“Married By America–Divorced By Monday”

By Gus Bode

Not Just Another Priddy Face

Monday nights are pretty slow for me. I go home, kick off my shoes and turn on the TV. In a house with no cable, choices get pretty slim. But, if you stand in a particular three-foot spot of the room, you can pick up a pretty decent FOX. So, we moved the couch there.

Of course, we all know what unfortunately predominates FOX Mondays. And despite my general distaste for the whole “Joe Millionaire” phenomenon, I watched. And watched. Not one of my prouder moments, mind you, but the great thing about channel 23 is that if you hold out long enough, another episode of “The Simpsons” is bound to pop up eventually. At least you always have that excuse.


But there’s more. It’s not as if these network executives don’t know their shows are bad. They take pride in their ability to deprecate their own programming. My roommate is particularly fond of “When Automobiles Attack,” a parody celebration of the lame and ridiculous “When Animals Attack.”

So when one reality series runs out, don’t despair. The whole time Evan and Sarah trotted through the French woods listening for the things that go “slurp” in the night, those crazy folks back at the station were hard at work finding the next group of hopeless singles to exploit in the name of heartless publicity stunts. My particular living room crowd has been closely following the “Married By America” saga. According to the dreamy commercials, we, America, will get to watch these lovelorn goons and their own social habits from the comfort of our own couches. We decide who belongs together, call in our votes, and the winners marry before even meeting each other.

Married. Total strangers. Wasn’t that part of some fanatic cult scheme a few years ago? I suppose within this concept is some kind of underlying bold commentary on young Americans, but really-I just can’t imagine how desperate these people must be. None of them look a day over 30, and from what I can discern from the early advertisements, none even have leprosy or humps on their backs, either. So how bad can their single lives be?

I don’t know. Maybe there’s something exhilarating about taking legal vows to love a perfect stranger. All I know is that from the handful of blind dates I’ve been on in my life, I can’t imagine letting people I’ve never even met choose the one man whose head will lie on a pillow next to mine till, theoretically, death do us part. Frankly, I’d be terrified to see, from the image I project of myself to others, what kind of mate they’d choose for me.

“Hi, America. I’m Gracey. I’m a 21-year-old columnist from southern Illinois who is desperate for a husband. Match me up!” Actually, I would feel more sorry for the guy who got stuck in my chapel and couldn’t turn back. I wonder what these honeymoons are like.

Husband:”So, can you really cook three hundred different meals from all over the globe?”

Wife:”Nah, I just made that up so I wouldn’t get stuck with one of the real losers. But I do have a collection of three hundred different Troll dolls from across the world. Gosh, you have a cute butt.”


Well, young couples, good luck. Maybe America will do something right for a change and turn off their televisions. Then you don’t even have to go through with it. But in case the votes do start rolling in, just at least make sure one of the two of you has cable. The only thing worse than your own pitiful lives is watching it on reruns.