"Mr. Personality" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 04/26/2003
I feel like pulling a Randy Jackson: FOX, FOX, FOX, dawg, you’ve done it again!” Yes, FOX is once again the king of good reality shows. No, the new show “Mr. Personality” isn’t original. It’s yet another rip-off of the formula created by ABC’s “The Bachelor,” but like “Joe Millionaire” and “Married by America” before it, they put an interesting, odd little twist on it. Most people look at the concepts presented by these shows and think FOX has finally sunken to a new low. Not me! My philosophy is that if all parties involved are willing to put themselves up for ridicule, why not let us watch it! It’s guilty-pleasure TV.
Besides, the concept for this show does knock down yet another oft-repeated statement that women give during the dating process: they don’t care what a guy looks like, just that he has a good personality. A woman named Hayley Arp is the one who has signed up for this latest FOX social experiment. She is a 26-year-old sales associate at an investment firm in Atlanta. She will ultimately choose one man among twenty eligible bachelors. So far, so “The Bachelor.” Here is the twist: all of the men are masked, and will keep their masks on until they are let go. Hayley must make her choices solely on the personalities of the men and not on their looks at all. She also won’t know their ages, their occupations, their salaries, or their current financial status until their unmasking. In the first episode, she meets all twenty men at a formal meet-and-greet party. Each suitor dances with Hayley and gives some cheesy compliments to her. Next up is the gift-giving part. Most of the men give highly unoriginal gifts like journals and teddy bears. Other gifts are just creepy, like the guy who couldn’t give her his greatest gift, his virginity, because as he says, “somewhere between high school and this evening my virginity already got lost.” After the gifts came the astrologer. She was supposed to see if they had any compatibility with Hayley, but she seemed to be more concerned about their sexual proficiency. Cue more cheesy lines by the masked guys about their abilities in bed. Finally, Hayley cuts the group of men in half. The ten men who are rejected get to take off their masks and show her what she is missing. Nine of the men take the rejection in stride, but one of the guys, a mascot from Chicago named Robert, gets mad and thinks she based her decision only on the comments of the astrologer (his bad attitude was obviously the real reason.) She then gets to re-meet the remaining men, who now have individually colored masks and a name (up until now, they had been all referred to by a number.) Of the guys left, the most interesting one appears to be Chris, a motivational speaker from Los Angeles. Throughout the episode, he subliminally convinced Hayley to pay attention to him, and it appeared to work. It freaked me out, but it turned her on. In future episodes, Hayley will get to unmask the suitors (while she is blindfolded) so she can be more intimate with them. She also gets to spy on the suitors in a secret video room. While she doesn’t ever get to see their faces or know their information, we lucky viewers at home do get access to those things. Most of the men (the rejected ones and the remaining ones) aren’t that bad-looking. A few of them aren’t exactly hot (if I go on a Lorenzo Lamas “Are You Hot” basis), but they aren’t bow-wows either. Week by week, she will whittle the masked men down, until she finds her Mr. Personality. Oh…did I mention that the show is hosted by Monica Lewinsky?
This show will disgust the same women who thought “Joe Millionaire” implied that all women are gold-diggers by implying that all women want a hot guy. Now, I am an ugly, poor geek, and both implications have been true in many cases in my life, but I know that it is not universally true. Why not let this show prove us guys wrong by allowing a woman to actually pick a guy based on his personality? Since the show had boffo ratings, there is a very good chance it will see a second season. If it does, I’d really like to see a “Ms. Personality.” It will give the guys a taste of their own medicine. They always complain about superficial women…would they pick a woman based on her personality alone if they were given the opportunity?
As far as Lewinsky goes, she doesn’t add much to the show. She’s not the worst reality host I’ve ever seen, but she feels more like the friend that always visits the bachelor or bachelorette on other dating reality shows. She seemed to be taking an inventory during the gift-giving segment. She is slightly more informative than Chris Harrison from “The Bachelor” is, but not by much.
I will be very curious to see Hayley’s reaction to the man she ultimately chooses. “Mr. Personality” is just the latest FOX show that goes straight for the jugular and examines the hard questions. I am more than willing to welcome an equal opportunity offender show that goes after the stereotypes that men display. Until that happens, I will gladly watch these FOX shows that always seem to put the best twists on old reality show ideas.
DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
Try to catch this show every week...
If a better show is on, tape this one...
If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...
If this show is on, change the channel immediately!