In 1999, game shows got a boost thanks to the runaway success that was Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. Then in 2000, the runaway success of Survivor gave way to the reality competition shows that you have seen recently. But in 2001, we were treated to the revival of the dating shows. While some of them were decent, others were just plain awful. I’ll delve into those shows later on, but the one I want to focus on is a show that actually made it to primetime TV. This show was created by the production company known as Endemol; a European outfit, which has had several hits around the globe. But this one wasn’t one of those runaway successes that they have had. This one features one of the most inane concepts that I’ve seen in dating show history. I am talking about Chains of Love.
Give this tune a little respect! (See what I did there?)
No No, not the Erasure Song from 1985! (Although I do enjoy the hell out of that track).
Now who would game show in a house like this?
But instead, I’m talking about this Chains of Love. The show is set in southern Los Angeles in this picturesque mansion and to nobody’s surprise, idiocy ensues. The premise of this show is simple. One person is chained together to 4 members of the opposite gender, each one representing a quality that they look for in a potential mate. They will live together in that mansion, eat together, even sleep together all chained together. While there, they will will try to woo the person in the middle. After a couple days, one member of the “Chain Gang” is cut by the person in the middle and is given some of a $10,000 purse. At the end, only 1 will be left standing and will get the person in the middle & whatever is remaining in the $10,000 Purse. It’s quite pathetic really.
The forced smile of a woman enduring career agony
So, let’s meet our host, Madison Michelle. She is, to me one of the dullest sounding hosts in history. Her voice completely belongs in one of those travelogues that you see when you send away for a video for vacations. Plus, her face doesn’t even move during the opening. When she’s on camera, she shows no emotion at all. She has no vested interest in the show & is probably thinking about how she can go back to doing mid-market morning news than this show. However, she’s not really the star of the show. The star of the show is this guy.
Awwww, I was hoping it would be that High Roller Chimp
The Locksmith. He’s the silent big boy who carries the keys that unlock the losers from the chain gang. I mean, he’s prominently featured on the title screen. He seems like that father that wants you to get away from his daughter or son or something like that. And although he’s cool, he can’t save the show from the people who are on the show.
It's just not the same without "Our Graham" introducing them
We have our main girl in Stephanie, who’s looking for someone who’s fun, witty and an all around great guy. She’s also a writer and a model. However, the way she looks, I think her modeling is something that is illegal in some countries. But enough about her, let’s meet the 4 dopes she’s going to be chained to.
Pretty sure that 'curtains' hairstyle was outlawed by 2001
First one on the hit parade is Jason. He seems to consider himself an intellectual and doesn’t want to get into any fights and stuff like that. He also claims that he’s too charming to lose.
Slap on a fake tan and you have a new cast member for Jersey Shore
Next up is Allen. He’s a bad boy and doesn’t like to lose. He also says that he won’t treat Samantha like a princess if she is going to be a bitch to him. So, he’s pretty much a straight shooter.
Oh good, they caught his douchey side
Then we have Pete, a pro beach volleyball player, who claims to have a killer side of humor. He also is a complete party animal who drinks and does all that fun stuff. BTW, anybody who has a classic Led Zeppelin poster on his wall is cool in my books.
I, for one, welcome our new Eyebrow Overlords
Finally, we have Jack. Wait a second? I’ve seen him before on various shows like Whammy, Distraction, and Surviving Nugent. Well, I guess we found our Media ho for this show. Anyways, he says he’s unpredictable and is a fun-loving guy. I’m guessing he’s here also to promote his clients and all of that good stuff as well, being a talent agent et al.
"Good news guys, we can record a new series of Dallas here when this gets cancelled!"
Well, after they all meet, they go to the ritual room, where they meet Ms. Blandsauce and Heavy L. In here, they give the rundown of what goes on, and how the proceedings work. Then we get to the actual part of the show that matters. They all get chained together.
Sunglasses? Indoors? Really?
As we see the big main chain together our merry band of miscreants, they all got the rules and they leave the chamber of hedonistic haplessness and proceed to go on the game.
They go touring the house, to awkward results and sit down for lunch, where Stephanie gets some valuable information on her chainmates as how they rated her on looks, intelligence & whether they wanted to sleep with her, which like lumbering around the house chained together made everybody feel very very uncomfortable about the situation. And how does she react?
She's eaten NOTHING! How ungrateful!
If you said throw the book over her head and onto the floor, then have a cookie.
But, that’s not enough for a reality show. Oh far from it. They have to go out to places chained together and be able to work cohesively, such as…
Oh thank goodness! I thought it was going to be 'visiting the bathroom'
Going to the grocery store and buying groceries for the house.
Didn't 'Three's Company' do this one already?
Cook dinner while chained together, drinking margaritas and arguing.
Seriously, I'm interested. How DO they go the bathroom?
And going into a hot tub, where they did some more drinking and pontificating on the joys of bathroom humor. Then they all went to bed. Yeah, not shocked in the least that there wasn’t a 5-some going on when the cameras and the lights were out.
Ah, the often cherished 'Outdoor Pursuits' round of a DATING SHOW...
But enough of that as they go outdoors some more where they have a team building exercise. They have to blow up a rubber raft, and go through this obstacle course and carry it through a cargo net, all in seven minutes. Yeah, doesn’t seem that hard. So they get all the way to the cargo net, and…
Okay, Three's Company DEFINITELY did this one
Whoops, Locksmith time. So now, she has to let go of one of these losers. Which, is good because that’s 1/3 of the way to getting to the end of this show. So after a little spiel on how this person was on the top of her list, but after the night of drinking caused him to fall completely by the wayside & wasn’t a team player during the challenge, she decided to unchain…
Genuine malice in their expressions
Pete. So now, Stephanie has to get a figure in her head to give to Pete.
"And I got this tattoo during that week in Marbella..."
And because she said he got demonic, she’s giving him $66.06, the number of the beast in her eyes. But that isn’t even the number of the beast. The Number of the beast is actually 616, not 666. But alas, he goes home and the rest of the crew head back to Casa De Chains Of Crap and…
Bunch of cirrhosis-riddled booze hounds
Do more drinking and talking about her sex life, which Jack makes fun of her joke about sleeping with a fat person, asking if she was on top or bottom. Well, after she gave him that cold moment, it gets colder…
NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!
as they play Strip Hockey. I am not making this up.
Seriously, who the hell commissioned this show?
So, we see some skin, but not any of the naughty bits, until the lights go dim and…
There he is. Like the Terminator, only with high cholesterol
Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen.
So now, she has to decide which one she has to let go. And after another boring spiel, she unlocks…
Jack. Man, the media ho is down. Oh well, at least he can go on other shows and make some money.
But here, he’s given $1,500 of the remaining $9933.94 that was left in the kitty and sent on his merry way to send an audition tape out to be on Surviving Nugent, which aired 6 months after this show.
So they leave the Ice Skating rink and head to bed. Then in the morning, they wake up and take a gander outside their window, which is a very lovely view. Afterwards, they go downstairs and smell coffee. And who do they see….
CALL AN AMBULANCE! HER FACE IS STUCK!
Ms. Cure for Insomnia is back.
She promptly tells the two guys left standing that dates have been planned so they can try to woo Stephanie one last time before she makes her final decision. Oh, little did they know that they’d still be chained together. I wish this show would just end, like how Hidden Agenda just ended yesterday.
Look at those eyes! He's so planning to 'off' her and split the cash with Jason!
Allen’s date is that he plans to have a day of beauty. You know, manicures, pedicures, massages, Avacado masks, that sort of thing. So, what does Jason get to do while this is happening?
Dude has got some awesome boots. Who needs to win when you have awesome boots?
He gets to watch them get all prettied up, and enjoy those massages and manipeddies. Classy. However, Jason gets to turn the tables as…
Conversation looks seriously stilted
His date consists of a Romantic dinner, dancing and a walk on the beach. So, what does Allen get to eat…
Some of my favourite meals have been eaten from a carton on a staircase
Looks like some french fries & some ribs from Tony Roma’s. Yummy.
So, they return to the house, and they start to converse and enjoy each others company until…
I've never been so happy to see a large dude in sunglasses
Thankfully, the show’s almost over.
So, after another monotone dialogue of how they had a great time, but yadda yadda yadda…
The question is, do the boots make up for the curtains?
She sends Jason home after saying that it was the best date she’s been on in awhile.
Two grand and nice boots. The dude has it made.
She sends him packing with $2,000 and he goes off on his merry way.
They get to talking and cuddling and in the morning, bells ring. So, it must be time for them to go into the Ritual Room and be serendipitously sacrificed to the gods of awful television.
Wow, she actually stopped smiling. EMOTIONAL DEPTH, PEOPLE!
Oh, it’s just to be bored by Ms. Decaf herself.
You call those shackles? Where's the friction burn!?
Allan gets unchained from Stephanie and she has to make the decision. Stay with Allan and Split the money, or reject him and give him only a portion of the money. And if we know how much girls love the bad boys, you’ve seen this coming.
Scratch Dallas, this set could do a vehicle for Elmira
She accepts him, and she splits the dough with him. You’d think the show would end there, but in a classic Vince Russo esque swerve, it’s now Allan’s turn to decide. So, he leaves the ritual room and Stephanie is told that either he’ll be in the balcony waiting for him and they’d continue the relationship…Or he would have bolted with the money and the Locksmith would be waiting for her.
This is just after he chokeslammed the host over the edge
How does one put loud distressed wretching into prose?
Well, not Stephanie as she finds Allan waiting for her and they live happily ever after as the cameras stop rolling.
This was a disaster from all sides, and is one of the worst dating shows of all time. The host was duller than dishwater, the people were annoying as all hell, liquor feeds most of the conversation and interactment between them & it was just painful to watch. Thankfully this only lasted 6 episodes before UPN pulled the plug.
There is only one memorable moment from this show and it didn’t even happen on the show. It happened on an episode of WWF Smackdown! where Al Snow & Steve Blackman decided to do their own version of Chains of Love when Steve Blackman got to be chained to 4 of his “fans” Hilarity ensued and was probably the funniest thing that they did in awhile.
If only they had done this on the actual show.
From Chris- I owe a huge apology to Rob for not updating MMM with a Game Show Garbage for a long time. Totally my fault. We’ll now have an update once a fortnight. Once again, apologies to Rob and fans of GSG on MMM.
Game Show Garbage can also be found at Robert Seidelman’s own site here
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org