Fox's Big Fat Reality Mishmash
Wed Dec 31, 2:10 AM ET
By Sarah Hall
A reality riddle from the folks at Fox: What would happen if you crossed The Bachelorette with Average Joe, then added a dash of The Joe Schmo Show?
Answer: My Big Fat Obnoxious Fianc, the latest in televised reality wedding fiascos with-a-twist.
Dubbed the "ultimate practical joke" by the network, the six-episode, partially scripted series is Fox's answer to ABC's saccharine but high-rated Trista and Ryan's Wedding.
At first glance, the show's premise seems familiar: Randi, a comely 23-year-old schoolteacher, is a bride-to-be whose wedding buildup will be followed by a camera crew for full disclosure.
But it's there that the similarities to Trista's cotton-candy themed nuptials come to a screeching halt.
Because Steve, Randi's hubby-to-be, isn't a hunky Ryan Sutter-type--on the contrary, he's a mother-in-law's nightmare: unattractive, unappealing and altogether undesirable. And, up to the point she learns of her daughter's engagement, Steve's future mother-in-law is totally unaware that he exists at all.
In the series premiere, Randi is charged with announcing her surprise wedding plans to suitably horrified family and friends and introducing them to the ghastly Steve.
Enter the first twist: Randi's not really marrying Steve--but if she can convince her nearest and dearest that she is indeed tying the knot, she'll win a million dollars. That means going through all the motions--meeting with the wedding planner, enduring a bridal dinner, sitting through a rehearsal dinner and even exchanging "I do's."
But even Randi's not fully in the know--which brings up twist number two. The so-called bride-to-be is under the impression that her faux intended is pulling the same fast one on his family that she is, with the end goal of receiving a cash prize.
In fact, Steve and his "family" are all professional actors, straining their improvisational skills to the limit to keep up with the "real" world action. All of this trickery falls within Fox's framework for the most intense practical joke ever televised.
The series premieres January 19 and takes the slot vacated by the ill-fated Fox drama, Skin.
Meanwhile, in the traditional reality-programming world, ABC's formula for taking one attractive eligible and inundating him or her with a host of desirable singles seems to have finally paid off in the case of Trista and Ryan.
After the network paid for the duo's multi-million dollar wedding extravaganza, the newlyweds honeymooned at an exclusive island resort before returning to their Colorado hideaway.
The Sutters will make their next public appearance this Thursday, when they are scheduled to adorn the FTD float at the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.