Are you ready for love? That's NBC asking. I'm less concerned. But really, are you? Well, hold your answers, if you don't mind, cause it's not you that they're looking for. NBC rallied hard to find three eligible bachelors who hadn't previously appeared on The Bachelor -- a harrowing assignment.
Eva Longoria was peeping around the hallways of NBC, overheard the pitch, excused herself from the conversation she was having with Jerry Seinfeld, and decided to interject. Assuming there was a lot of wine involved, the meeting ended with this rough outline: Three bachelors commiserate with three matchmakers (three of the best in the world, NBC boasts proudly) in the quest to find these guys their elusive soul mates. But don't even think about comparing this show to another ABC show with a eyebrow-raisingly similar M.O., no sir, 'cause this show will then launch into "a romantic journey that will combine in-studio competition and reality show elements."
Eva was assumed to host, until Giuliana and Bill Rancic were seen off in the distance fawning over each other's perfect skin, at which time another light bulb went off at Casa NBC. It went something to this effect, "Eva, we love you, you know that,Desperate Housewives was must-see-TV, but what if we had America's favorite couple host the show?" Eva, savvy and seasoned, connected the NBC exec's gaze and made the bold suggestion herself. When in doubt, grab a Rancic. If you can get two, yeah, grab 'em both. Then came the matchmakers.
Matchmaker One: Amber Kelleher-Andrews, daughter/doppelgänger of Jill Kelleher, founder of Kelleher International ("Making love happen... since 1986") is serving proverbial tough love. She's been matchmaking for 17 years (take that, Patti Stanger) and has successfully positioned herself throughout the media as an authority on all things love. In her spare time, she writes self-improvement blogs with titles like "The brand of you -- know your brand, stand tall."
Matchmaker Two: Tracy McMillan, besides boasting some real big hair, is not someone you would call soft-spoken at a "Women in the Arts" lunch. Don't believe me? Fine. Don't believe her? Read her memoir I Love You and I'm Leaving You Anyway and provide us with the highlights. Not technically a matchmaker, but in actuality a television writer for shows like Mad Men and United States of Tara, Tracy's qualification (via NBC) as one of the "three best matchmakers in the world" might be a stretch by way of flat-out lie.
Matchmaker Three: Matt Hussey, whose name you're going to want to say out loud for full effect, is a life coach and life strategist, according to his website. He's also got a book that comes out the same day as the Ready For Love premiere, completely serendipitously, of course. Again, not being an actual matchmaker might hinder his credibility as one of the "three best matchmakers in the world" but NBC is kindly asking that we overlook these inconsequential "facts," focusing instead on how much he looks like Daniel Radcliffe.
The gentleman are generic, therefore they're getting lumped into one paragraph. First up to bat is Tim Lopez, 31, a vocalist/guitarist for the Plain White T's and lifelong hopeless romantic. According to NBC's website, "...as a single, attractive man in a well-known band, Lopez is unsure about women he meets while working on the road." Wishing Tim all the best, we move on to Ernesto Arguello, a 33-year-old philanthropist who's never been in love. But, fear not, cause I'm sure Ms. Longoria made sure he's definitely ready. Now, Ernesto, babe, if you could step back for just a second, let's take a look at Ben Patton, 31, the CEO of a private hospital in Texas. According to NBC's website, "he has done everything, including running with bulls in Pamplona, rafting down the Nile, climbing Machu Picchu and walking along the Great Wall and through the Pyramids of Giza." But, you probably guessed it, he's deep down just a singleton looking for the one.
And yet, tease the network, the conceit, the producer, and stars alike -- don't mind if I do -- something about Eva Longoria's three-and-a-half minute trailer got people talking. Maybe it was NBC's brazen attempt to fire away at the competition with Longoria confidently broadcasting that "those other shows" don't work too well at matching people. Sh-zing! Or maybe it's co-host Bill Rancic's beautifully coiffed locks (the rogaine is working, Bill!). And while many would agree with Longoria and her expertly blue manicured nails, little evidence is shown that this show can or will buck the trend. For example, one of the potential women featured in the trailer proudly claims that she quit her "six-figure job" to come and meet Ben. Ben, if you need refuge, I too, am looking for love.
Here's the breakdown:
Week one is going to focus exclusively on Tim because Tim's in a band (the episode is titled "A Rockstar Search For Love" if clarification was needed on that front) and probably has a jam session to get to after the show. Giuliana, always asking the important questions, fires off three: "Are you ready to meet the girls? Are you ready to find your wife? Are you ready for love?" Credit to her dermatologist though, because Giuliana's skin is looking flawless. No time to harp on that though, we're here to find love!
Each matchmaker will choose four girls for each guy. These women are coached by their respective matchmaker in the fine art of giving a great first impression. They're then placed in glass boxes (seriously) that float up from beneath the stage, revealing themselves to an audience that is so happy to be here! What was that? So happy to be here! They're released from their enclosures, hidden behind a divider, where Tim puts all awkward fears to nap, encouraging them not to treat this like a competition. A collective sigh remains elusive.
The girls then are given a monologue to recite as "themselves," in which they essentially pitch Tim for his love. Remember: These girls have seen Tim's audition tape and undoubtedly spent the morning jamming out to "Hey There Delilah." Eager to please, one girl reads a poem in French, one girl sings opera, one girl quotes Dumb & Dumber, one girl raps (the audience claps to the "beat"), one pops a bottle of champagne and reaches her hand around the divider to cheers, you get the idea -- it's tough out there for us singletons. Some girls are given the boot.
The remaining nine head to their new home and have three-on-ones with their matchmaker, where they're encouraged to be true to who they are, be in the moment, and basically do anything they can to appease our rock star. Tim laments that he's never been on a date with nine girls before. Somewhere, Tommy Lee is scoffing. Then The Plain White T's appear from the abyss and sing sweet melodies to the girls who sway along to the rhythm of love. Why stop there, though? Tim then removes his wayfarers, takes the ladies into the recording studio, and treats them to a solo acoustic set.
Don't sit too uncomfortably, ladies, because Tim is putting you to the test. That's right, ladies, Tim is challenging you to write some music. "I don't sing. I don't even pretend to be good at it. Like I would rather die the worst bloody slow death right now than have to sing in front of Tim... a song that I wrote. Really." That's a taste of the response to Tim's gauntlet.
Let's pause and go buy the song on iTunes, where it's been made available. Skip it? Yeah, The Voice this is not.
The girls finally get some one on one time time with Tim (wayfarer's tucked in his collar). He admits to being goofy. One girl cries, one girl can't believe how instant the connection is, and the other seven, we're left to wonder. Overarching theme: Everyone's ready for love, really ready, like if it's sitting right in front of them, wayfarers tucked, this might be a real connection.
We're back to the studio, Giuliana's swapped her costume (think: bolder), and the girls all appear once again from beneath the stage, taking a (glass) seat before the matchmakers. They gab about love, love lost, and aspirations of love. And then Tim appears! He's wearing a feather as a pocket square! Someone's ready! The matchmakers put three girls up for elimination before Giuliana whisks them upstage for the sudden death elimination. Some girl he's known for six years that showed up (surprise!) is the first to go. She -- Leah -- is deemed not ready for love. And there you have it, lovers of love.