Last night I was invited by some young people of my acquaintance to view the Great Global Warming Swindle, preceded by the private screening of some right - er - left-thinking doco on the greenhouse effect, at their humble abode. Unfortunately, I had to spurn this kind offer, as I'd already been invited by a colleague to watch Mark Philippoussis's Age of Love at her place. Though gay, she seems to have a raging long-time crush on the Poo (why do dykes have such terrible taste in men?) Anyway, I told the youthful science farties that as far as I was concerned, the Age of Love was the televisual event of the evening, no doubt compounding my image as some strange, ageing, washed-up, intellectual, humanities woman (science farties don't get the thing about pretending to be interested in popular culture; they think middle-brow is where it's supposed to be at).
For those somehow not in the know, the basic premiss of Age of Love is the hoodwinking of the Poo into a dating show where two teams of women compete for his hand -- the 'kittens', a litter of twenty-somethings, and 'the cougars', a pride of women in their forties. (Note that the sensible mid-option -- 'cat's, women in their thirties, is missing). Thirty-one-year-old Philippoussis, who's apparently America's most eligible bachelor even though he's Australian, is blissfully unaware of all this till he's introduced to a succession of women who each announce they're in their forties. No actor, his face visibly drops after each announcement, though it lifts when a cage of kittens is lowered onto the helipad at the end of the show. (The whole thing is set on the rooftop of a hotel in LA -- hence no scattered rose petals as in the Bachelorette, I presume.) If they hadn't made such a big deal about the women's ages, he have been less thrown by the situation -- but I guess that's all part of the fun.
In the intro to the show, the cougars watched a clip of the Poo in which he says he 'can't wait to meet a whole lot of beautiful women in their twenties' -- after all what more can a nice Greek boy want than a fecund young thing to bear his kids (not wanting to get into generalisations or anything) -- and that 'he was so lonely, he'd bought a dog', which was surely the wrong answer. The cougars gushed and said 'how sweet', but really they must have been hoping for 'so lonely, he decided to start dating'. In contrast, the kittens did seem remarkably silly (and bitchy), but then the Poo himself is no Einstein. He also lacks the smoothness and manners of the more usual American male contestants on these shows, and has more of the great Australian gaucheness -- 'er, she seemed nice' -- altho this can be refreshingly honest at times. He's also huge, like a giant-size Yogi bear. He looks like he's amongst Lillputians every time he stands.
Anyway, it was all wonderfully appalling, as one might expect, with a teenage-boy-style date abseiling down the side of a building. I can't say (embarrassingly) enough what pleasure I receive from shows with a Princess pretext, like the Bachelor/Bachelorette and Australian Princess...the prince was lonely and looked out across his lands, saying,
who is beautiful, worthy, true enough, etc, to marry me where is the local animal shelter? These shows like to pretend that, like the Cinderella myth, they're on about true love: that it isn't all about status and exteriors, but about finding and valuing the genuine inner self, though we know they're just joshing really.
If you're still not convinced that this is Thursday night's best offering, here's a preview of what to expect in coming weeks:
As Mark had dessert with Kelli, Consuelos gathered the other four Kittens -- Adelaide; Mary, a 24-year-old hemodialysis technician from Albuquerque, NM; Megan, a 21-year-old Loyola University student from Chicago, IL; and Tessa, a 23-year-old executive assistant from Peoria, AZ -- as well as the other four Cougars -- Lynn; Jayanna, a 38-year-old mortgage loan officer from Newport, CA who has been married once before; Jennifer, a 48-year-old executive assistant for the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers from Carson, CA who has been married twice before; and Maria, a 42-year-old photographer from Playa Del Rey, CA who has been married once before.
Consuelos explained that each group would have to create the "perfect date" for the other group to go on with Mark, with the opportunity to potentially make it a difficult, awkward experience for them. The Cougars decided to send the Kittens to an indoor playground, where they had a play-date with 20 little kids and Age of Love's bachelor. The Cougars chose wisely, as the Kittens commented that spending time with the kids took time away from Mark, who spurned a chance at conversation with Mary and instead opted to hang-out with Adelaide, whom he took for a ride home in the limousine. "I feel like she's sort of genuine," said Mark. "I want to see if there's something there."
The Kittens decided to send the Cougars to a water aerobics class with a group of women who appeared to be much, much older than in their 40s. But the plan backfired on the Kittens, as the Cougars donned skimpy bathing suits that flattered their figures. Besides their bodies, Mark was also impressed by the "vibe around" the Cougars, but he was mostly impressed by the bodies. "Some of them had bodies that would have made some of these younger women pissed off," said Mark. "I mean they're in their 40s and they look incredible... I don't really know if the 20-year-olds thought the date through too much because I had so much fun. I had so much fun to be honest."
The promo for next week showed Mark looking soulfully into the camera saying, 'But I miss the older women.' Sure, like he misses chats round the table with his aunts and grandmothers. I'm betting that the whole thing will be resolved with him choosing a twenty-something with whom he obstensibly feels an emotional connection, but we'll see.