ABC's series 'The Proposal' takes speed-dating to another level while love gets sidelined by bikini pageants
Unlike 'The Bachelor', 'The Proposal' is time efficient in displaying the stupid methods of love in the era of speed dating.
As a millennial, probably the best way to find love is to update your Twitter account, find the best display photo for your Facebook account, put up some pretentious artsy pictures on Instagram to at least make yourself seem a tad bit on the smarter side of the spectrum, and finally do not forget to go all gaga on Tinder. However, The Proposal producer, Mike Fleiss, has something else to offer in our era of speed-dating- his quest is now to make individuals fall in love (even marry) within an hour.
After 'The Bachelor' which was mostly hate-watched because of its juicy drama and an irksome showcase of love, ABC has now brought for the thousands of single people another ray of some desperate hope, 'The Proposal'. Coming from the same creator as 'The Bachelor', 'The Proposal' is a more time-efficient pursuit of love where ten daters put their hearts in line for the invisible suitor. It is being hosted by none other than Jesse Palmer, the man who forgot the name of the girl to whom he was supposed to give a rose.
In 'The Proposal', we see 10 eligible daters compete against each other in a series of "pageant-style rounds" to woo the mystery person who practically remains invisible throughout the show. The press release reads: "The men or women will attempt to woo the mystery person with their words in a first impressions round; bare their souls in a beachwear round; answer the mystery person’s most pressing romantic questions, and strive to receive a seal of approval from the mystery person’s most trusted family member in the final round."
What an irony! While one of the world's largest beauty contests 'Miss America' has decided to do away with the whole bikini-wear round, it now seems to be compulsory for young women to bare their bodies in front of a man they have never seen before, solely to convince him that she is the perfect wife material.
The desperate singles of America have to go through four rounds in each episode. The first being a series of introductions, which sound both wacky and ostentatious while trying to make the otherwise absolutely ordinary girl (or boy) seem interesting. These intros or 10-second bios ridiculously make the contestants sound marginally engaging with statements such as, "she loves the beach, but hates parades" or "when she's not writing, she's tending to her massive collection of dolls!" While the series has managed to compile daters of every shape, size, race, and age, the suitor seems to be more interested in the younger, more conventionally attractive ones.
In the first episode, the mystery suitor is Mike who is a 29-year-old police officer from California. Mike gives out his story about how he was involved in a bike accident some years back which led to the amputation of his right leg. While he remains hidden behind his "pod", he is given the task to quickly decide who his soulmate will be within an hour.
His prospective soulmates range from the ones who he probably doesn't even consider for a second glance to the ones who at once strike out to be favorite ones since the beginning. Mike goes all conventional and rudimentarily American when he absolutely does away with the non-white, unconventional women in the first round. His eyes remain focused on Jessica, the bubbly thirty-year-old who seems to be all about the Princess and the dream world; the self-proclaimed "Jennifer Aniston of Long Island", Morgan; Kendal, a blonde neuropsychologist; and finally, Monica, the realtor from Los Angeles.
Palmer reveals about the second round that the contestants would go all bold in their swimsuit since sexual compatibility is important for any relationship. However, it's something to think about- how exactly can you know if you are physically compatible with a person without actually being physical with that person? Probably for the producers of 'The Proposal' the answer is simple, see and judge. The women appear in their swimsuits in front of Mike, who mind you is still invisible, and bare their souls by mostly flattering Mike with a hand-made scrapbook, a frosty tale about overcoming depression, et al. Mike finally sticks to his four favorites, Jessica, Monica, Kendall, and Morgan.
In the 'dealbreaker' round Mike is set to ask the ladies a series of deal-breaking questions where he asks each contestant questions that are apparently important to him. Palmer gives out a clue that the questions could be anything- past relationships, views on marriage, and sexual fantasies. When asked if she would be comfortable managing her life with an amputee, Morgan manages to get away with, "I believe the, um, the soul is what matters, not the physical appearance." Monica strikes gold by letting Mike know about a similar incident which she had faced with her best friends a few years ago, from when on she decided that life was worth celebrating. Kendall falls short of impressing the suitor, by declining to answer his question as to how "physically adventurous" she was. However, Mike decided to send Morgan back home after this round.
The final round is where the 'bromance' comes in when the ladies are now required to not only impress the suitor but also his closest friend (because of course, you cannot fall in love without taking your best friend's opinion). In the series of interviews taken, only Kendall seems to be honest enough about her independence that she would prefer to travel the world with her husband and not have a conventional married life. That becomes the dealbreaker for Mike because once again, independent women are after all not the marriage type, right! Jessica and Monica, the absolute favorites now step on to the final round where Mike reveals himself.
The ordinary looking, muscular officer receives sighs of relief from his two daters who are quite satisfied with the way he looks. He gives out an overtly emotional gratitude speech to the two women for putting their heart in line and letting themselves be judged by an absolute stranger. Great going, girls!
Finally, Mike chooses Monica by whom he has been smitten "ever since (she) first stepped onto the stage", which was - let me remind you - just an hour back. Mike proposes to Monica leaving a completely awkward Jessica staring at the two after being rejected in spite of taking her father's permission for the marriage. She uncomfortably walks out of the stage, probably sulking backstage.
'The Proposal' is righteous in its way in sparing its audience from all the on-series drama of 'The Bachelor'. It takes speed-dating to a whole new level in which only one side gets to taste the entire cake, whereas the other side can only get a slice of the cherry on top. It is depressing, condescending, snobbish, and above all highly patronizing. Love certainly does not remain love anymore, it's more of an opportunity to look good on TV when it comes to this show.