Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baggage: Greatest Show Ever in History?

That question mark in my headline is facetious.

Baggage is the greatest show ever in the history of television! That's right, GSN's new show Baggage has officially replaced I Love Money 2 as the greatest television show of all time. If you missed last night's first episode, don't worry; it apparently airs weeknights at 6:30, so you can watch this greatness every night of the week. And I encourage you to do so.

The premise is basically The Dating Game, except without the wall separating the three possible suitors from the contestant who chooses from among them. And, the three suitors vying for the contestant's affections must reveal embarrassing facts about themselves (their "baggage"). These facts are printed on cards that have been placed in pieces of luggage of varying size. In each of the three rounds, the size of the luggage, and therefore the "baggage," gets larger.

But it's not only the suitors who have "baggage;" the contestant, too, brings his own baggage with him, and once he's made his choice from the three suitors, he must reveal his own baggage-- and he can then be rejected or accepted.

And by the way, it's hosted by reality television pioneer Jerry Springer, the greatest daytime talk show host of all time.

Oh it is wonderful.

In the first episode the first contestant was a man named Steve, whose "baggage," Springer informed us, was either that he was once married to two women at once, he has a tattoo of his ex-wife on his chest, or that he once had a sex with a man.

This is the first episode. First contestant. Thank you, Mr. Springer.

"Jerry Springer Show" host Jerry Springer has another winner on his hands with "Baggage."

His suitors took the stage with their bags, and revealed their own baggage. For the first round it was whatever was hidden in their smallest bag. Julie won't leave the house without makeup. In fact, she has to put on makeup first thing in the morning. Marilee is "obsessed" with professional wrestler "The Rock." Priscilla's breasts are two different sizes.

At this point, Steve asks them questions. He's worried about Julie's makeup baggage because, what if he wants to get up out of bed and hit the hiking trail? Well, she'll need a good half hour to get ready, because she won't go anywhere without putting on makeup. As for Marilee's Rock obsession, will Steve ever be able to measure up to that charismatic heavily-muscled performer. As for Priscilla, Steve wonders what it would be like to play with her breasts.

In the second round, the women sat on the "hot seat," while Springer opened their medium sized bags. This was done randomly, so that Steve couldn't tell which bag belonged to which woman. One bag revealed that its owner shaves her entire face. Another revealed that its owner lives with two men. The third revealed its owner doesn't do anything without consulting her four psychics.

Steve had to decide which of those was a "deal breaker," and send one woman home based on this second bag's revelation. Steve, happily, decided to send home the woman who consulted psychics. He wondered about her ability to make decisions on her own.

And here is where the show attains its greatness. It's a thought-provoking question: What is a deal-breaker for you? Especially once you've met someone, seen what they look like, and had a chance to interact with them. Being a skeptic myself, I wouldn't date anyone who consulted psychics. But, at the same time, the fact that this woman considers this quirk of character to be "baggage" leads me to believe that, at least on some unconscious level, she understands there's something wrong about this, and she needs help. Maybe she could be made to see the error of her thinking, if the right man came along.

Then again, what if the second bag revealed that one of the women consulted psychics, another woman was a politician, and the third woman was a professional sports fan?

My gosh, I would probably want to eliminate them all. But I couldn't. So, which is worse for me?

Like I said, Baggage is thought-provoking.

Anyway the psychic consulter turned out to be Julie, the one who always wears makeup. Steve didn't seem too disappointed to have eliminated her. Next, Mr. Springer took the remaining women and Steve back to the "hot seat" to discuss things. Marilee shaves her face every day to ensure its silky smoothness. Priscilla lives with two men in a large house, and has a totally platonic relationship with them. They're roommates. She also informs Steve that she's into sports.

She presents this not as baggage, but as a positive feature. And again, this provokes thought. What is baggage to some is a feature to others, and vice versa.

In the final round, the women revealed the "baggage" hidden within their largest pieces of luggage. Marilee wants to adopt five kids. Five kids exactly, apparently. Priscilla will not have sex before marriage. But that doesn't mean they still can't do a lot of stuff before then, if you follow. Wink.

One of the bugs of the show, by the way, is that there was a lot of marriage talk. The contestants on this particular episode appeared to be in their 30s-early 40s, but still-- why is Marilee saying she needs "a partner-- you, Steve," to adopt five kids? Why is Priscilla telling Steve that she is "worth the wait" for their wedding night? For crying out loud, do these people already suffer from Flavor of Love Syndrome?

Anyway, Steve, being a typical heterosexual man, decides it's too much to ask for him to wait until marriage to get it on, so he lets Priscilla go, deciding to take his chances on the woman who wants to adopt five kids. He's no doubt thinking, "I'm not marrying any of these women anyway, so what do I care? I'm a typical heterosexual man and I want me some strange now!"

But, it's Marilee's turn to decide if Steve's baggage is too much for her. Mr. Springer asks her, of the three possibilities regarding Steve's baggage-- that he was once married to two women at once, that he has his ex-wife tattooed on his chest, or that he once slept with a man-- which would be too much for her?

She decides it would be too much if it turned out that Steve had once had sex with a man. She has a lot of gay friends, she explains, and she doesn't want to have to compete with them, in addition to every woman in the world.

Guess what Steve's baggage was? Go on, I'll wait.

Yep, Steve once had sex with a man.

As he explains, it was college, and he was at a party, got a little drunk, one thing led to another, and, well, he ended up having sex with a man. "Don't tell me you didn't do something crazy like that in college!" he says.

"I did crazy things in college," Mr. Springer says, speaking for every heterosexual man watching, "but never that."

The tables now turned, Marilee informs Steve that she's sorry, but he's got too much baggage.

And again, thoughts are provoked. Women experiment in college all the time, by gently caressing each others' silken skin, as their bodies entwine in the sheets in the small bed of the dorm room, testing with their tongues the limits of their own burgeoning womanhood, gaining new experience while experimenting within the safety and protection of their own first blush of sexuality, opening like a delicate flower.

But two guys together? That's gay.

Anyway, I can't wait to see what they do for episode two-- episode one gave me a lot to think about.

First episode can be viewed here!

Pic source.


Ray said...

You continuously mentioned the line, “speaking for every heterosexual man”, and then indicated that a woman being a sports fan would be a dealbreaker for you. Speaking for every heterosexual man who may read these comments, it sounds as though the author of this blog may have pulled a Steve in college himself.
The third woman, truthfully, had no actual baggage. One boob was negligibly larger than the other—this is true of every woman I’ve been with. It’s rarely overt (I haven’t come across a noticeable
difference, just them telling me one fits the bra better), and should be a non-issue.
Second, she lives with two men. Considering the fact that she’s a virgin, or at least has stopped having sex with men until marriage and seemed very straightforward about the platonic nature of the household, again, who cares? You’d have to have fairly low self-esteem and confidence to be worried about this, based on how she’s presented it.

Ray said...

Finally, no sex until marriage. I haven’t waited myself, but respect those who do, especially women, and have no problem abiding by their choice in a relationship as long as there’s some level of physical interaction that isn’t the act of intercourse. My most recent relationship went this way. It was a bit disappointing to hear at first, but I quickly got over it because we had a solid relationship outside the bedroom in addition to her performing other sexual, non-intercourse stuff. We ended things on a positive note when she moved a few states away for work.
Anyway, it’s clear that some other aspect besides her “baggage” had to be the real reason he dismissed her. I’m thinking it had to be either her race or her weight. I thought she looked great in both categories (I’m a white college student in his late 20’s) and almost prefer darker skinned women, and her weight was at the upper limit I still find attractive. Very attractive, in fact—I thought she looked good.

Ray said...

Steve meanwhile boned a dude, and doesn’t seem to see the problem. I admit the double standard present in my line of thinking about this, but I’m much more inclined to find a guy permanently gay if he messes around with another guy than if a woman does so. I feel there’s just a whole different gap to bridge, even psychosocially and culturally, that a man has to get past before he can do that kind of
thing. Sorry Steve, but pretending like it was no big deal is in itself sort of strange, because of the cognitive disconnect associated with not understanding that other people find this to be major baggage.
Lastly, simply put he came across as a dirtbag. The vibe he put out wasn’t a pleasant one. Perhaps it was him pretending to motorboat the moralistic woman’s boobs on national tv. I dunno. I don’t think I’d get along with Steve in real life, since he comes across as a tool.

Anyway and long story short, grow a pair and start watching sports, blogger.

Ricky Sprague said...

Speaking for every heterosexual man, I appreciate your taking time to comment, Ray!