ABC's The Bachelor dominates the TV "dating" genre. Just owns it.
Often imitated, never duplicated, this is just a fact at this point.
It's clear that NBC's Ready For Love, which premiered last night, is throwing everything but the kitchen sink against the wall and seeing what sticks.
The Eva Longoria-produced (?!) dating series references The Bachelor condescendingly at times, all while tripling down on the same exact concept.
By having three eligible bachelors instead of one, plus matchmakers to help guide them and Giuliana and Bill Rancic as hosts ... OMG, it's different!
Ready For Love has so much going on, it's like it doesn't even understand it's own format (sort of like The Voice in its first season) any more than viewers.
The eligible men are businessman Ben Patton, Plain White T's singer Tim Lopez, and philanthropist Ernesto Arguello, though we met only Tim last night.
He narrows a field of 12 down to nine via a blind selection (hat tip to The Voice!), then confusingly jumps from group date to solo dates to eliminations.
Better/worse yet? There's even a live audience for part of it, which just makes it feel more awkward, like this is more a spoof of The Bachelor than a real show.
During that time, the women are groomed, praised and chastised ... ostensibly to drive home the point that people don't know how to date without help?
It's hard to know what the message is here, but Giuliana and Bill Rancic ("America's Favorite Married Couple" apparently) are no Chris Harrison.
They make their preferences known, even instigate a bit. We get that they're trying to mix things up, but it all becomes a confusing mess after awhile.
As for Eva Longoria ... she produced it. That's great. Perhaps a more active role from this big name might have helped the show? Eh, most likely not.
At the end of the day, Ready for Love wants so hard to be different and eat away at The Bachelor's ratings, yet can't figure out a coherent strategy.
As love connections go, this one seems destined to fizzle out after a few episodes/dates ... not unlike virtually every other show on NBC these days.
Ready For Love: Save it or sink it?