye bye in the old dating game tradition!