Hopefully this won’t set off widespread panic inside the apartments of ladies who love wine on weeknights, but if one were to go by tonight’s offering of The Love Broker, it looks like Bravo's assembly line of reality TV might have reached its tipping point. That’s also on the heels of Sunday night’s debut of the truly cruddy Real Housewives of Atlanta spin-off Kandi’s Factory. The hard truth is that Giggi the dog’s outfits and Kim Zolciak’s wigs might only be able to do so much.
Stepping in for The Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger is another reality-ready matchmaker Lori Zaslow. She runs the terribly titled Project Soulmate, which deems itself “Manhattan’s premier matchmaking service for elite singles.” Yes, elite. Those of you without whatever credentials prove you’re not a bottom feeder need not apply. And essentially, it works much like Stanger’s hit show (on the same network!), except the men need not be millionaires and the dates begin with a genuine blind date rather than a terrifying cattle call.
Lori certainly has studied the Stanger handbook on how to behave in front of Bravo cameras. When meeting with David, the bachelor that's the focus of this episode, she barely lets him get a word in edgewise and shoehorns in insults and quips. She’s also gone a bit Bravo buffet style, incorporating Bethenny Frankel’s grating tic of redirecting the conversation back to herself, no matter how far it may have wandered away. Take, for example, the portion of Lori and David’s meetup where they sit on a bench outside and analyze the bodies of women walking by, dissecting their boob size and other physical attributes. Zaslow points out that she loathes when women don’t wear thongs and that she “gave birth and put on a thong the next day.” Whatever that means in the world of bragging rights is a true mystery!
David Fischer, though nice, is hopeless from the get-go, with his backwards cap and affection for the nickname “Fish.” He even falls into the creepy trap of referring to himself in the third person, as when he says he plans to “keep Fish in check” on the date. Also, there’s a large Troll Doll visible on a table in the distance inside his apartment, and frankly, that simply will not do when you’re 40-years-old and the VP of what Lori describes as a “headwear accessories company.”
Lori conveys confidence and hard rules about the world of dating, peppered with horrifying insights. Take, for example, a gem about women with small busts: “More than a mouthful is a waste.” She also urges women to regularly ask their men point-blank if they want head “because if you don’t, someone else will."
Apart from buff biceps and a bounty of gem-colored sheath dresses, Zaslow does have one very impressive card up her sleeve in the world of matchmaking: She’s been married for ten years and has two young kids. Essentially, it’s a big “in your face!” to Stanger, who publicly ended her long-term engagement and has had to incorporate her newfound singlehood into her popular show... about matchmaking. And just in case audiences didn’t believe Zaslow’s claims of domestic bliss, there are copious shots of her loving husband singing her praises into the camera and smoochy smooches between them.
A nice, 26-year-old woman named Ivy gets wrangled into being David’s blind date. As to be expected, the date itself is stilted, awkward, and brimming over with actual real-world normalcy. While they start off with a good bit of natural chemistry, it fizzles when David gets lost trying to articulate what he’s looking for relationship-wise. Not helping matters is the fact that Ivy continually hammers him to spit something out, resulting in a disconnect and overall date flub.
The final verdict is that Ivy rejects the good-spirited lover of Troll Dolls, finding him too “surface-y” and “fidgety.” Based on preview shots of the season to come, it looks like David gets more chances to wear his headband (which he describes as a “security blanket”) and find love at the same time. Meanwhile, Zaslow should lay off the endless boob n' butt talk and aim to do more than crib from some other well-known and wildly abrasive Bravo ladies.