Saturday, September 10, 2005

For those of you who are fed up with news about the disengagement, corruption scandals and balancing your checkbook, here is your chance to put some romance and glamour back in your life.
I am referring to the cheesy reality show “of all the girls in the world”.
New York businessman Ari Goldman (34) is the male star aka the object of desire.
He is a slightly chubby bachelor who lives in Manhattan, where he runs a (supposedly) highly successful vintage comics enterprise.
According to the visuals, he drives a really cool car, has a powerboat and a nice house with a terrace overlooking the water. Mmmm, not bad at all! So why do I have the sneaky suspicion that all those worldly goods are not his? And why does he want to meet 17 Jewish Cinderellas aged 21-34 in Israel? Is he desperate, or does he want to improve his business? If the latter is the case, I applaud him – free worldwide marketing & PR is something only A-list actors enjoy.

The ladies in question come from diverse backgrounds, and were born in Estonia, Bulgaria, Canada, the US, Ethiopia and Israel. All (but one) have at least a BA, as the producer happily pointed out. (No idea why that is relevant, but who am I?).
According to the producer, they are “the type of girl that any Jewish mother would want for her son”. Yeah, sure, every mother-in-law just loves her son to marry a woman who made a fool of herself on international TV for a worldwide audience.
Goldman doesn't speak Hebrew, so a large part of the program is in English. Some of the girls don’t speak English well, and use one of their competitors as a translator. Talking about shooting yourself in the foot!
The producer justifies the lack of English skills with: “We didn't pick them for their fluency in English; love is an international language”. He added that language and culture obstacles will add spice to the show.
Except for the significant fact that he doesn't live in Israel, Goldman travels on Shabbat, but has his Friday night dinner with his family. He eats only kosher, dons a kippa when he sits down to eat and studies with a rabbi every two weeks. We can therefore safely assume that he will not make alyah, so his bride will be whisked away to NYC. I am sure that’s a huge incentive to participate in this show.
Some of the young women he meets are fully Sabbath observant, some just eat kosher but don't observe the Sabbath, and others are barely observant at all.
As we all know, that’s already a breaking point in any date, so good luck to all of them.
No show without a twist, so there it comes: an 18th contestant is watching all the episodes except the last from the comfort of her living room, who can also join the rat race if she considers herself superior. Of course she will – but isn’t that unfair towards our poor bachelor, who never even saw the wench?
Toward the end, Goldman will take the four women who appeal to him most back to New York, where family and friends will help him narrow the choice to one.
The rewards? A $ 200,000 engagement ring, a car, and a rent-free apartment for one year.
The catch? He has to settle in Israel (Talking about pressure!).
I am not the only one being cynical about this all - Goldman's own mother doesn't think the show will bring her a daughter-in-law. What I don’t get: New York is full of intelligent, gorgeous single women, so what is Goldman’s problem?
Especially NYC is the ultimate ethnic melting pot, so why shop afar when you can do it right on your doorstep?
Does the show work? Yes and now. The chances that Ari will find a bride whom he can whisk away to Manhattan are as high as any of us winning the lottery. Are we being entertained? For sure!
The styling of this program is excellent – no money was spared on locations, outfits, hair & makeup.
In the first episode, the candidates arrived in brand new identical cars (that were obviously not theirs), wearing white outfits that complimented one another. During the episodes shown, all the girls have nice clothes, beautiful makeup, and every hair in place. I would love to see them in their own feathers, so to speak.
Needless to say, the program is heavily sponsored. In contrast to American shows, where sponsors get subtle acknowledgements, in this one an aggressive male voice interrupts the show rattling off the products and its benefits, while stills of the products in question are shown.

The tasks that the girls have to perform are rather weird – one received 4,000 NIS to spend in 2 hours. This would be a good test to see which one to eliminate!
Ari’s only comment was that he didn’t get anything. Makes you wonder about the spending habits of this mother and sister.
Some girls had to play golf; others had to sing in Casarea's amphitheatre. It looked more like an “Apprentice” episode than a dating show.
There is one shot of Ari reclining on his hotel bed, looking bewildered.
The gift of one of the girls tells it all: she gave him a fish tank with a fish, so he wouldn’t feel lonely. It only emphasized that he looked like a fish out of water…

No comments: