Are You ‘Ready For Love’? Because You Shouldn’t Be

Credit: Dale Berman/NBC

NBC’s hottest hackneyed new show is Ready For Love. It has everything: matchmakers, generically attractive hot dudes and ladies, awkward dates, weird group competitions, obnoxious host(s) billed as “America’s Favorite Couple” (which, ha Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill are far from anyone’s favorite anything), a celebri — sorry, “celebrity” suitor, regurgitated clichéd dating advice, group living arrangements, aggressive heteronormativity, cat fights, and probably a hot tub. And no, Stefon is not coming.

You know what I find usually works the best in times of romantic interest? Overthinking s**t. Because nothing ever goes wrong then, right? And perhaps NBC’s desperation stank has gassed themselves into submission at the hands of executive producer (puppet master?) Eva Longoria and the creators of this bloated mishmash of a reality show. It is everything and the kitchen sink, which, if you haven’t gleaned by now, is a bad thing.

Tonight’s premiere episode was ~all about Tim Lopez~ (with the other two men, Ben and Ernesto, coming through later), a musician from the astoundingly-mediocre band The Plain White Ts. You probably don’t remember them, but remember that “Hey There Delilah” song? Yeah, that was this band. But the guy that sang that song isn’t Tim. (That guy quit.)

Tim, who is divorced from his high school sweetheart because of course, explained that life on the road tore his relationship apart. He was “raised a certain way” which meant one night stands were out of the picture (though I think we can all call bulls**t on that one after Leah’s non-denial of their physical intimacy. Also YOU’RE A MUSICIAN. Your family might buy this stupid line, dude, but we don’t), which I think we all pretty much know to mean “fairly religious” at this point, right? This ain’t my first time at the reality dating rodeo — I recap The Bachelor and Bachelorette, after all — I know how this s**t works. Unfortunately. Tim’s mom believes he needs a woman that will completely bow down to and blindly support him. Because he’s a “good family guy” so he deserves it, duh.

The women were introduced with straight-up milquetoast abandon. There were so many poems. And blonde people. And smiles! And declarations of love readiness. And, yes, even a groan-inducing freestyle rap (the kiss of embarrassingly-horrifying death for any reality show contestant). The thing that seemed a bit more tempered on Ready for Love, though, was the way in which the contestant’s terror of being alone forever was displayed. Sure, they were still frantically clawing and mawing at their perfect idea of love on their perfect romance timeline just like every other woman that goes on one of these parades, but the editors tried to be a bit more subtle about it. Like when they discussed Leah — a woman who had been “falling in love” with Tim over the past six years she’s known him. Normally Leah would be the insta-pariah and verbal punching bag for the rest of the ladies’ insecurities. Instead, people stood up for her, called her “brave” for taking her quest for love to the small screen, and were ambivalent-ish when she was kicked off first. It was all so anti-climatic.

And then there are the matchmakers. Gurus of love and cockiness, the three love experts each picked four women for Tim to a Dating Game-style first impression round.

There were a lot of groundbreaking musings on love like “friendship first!” and “I’ll do anything for love,” which just shows you how serious these women are about love (serious enough to parrot clichés, apparently.) And oh my god they also spoke about one of my least-favorite modern-day gimmicks: personal branding. Not just for the board room anymore! Apparently our conversion from humans to corporations (since we all know they’re just like people!) is in full swing. Also I’m going to throw up all over everything. Can “personal branding” stop being a thing? Instead of branding ourselves, how about we all just be normal f**king humans with messy weird feelings and emotions and relationships that aren’t perfect (nor will they ever be) rather than self-contained entities that need a f**king marketing plan?

And if you were looking for a change of pace, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The most action-packed moment of the evening involed sing-songy bopping around to the sweet, sweet, sweet tinny melodies of the Plain White Ts. And also — of course! — tears! Hailey cried when talking about how happy she was to find a man who would laugh about farts with her. But woman shouldn’t say FART!, cried the matchmakers. Oh, phew: I was starting to get worried there wouldn’t be some real choice nonsensical rules about hypocritical gender expectations on this one!

There was a group date that involved forcing the girls to sing (and write lyrics!) for a song, Tim’s band members showed up (because I’m sure he didn’t agree to do the show without a little shameless self-promotion getting in there), and some girls were put up on the chopping block by the matchmakers. Leah went home, and nobody cared. Ready For Love  is far from ready for audiences to love it, or primetime for that matter.

What did you think of Ready For Love? Let us know in the comments!

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