Obnoxious Fiance Degenerates to a Gooey Conclusion
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'Obnoxious Fiance' degenerates to a gooey conclusion
Monday, February 23, 2004
By Ruth Butler
The Grand Rapids Press
The scene was a bona fide tear-jerker: a mother begging her three children not to boycott her fourth child's wedding. Please, she said, her voice tight with emotion, do this for me. Come to the wedding. For me. But her adult children looked unwilling to cave in.
"My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" comes to its gooey conclusion tonight. A hit for Fox during its six-episode run, the show wins its time slot with viewers ages 18 to 49 and is the 14th most-watched series for the season.
Tonight America learns if 23-year-old elementary school teacher Randi Coy will make it through the "I do's" and win a million dollars.
The catch? Randi has passed off oafish Steve (Steven Bailey) as the man of her dreams. She knows it's a setup, thinking she and her "groom" merely are contestants on a reality show (hence all the cameras).
What Randi doesn't know -- but we do -- is that "Steve" and his "family" are all actors. Har-har.
So Randi and Steve have played a couple planning their wedding, trying on outfits, selecting the menu (Steve spit his food sample on the ground) and meeting Randi's best friend.
Then two weeks ago, she introduced them to her family, the ones for whom she is doing all this because they need the money.
Last week, the show was all about the impact of their news: not only are they engaged, they are marrying in three days. Don't look at the cameras!
Mom and Dad understandably were concerned. What's the rush? Randi's siblings -- two brothers and a sister -- decided angrily (the guys) and tearfully (sis) would have no part of it. Not attend their sister's wedding? You betcha. It all seemed wrong.
So Randi, tearfully, pleaded with her parents to support her. They, loving her and looking askance at Steve, tried their best.
Because if the family doesn't buy it, Randi doesn't get the dough.
So tonight, we're promised an array of surprises. Randi will or will not say her "I do's" (seems sacrilegious to call them "vows"), and they'll all find out Steve is an actor. Gotcha!
But given last week's emotional plea from Mom, there's likely something more. Perhaps you wondered why her back was to the camera during her entire appeal. I wondered, too. Could Randi's family be in on the joke?
That means every participant -- except Randi -- has been lying? This is "Joe Schmo" all over again: one dupe amid a chorus of pranksters.
How can Randi look her parents in the eye and lie? ("He's the one. Please support me.") Why are they so willing to reveal themselves as, uh, what's the word for people who'll do anything for money? Yeah, that.
Remember the mantra of reality TV: Things are not always as they seem. Also, anything goes.
The producers of this series, the same Rocket Science Laboratories that produced another Big Lie, "Joe Millionaire" and sleazy "Temptation Island," are being sued by the makers of the feature film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." The movie people say the titles are confusing, that viewers will tune in to the TV show and think it's connected to the well-regarded movie.
Hardly. The movie was good clean fun. The TV series is another can't-stop-watching, it's-so-awful entry to reality TV.
Those who study human behavior -- with subjects in prime time almost every night--- must be having a ball. Other viewers must be a little curious about what a show likes this says about us.