February 15, 2005

It's Probably Me

I'm going to guess that you probably did not watch Dr. Phil's "Romance Rescue" tonight. And for that I commend you.

But I decided that I was going to suck up any distaste and watch and report on it since I felt a tad responsible after mentioning it a couple times and having so many people come by here because of it. I don't know how likely it is that very many of those people will be coming back, but once you make a commitment to something as silly as this, you might as well stick with it.

Really, having Jonathan and Victoria take part was like the fluffy, but defensive, cream filling in the Oreo of this show. They were stuck in the middle between two other segments -- though those were broken up to spin out the non-existent suspense --and were more or less the draw to make the cardboard-like parts seem more interesting. (I should note that I'm not a huge Oreo fan, so this analogy makes perfect sense to me.)

The other two segments consisted of a recently engaged couple who is already on the rocks, and a woman who just can't seem to find Mr. Right. I could tell you a lot more, but it broke down to the couple being afraid of each losing something (her: him, him: sex) and needing a second chance to start the engagement over, and Ms. Right was a control freak who froze up on dates. Not surprisingly, Dr. Phil made everything hunky-dory for them in the end.

With Jonathan and Victoria, however, it seemed more like an attempt at damage control for them -- they weren't there to have Dr. Phil "rescue" them. We had the standard Jonathan quotes, "I'm not the person that I've been portrayed[sic]," and the person we saw on the show was a "heightened version" of him, not a reflection of his "true character." Of course, this was all interspersed with clips of them being kissy kissy kissy kissy in order to really show the "softer side of their relationship," as Victoria put it.

The best bit of double-talk from him was when Dr. Phil asked how he could have treated Victoria that way over the infamous backpack shove incident. He said, verbatim: "Victoria has a component to her that allows her to go past a normal sense of reaction." Therefore he doesn't react to her reaction like everybody else (i.e., normal people) would. I heard: I'm so used to her screechy, hysterical way of dealing with stressful situations that I'm able to ignore it and expect her to get the hell with my program.

I got the impression that this was taped in the wake of their appearance on the Early Show following their elimination, and they were still smarting from all the bad clips being shown again and again and again. The upshot? "America doesn't need to be worried about Victoria." She's O.K.

Now that we know that, can we put them back on the margins of our real lives again and just think of them as a footnote in an otherwise great season of Amazing Race? Good. I'm glad we agree.