August 3, 2004 -- LACTOSE-intolerance warning: "The Player," UPN's new reality show, is so cheesy that all you need is macaroni for a complete dinner.
"The Player" brings together a cheesy Miami "model" Dawn and her equally cheesy "girls" who get to choose one big, er, cheese from a mansion full of sleazy men. The winner gets Dawn.
While the cringe-factor is great here, you do come away asking how one country can produce so many clueless, seeming illiterates. The answer is 16 to be exact — Dawn, the model (or Dowhn, as they pronounce it), her two "girls" plus 13 loser guys.
The players in "The Player" are referred to as a "cultural cross-section," which apparently means three or so black guys and a bunch of white guys who just think they're black.
It's like a Steve Martin routine, except that these rapping and — yes, dear God — dancing white guys are for real.
And their black counterparts? Bad Barry Whites — one and all.
In the premiere, the guys have 45 seconds to "impress" Dawn and her friends. This is not difficult because the women seem like such idiots themselves that they don't even laugh at the horrible, slimy routines the men perform for them.
But then again, the brain power is so dim that Dawn's deepest thought appears to be: "If I fall for them I could get played instead of playing — I'm a playah, but I cou' get played." Right.
Each week one player is eliminated. Wow! What a twist!
They have to win Dawn's and her friend's approval after performing some idiotic trick. The required tasks are assigned by "The Player Operator" who is, we're told, a "famous player" himself. So famous, in fact, they have to disguise his voice, which comes out of a gold phone. A Bosley for the incredibly cheesy.
And if you aren't already cringing, the Player Operator (smooth operator, circa 1978) refers to Dawn in his assignments as "our lady."
Our Lady of what — spandex?
Prime time moments: The blond, Swedish-looking guy who raps and the black guy who sings "This girl is so fly-y-y-y," which so impresses dopey Dawn that she immediately turns into L'il Kim.
It was during the miraculous conversion of Dawn that my own Love Interest, whom I'd forced to watch with me, jumped up and ran away screaming, "I'd rather watch the dog scratch himself!"
Harsh. Very harsh.
But as the great philosopher Dawn herself loves to say, "Don't hate the player, hate the game." Believe me, honey, I do!
(From left) Jinelle, Dawn and Ananda pour on the cheese in "The Player."