‘Miss Advised,’ worthy of a second date
The three women dating experts could well grow on viewers
June 13, 2012
TV viewing can be like dating. If we don't feel a spark with a new show right away, we tend to bail early. But sometimes we wonder about the ones we let get away.
Most viewers won't have any chemistry with Bravo's new reality series "Miss Advised" and probably won't enter a long-term relationship with the show. But given its unpromising subjects, the show is less obnoxious than one might expect. It could pick up in future episodes.
Premiering next Monday, June 18, at 10 p.m., the show focuses on three youngish women who make money sharing their opinions about relationships and sex. All three, however, are single themselves.
Julia Allison is a dating columnist who moves from Chicago to Los Angeles in the first episode, hoping to change her luck with men. Amy Laurent is a New York City matchmaker who has strict rules for her clients. And Emily Morse is the host of a raunchy radio talk show about sex in San Francisco.
Relationship experts — especially the ones who tend to wind up on reality shows — often seem more interested in themselves than in their clients. Their self-absorption makes them hard to like.
Allison says that her writings about her personal life caused her to be voted the most hated person on the Internet. (She was actually named the third most hated person on the Internet by Radar.com.)
But the three women are rather likable on the show, mostly because they admit that they're better at giving advice than following it themselves. In the premiere, Laurent goes on a dinner date with an ex-boyfriend who ended their relationship abruptly. She says she would never let a client do that.
We see her brusquely interviewing a new client, looking skeptical when he says he's never had a sexual experience with a man. But on the date with her handsome ex, and in subsequent talking-head shots, she is touchingly vulnerable, admitting that she's not over him.
Upon arriving in L.A., Allison gets a call from a man she got to know through Craigslist — "not on that part of Craiglist," she says. They go out to dinner, and she soon realizes that he matches few of the 73 items she has listed that describe her ideal man.
Nonetheless, she allows him to come by the next day to help her unpack boxes. She at least feels guilty about this.
"He's just the sort of nice guy I would normally go on 11 dates with," Allison tells the camera, "and then fake an orgasm with and then have to date for the next six months, and then finally he decides to break up with me, and he hates me, and I cry because I wasted six months of my life, and I just don't want to do that."
Morse's on-air partner, who goes by the name Mayhem, invites her brother on their talk show. She is strongly against monogamy, which she says is "an epidemic in our culture." She points out that she and her brother have attended four of their parents' weddings, all of which ended in divorce.
But her brother gets her to consider whether it's time for her to settle down with one person.
Many of the show's virtues are virtues of omission. The premiere contains no contrived scenes that are intended to provide opportunities for the principals to behave outrageously. The three women lack entourages with the usual purportedly colorful colleagues and assistants. And no one gets into a screaming fight.
That doesn't mean the three women are completely lovable. While unpacking, Allison admits that she owns 21 tutus, including one for her tiny dog. Laurent has that annoying ex-college-girl accent in which "sex" sounds more like "sux." We're also expected to believe that she sips champagne while sitting in front of her computer at home.
But the first episode of "Miss Advised" makes us a little curious whether the women will find Mr. Right next week, and it even makes us care a little. A second date with the show couldn't hurt.
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