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ABC's 'Proposal' has local angle, makes ridiculous TV history

You might have thought there was some progress in combating sexism when the Miss America pageant recently announced it was eliminating the swimsuit competition.

Not so fast.

Here comes ABC's "The Proposal," to set the progress of American women back to the 1950s.

The reality series also sets back television four or five decades.

The premise is that a man or a woman is able to pick a potential future spouse within a one-hour program, which is about 42 minutes of screen time.

Heck, it even took Michael Scott (Steve Carell) nine dates before being inspired to propose to Carol (Nancy Carell) on a memorable episode of "The Office."

There is a big, unintentional laugh at the start of the premiere of "The Proposal" at 10 p.m. June 18 on WKBW-TV (Channel 7) when host Jesse Palmer, the former NFL quarterback and former star of "The Bachelor," proclaims "history will be made" by this program.

If he means this could be the dumbest show in TV history, it certainly is part of the conversation.

Of course, I might be missing the point. Perhaps Palmer's line is intentionally funny. I needed my daughter to alert me that "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" are really comedies.

Thanks to the participation of Buffalo's Jason Tartick in this summer's "The Bachelorette," my IQ already has dropped 20 points in just fast forwarding through three episodes.

Buffalo man gets some attention from 'The Bachelorette' ... finally

After watching the premiere of "The Proposal," my IQ has dropped into negative territory. It makes "The Bachelorette" look like PBS programming.

You might ask: Why would I even watch a preview of the latest dating series from Mike Fleiss, the brains behind "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette"?

I watched after seeing Abby Sullivan, the daughter of former Buffalo News sportswriter Jerry Sullivan and his former wife, Barbara Branning, a former Buffalo News copy editor, in a promo for the show and learning she will eventually be on it.

It didn't take long to discover Abby wasn't one of the 10 women in the premiere trying to impress an unseen, "mysterious" guy who might propose marriage to the last woman standing after he hears their career paths, sees them parade around in bathing suits and has them answer a question from him that is about as lightweight as the questions Miss America candidates usually get.

The audience and the 10 candidates quickly learn the future husband has an inspiring story. He is a policeman who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. However, he still is able to be an adventurer who loves a good time.

The prospective wives are cut from 10 to seven after he hears what they do for a living and gets a quick look at them. He cuts the list down to four after seeing them in a swimsuit.

In other words, this is a show for all those viewers who have watched the Miss America of the past and immediately looked at the semifinalists or finalists and said: "Hmm, I would marry her."

The list is cut from four to three after they are asked some questions.

The toughest one may be: "How do you feel about dating an amputee?"

The sleaziest is: "How physically adventurous are you when it comes to sex?"

That is just the question you'd expect before a first date, isn't it?

The three survivors then are cut to two after the guy's best friend comes on and asks more questions.

The ABC preview stopped after 32 minutes before the "winner" is announced and viewers get to see if the show lives up to its title. In other words, I didn't see the ending.

I would have voted for the woman who declared "this is bananas" early on the show. I'm not sure the "winner" actually is the one picked. Some of the women seemed more relieved than disappointed when they are cut.

If you're thinking this series only belittles women, you'd be wrong.

According to promos for the show, a woman eventually gets to pick a prospective husband out of 10 contestants who wear swimsuits.

In other words, "The Proposal" is an equal opportunity offender.

After watching the brain-dead premiere, I had the feeling it is the type of show that is so stupid that it could be canceled after one or two episodes. I'm not sure what the Sullivans should be rooting for.

If I'm wrong and "The Proposal" becomes a hit, that's bananas.


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