We want to see the reality-dating conventions turned on their head and instead get more of the same
Network: NBC; Genre: Reality/Game, Comedy; Content Rating: TV-14 (language, some sexual content); Classification: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);
Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)
I don't know, but I've always thought that the most fun part of being a father would be the opportunity to just torment the life out of your daughter's prospective boyfriends. That's the prime draw to "Meet My Folks".
The hit Universal film "Meet the Parents" - itself like a feature-length sitcom - apparently, for some reason, sent the creative synapses of the NBC execs firing which resulted in two shows that broke down elements of it and transparently reproduced them (this and Elon Gold's "The In-Laws"). How inspiring.
"Folks" is a twist on the reality/game show in which 3 prospective suitors compete for the heart of a beautiful young woman and a trip with her to Hawaii (or some such place) but, unlike "Blind Date" where these hooligans are allowed to run around unsupervised and raise all sorts of stupid havoc, the competition occurs entirely in the "home" of the girl's parents and under their constant watch via hidden cameras. Ah ha.
The trap is now set for some high-stakes discipline and humiliation as the parents can force the boys to compete against each other and participate in family traditions they wouldn't dare do otherwise. They can also storm in and put a stop to any untoward behavior by these crazy kids. "Folks" actually takes the signature lie detector sequence of "Parents" and uses it as the climactic challenge. The network gets in the act, forcing the boys to reveal their secrets via a faxed challenge. As you can guess, all the guys on the show are pigs.
It was a fundamental mistake to merge this concept into a reality show because it hangs the entire success of the show on, dare I say, "unprofessionals". Going back to hard-and-fast rule number 1 of Why Reality Shows Don't Work: real people are just not that interesting. People looking for their 15 minute of fame or don't think they've accomplished something until they've been on TV can't carry a show or reflect a reality, that scripted characters can. Its an ironic dichotomy, but every reality show proves it correct.
Going back to my very first sentiment, it is the real dads who drop the ball here. They let the guys off the hook way to easily. They aren't mean enough, they don't inspire fear, they don't twirl these suitors with questionable motives at the end of their finger the way they should. They don't make them squirm. Let's be honest, we want to see blood in the water and the parents disappointing turn out to be toothless, too often bending over to whatever their little girl wants.
Even stranger, is the repulsive way the show is lit and shot. All the performers are blasted out with so much light that we can see every oily pore on their face. The season 1 finale features The Carlson family finding boy for daughter Krissy. It takes a lot to make Krissy Carlson - who once plays sultry sex kitten Renata in MTV's "Undressed"
unattractive, but this show actually finds a way to do it.
* ½ / 4
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