Well, last night was the series premiere of Fox’s Love Connection revival. I got the chance to see it for myself, and here’s what I think of it.
What’s The Same and What’s Changed: It’s an hour long, and it’s on Fox. Each half hour focuses on one different person (one male, the other female). The set is yuuuuuge, I think you could fit a hot tub and an adjustable bed in there. Anyway, the male is introduced with a video segment and then brought in to talk with Andy, just like the regular show. Then, each of the dates gets a segment of their own. Then, the audience votes. Now, what’s really changed here is that the person in the purple chair has gone on dates with all three. We meet the first person via video screen, and they talk. They get the chance to rate each other as high as 10 based on attractiveness on first impressions. Lots of dramatic tension. They talk about their dates, and we see some videos they’ve taken of themselves using the phone. Each couple gets $500 (that’s a lot more than the Woolery or Bullard versions) to cover expenses. Lather, rinse, repeat for all three. After the break, we meet the date the contestant has chosen for an overnight date behind a bridge (which must be lowered for dramatic effect). At that point, we find out the audience’s choice. If they match, the contestant gets $10,000. However, if they don’t match, the contestant has a choice. They can keep their choice of date, or go with the audience’s choice and take the money. At the end of the second half-hour, we find out how the overnight date went and where they are now in the relationship.
The Good: Andy Cohen is a good host, and I would say just as capable as Chuck Woolery. Warm, funny, witty, a good guy. He doesn’t borrow anything from Chuck, and even comes up with a few catchphrases of his own. We actually get to find out what happens on the date. From a potential contestant’s perspective, I like the element of the $10,000 prize. It seems like Warner Bros. is giving away free money, and who doesn’t like that? The show stays pretty faithful to the format, for the most part. I also like the adjustment for inflation, although $500 does seem like a bit much for a date. On the original, the show paid for expenses plus $75 ($100 on the Bullard version) for incidentals. To put this in perspective, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $75 in September 1983 has the same buying power as $182.12 in April 2017. $100 in September 1998 has the same buying power as $149.46 in April 2017. Fox is making sure you make bank, which is great from a contestant’s perspective.
The Bad: The set. (photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times)
Ohhhhh, the set. It’s big, it’s red, it’s blue, it’s purple, but mostly it’s black. It’s cold, cavernous, and still crowded with people, which makes it a living contradiction. This is not American Idol, people. This is Love Connection! Plus, the contestant gets a tiny little armchair while Andy gets a slightly larger loveseat. As if he needs all that space.
I mean, have you seen the original set? (Image courtesy of the Daily Mail, who got it from Fox, who got it from Warner Bros.)
It was white, seemingly warm, and had plenty of pillows. I could take a nap in contestant’s area (if I could fit my giant body in there).
Next, we have the fact that each episode is self-contained with one couple. Chuck and… ugh, Pat, were able to get through at least two contestants in one show, and meet the third before time ran out. Here, they waste a lot of time with lowering the drawbridge, revealing the scores, etc. etc. A lot of wasted time here. To be fair, we get to find out about three dates and not just one. Still….
Finally, the $10,000 prize is just unnecessary. It’s almost as if Warner Bros. and Fox were just giving this money away because it’s in primetime. Don’t they know that most of the time, the audience’s and contestant’s picks match? Most of the time? I mean, have they ever seen the show before?
My Final Thoughts: A lot of it seems to be unnecessary and dramatically contrived in order to make each couple “last” for half an hour. If you’re a contestant, you will make bank. But from an audience perspective…. eh….. I’d rather have the Chuck Woolery version anyday.
Love Connection is on Thursday nights at 9PM on Fox. Check your local listings.