CBS is hooking up with Project Runway and Top Chef producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz for a reality show on arranged marriages. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series, tentatively and uncreatively titled Arranged Marriage, will follow four unlucky-in-love adults, age roughly 25-45, who allow their friends and family to choose a spouse for them because they’re that anxious to commit. The couples will legally tie the knot, and the series will document their lives together post-ceremony.
Now, I know I’m supposed to be disgusted that reality TV has sunk to this level (the one where TV execs essentially make an honest man out of The Bachelor). But I can’t decide if I’m there yet. The truth is, I will watch this show, and I won’t even feel guilty about if the participants are sane people who were planning on taking this drastic step even if the casting call hadn’t been issued. But that’s the question isn’t it: What kind of person willingly submits to an arranged marriage, let alone allows a production company called Magical Elves to film it? Yes, as an exhausted 33-year-old single woman, I have days when I’d be happy to have my sister and friends, who I trust and adore, deal with my love life for me. But something keeps me from signing away control. (I like to think that I can adapt to anything but a bad cable package; Deep down, I know that I’m wrong.) Why can’t these contestants just, you know, agree to go to coffee with the person their parents or pals want them to meet? Because that wouldn’t make for good, controversial TV guaranteed to do good ratings for one or two eps?
So, what do you think? Is Arranged Marriage the closest sign we’ve had to a TV apocalypse since Fox’s Married by America, pictured? (That show ended with the couples America voted to unite not marrying. CBS is smarter than that
unless you’re talking about sending children into a ghost town. You get the rings on those fingers upfront!) Or, are there circumstances under which you could watch — or, gulp, participate in — this show and not hate yourself?
More on memorable reality TV:
Producers’ Diary: Cutforth and Lipsitz reveal the ‘8 Simple Rules of Reality TV‘
Gallery: 35 Most Appalling TV Shows Ever
Gallery: 25 Risk-Filled Reality TV Shows
Gallery: 18 Shameless Reality TV Stars
Gallery: Rage Before Beauty: Reality TV’s 19 Biggest Blowups