Stranger danger

200487196-001Hot on the heels of a new study that suggests women aren’t that picky about mate selection after all (see “You’re so picky!” below), comes this news item about a new reality show where women are getting married without even meeting their mates.

Currently in development with Fox, “I Married a Stranger” will feature a gaggle of 30-something single women “frustrated by the dating scene” (spinster alert!) who agree to marry men they’ve never met. Who are these guys? The producers of the show will come up with a half a dozen bachelors as a starting point (dullard alert!), after which the woman’s friends and family will whittle it down to one. In other words, the husbands will be created by committee. Yippee!

Each episode of “I Married a Stranger” will feature a bride-to-be preparing for her “blind wedding” and a finale in which two groom finalists walk down the aisle. But as the show’s creators put it “only one makes it to the altar to reveal himself to his new wife.”

So, what, is the guy going to be wearing the veil?

Oddly enough, this isn’t the only reality show featuring women marrying strangers that’s in the works. CBS has also announced a new reality series called “Arranged Marriage,” in which three women marry three guys sight unseen and, you guessed it, hilarity ensues. According to the CBS website, “’Arranged Marriage’ is a series that brings the tradition of arranged marriages, which is still practiced successfully by many cultures throughout the world, to the U.S., where it is virtually an inconceivable option for most single Americans.”

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. There are tons of other traditions “practiced successfully by many cultures throughout the world” that they could have turned into a reality TV series. Stoning, for instance.

But the whole arranged marriage thing – especially when played out on national TV – just seems creepy.  What happens if they marry somebody off to a psychopath? Is that part of the entertainment? Next up on “I Married a Strangler”: Susie discovers a garotte in Brad’s underwear drawer!

Also, what kind of message does this impart to little kids? Or even big kids? I know reality TV is supposed to be light entertainment and all, but it’s hard to take all this “sanctimony of marriage” talk seriously when shows like this turn it into such a desperate disturbing farce.

Personally, I’d rather tune in to something more honest like “I Slept With a Stranger.” Or as you may know it, Sex and the City.   

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7 Responses to “Stranger danger”


  1. 1 regina hackett June 6, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Ah yes, stoning. You have to admit, Diane, that said committee has a low bar. All it has to do is mess up less than we have on our own. And about marrying a killer? Happens all the time, with no input from anybody but the foolishly romantic victim.

  2. 2 Singletude June 9, 2009 at 1:02 am

    I’m surprised at this because they already tried a show with a very similar format a few years ago, and it bombed. In fact, I remember that it caused a public outcry and was held up as the perfect example of what not to do on reality TV. I wish I could remember the name of the show, but it eludes me! I believe it was on FOX. I too found the whole thing VERY disturbing and am even more disturbed that they’re going to resurrect this fiasco.

  3. 3 Sixty and Single in Seattle June 11, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Great post. Nice to start the day with a good laugh. I am here affirmed once again in my decision long ago to forgo TV, but I do cringe for the young people raised on it. In what home that allows a kid to watch such trivia could you expect any adult help on interpreting it?
    Hey, can it be you didn’t like Sex in the City? I got the first season out of the library once, and was pleased by the first episode, where Carrie (?) really seemed to get it that her behavior wasn’t going to produce her desired results. Then that happened the next episode again. Then she tried a threesome. I never went back.
    PS: I hate to think this new reality show is why NYT ran that lovely op-ed piece I wrote about on arranged marriage.

  4. 4 onely June 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I am not sure that arranged marriage is necessarily any worse or creepier than meeting someone and, under the fog of matrimania, marrying them. Either way, you never really know the person. Either you assess the person according to a certain set of parameters you’ve created in your own head, or your family does, or the producers do. Either way, what matters is the set of parameters that’s used, not who chooses them. The bride could have ridiculous criteria for her mate, like how tall he is or whether he uses toothpicks (I can’t stand toothpicks), whereas her mother might notice that he treats animals nicely and visits the dentist regularly. It’s a theory.
    Christina

  5. 5 Special K June 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I agree with onely…so many people marry under an illusion. I am beginning to wonder if you HAVE to be a little crazy to think that you ever really KNOW for SURE….

  6. 6 vss June 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    yuck! that said, the sample will be potentially interesting group to study and see if the divorce rate is higher than those who get married the usual way–meeting people through friends, at bars, e-harmony, whatever. i do predict the sample will be very small, however (seeing another comment about a similar show crashing and burning), so not much predictive power there.

  7. 7 Lauri June 23, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Ah! I got an email forwarded to me telling me to contact the casting director of the CBS show if I wanted to be on. I was horrified!


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What’s the story?

Meet Diane Mapes, your friendly neighborhood freelance writer. My beats include health (with an emphasis on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship) and lifestyle and singles issues, but I also love writing about history, natural history, pop culture and TV/film. On this site, you'll find links to stories, praise for my writing (*blush*) and the odd bit of social commentary about the single life. Also here, a few shameless plugs for my books (hint: see links below). Have fun, glad you're here and hope to hear from you soon.

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How to Date in a Post-Dating World A dating manual for the modern, mangled single.

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Single women speak out on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

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