Reality TV cruises for Love
Part Temptation Island, part Love Boat, Love Cruise finds 16 singles all aboard
By KEVIN WILLIAMSON
Forget those sissies forced to eat pig snout or bathe in maggots on Fear Factor.
Try being a single guy on a windjammer in the eastern Caribbean with eight attractive women -- and ALL OF THEM REJECT YOU.
Such is the fate of Michael, a 30-year-old, formerly rotund Jewish lawyer who boards Love Cruise, which airs Tuesday on Fox.
As he puts it: "Everyone ran from me like I had the Ebola virus."
Produced by the team behind The Real World -- which gets the credit, or blame, for weaning a generation of American teens on "reality television" for the past decade on MTV -- Love Cruise isn't as sleazy as Temptation Island, but still promises plenty of scantily-clad hotties being humiliated for envious TV viewers.
(Although the host is some bland specimen of game-show genetic engineering named Justin Gunn and not Charo, as I'd hoped.)
On Love Cruise, eight women and eight men must pair up, then compete in a series of challenges to test their compatibility as couples.
At the end of each show, someone gets voted off the ship, until the final two couples face a jury -- no surprise here, comprised of the rivals they've backstabbed and banished -- who will decide which of the two wins $200,000 and a trip around the world.
Of course, you need a date first.
Which brings us back to Michael, the sea dog that may never have his day.
Early on in the series premiere, after a session of speed-dating, the women pick a partner but, if more than one gal wants the same guy, he gets to select who he keeps.
Naturally, just as when kids get picked for baseball teams in schoolyards, the result is a morass of bruised egos and hurt feelings.
"There seems to be a lot of blondes with big boobs ... not that there's anything wrong with that," says the less-than-amply-chested Lisa, 32, who recalls being barked at by boys when she was eight because she was so ugly.
(Note to the ugly children of the world: Don't grow up to go on a reality-TV show based around romantic rejection.) Call me evil, but for the first 15 minutes anyway, Love Cruise floats.
It helps have a cast filled with a mix of self-deflating losers and glassy-eyed players such as Anthony, the tattooed aspiring screenwriter who rambles about "the depths of the ocean," and Toni, the blonde with the, ahem, obvious breast implants.
Eventually the show sinks under the weight of all the reality-TV cliches.
They should've went with Charo.