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The Greatest Country on God's Green Earth

My Living Room (03/02/2000) - Okay, so it turned out the prize on Who  Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? was not such a prize. Gee, who could have guessed that some guy willing to marry someone on television who he has never met was a moron? Well, duh. Just about anyone. That's why we tuned in to watch. We wanted to see who was a bigger moron, the bride or the groom. The groom won. Good for him.

I don't understand why people are now willing to give the bride the benefit of the doubt. Just because one person in a two-person story is a 100 percent putz doesn't mean the other one isn't 99 percent. The media always portrays one side as good and the other as evil. This is the kind of thinking that has convinced seemingly rational people that John McCain is an acceptable candidate.

Naturally, FOX is taking a great deal of criticism for having the courage to air such an exceptional show; much of it from high profile stars who recognize that the growing popularity of reality-based programming and game shows severely limits the number of opportunities available for them to poison the minds of the American public with their own brand of tv crap. Considering the source of much of this criticism, it is not surprising how silly some of the complaints are.

For example, I have seen it argued several times that FOX should have given the women a chance to meet the guy before they decided whether or not to go on the show. What's the point of that? No one would have ever watched Let's Make a Deal if the contestants knew what was behind Door #1 AND Door #2. We tuned in to watch two people completely screw up their lives for our viewing pleasure. I don't know about some people but before I make the serious commitment of one hour of my tv time, I want to be damn sure they stand the maximum chance of doing just that.

Suppose they had let the women know more about Mr. Funnybucks. How many women would have flown to Vegas from around the world to appear on a show called Who Wants to Marry a Sleazy Hack with an Anger  Management Problem? Of course, any American woman of mating age who has been to a comedy club knows that all sleazy hacks have anger management problems but some of those potential brides were from Eastern Europe. You've got to spell things out for them.

What annoys me about the whole situation is that once again the American public gets the short end of the stick. We tuned in to watch a plane crash yet, despite appearances, everyone on this flight not only landed on time but drove away from the airport with some nifty new suitcases filled with cash or, at worst, some equivalent currency that can soon be converted into cash.

FOX got big ratings and a whole lot of press. Does anyone think they're truly upset by this?

The How Did This Ever Happen to Me Bride got a brand new car, an all-expenses trip to Vegas, an all expenses paid trip to the Caribbean, an all expenses trip to New York, and, lest we forget, a big old diamond ring. Plus, her meter's still running. Don't ask me how but she's practically become the spokeswoman for feminism. I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up co-hosting a talk show about victims fighting back with Leona Helmsley on the Oxygen Network.

Sleazy Hack guy will be milking this for the rest of his life. If he couldn't get booked on the merits of his hackitude before he has no worries now. He'll be appearing in Who Wants to See if She Can Suck Some Fame Along With  the Semen Out of the Putz Who Got Married on TV? at clubs and colleges across the country for the next several years. (And, yes, repulsed though I am by him, I'll admit I'm jealous he found this shortcut to fame even if I, myself, would not have taken it.)

The real victims here are the American public. Good tv shows are a rare commodity and this may have been the best show to come along since The  Jerry Springer Show. In fact, it was better. Springer understands that those of us at home love nothing better than to feel superior to the people we see on tv. Doing so allows us to feel better about our own pathetic lives.

Yet, we don't need to watch tv to feel superior to the people on Jerry's show. We can just get in the car and drive down to Wal-Mart. Who Wants  to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? gave us the chance to feel superior to those people to whom we normally feel the most inferior: rich men and hot women. What could be better than the chance to point at some guy who's loaded and a beautiful women and say, "Look at those morons. I'm better than they are." You can't buy that kind of happiness at Wal-Mart. I only hope G-d will punish Murdoch and his minions for depriving us of the opportunity to do this on a weekly basis.

So what's next? It seems every time television reaches a new level of crassness someone brings up the tired old idea of televised executions. It hasn't even happened and I'm already bored. If I think I'm better than a stripper who sleeps with more than one person, I already know I'm better than some guy on death row.

Then what is the future of television? I thought you'd never ask. How about Who Wants to Murder a Millionaire? I know I'd watch.

The obvious question: How will this show attract contestants?

The obvious answer: Supermodels.

Sure, most rich guys date hot women but how many date supermodels? Do the math. Too many millionaires and not enough supermodels. Just being a rich guy doesn't mean you can get near Tyra Banks, let alone have sex with her. Tell a couple of millionaires they have better than a 50% chance of bagging a supermodel and there'll be no shortage of contestants. Rich guys all think they're invincible anyway.

Here's how the show works. Three rich guys. Three supermodels asking questions. The audience votes. The guy with the most votes gets to pick a supermodel. The next guy gets to pick from the other two. The poor supermodel who loses has to strap the other guy onto a gurney, wheel him into a soundproof room and shove a needle full of death into his arm.

Okay, after a couple of guys die some contestants will start backing out. By that time, the show will be so popular, there'll be no problem finding some miserable IRS employee to threaten millionaires with a nasty audit if they don't appear on the show. Death before taxes. It's the rich guy creed.

Face it. It's a great idea and one I'd be willing to sell to FOX for $999,999.

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