TV: Most Eligible Dallas – As If You Needed Another Reason to Hate Texans
Bravo’s Most Eligible Dallas premiers this evening at 10/9c, and I’d strongly advise you to make other plans. The show centers around six single people whom the network describes as “the brightest lone stars in the state.” While I would agree that they’re fundamentally lonely souls, I doubt anyone else in their lives has ever referred to these cast members as bright, much less stars. Even the fact that they are in Texas seems dubious.
I was born in Lubbock, TX, and more than half of my extended family calls the state home. Certainly this still leaves me with plenty to learn about not messing with Texas, but I feel fairly confident saying that the show does not represent its home state with anything but lip service. The girls make much mention of “big hair” (one even trotting out a carefully un-branded can of hair spray that in all aspects reminds of a prop for a high school play) but then when they hit the club all the gals wear ponytails and limp Farah-style waves. The men talk about how proud they are to be Texas men, and then mince around putting on hair gel and trying on Urban Outfitter knock-off felt fedoras. I get more Texas flavor from the BBQ wings at my favorite Korean fried chicken joint in midtown off Park Avenue.
Watching Most Eligible Dallas is like sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office next to a middle-aged woman who has just farted. If all the aspects of the situation were different then perhaps it would be a funny story to tell, but instead it’s boring and it’s stinky and just painfully average, and you know it’s going to last for WAY longer than your patience will.
As with every other mediocre piece of reality television out there, the show is about a group of “friends” who clearly never knew each other previous to taping the show. I write about, and watch, a pretty hefty amount of abominable reality television, and this producer’s trick is by far the most insulting to me. Whipping high-strung over-medicated drama queens into a frenzy with imagined slights, pouring boatloads of booze on the situation, and then locking them in a room together – fine. I get that, and I understand the appeal. But I have absolutely no patience for producers telling me that I’m watching a group of “friends” interact with each other when the icy awkwardness and feigned “hey girl hey” kisses are just so brazen. I DON’T NEED THEM TO BE FRIENDS – IT’S OK IF YOU WRITE A SHOW ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DON’T ALL KNOW EACH OTHER.
The only genuinely “Texas” thing about Most Eligible Dallas is the presumptive “your business is my business” sanctimoniousness of its female leads. That seems to come through just fine. Instead of watching other shows where catty bitches argue over who’s prettier or more popular, you can watch catty bitches argue of whether someone is a good mother.
Oh, and there’s a gay guy. His portions of the premiere episode made me feel uneasy, and sort of sad. The gentleman’s name is Drew, and not only is he clearly not comfortable being gay, but he’s not comfortable in his own skin. He used to be four hundred pounds, and after a gastric bypass, tummy tuck, and chest reduction he still injects himself with hormones normally found in the body of pregnant women in order to fuel weight loss. He lives alone in a giant apartment he’s careful to remind you is one of the most expensive in Dallas. He orders room service chicken caesar salads with a plate of fries (“for the dog!”).
Drew’s family made their money selling luxury cars, and he tries his best to live up to the attitude he thinks should accompany his station in life. In his breathy, shifty-eyed, fat-kid-picked-last-in-gym-class voice, he informs the camera: “You wanna talk carbon fiber, you wanna talk horsepower, you wanna talk direct fuel injection, then I’m your guy. You wanna talk Armani, you wanna talk Versace, you wanna talk the arts, go find another queer.” It’s sort of surprising, but Drew really steps on the q-bomb. In others mouths that sound byte might come off confident and self-assured, but when Drew says “queer” it just sounds like he’s mimicking awful things others have said about him to his face. It sounds like parroted hate-speech.
But don’t worry, Most Eligible Dallas is far too empty to even threaten to be homophobic, or to take a stance of any kind. Drew’s lot in life, like the other wealthy zombies the producers cobbled together into a cast for the show, seems hollow and lame but he’s rich so whatever. Like a warm wispy flatulence, after the episode ends it quickly dissipates in your mind, drifting out of memory as just another unpleasant thing that happened to you. It was unwelcome, but it didn’t ruin your day.
Premieres tonight, August 15th at 10/9c on Bravo
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