culture valkyrie: how low-brow can you go? please marry my boy
Deviating slightly from the male wish fulfilment trope of other reality dating shows like Farmer Wants Someone to Do the Dishes, Channel Seven’s new smash hit (not really) is all about girl power (but not really).
But sort of! This one’s about the matriarchy, with domineering Mums who manipulate their awkward offsprings’ sex lives. It’s fantastic viewing for those who like to downplay a vacuous reality TV addiction as the anthropological study of modern society at its grittiest. Please Marry My Boy is all you’ve come to expect and more. The main players are of course brilliantly drawn caricatures of moderate intelligence and boundless enthusiasm, and the premise is gratuitously appalling.
Naturally it still promulgates the classic reality-myth that it is well and good for a thirty year old man to lie in bed while his mother brings him eggs and juice and a slew of gorgeous women form an orderly queue outside his door; also, that stupid equals sexy and the true epitome of “adorkable” is when a full-grown dude can’t pronounce “meringue” and instead calls it “the crunch.”
Some of you may have missed the first episode. Perhaps you were on an early weeknight date with a real human being; perhaps some other life or death situation reared its needy head. Here’s the basic structure.
Four dudes, four Mums, and a bunch of lovelorn ladies looking for love. Their numbers dwindle consistently as per reality-formulae; at present I think the lusty female to male ratio is 3:1. The beauty of most reality TV fare is, and probably always will be the joy of watching the players fall like dominos – like seeing a trail of happy worker ants and turning the hose on them. I know. I feel sick in my mouth too.
The girls vie for the attention of their allocated eligible bachelors, but here’s the twist – Mum gets meddlesome. Is this porn for the middle-aged woman? I don’t know. From my demographic viewpoint, I just see this as perpetuating the stereotype that mothers-in-law are heinous, akin to stepmothers and Anna Wintour.
The calibre of the bachelors is a little disappointing. Too few “dashing good looks”, too many “dashed hopes” (poor Brendan is so frequently friend-zoned he has been nicknamed Friend-an, says Mum Anne). As an Adelaide native, I personally find it a bit depressing to see Vlad (or “creepy Vlad” as he is known in the Twitterverse), representing our fine state. Last week’s footage of the six-foot banker tonguing a girl’s face, chameleon-like, put me off him irredeemably. I’ll not stoop to barbs about bald patches – that’s what Twitter is for.
Am I allowed to call Vlad “creepy Vlad”? Am I cyberbullying him? Is it possible to actually cyberbully somebody who has already sold their body and mind as a prize rump and so much pixie dust to the soulless machine that is the Channel Seven network? Have they not already bullied themselves to the point of abject humiliation; does any sense of self-worth or -preservation remain? These are the probing questions Please Marry My Boy raises.
Refrigerator technician Matt is clearly the babe of the piece, while I personally feel that creepy Vlad was selected because his mother Milena is the badass. That glint in the eye! The scornful smile, the backstabbing trash talk! Her son’s a drip, but she’s well worth the ride. I’m just waiting for Milena to hiss at the camera, “I’m not here to make friends.”
Please Marry My Boy is delicious, disgusting and addictive television viewing at its finest. It feels like eating a 500g bag of Peanut M&Ms but spitting half of them out.
And whether the show makes you want to laugh, weep or howl, the “reality” is, there’s plenty more where it came from.