The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

The Millionaire Matchmaker

I completely understand the desire for guilty pleasure TV shows. Sometimes, it’s just nice to turn off your brain and watch something stupid and fluffy.

I came into this show expecting to hate everything about it and be completely disgusted. I was expecting some rip-off of The Bachelor. It was slightly better than expected.

Every show starts off with Patti (the Matchmaker) reviewing potential client videos with her two co-workers. They talk about whether or not they think the potential client is actually committed to finding a lasting relationship or just wants to get laid. They also discuss all potential flaws of the client, ranging from chauvinistic tendencies to their appearance.

Then they meet with the client and get a feel for what kind of man or woman the client likes. Patti tends to mock them mercilessly, which is sometimes funny, but mostly just seems mean.

Next up is the casting session, which is the one part of the show that I truly detest. Basically, these people who are also looking for a relationship come in to Patti and her co-workers and they rip apart everything about them. They tell these people that they need to buy new clothes, dye their hair (to better fit the desires of the millionaire client), lose weight, or stop looking so “Midwest.” This is all meant to be humorous for the audience, but I have serious problems in laughing at people for the way they look. It’s mean-spirited and some of the people look genuinely hurt after meeting with Patti. This part generally lasts about five to ten minutes and I feel like I need a shower at the end of it. There are already so many negative messages that people have to deal with regarding body image and I hate watching things that add to that. There’s a huge difference between making fun of someone for wearing something (which I’m sometimes okay with when people are ripping apart the outfit and not the person in it) and telling her she needs to dye her hair to please a man she might not even like. I only use “her” and “she” because both of the episodes I watched involved a male client trying to find a female date. Thus, women were the only ones in the casting session.

Once that particularly troubling segment ends, the cocktail party starts. There are generally two clients per cocktail party and they chat with all the potential dates. Then they each pick two and have a “mini-date” with each of them. At the end of the night, the client picks the person he or she liked the most and they set up a date.

Afterwards, Patti tells each client what she does not want them to do on the date (be controlling, be chauvinistic, have sex, etc.). The clients are then allowed to set up their own date and we see some of what happens on the date.

The last part of the episode involves Patti calling each client and their dates and interrogating them about the date. If the client did anything to go against Patti’s instructions, she basically yells at them and tells them to “fuck off.” She does it slightly more professionally, but that’s the basic message she conveys.

As the credits roll, we get an update on how each client is doing and if they are still dating the person they chose on the show.

I can see how this show can be addicting. There were some clients that I wanted to root for and others I wanted to punch in the face. The problem for me is that the troubling parts of the show stuck with me far longer than the non-troubling parts. My guilty pleasure shows should not cause me more stress. Granted, I am more sensitive to shows that ridicule people for body image, but that’s why I generally try to avoid them. If you aren’t as sensitive to that topic and you enjoy dating shows, this is one of the less sleazy ones out there. And while I don’t necessarily like Patti all that much, she can be entertaining at times.

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