Bravo's Most Eligible Dallas beautifully captures the city's self-entitled, vacuous, money-to-burn singletons (Bravo?)
08/14/11 01:44 PM
Premiering: Monday, Aug. 15th at 9 p.m. (central) on Bravo
Starring: Matt Nordgren, Courtney Kerr, Tara Harper, Drew Ginsburg, Glenn Pakulak, Neill Skylar
Produced by: Kimberly Belcher Cowin, John Ehrhard
By ED BARK
It's hard to be humble -- or likable for that matter -- when you're busily reinforcing Texas stereotypes in a new series with a big braggart of a title.
"Are we the most eligible group in Dallas? Without a doubt," says blonde 'n' curvy Tara Harper, whose love of animals can't quite keep pace with her love of self.
Bravo's Most Eligible Dallas, launching on the summertime heels of CMT's Texas Women and Style's Big Rich Texas, is at base level another effort to undo all the good work of Friday Night Lights. That Emmy-nominated series was the first to portray the state as something more than a 10-gallon repository for yahoos and/or self-important fools and their money. Now we're back in the gilded saddle again, with a re-do of Dallas coming next fall to TNT while the likes of creature-comforted Drew Ginsburg proclaim Monday night, "Everyone in Dallas tends to be self-centered and shallow."
Openly gay, thoroughly full of himself and working for daddy's luxury car dealership, Ginsburg is one of six major league posers populating Season 1 of Most Eligible Dallas. Monday's opening hour, which gifts the city with its very own super-lampoonable Jersey Shore, also features a vagabond ego-centric NFL punter who's been released by 10 NFL teams; a former Bishop Lynch High School star quarterback but University of Texas benchwarmer; a self-described "slave to vanity" and a late-arriving new girl in town who instantly makes her jealous.
Is it all a hoot to watch? Definitely, but probably not intentionally so. And the production values at least are of a higher caliber than on Jersey Shore, whose thoroughly dim denizens are regularly showcased in symbolically cheap-looking, grainy video.
Matt Nordgren, profiled on the Dallas-Fort Worth page of unclebarky.com, is best known for his vainglorious description of himself in early promotions for Most Eligible Dallas. But "reality" television can be edited any which way. So Matt's scene-setting "I consider myself the total package. I genuinely love women" has been altered for Monday's premiere. He now says, "Dallas is a very small town. Everywhere you go, everyone knows your name. I consider myself the total package for sure. Everything I've done in my life, I've been groomed to be a great man. One thing my mother told me, 'When you walk in a room, own it.' And I've always done that."
Tara's promo clip quote also has been re-calibrated. One could first see and hear her saying, "Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Big boobs. That's what you think of Dallas, and that's kinda me." The re-edited version goes like this: "Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Big boobs. I am 100 percent a Dallas girl."
Minorities need not apply in Most Eligible Dallas, save for Tara's Preston Hollow mansion housekeeper, Maria. She gets a cameo appearance for the purpose of making a little snack for Tara's latest take-home dog via her Paws in the City charity. The dog is named Shaniqua, a popular name in the African-American community. But Tara doesn't like that moniker because "we need a better name than that." The dog, by the way, is black. Wow.
As does Drew, Tara and Matt have well-salaried positions in their family's long-established businesses, allowing them ample free time for partying, clubbing, drinking and posturing. When you're loaded with money, "the world sort of becomes your playground," says Matt, who regularly rounds up a harem of women. This continually vexes the possessive, high-strung Courtney.
Preparing to make a grand entrance at Teddy's nightspot, Matt makes multiple phone calls before outlining his overall game plan. "I try not to do one on one, because it's just not valuable time spent," he reasons. "You know, why do one on one when you can do one on three? Why do one on three when you can do one on five? Why do one on five when you can grab one buddy and do two on 15?" He then cuts loose with an everything-is-bigger-in-Texas laugh.
Courtney, a supposed longtime friend of Matt's, contributes some acid-tongued riffs when he strides into Teddy with "all the Hooters waitresses," as she puts it.
"Toot toot," Courtney tells the camera. "Like the whole train of 'ho's in their cheap dresses and their plastic heels and their fake boobies."
Let's towel off by meeting Glenn, whose frequently captured abs apparently are designed to compete with those of Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.
Glenn's modest, though, describing himself as a "natural born poser" before he preens for a fashion shoot. "I've never had an ugly duckling phase," he later reveals. "I've just been this pretty ever since I was a child." This is not said in a wink-wink manner. Glenn really means it.
Meanwhile, Courtney is laying the wood to poor Matt the next morning at his pad. "I need a bottle of wine," she says before he pours jumbo glasses of red for the both of them. How could he embarrass and humiliate her like that at Teddy's, where she ended up bawling in the restroom with Tara?
"I don't know how to fix it," Matt tells her. "The word 'player' to me is one of the most offensive things people can say about me" because to "be a player you have to be playing games." On the contrary, all of his "cards are on the table" and all 15 of the girls he squired at Teddy's were "friends," Matt says with a thoroughly straight poker face.
Most Eligible Dallas, in which Tara snootily dismisses two men who hit on her as "Guido von Duccis," may well end up being summertime's guilty pleasure/comedy sensation. Its six resident posers clearly have no sense of irony or shame, leading their entitled lives with gusto while all of the city's unemployed or working class slugs strive to make ends meet.
"I have a view that's a panty dropper," Drew says of his luxury Uptown apartment.
"There's nothin' I can't do in this town," says Matt. "If you wanna hate on me for being a single guy at 28 in town, fine. Do it."
One more time, Matt. "I like to go everywhere with a good group of girls," he says. "Honestly, no one else can really do it. It's a special characteristic."
Damn, it'd be great to see all of them selling pencils on a street corner someday. But life isn't fair, and that's just not going to happen.
GRADE: D for the overall image of Dallas it presents. But on a love-to-hate scale, Most Eligible Dallas is way off the charts.