I really liked Tracie Eagan Morrison’s essay last year on Patti Stanger, the titular Millionaire Matchmaker of Bravo’s dating show. She argues, I think persuasively, that more than simply setting up her wealthy clients with the kind of people that they’d like to date and perhaps settle down with, that Stanger’s real strength is brutally assessing the people who come to her and identifying the flaws that have prevented them from having successful relationships. She can go too far, but the show, rather than a testament to love, is a pretty strong argument that if your only priority is to find a long-term relationship quickly rather than organically, you’re going to have to mold your personality and make big compromises in order for that to happen. It’s an aggressive indictment of romantic comedy.
But this stuff? Not so much:
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I feel like Stanger is aiming for Dan Savage territory in talking about gay men and monogamy and overshooting, landing…somewhere else. Bravo walks an incredibly fine line with its branding. It’s supposed to be higher-end than its competitors, but its reality shows are no less invasive, and even rich people can have ugly, bad things happen in their lives. And a self- and network-appointed truth teller like Patti Stanger may tip over into a giant vat of crazy, especially in a setting like Bravo programming head Andy Cohen’s live talk show where the guests and the audience drink and everyone’s supposed to be kind of outrageous.