The Week In Weird TV: Millionaire Matchmaker And The Zoo Next Door

A dating service that's fit for Patrick Bateman, and a woman with far too many alsatians. Just another week in the nether-regions of television...
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A dating service that's fit for Patrick Bateman, and a woman with far too many alsatians. Just another week in the nether-regions of television...

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Think of the shallowest thing you can. Now imagine leaving it in the Gobi desert for thirty years so that it becomes a lifeless husk of ash, and you just might just begin to get somewhere close to the depth of channel 5’s Millionaire Matchmaker. This is a programme that takes everything people think is terrible about America, puts it all in a blender and then force feeds it to you through a tube up your nose. It offers such a skewed and horrible view of the US that it could be used as a training video in the foothills of the Hindu Kush.

The show is a behind the scenes look at a ‘millionaires’ dating agency in New York. And it’s as objectionable as it sounds. Desperate ‘high net worth individuals’ (if you ever meet anyone who describes themselves as a having a ‘high net worth’ immediately wipe the vomit from your lips, turn around and never speak to that person again) come to the offices of the Millionaires Club to seek the matchmaking expertise of Patti Stanger – imagine Emma written by Ivanka Trump. It’s the sort of dating service Patrick Bateman might use as a way of selecting his next victim.

Apparently Patti is a “3rd generation match-maker,” which means the Stanger family having been bringing pricks together for over a hundred years – rather like the Cabinet Office. She employs people that look like Nick Griffin’s idea of what people from America might look like. One of them even appears to be called Destin, which makes him sound like a South African rubbish container (think about it).

The horrible irony of the show – which lingers in every frame like a great elephant plapping bucketfulls of dung onto the shiny parquet floor – is that the most likely reason all these people are still single is because they think money is the most important thing about someone. Why else would they use this service? They are superficial (and stupid) enough to dismiss anyone who doesn’t have lots of money, which makes them about as attractive as Jim Davidson’s views on, well, everything.

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It’s actually quite a good business model. The people that use it are so unattractive that the only people that would want to go out with someone like that are people that already use it. It shouldn’t really be called Millionaire Match-Maker it should be called Terrible Person Enabler.

Watching it feels like putting your brain through a candy-floss machine; it’s sickeningly saccharine and full of empty space. There’s nothing behind it. Just lonely people bewitched by a materialist sleight of hand that tells you money is everything.

You can often gauge the level of a programme by the adverts they choose to run in the break. Well, in the case of this delight, the whole thing was actually sponsored by Scholl’s fungal toenail treatment. But actually the partnership is strangely apt because after watching it, you’ll definitely want to dust your eye-balls with athlete’s foot powder.

A programme more concerned with people than pounds was a heartfelt little documentary called The Zoo Next Door. This was a channel 4 programme about people who have too many pets.

What I always wonder about people who have lots of animals is what happens to all the faeces? (When I say ‘always’ I mean once or twice a week, at most) Lynne, for example, had a septic-tank bursting 17 Alsatian dogs to look after. Alsatian dogs are big and they eat a lot. Does she carry a dustbin liner around instead of one of those small black bags? Sadly, we never found out. But she definitely wouldn’t be able to leave it next to a park bench like some people do. You know who you are.

The lasting impression all these people made was simply one of kindness. Unconditional, straightforward kindness to animals they adored. True love costs nothing but it’s worth everything.