If you ever watched the celebrated documentary of class/wealth dichotomies, The Real Housewives of Orange County, you probably remember Jo and Slade, the newest stars of most unanticipated reality show ever, Date My Ex. Slade Smiley was the single father who gave even his children douchechills when he launched into patronizing diatribes with his fiance, Jo De La Rosa, and her love of sipping margaritas at overpriced Mexican restaurants with 40-year-olds. Unsurprisingly, their engagement and relationship did not last. Luckily (or unfortunately) they found a way back into reality television, starring in a dating show with a concept that must make Spencer Pratt green with envy: Slade helps his ex, Jo, find a new boyfriend! And he lives with the potential suitors! But he still
wants to control loves Jo! Check out the collected reviews after the jump.
There is no good reason in the world to watch "Date My Ex," and yet there is something vaguely redeeming in its economic chemistry. Since the first season of "The Bachelor" reality dating shows have typically put striving women in the position of angling for the attention of heirs and doctors and graduates of the better business schools. These Ambers and Tiffanys and Tristas might get the keys to the hotel room or, if they're really lucky, receive their own chance to weed out partners on television, but they weren't going to be taken to the Stanford reunion, even as the shows persisted in the fairly tale that it could be otherwise.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" implicitly understood the limits of social mobility, recognizing the difference between status and money. Slade is a lot wealthier than Jo, but they were equals in their lack of pedigree and everything they didn't know. Like the other couples on the show, they looked as if they might have a fighting chance, if only because they seemed to hail from the village.
The guys who show up for the first round were apparently purchased directly from the Reality Dude catalog — there's a personal trainer, a real estate agent, a talent agent and a nutrition salesman. The names don't really matter since the guys are there simply to provide the venues, a series of dream "dates" designed to woo the de-luscious Jo. To say it is ridiculous gives ridiculousness a bad rap. Ol' Jo may have a smokin' hot bod and an admirable willingness to part with her thong at a moment's notice, but a conversationalist she's not, and frankly, I think anyone seeing her without all that makeup might be in for a shock. So clearly no one's looking for a relationship, or even romance. These guys are in it to win it, whatever it is. Meanwhile, Slade is having second thoughts about the whole thing and looking pained. Will he undercut the competition to make himself look better? Will he and Jo wind up back together?
Who cares. Though it is mildly interesting to watch the reality monster consume its own tail for a few minutes, I'd frankly rather spend an hour blotting my lip gloss.
And I don't even wear lip gloss.
Not surprisingly, the series contains some problematic — and sexist — messages. While Jo says that she enjoys her new, more independent existence, these claims are offset by her willingness to allow her ex-boyfriend to exercise some control over her romantic life. It also prompts some contestants to objectify Jo as s possession that has already "belonged" to Slade (one contestant says that Slade has "peed on the tree and marked his turf," while another claims that Slade is "auctioning her off"). All of this may make for voyeuristically entertaining television for mature audiences, but it's definitely not for kids.
Bravo could do a public service by rushing this show to its inevitable conclusion. Jo will realize that since Slade has marked her, she's his forever. The two should marry, be spayed and shot into a space shuttle that will orbit the planet for eternity. In the heavens, they'll be the stars they've always dreamed of - and they'll be far enough away from the rest of us that we can forget about them.
'Date My Ex' premieres tonight on Bravo at 10 p.m..